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Nonsense, Fiction, and Miscellaneous Things

The Rescue: Alternative Endings
      "You can't sell a short story of such a lugubrious nature.", they told me.  So, in order to generate some interest in that direction, I've come up with 3 alternative endings.

Science Fiction Ending

     The hiker looked up to see a distant jet, it's contrail following.  He waved, hoping to get the jet pilot's attention.  No dice it appeared, the jet just kept going.  Suddenly, he could see something fall from the belly of the jet.  Exactly what it was he couldn't tell from this distance.  It fell straight down, a flame seemed to ignite at one end of the object.  The object veered away from the jet and toward the hiker.  It approached the hiker at a very high rate of speed and as it did so it became clear that the object was a piece of old, dilapidated luggage.  It smashed into the ground with great force, nearly killing the hiker, who only seconds before had been standing in the spot in which the suitcase landed.
     He looked up to where the jet had been and saw written against the sky, in calligraphic clouds of white contrail mist, "We're on the way".
     He looked back to the dilapidated, old suitcase and watched in amazement as the luggage mechanically opened.  It transformed into a pod ship from which exited a co-pilot and a stewardess.
    
"Hop in." the co-pilot said.
     As he approached the pod ship, the stewardess asked, "Glad to be going home?"
     "Oh, yeah." said the hiker.

 
Steampunk Ending

     He wasn't sure he wasn't hallucinating, but it appeared to him to be a large whaling ship from the 1800's sailing on the desert floor. It was in full sail.  He guessed it was approximately 30 miles away.  As it got closer he realized it wasn't so much sailing as it was riding, for the ship sat atop 2 axles with a wheel on each end of the axles, for a total of four wheels.   Although the desert wind appeared to be propelling the ship, the ship also made loud, clanking and clunking noises as if it had an engine, or at the very least, had metal parts.  Sometimes it hissed and let off a great puff of steam.
     The hiker waved to it to get it's attention.  It appeared to work.   The ship turned to  starboard, about 5-10 degrees, and headed for the hiker.  However, about 10 yards into the new course, the front axle of the ship split in two, dropping the the ship harshly onto the desert floor, the ship lurching to the port side.  
     It took a good 25 years or so for the ship's crew to repair the axle.  Once repaired the, the ship's captain took too the helm again - which happened to be fashioned out of an old, dilapidated suitcase.  Heading for the hiker and about 40 yards into the trip, the rear axle of the ship broke, once again sending the ship to the desert floor, this time lurching to starboard.  It took another 25 years to repair the rear axle but eventually the ship was, once again, underway.
     It arrived at the spot where the hiker had been only 5o years before.  All that was left was some parched bones.  The ship's crew delicately gathered together the bones.  "Glad to be going home?" a deckhand forlornly asked the bones. The bones were presented to the ship's cook to be used as ladels, stirrers and other cooking utensils.
 
 Musical Ending

     "Glad to be going home?" asked Lang.
     In a deep baritone of voice, as if singing a refrain, the hiker replied, "Oh Yeeeeaaaahhhhh!"
     Lang and the buggy driver looked at each other, stopped the buggy, and proceeded to grab the hiker by the arms and legs.  They flung him and a dilapidated old suitcase - which wasn't even the hiker's - into the desert.  They then took off.
The Rescue
     He hadn't yet felt endangered at being lost.  Although his supplies were dwindling, he thought - having been lost for a day and a half - that somebody had started to look for him by now.  He even felt eerily free under such seemingly dire circumstances.  He'd not yet keeled over from thirst or hunger, booger-bears hadn't attacked him during the night - he joked that the booger bears didn't have a governmental chit which was required before they could commit booger-bear scares.   He was anxious only when he dwelled on being lost. 
     Moving about the desert, the place had seemed beautiful yet inexplicably unoccupied.  One trail hadn't lead to another, there were no trails. Although he'd come across a few lizards he hadn't been aware of any rattle snakes or scorpions.  A lack of traffic noise seemed the most obvious evidence of unoccupation.  But for all this isolation he had  a sense of being in a safe enclosure.  As if the desert had been - despite it's expansive dome of sky above from horizon to zenith and the virtually, in any direction, unobstructed views;  Despite it's lack of restrictions it was untethered, safely, from a former unification with nature; A nature that had maintained predation and from which the desert - for it's own preservation - had withdrawn.  A now solo act, which in it's individuality had offered sanctuary to those who felt the same upset at foreboding encroachments.  In the agreement between the two, the hiker was welcomed to the desert without as much as a second glance.  No affidavits, notarized documents, or other evidence of beholdenness were required.  Of course, the desert's natural state wasn't characterized by security in entirety. What lived here was not granted freedom by authority, but neither was it secured as harmless by authority.  Predation, starvation; randomness, continuity - characteristics of noncontrollability - ruled.  But he realized it was a part of being free.  Of being naturally free, instead of socioeconomically free.  Freedom required risks.  To lessen risks was to, necessarily, lessen freedoms.
     He came upon a group of boulders.  The area was bright with afternoon sunlight. The sky was a clear, light shade of blue. He sat down on the desert floor to rest against a boulder.  Both feet were brought in to nearly resting against his butt.  One leg was bent and parallel to the ground, the other bent and perpendicular to the ground.  He wiped rivulets of sweat from his brow, looked up to see a small, distant jet flying in a direction leading away from him, it's cloud white contrail trailing behind.  The furthest part of this contrail evaporated, little by little, as if - with ever increasing distance - it's correspondence to the high-tech jet could not be maintained.
     A leopard lizard dashed from pediment to boulder and came into his left side view. The shadow cast by the lizard was short at this hour but the contrast was sharp and clearly delineated.   Momentarily, it stood,  aware of his presence before - unlicensed - scurrying away;  It committed  neither tort nor transgression.  The hiker's countenance oscillated from a commiserating joy in the lizard's freedom to a melancholic realization he could never be that free.  He looked to where the jet had been.  Although the contrail remained, the jet itself had vanished like some vestige of civilization which had flown the coup.  But he knew civilization hadn't abandoned anything.  Bartered maybe, . . . bartered it's natural freedom in return for a political-economic freedoms.
     Political-economic, industrial, high-tech, low-tech; Coinages rooted in materialism, not the geographies of rocks or cactuses, flora or fauna. It seemed a sad state of affairs.  Fritz Lang's Metropolis had presented a distasteful future.  A sweetening intermediacy was required. Thus came about buzzwords of culture, markers of progress, candies of consumerism. All, by happenstance, softening the ominous portent of the film. The dismalness seemed to grow fainter with this softened, intermediate stage, but this stage was an illusion he figured. We were all just biding our time;  Hoping, not for some different future, but for some different generation to experience the final dismalness.
     He heard the not too distant noise of an engine. A dune buggy motored into view, its course bouncy from the uneven path it took, it's speed an innocence of surety that it would get there . . .  somewhere . . . wherever it was going. He stood up waving both arms to get the occupants attention;  Ran to intersect their apparent course until they turned at having spotted him.
     They pulled to a stop, 15 feet or so from him.  The passenger disengaged from the buggy and ran toward him.  From his pockets he pulled food and a bottle of water.  "Here's some water and food," he offered,"we brought along in case we found you."  Then he offered his hand in greeting.  "I'm Robert Lang.  Are you all right? Have you any problems?"
     "No, no major problems."
     Lang explained  he and his friend had volunteered to help search for him, the missing hiker.  "Come on let's get in the buggy." Lang said.
     Lang returned to the passenger seat, while the hiker slipped into a backseat.
     "Glad to be going home?" Lang asked.
     "Oh yeah." he said, nodding, acknowledging the fact of his being rescued. Lang turned frontward and the dune buggy started off, the rescue nearly complete.  The hiker didn't think about his apartment, his job, the newspaper, pedestrian traffic, vehicular traffic, local laws, state laws, foreign countries, international money market funds. Instead, he felt the midday heat, the bumps of the ride, the smell of the buggies exhaust, the inevitableness of impingements as the buggy rolled over plants, rocks, desert dust. He thought of the leopard lizard and of it's darting.  He imagined a scene which might take place latter that evening.  The lizard poised somewhere upon the desert floor; the pale blue sky turning to a darker, saturated blue as twilight fell.  The lone lizard taut with awareness, blinks, moves, hesitates, then darts off yet again.  Freedom, not flight, the essential quality of it's scurrying.
Daffy Pill
  
     I may not be doing what I'm supposed to be doing, but I'm doing what I want to be doing.  If what I'm doing isn't what I'm supposed to be doing, then I'll consider what it is I should be doing relative to what it is I want to be doing.  However, what I want to be doing is, certainly, in no way dependent on what I'm supposed to be doing.  Should I become convinced that what I should be doing is appropriate - regardless of it being something I don't want to be doing - then I'll consider doing what I should be doing as if it's something I want to be doing. Whatever the conclusion I've just arrived at, it is not likely to be something I want to be doing, so I probably won't be doing it.   

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