steampunk

A SHAPLESS DOLLAR

 

An independent survey long overdue was doing the rounds of the bars for inspiration and was aspiring to be the big cheese where no big cheese had gone before, and he had an umbrella with him just in case.

When the independent survey came across the immovable inroad with a shapeless dollar an expedient message was sent off to headquarters to send more money.

The message was put with all the other ones and forgotten about until after the lunch break of magnesium pills and Pilates where it would do the rounds of the departments to finally end up with all the other ones in the department of the big heap.

While the independent survey waited the shapeless dollar detached itself from the immovable inroad and began spending itself with free drinks for everyone.

This made everyone happy and caused much back slapping until the drinks were empty and then the shout went up for more of the free drinks until everyone was completely drunk and under the table, then the shapeless dollar made its escape to the applause of the piano that was teetotal to the end.

Out on the road the shapeless dollar joined an odd couple who looked to have the spending power of the sum of their beliefs in a cloudy day with the road too long and all hope left behind somewhere for the crows to fight over.

“How would you like a buffalo for your troubles?” sang the shapeless dollar warming up in its power to buy anything for a song.

“Don’t mind if I do,” replied the man and said no more.

In the next village a buffalo was for sale with only one horn so the dollar bought it and gave it to the odd couple who stared at it unblinkingly until a ladder was attached to the buffalo free of charge, whereupon the odd couple climbed aboard and were soon on their way and waving a goodbye to the dollar that gave them a similar wave to see them on their way.

 

BACK IN THE REAL WORLD

 

Back in the real world the independent survey was waking up with a sore head and a hangover to boot and without further ado ran off fast out into the desert to heave up and so happened to pass close by the village where the shapeless dollar was buried up to its neck in requests that had no meaning for it was all spent out and wanted only coffee at that time of day.

“Hello,” said the independent survey, “we meet again.”

“Hello, nice to see you,” said the shapeless dollar relieved to see a friendly face that didn’t want it to buy something.

“It’s really you then?” said the independent survey.

“Yes it’s really me,” said the shapeless dollar.

“Let me buy you a coffee,” said the independent survey helping the shapeless dollar out of its hole to walk arm in arm back to town.

 

FORTUNE FAVOURS THE BOLD

 

Fortune favours the brave, or so it seems for when they got back to the bar the place was empty and the barman had fresh coffee brewing. So the intrepid pair headed straight to the bar and ordered two cups and settled down to drink them.

After the second cup they both felt better about things and were in a mood to strike up a conversation.

“I have a proposition for you,” said the independent survey taking out a pouch of tobacco and rolling up a neat cigarette with one hand while the other hand made rings on the table top where some coffee had spilt.

“Let me guess, you’re flat broke and need a grub stake to see you through?” said the shapeless dollar.

“How perceptive of you; I see we see eye to eye,” said the independent survey warming up

 

UP A MOUNTAIN

 

A different point of view from a different part of this story had a huge Hail Mary and was hiking up the mountain to find a place to sell it. He came from over in the Indian reservation and had been converted to the religious god from birth, which is the best time to get them they always said and had never looked back once on all his sins, that were forgiven every Sunday to leave room to make more.

His favourite picture was the one that showed Adam and Eve almost naked with their belly buttons hidden in plain sight for the entire world to see.

On top of the mountain he found a cave with a great view, no neighbours and cheap as chips. Never a one to pass up a good thing he moved in and set up home and decided not to be a religious Indian anymore but search for god and see for himself what was what.

After a year of not being religious and replacing all his beliefs with nature he became peacefully quiet but the big puzzle of how everyone came from Adam and Eve who only had two sons still eluded him until he decided it all must be a big joke and that god must be laughing his head off at everyone for falling hook line and sinker at what was only a story passed down by men who should have known better.

And then it all fell into place that it really was all fairy tales made up by men and then taken as gospel by other men who wrote it all down and said it was the word of god.

The real word of god was beginning to cause a magnitude earthquake in his belly and was making its way up and if he didn’t stop thinking so much soon he was going to miss it.

He looked up to the heavens to try to see if he could spot god on one of the clouds or at least an angel with a harp, but although the mountain was incredibly high and he could almost touch the clouds sometimes, still, he saw only clouds passing by one after the other.

And then the sun went down so he retired for the night to sleep on it.

A dream came to him that he should build an ark and fill it full of all the creatures of the world and to make it watertight so as to survive the floods that were coming.

When he awoke he became confused and wondered why god would send him such a dream seeing as it had already happened once before, but maybe it had something to do with the second coming, and who was he not to obey the command of god.

So he began building but soon realized the ark would have to be very big indeed to get all the creatures in; in fact the ark would have to be so big it would collapse under its own weight, and it would take a lot of steam to make it go.

So he retired to his cave to figure it out. His belly ache became more pronounced but he put it down to all the stress little realizing that it was the word of god trying to talk to him.

Every night he would get impossible dreams to carry out and every day he retired more and more into his cave to nurse his belly ache and count his twiddling thumbs.

In the third year of being a hermit the world came to an end through plagues, pestilence, atom bombs, religious wars and anything else the mind of man could conceive to destroy each other and the planet.

With nothing left to save in the wasteland down below and with his hair and beard shoulder long by now the man meditated in his cave on a huge sadness that came over him that he was the only one left and maybe he should have tried harder to do something to have at least saved a few.

After a year a few plants pushed through the dust but the earth was too poisoned to support them and they died off.

On day nine hundred and forty four the elite came out of their bunkers and went here and there in their oxygen suits, but after finding nothing but destruction they went back in to their bunkers and slammed the steel doors to wait for the world to repair itself.

The air in the cave was thinner than usual these days so that the man had to breathe harder to get enough air but slowly as life returned to the oceans and the plankton increased, oxygen levels went up and the man began to breathe easier. And then one day the man came out of his meditative trance and saw that down below the land was becoming green again and that people were walking about planting seeds and releasing animals into the wild.

Who were these people and where did they come from and how come they had seeds and animals to release; that should have been his job.

 

SEE-THROUGH MARY

 

See-through Mary had been put on ice but was now up and on her mission to find and free her friends and find some place safe to hole up and figure things out.

The underground machine was huge with steam coming from vents in the walls, ceiling and pipes stuck at odd angles, and full of frozen people who where all beginning to wake up and crowd the floor until a big blouse in a uniform came along and shouted: “Shut up the lot of you,” through a megaphone with a compass attached.

When all was quiet enough except for a few coughs and stuff like that instructions were given and everyone formed into lines according to their speciality.

See-through Mary spotted some of her friends and got into line behind them and pretty soon they were all whispering away happily.

“We have to get out of here and make a run for it,” whispered Blue-Jane who was commando in chief of the company but didn’t like to show her true colours too much in case of adversity.

“Aye,” said the captain piping up and was shushed for being too loud.

“We’ll need a steam powered bus,” said one of the company.

“And supplies,” said another.

A plan was formed and after more whispering they all split up to find what they needed and to meet up later under the full moon or die trying, or failing that, trust to luck, whatever.

 

FOOTPRINTS LEFT IN THE DUST

 

See-through Mary who was good at driving was the one who found the bus and when the others had found their way to it after a few mishaps they all made their silent escape in the dead of night and were long gone by the time morning came leaving behind only the footprints in the dust of where they’d been.

 

THE REMOVABLE INROAD

 

The removable inroad was not making any sense and so had been relegated to the sidelines where the darkness of doom had it under its thumb for a time until other pressing needs moved it on.

When the soup of the day arrived a huge cheer went up from the hungry diners who had been waiting for too many long hours for it to be served and so the removable inroad gave a bow and then retired half expecting an encore, but when none was forthcoming went back to preparing the ingredients for more of the same to be delivered shortly after the percolations were calculated and luck would kick in to make the next move.

“What are we having?”

“Soup...”

“Nice.”

 

HAND WRITTEN

 

The long conversion, hand written and still captivating after so many experiences was turning the wheel that sped things up but after dialling it right up to the top and finding nothing different was happening turned it the opposite way thinking it was already set to slow.

A very long time later a thought came as if from nowhere that said maybe it’s broken.

And much later another thought came to say that the dial could be set back to front, and so change the dial to change what happens.

An uncountable time later and the dial changed and things were back to normal.

“I thought the old days were over and the new ones were here,” said the shapeless dollar still undecidedly shapeless.

“Not in this place they’re not; now sit down and have a beer,” said the long conversation of an old story beginning anew and will forever more be known as Blood popper, man.

“Thanks, don’t mind if I do,” said the shapeless dollar and sat to drink the beer.

end of part one...