A u g u s t   2 0 0 4

Guest Writer

Had it been a thousand years already?
by Jess Gulbranson

We’ve been following our rumpled yellow-haired hero ever since early 2001, when he lost his motel – along with everything else but the red hooded sweatshirt on his back – in a poker game. He’s been bouncing around through several different dimensions ever since. Here's episode 39:

el took a look in the mirror, squinted, then really leaned in for a closer look. There were minute wrinkles on his face, a tiny sampling of worry and laugh lines. What was he? A sad clown? He blinked, and the lines were still there. The topic hadn't been on his mind for a long time, but he remembered the warning he had given himself:

It'll take a thousand years for the first wrinkles to show and that'll mean Tahiti is over.

Had it been a thousand years already? The time had passed so quickly at first. He was with the two Annes and they were all in love. The younger and the older had learned to be with each other, even though it was such an impossible thing. Apparently, when you lived with a different version of yourself, you had a lot to catch up on.

So the two of them got along smashingly. It was a joy to see, and Mel had had an eyeful. The unique dynamic made it so there was always something to do, or talk about. And the sex ... Mel didn't like to think about it too much. Their collective lovemaking was so indescribably exquisite that remembering it fully tended to leave him paralyzed and drooling, even now.

Mel supposed, though this was his first immortal love affair, that all such arrangements tended to end the same. The first couple hundred years were bliss, but then ... "Hell is other people," as some Frog had said.

Somehow the threesome lost its coherence and Mel found himself at odds with one or both Annes at any given time. The girls never fought each other and, honestly, he should have seen it coming. Mel spent more and more time exploring the islands on his own, often staying away from their little beachfront home for years at a time.

One day, on his way home, Mel had stopped at the little village bar near the house. He was having a chat with Seth, the bartender, a prissy little man who was the only person around who was aware of his own existence as a figment of Mel's fantasy world. A few minutes into their conversation, Seth suddenly grabbed Mel's drink and told him to get home.

Mel had never been 86'd by Seth before, as he was incapable of getting drunk with his devil-crafted body. Something about the bartender's tone made him uneasy, though, and he raced home.

The little house they had shared was empty. The air inside still swirled, and to Mel's heightened senses, he could tell that both Annes had been there minutes ago. He followed their trail, and it ended in the kitchen.

There was a note on the counter. He was unable to read any but the last words: GONE FOR GOOD.

It was signed, "Anne." Twice.

He crumpled the note in his fist and kept squeezing, not even caring that his nails were digging into the flesh of his palm. He squeezed until the blood flowed, sending a spicy licorice smell into the air. As the black drops of blood hit the floor, they burst briefly into flame. He opened his fist, and the wounds and note were gone.

Mel had searched the house, finding only a mirror. That was when he had noticed the wrinkles. There was nothing more he could do in the house. He went outside.

Mel was in for a shock. The sky was a drab rust-red. Not dusk, as the wan sun was still at about high noon. The water of the little harbor smelled funny and the sand was gray. Mel picked some up and sifted it through his hands. There were ashes mixed in.

He ran back to the village, but the cluster of buildings, which had remained unchanged in a thousand years, were now nothing more than a series of tree- and brush-covered mounds. Taking a closer look at the vegetation, he could tell that it looked weird. He had been in Tahiti for a millennium and was something of an expert on the palms and such. These plants were completely different. He turned around and saw that his house was gone as well.

At a loss, Mel reached deep down inside himself and grasped the power that was left from his brief tenure as the Messiah. He stretched out his hand to open a door to another world and nothing happened. That was strange. He knew doorways still worked in this world, because he had felt the trace the Annes had left when they disappeared.

Mel tried again with the same results. He pulled every last drop of the divine power and poured it into his effort. His body shook and the air began to reek of hot metal. A bird plummeted dead out of the sky and the sand began to smoke. At last a terrifying wave of power rebounded as he let go of his attempt. Mel's clothes burned off of him, and he collapsed in a breathless heap.

There was nothing on the island, no way no for him to leave. Well, there was one way.

As Mel waded into the surf, he had one final thought before he lost himself in the task ... It was official: Tahiti was over.

Mel began to swim.

Look for Mel's past adventures, check out an interview with our dimensionally challenged hero, and e-mail Jess at j_gulbranson@hotmail.com.

site design / management / host: ae
© 2001-2005 nwdrizzle.com / all rights reserved.