The student named Me sat high in the rear of the auditorium, looking down at his teachers as they performed a play about labrat liver pate and its superior nutrition. He was apart from and above the other pupils, peering at the action over the top of a stuffed rolling suitcase, which was crushing his lap.
Said Mr. Turrible, “By the time I am finished with this pile of delicious labrat liver, I will have so many more fingers with which to buy more labrat liver!”
Said, Mrs. Jinglebells, “All the little children on the world will see through extra eyes if they have more helpings!”
The entire faculty formed a circle around a small table upon which stood a plate of crackers with labrat liver pate. They held hands and sang while dancing round and round.
After two of their revolutions, the suitcase on Me’s lap exploded open, spewing out fountains of brightly-colored underwear and pants and socks and shirts. Me held tight to the luggage while the column of seatbacks directly in front of him lowered, creating a clear descent to the floor. An inordinate amount of blue silk pajamas fell from the air, covering the new path, molding tight onto the surface like melted cellophane.
The auditorium tilted forward, pitching Me and the suitcase into the clothing storm and down the silken hill. Me landed in the suitcase on the floor before the stage. He looked up at the audience. The boys and girls laughed at him without pause. Me glanced down and saw that he was naked from the waist down. He yelped and closed the lid against his chest to cover his dangledoo.
Mrs. Jinglebells, Mr. Turrible and a few other unimportant teachers jumped down and stood between him and the students.
“Do not worry,” said Mrs. Jinglebells, looking at his dangledoo. “We won’t let ANYONE see your dangledoo!”
Mr. Turrible said, “I think you will really like next week’s assignment.”
All the clothing in the air turned to water and splashed down, soaking everyone. A wet young woman descended the stairs at the other end of the auditorium, pointing at Me. “Follow me! I know where we can find your underwear!” She turned to the wall, which transformed into a thin pane of glass. The glass quickly slid up into the ceiling, revealing a train station platform. An infinite train powered through the station. The woman rushed onto the platform.
Me leaped out of the suitcase and ran after the woman, laughter at his back like gravel under the skin. He passed through into the station, and the wind from the train ballooned his shirt. The train was a constant streak of forest green. Me caught up with the woman, who had stopped beside a black button floating in the air close to the endless train. He tugged his shirt down to cover his dangledoo.
She pointed to the button. “Remember to push this if you fuck something up.” Turning, she ran a short distance to an empty ticket stand. Me followed. She opened a door to the office. “You will find your underwear in here.”
The train stopped and a door opened, out of which writhed an ethereal, forest green hand.
“Goodbye,” the woman said, and the hand jerked out and surrounded her, squeezing. The hand retracted back into the door, leaving only a clean skeleton standing before Me. The train resumed its eternal course, while the skeleton started to walk away. It tripped on a chocolate wrapper and smashed to the floor, breaking apart, and the hundreds of bones squirmed into the concrete and were still.
Me stared at the bone ridges for a moment until he heard the collective voice of thousands of people gain volume and near the empty station. People were coming! Frantic and horrifed, Me raced into the ticket office. A pair of shining boxers hung suspension above a glass vial on one of the desks. He quickly maneuvered around a counter, hearing the WHOOF and whimper before his heel crushed down on bone and flesh.
His brother’s Golden Retriever lay on the floor close to the counter; Me had smashed in her poor skull. Her Berenstain Bear legs pawed at the air in futile escape. He bent down and caressed her side. “Oh, shit. Shit. I’m so sorry.” Her head was cracked open, but it was strangely clean and dry. He remembered the button. Me ran back to the rushing train, sick in his throat. His brother loved the dear pup; how the hell would he tell him?
The ebony button responded to his nearness by flashing. It was shaped like a coconut. He pushed it and the train halted, then began to thunder in the opposite direction. As it moved backward, he watched ghostly images of him and the woman dance through the last few minutes in reverse. The coconut button flashed again, changing color to a blood red. Me pressed it again; the train stopped and resumed its original, furious journey.
Hopeful, he went back to the ticket office. The sounds of the impending crowd increased, intensified by the addition of two footsteps on stone for every voice. When he reached the office, he sobbed. The Retriever had stopped moving; her tongue was a moist black ribbon stretched across the floor. The dog’s head was now perfectly split like a blooming flowerbud. The brain had turned to mist and the brainmist rose and drifted back to the vial on the desk. His glowing underwear was gone. The brainmist caressed the vial and slowly filled it with a blue light, and once full, a shape began to emerge from the mouth of the vial. A head surfaced, blonde hair parted in the middle that continued as the being rose until its lengths ended plastered on the wet shoulders of the rising, naked woman. Her form billowed out into normal dimensions as she passed up through the neck of the vial.
The naked woman stepped out of the vial and dropped to the floor. She looked at Me, but she didn’t look at his dangledoo.
“You fucked up,” she said to Me. “But that’s normal.”
She walked out of the ticket office toward the train. The crowds had arrived, and they ambled hurriedly toward nowhere. The woman jostled through them in her nakedness, and each time one of the crowd looked at her, that person froze like Lot’s over-curious wife.
She looked over her shoulder at Me. “Follow me to find your underwear.”
So he followed.
Posted by Todd Austin Hunt