Friday, August 28, 2009

Scene 48

Myron is propped up against an interior wall inside a giant roadside salt dome off Interstate 70 west of Dayton, Ohio. He’s been asleep for who knows how long when he hears footsteps and startles awake. The fluorescent light is harsh. It’s cold. Myron rolls over and spins around to get his feet under him.

Poor singed Blinky is dead to the world, but not actually dead, on the cot nearby.

Salted footfalls crunch over the concrete floor.

Myron looks over at the truck--the mysterious vehicle that brought them to their oddball sanctuary. Sound is coming from behind it. Two figures in Ohio Department of Transportation uniforms walk out from behind the cab. The first is a squared-off woman with a mannish gait, a bowl cut, and a pallid complexion. The other’s a shuffler. A funky Igor. The woman walks into the light and digs into her pocket for a cigarette.

Myron blanches.

Blinky stirs.

“Have you fire?” She asks.

“What?” says Myron.

“Fire.” She makes a match-striking gesture.

“Uh, no.”

She nods at Number Two, the Shuffler. He shuffles over toward Myron, who rises defensively, keeping himself between the Shuffler and Blinky.

“What do you want,” says Myron.

“Fire,” says the woman. “Also coffee I see.”

The Shuffler searches his pockets frantically.

Blinky rouses.

The shuffler shuffles to the desk, and rifles through drawers.

“We were cold,” says Myron.

Matches are secured. The shuffler makes a happy sound. Then he pulls the steaming glass pot from the coffee maker.

“My friend—“ offers Myron, but she cuts him off.

“You two. Who are you,” says the woman. She speaks in a thick German accent. She’s like the ODOT Lotte Lenya. She walks up to Myron, as the Shuffler comes over with two cups of coffee. She receives them both, then gestures to Myron.

“Black?” She says.

“I take non-dairy creamer.”

Blinky and the German lady wince. The Shuffler lights her cigarette.

“But black is great,” offers Myron, accepting the cup. Then he asks warily: “Do you work for the Sucke Brothers?”

“Nein,” says the woman, exhaling. “I vork for ze Great State of Ohio.”

“Okay,” says Myron. “But are you in the pocket of the Sucke Brothers?”

“How you say? Ve mean you no harm.”

Myron looks over at Blinky. He looks bad, but he’s increasingly functional. “I sense coolness,” says Blinky.

That is an idiotic sentence, thinks Myron.

“As in okay,” adds Blink. “I’m saying, I think it’s cool.”

“I am ze Professor Kleinenfloncker,” says the German lady, grandly. “But you can call me Professor for short.” She takes a drag on her cigarette. “And zis,” she exhales, gesturing to her weird-ass shuffling assistant, “is Alan.”

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