the kids are Mohd, the leader, Sekarang, the girl, nicknamed Angie, and Stew, the sweet ginger boy. they are down in the hold of the ship playing the latest video game, the two adults are aboveboard and are too busy at the moment.
Imzhan is lounging in the morning, looking at his wrist, watching his new watch as it
PLAYS THIS, CLICK HERE, RIGHT HERE AT THIS LINK.
Codrus covers the screen with his hand.
Imzhan: sorry. you can't keep those kids locked up in there. they're not animals.
Codrus: they're not locked up, they're cooped up, they're freer than they've ever been. their parents abandoned them, i won't. you think the animals in the wild wouldn't trade places in a second with the animals in the zoo? hopefully we'll hit land again soon.
Imzhan: turns out they don't sell the LeBron's Mix Sprite around here. i'm miffed, i really want to try it.
Codrus: the boys turned you on to that huh. probably not gonna find an abandoned can on a buoy in the middle of the ocean.
Imzhan: i'm gonna have to order it through the Walmart site. can you believe this for a can? i've never ordered food online before, there's something so unnatural about that, i've crossed the rubicon after this somehow. in the meanwhile i'm gonna have to be sated by Daym Drops's review of it.
Codrus: what is the Daym conclusion?
Imzhan: haha, he's funny, never watched an entire Daym review video from front to back before. he was all like "damn that's nasty, B!". he thought the cherry aspect of it was more cherry medicine and the orange was prolly just a few drops of orange shasta. for a hood drink, to tamper with the holy essence of Sprite, and to put the name of the King on it, not just any ball player but King James, was folly. Daym recommends taking it back to the lab for a rehaul.
Codrus: it's good to be king, my head is heavy enough for it.
Imzhan finishes up his morning meal. he mixes a pineapple spear with his thick bacon, something he's never done before. it's delightful to the senses. as he's washing his dish in the sea, a stubborn piece of something sticks to the edge of the plate. he scrubs it off but it comes back. he plucks it and eats it out of habit. turns out it was a piece of whole bacon fat. it was disgusting to the senses and puts Imzhan off bacon forever, well at least the thick bacon he savored so much.
the kids are in the rock room, a reasonably-sized room full of many fragments and pieces of those ever-so-prevalent beige stones with ancient sacred important writing on them. there are old cassettes of music of a bygone era, when rock was on the radio, and an election poster of David Bowie with the word MARS below him.
Stew: i hate being here, i'm scared but mostly i'm bored, i want my mommy. oh yeah, she abandoned me.
Angie: it's gonna be okay, guys, they don't abuse us, in fact they treat us like prized possessions. we are ivory or something.
Mohd: say gold instead, i don't want to think of those poor elephants. what do you think these stones really are? what power do they hold? and what do they need us for? it's like a quest to find the Dragon Balls but in real life.
Imzhan scares the kids, he was standing by the hatch the whole time.
Imzhan: i agree, Mohd, you have a keen insight. i don't know if it's cos you look like me, look like my son, or what but i think we're on the same wavelength here on most matters.
Stew: where's the boss? he's doesn't like me much huh. but then again, nobody does.
Imzhan: nonsense, he's just busy taking over the world. we've got to get rid of these stereotypes and preconceptions, it's the only way we'll move forward with each other.
Codrus is by the hatch now.
Codrus: and education and opportunity and income inequality and the ability to get a decent job. if everyone had a fun job the world would be a funner place. nobody wants to see the world burn. hi, kids. tried to take a shower but i can't get over the fact that we have a fuzzy mat in there now. before, i would wipe my post-shower grime infused with my body dirt off the bathroom floor with a towel i'd throw away hastily back in the cupboard, that towel was always soaked and never washed. that towel would scare my pets. now the mat takes up 50% of the space so there's hardly anything to wipe, the towel of doom stays relatively dry. but that mat is not meant to be used as a mat, it's not meant to be soaked, it's too fuzzy, frilly, and pretty for that, it's meant to be on the dry side of the shower, never touched, left pristine. i keep seeing wet footprints on it.
the kids: sorry.
Codrus: let's go to the chamber.
everyone walks on a rather steampunk ledge to god knows where. there's a metallic widow's walk they navigate around in the center. it's too far too see down but there's a bright yellow glow emanating from the bottomless pit.
Stew: no! i hate school!
Angie: it's okay, my friend, everything's gonna be alright. i won't let anyone harm you.
Mohd: what's down there? safe lava?
Codrus: the floor is lava!
Codrus and Imzhan race to get up on the railing, not touching their feet on any of the span's tiles. the kids stay motionless.
Codrus: what? you never played that game when you were kids?
Mohd: we're still kids, sir.
the three mouseketeers and their dual-parenting guardians reach a cavernous operating room with a clear plastic bubble display case. there is only one story, the second story, where observers can observe looking down on the operating theater below. in the bare dusty gladiatorial arena there stands one Cold Stone Creamery slab and one telescope.
Stew: no! fuck no! i hate doctors more!
Mohd: where are the desks, students, books? teachers, dirty looks?
Imzhan gives Mohd the Jenna Marbles face.
Codrus: i wish there were more students. before we start, before you ask, no, it's not that it's bigger on the inside, it's that it was an already huge mothership of a boat, i'm proud of it, construction took years and years off my life but it was worth the wait. like we're talking Close Encounters big.
the kids stay stonyfaced.
Codrus: not one of those references? nothing? really? education must start immediately. not even the lifecaster? i mean what is the purpose of life if not to cast it. kids, today's lesson is self-flagellation.
Imzhan gathers the children in his arms.
Imzhan: no way! i won't let you harm these kids!
Codrus: not theirs, mine. students teach teachers all the time.
Angie: sounds disgusting.
Stew: i like flags, pirate flags mostly, that black one with the white bones.
Codrus enters the arena below. he straps himself onto the slab as an altar offering. he squeezes the beige straps into around his tight body. he forgot to check his microscope first to adjust himself accordingly so he has to do the whole process again after he looks through the looking glass.
Mohd: how is he seeing anything through that telescope? we're indoors. there's a closed roof up there.
Imzhan: he doesn't tell me everything. he likes it that way. mystery is power.
Codrus: i want to see something. kids, tap on the glass like you would at the zoo. i need all three energy streams. concentrate like you would taking a test.
Stew: i hate tests! i always study for a multiple-choice and then there's a pop essay quiz the next day.
Mohd: if you choose C for all the answers, you'll at least get 50%, that's pretty good, that should be a C not an F, that's half, half is pretty good, half changes things.
the arena is starting to get slightly sprinkled with yellow dust with white flecks. the kids have their six eyes closed, eight arms press against the bubble, shooting invisible and not-so-invisible beams of light directly into Codrus's flabby stomach.
Codrus: i feel it, i feel the explosion within me.
Angie is the only one rooting her teacher on.
Codrus takes out a rather large beige stone from his pocket and tries to read the writing on it. two yellow light snakes encircle his glassesless eyes.
Codrus (reading the rock): the real rules...one rule alone...the truth is alone...there are...no...rules...god is as old as love...as decrepit...love the new god(s)...
a giant tremor rocks the ship upside down. the piece of rock falls down into the topless snake pit in the next room.
Codrus: what the fuck is going on? sorry, children, language i know.
a giant meteor has changed direction off its course millions of miles in outer space and is barreling towards Earth. it hits the general relative area where the ship is into the sea water. a couple of miles away Manny observes from his spot in the middle of the ocean.
Imzhan checks his watch for the score.
Imzhan: i'm seeing readings going haywire, don't know if the readings are themselves haywire or the instruments used to measure have gone haywire, or we've all gone haywire. a dinosaur-level meteor has crashed to Earth, just missing us. we're okay, a bubble of energy was formed around the ship that shielded us. we were so distracted we didn't realize we were near the shore.
Codrus: it worked! which shore? where are we? what are the conditions? what's the atmosphere, the environment? rolling hills? wheat farmfields sprouting with the staff of life? plantation conditions?
the ship hits land sooner than expected from the reverb of the impact.
Imzhan: looks like desert. and btw our sensors are indicating that there's a real-life huge monster lizard King Koopa sitting in the middle of the Pacific Ocean near us.
Mohd: i never got the whole Godzilla craze. though admittedly that was before my time.
Codrus: no! i hate the desert!