Sunday, June 4, 2017


                          Size Matters

The surface is smooth, slightly concave upward, and bears two sets of parallel grooves that are normal to one another. The surface extends beyond the limit of visibility in all directions. It smells faintly of hot metal. On the surface lies a human figure, face down, clothed in faded dirty jeans and a torn white t-shirt.

* * *

I woke up face down on the ground. I hate it when that happens. At least, I thought I was lying on the ground; when I pried my eyes open I realized that I was somewhere much stranger than that. I sat up, rubbed my eyes vigorously, and looked again. Yep, just as I’d first thought, I was on a smooth featureless plain. The “sky” above was dark. I got up and started walking. After about 15 minutes I came to a trench. It looked like it was about 10 feet deep and had a “v”-shaped cross section, as though it had been made with a sharp axe. There was no way I could get across it, so I turned to the left and started walking again.

30 minutes later I came to an intersecting trench, just like the first one, but at right angles to it. I turned left again. Yep, you guessed it. I was on a rectangular plateau. It took about 45 minutes to walk each side. There was no way in hell I was getting out of there. Then I thought of the trenches. I could get down in them. I could never get back out, but I could walk along them. Maybe I’d find something that could help me.

I slid down and started walking to the left in the first trench I’d encountered. Why not? By now I was a little thirsty and I had to pee. One of those needs I could take care of, the other I could not. I zipped up my fly and resumed walking.

It was hard going. The bottom of the trench was almost knife sharp, and I was walking with my feet on opposing steep inclines. After a while, my legs starting cramping, then my bruised soles started aching. When I got tired I tried to rest. I found the only position even remotely comfortable was lying with my back against one surface and my feet resting on the other one.

I woke up disoriented. Where was I? I felt dizzy, and had slumped over in the trench. It felt as though the whole world was spinning. There was an intense light in the sky. It was too bright to look at, and the air was very hot. I struggled to my feet and peeled off my shirt. The “ground” was getting hot and the air was getting hotter, it felt like I was spinning faster and faster. I tried to run along the trench, but shooting pains from my abused soles threw me down in agony. It got brighter and hotter by the moment. I had to shut my eyes against the glare, the ground was spinning so fast I felt a heavy force pressing me into the bottom of the trench. Perhaps I screamed.

Just as I felt I would burst into flames the hideous trench was gone. I was lying on a rough wooden surface. My skin was hot to the touch and painful, but the air was cool, even cold. The place was very noisy—it sounded like a party. I blinked my eyes to clear the spots from my vision. Then I realized the spots were really there. In the center of the room was a spinning, brilliant globe. It shot patches of color that whirled around the room at a frenetic pace. Something about the disco ball reminded me of my late predicament, but as I was pondering this, I realized that something else was very very wrong. As my vision returned I saw that the room was much larger than I had thought. The party-goers were gigantic, the far wall too distant to be seen. I was standing on a table or bar, and from the perspective of the giants around me I was no larger than a bug. As soon as this occurred to me, someone screamed and I saw a gargantuan hand descending towards me. “Shit,” I said.

* * *

That’s the last thing I remember before waking up in the E.R. I wish I could believe that it had all been a dream, but I cannot. A bad case of sunburn and very sore feet militate against that interpretation.

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