a city person. I love nature, love being out on the ocean, in the mountains,
what have you, but it’s not a seamless fit. I have certain involuntary
associations with the outdoors that sometimes just ruin everything.
happened to me the other day, for instance. I’m driving back to New York
after two weeks in Buffalo. It’s late at night. I have to take a leak,
so I pull over. Turns out that the road I’m on is lined by a cornfield–I
hadn’t seen it while driving. I’m curious, so I walk right up to the
corn stalks to check them out. Interesting. I’ve got nothing against corn,
of course, in fact it’s kind of neat to be in a field of it–it’s
a cool-looking plant. The only thing is, when I see a cornfield, my first thought
isn’t "food." The thing that really comes to mind first is…
Suddenly I’m flooded with a painfully bright light, and there’s wind
rushing everywhere, bending and twisting the corn stalks until they fly in all
directions. Then I hear this weird sound, kind of like a xylophone. It’s
nightmarish, like a Philip Glass score, these terrible staccato scales. It’s
coming from above. I look up. Two giant red eyes, like an electric tarantula,
are bearing down on me from the sky. It is–yes, I see it now, it’s
a craft of ungodly size, hissing and blotting out the night sky. A kind of trap
door opens, and suddenly I feel a pinch at the base of my neck, and everything
have no idea how much time has passed. It might be weeks, it might be years.
It might be ten minutes. Lying on my stomach in a dark, membrane-covered chamber,
I quickly become aware of a sharp pain. I arch my back and turn around. There
is a nine-foot spike with lights and whistles, six inches wide, rammed up my
ass. I can make out a digital readout in some alien language at the exposed
probe," I hear a voice whisper.
I whip my
head around. There, right in front of me, is another adult human being, flat
on his stomach, stuck in exactly the same predicament.
shit," I say. "Aren’t you–aren’t you Governor Howard
"Don’t worry," he whispers, smiling. "We’re going to
win this one."
in pain and stare back at him. "Win what one?" I ask. "What
the hell do you mean?"
and gives me a little thumbs-up sign. "This election is about change,"
he says, winking. Then, inflating his throat-sac like an American toad, he bellows
out: "We’re going to take back America!"
my head, stunned. "Election? America?" I cry, wincing and terrified.
"Governor, we’re hurtling through the cosmos, impaled on nine-foot
a different voice hisses from across the room.
it says, "they’re only eight-and-a-half feet long."
my forehead in shock. "Wow," I say. "John Kerry. You were my
senator when I was growing up. What are you doing here?"
Laid out on his stomach, head resting on folded hands and body glistening with
sweat, he looks tanned and vital, for all the world like a man relaxing on the
upper deck of a sauna. Only the giant illuminated spike up his ass ruins the
he says, lighting up.
thanks," I say. "I’m trying to quit. But senator," I said,
he says. "Waiting, Matt. I’m waiting."
shakes his head, smiles. "Just…waiting," he says mischievously.
I say, "how can you wait in a situation like this?"
again. "It’s not so bad," he says. "The thing you have to
understand, Matt, is that I’ve been an honored member of the U.S. Senate
for 19 years. So a situation like this is, frankly, not all that uncomfortable.
I don’t even feel the pain, in fact. And besides, I’m really right
where I want to be."
close to passing out by now, and barely listening to him. "Oh, God,"
I whisper. "Help me."
Kerry continues, ignoring me. "You have no idea. All that time I was in
Vietnam, this was the dream that kept me going…"
he says. "When I was out there in the jungle–in the shit, if
you will–I just kept telling myself, as the bullets passed overhead: ‘Someday,
years from now, I’m going to be flying through space, with a giant pole
up my ass, 17 months from the presidency.’"
panicking. My head starts twisting around in all directions, searching for a
was in here before," Kerry goes on, chuckling. "It was wild. They
went to shove the probe in him, and his skin just dissolved, and all
these candy circus peanuts fell out all over the floor. Then his weird dyed
hair sprouted legs and tried to run away. They lanced it and put it in a cage.
You should have heard the way it screeched."
shakes his head. "I always thought there was something weird about that
can’t bear it any longer. There. In the corner. It looks like a door. If
I can just gather my strength, I feel like I might be able to pry loose. Just
concentrate and keep pulling. I can make it there…
four hideous ethereal beings with dripping fangs float through the door, their
eyes shooting acid that burns holes in the floor. They are trailed by Sen. Joseph
Lieberman, who’s carrying a notebook and a pencil.
gonk jicker wonka fleek-sssssssss ifft!" he says, reading. "I…
He lifts his head. "Hey, what’s the word for ‘subsidiary’?"
one of the creatures says.
he nods, writing in his pad. "I like that." He turns to us. "You
all ought to learn your lesson," he says. "The American people don’t
want any more of this…"–he waves his hand back and forth to indicate
our supine bodies–"unpleasantness. The American people want security.
They want unity. They want strong leadership. And I’m here to provide it."
trying to focus on his face, but all I can see is his smirk and that weird bob
of gray hair. I summon my strength for one last stand. "What’s the
matter, senator?" I whisper. "They didn’t give you…a big
thrusts his finger in my direction. "V rot yemu!" he shouts.
"Brei yemu ushi! Buistrenko!"
rush toward me. A huge NFL-football-shaped orb is thrust in my mouth; weird
bloody tongs appear at the ends of their appendages and they’re plunged
into my ear canals. Bright white light, shooting pain, a sucking sound, Lieberman
chortling, and then, suddenly–stillness, black and nothing.
awake face down in the cornfield, about 900 yards from my car. My shirt is pulled
up around my head, and my pants are on backwards. There are no visible signs
of injuries from the previous evening (evenings?), although my ears,
for some reason, are clogged with blue slime. I get up, dust off and get back
on the road.
2004. I can hardly wait.