Lauren, Janessa, and I can enter a dreamlike haze that puts our perception of the world in bullet time. And we can relax knowing that every cd the dj plays is on Pitchfork Media's list of albums it's okay to like. The words were written on a postcard from an alternate reality. One where King Henry V never defeated the French at agincourt because all he ever wanted to do was sniff glue with Bardolph and Falstaff.
Cue flashback to when Lauren and Janessa worked at Mcdonalds.
"You turned that metal cane from the lost and found into a hash pipe?" Lauren said.
"I thought it would be an uplifting swords to plowshares kind of thing." Nessa said.
"But the old man wants it back."
"Okay right now I'm in first gear and you're in like fifth gear." Nessa said, her hand pantomiming a shifting motion.
Lauren, Janessa, and I surveyed the landscape in front of us. Cracks and fissures in the rocky terrain revealed pools of television static. We knew the planetary alignment would wreak havoc with our cosmic biorhythms. To Lauren and Nessa: sorry about the lifeless, shriveled husk I left on your couch when I merged with the astral plane and was reborn as a being of pure energy.
"You recorded over my tape of recitations from the Necronomicon?" Lauren said. "I need the reverse incantation for the resurrection spell, not this crap."
"Oh, that's what everyone says the first time they hear Tool." Nessa said. "It takes a few repeated listenings for the heaviness of the songs on Lateralus to really sink in."
We made the mistake of playing the Wild Zero drinking game (drink every time some Japanese wannabe punk in a leather jacket shouts "Rock n' roll!"). We toasted each other's health with flaming shots of absinthe only to find that once lit absinthe is pretty much impossible to put out. The cracks in the plaster were a grim prophecy that's implications we dared not contemplate for fear that our last remaining shreds of sanity would be ripped asunder.
"If we want to convince the aliens not to destroy earth we have to show them mankind's greatest accomplishments, right?" Lauren said. "So what's wrong with showing them Nellyville?"
"Look, there's a difference between a good collection of songs and a good album, okay?"
"Oh, Nessa and I got you this Sailor Moon dvd box set. We figured now would be as good a time as any to give it to you since, you know, robots don't really have birthdays."
We tried not to think about the rural desolation in which we had to live in between happys. According to alien abductee Betty Hill there are UFOs flying over New Hampshire every night. Aliens, if you are flying over this state please don't judge my race by the human slimes that live here. The best part of the Nirvana concert video we watched was the lack of Courtney Love.
"I got the idea for the Ghostbusters answering machine while browsing a Bill Murray fan page." I said. "The hardest part of inventing it was making the tone sound like Ecto-1's siren."
"Was this like your idea to write a cop drama based on Penny Arcade?" Lauren said.
"Hey, that was a great idea. You see, Tycho preferred a by-the-book approach to solving crimes whereas Gabe had all the street smarts."
There was an ecstasy of warmth and laughter. It was only in this place that we truly lived. The scrolls held the key to untold realms of wonder and discovery, but we weren't stopping there. We were going beyond the planets and constellations. Beyond time itself.
The node placement in Lauren and Janessa's apartment was spotty at best. My thumb bore the red ellipse of a lighter blister. Bio Hazard was a good movie but we were bummed out by the E.T. bashing in the middle. Don't hate the players, Fred Olen Ray. Hate the game.
The band had a horribly pretentious name we were embarrassed to say to our parents. By the opening notes of the song we were already hopelessly sucked in. We were on loudon road. Through some form of manifest destiny the strip was continually expanding. I recalled a tiny piece of minutia from an hour before and then realized that all the memories in between had been erased.
It was like a fresh coat of snow had fallen on everything, reminding us of what it was like to live in a world where everything was bright and new. We were the first life forms to set foot in the tomb in eons. Judging by the size and shape of their doorways, the rylans were a race of giant insects.
As the red team stormed the flag room we knew we were caught in the path of history, destined to become names on a stone monument. The youth killed on the battlefield are abortions of sorts. Somewhere in an ancient storeroom sit the implements of war. The combat boots that march forward in time. The adamantine blade that leaves cuts and gashes across entire generations.
You have from now until the end of this paragraph to return to your designated temporal interface matrix. Collect your skin, melted and amoeba-like on the floor where you left it. If you'd like to make any vows never to look at reality the same way again now would be the time.
After years of being misunderstood, I had hoped we finally had "our" story. I was wrong.
He had a yellow inflatable tube around his waist, the kind with a comical duck head. There was a tiny fish in one of his hands, and a trident in the other. In the background a squirrel wearing shades was water skiing.
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