Thursday, August 27, 2009

Scene 67

Minutes later, Quinn’s Transport pulls up in front of major surviving elements of the Octagon Earthworks in Newark, Ohio, which, as it turns out, shares a mailing address and more with Moundbuilders Country Club. Historians will later observe that the economic magic worked by Cultural Legacy Department bureaucrats in Columbus hit a true high point here in Newark, assisted by the endless innovations of SBE, Ltd.

Myron’s mouth drops open. Little Turtle looks like he may puke all over the bus.

“So this is it!” says Q.

Myron puts his hand on the Indian’s back and guides him out of the bus. Q follows.

Beyond the asphalt parking lot, grassy embankments spread out in both directions. The outlines of the Hopewell complex can be made out, but only partly, due to the scale of the thing. It’s vast. But the mounds and low walls aren’t the most striking thing about the crazy vista confronting Myron, Little Turtle, and Q. The golf holes are. And the carts and flags and the landscaped flowers and fake colonial-looking clubhouse and the maintenance buildings. An 18 hole arrangement has been stretched over and across a two-thousand year old ceremonial ground. Like a cultural dry-erase board used with the wrong markers. A landscape palimpsest. The effect is one of cosmic miniature golf, except they have 500-yard par fives. Poor golfers in bright pants are hacking their way across embankments, around dead guys in buried charnel houses, oblivious, but graciously giving each other mulligans like there’s no tomorrow.

“I sure as hell hope they replace their divots,” says Q, whose instantaneous excitement has been tempered by the look of devastation on Little Turtle’s face.

“That’s horrendous,” offers Myron.

“But this is a sacred place,” observes Little Turtle, in a tone of voice that communicates a sentiment on the order of: so why don’t you just fuck me in the ass with a scratchy log?

“Mishekonga,” says Myron.

As it happens, they’ve been looking for the same place. Though he’d forgotten the name, Q had been trying to find his way to the Moundbuilders course, having read an article about it in Golf Traveler magazine.

“On the positive side, the greenskeeper is obviously very good,” adds Q, correctly. The greens putt fast and true.

But the Golf Traveler article had withheld certain crucial facts, including the developer’s identity. Turns out that the golfers working their way around the course are playing in an SBE Ltd. four-man scramble. It’s their home course. (Newark, rather than Columbus, gets designated a regional data hub, due to the low overhead.) All the fluttering flags read “SUCKE.”

“These guys are everywhere,” says Myron.

Meanwhile, the SBE, Ltd. Security Chief is holed up in a secret lair, tracking developments on television monitors. He’s reading the reports from the Colfax event, intended as per usual as a sideshow for an unwitting populace. But the disturbance at the event, including open conflict between SBE personnel and Octo advance men, has raised concerns. The Suckes have never acknowledged the potential existence of rival dominators except in the commercial sphere, in which they are Spartans, Romans and Germans all rolled in a ball. Nobody can touch them there.

Moments later, there’s a sound in the doorway of the bus. Myron, Q and Little Turtle all look back.

“Holy Christ,” says Q.

“Oh, no,” says Myron.

Blinky stands in the doorway, an Octo-Blinky blend, gray-green, rubbery, his arms and legs lined with suckers, eyes all jellyish. He looks like a guy in an Ed Wood film. The first thing that occurs to you looking at him is, man, that suit must be hot inside.

His transformation is complete.

Myron walks over and looks up at him in the doorway.

“Oh, Blinky,” says Myron. “Look at you.”

Blinky makes a nodding kind of gesture. Sort of flippy.

Myron tears up, and inhales hard. “Hm,” he says. “Hm.”

The squid looks back.

“Is this what you wanted?” asks Myron.

“Do you feel,” he asks, pausing to recall his old friend’s language, back in the 1986 Buick Century, “…Super-Actualized?”

Myron spends the next ten years trying to interpret the expression that Blinky makes next, an attempt to respond to this question. Blinky’s rubber face scrunches a little. His glistening eyes narrow toward the top. His snuffly-looking mouth area sort of purses up. Myron thinks he sees wisdom and fear and expectation and regret, all at once. He’s really not sure. But for once, and probably for all, Blinky has stopped talking.

No comments:

Post a Comment