I thought some of the men might balk at voluntary castration but they followed me on that, bless, as they do on everything else. “I left my heart in San Francisco. We left our stones in Tijuana. Soon we’ll shrug off these bodies entirely.” Your eyes twinkle like black diamonds, replied their shining faces. Your words lie our minds down in green pastures.
We take pains to avoid potholes driving North from the clinic.
Crispin points through the windshield to the comet, says “It looks the same here as in the States.” “There are no borders where we’re going,” I say. I say this as our Camaro sits with its engine off in a queue of hot metal stretching ahead of us, behind us, vendors jogging up to our windows with chiller boxes of soda tied around their necks. In between the cars, they slow, double over, rub cold cans down over those knobbly necks, the backs of their heads, pointing down at the road. Then, smiles back on their faces, they jog up to the next car. I watch them in the rear view, their dusty behinds getting smaller and smaller. I’ll buy us all a Sprite, the next one comes.
It’s hellish hot in here. Once we’ve transcended, Bill Wyres is going to tumble our Earth-stuck carcasses into a pit and torch the flesh and bones before joining us. We’ve discussed this at length. Marion fancied a Viking funeral pyre, our bodies pushed afloat on a boat across a lake, smoke rising up as we’re consumed by fire. Billy Wyres said “Fuck that!” We bought him an ergonomic wheel barrow which promises not to tip over with heavy loads.
Crispin sticks in a cassette of one of my sermons. “When we transcend to the spaceship,” my voice never sounds like it does in my head, “all of our terrestrial pains will be negated. Our shames will be negated. Our mistakes. Our identities. Our pasts. Our fears. Our hurts. We will become holy and bright, as pure and colourful as sunlight passing through the clearest of crystals, and we will cease to be ‘we’ and it will be beautiful.” The recording ripples with the group’s laughter, crying–happy crying!–the dulled slap of palm meat. He presses Eject, says he thinks the tape’s melting.
I met Marion in a psychiatric hospital. They’ll make a lot of that when this is done, but that’s nothing I can alter now. She was a nurse there. She told me she felt we’d met before in a past life. She said she knew we’d meet again because the aliens had informed her this was our destiny. I wondered if she really was a nurse or one of the patients who’d stolen a uniform. When I raised this with another member of staff, though, they simply upped my medication. Her husband at the time wasn’t too thrilled to hear she’d found Christ Returned in me, and knowing Marion as I’ve come to, I’m sure he heard this day and night and all points in between. He turned up at the hospital with a tyre iron and called me a ponytailed fruit. I turned the other cheek and he split it wide open, taking most of the teeth on that side of my face with it. Over the years, I’ve fantasised the most unholy scenarios involving him. Leaving him and everyone else behind on this doomed planet should be revenge enough, but I still slip out of reverence for our mission every now and then to picture… Pain causing. Extreme pain causing.
Fabio–what a fabulous name–leans over from the back seat with a bottle of tequila. We bought a couple of bottles to wash down the phenobarbital and apple sauce, a memento of our trip. Crispin says “Better put’t away, looks like we’re moving,” and starts up the engine. Up above us, backlit by the midday sun, the comet blazes, ever closer.
Nick Black manages two small public libraries in North London. His writing has been published in lit mags including Entropy, Jellyfish Review, (b)OINK, the Lonely Crowd, Open Pen, Train Lit Mag, and Funhouse. He tweets about things he likes as @fuzzynick.