the boy and man and horse are in the ravine, splashing about.
the boy: what was that about radiation?
the horse: i'm having too much fun in the water. we get led to this stuff a lot but rarely are we allowed to play in it.
the man: as long as we stay cool here the Sun shouldn't affect us, no matter how hot he gets.
the horse dunks her head deep below the blue. she comes up for air jerkily flaring her nostrils, pinching her long ears to get the last drops out of her nose. she smiles and shows her goofy teeth.
horse: you guys got any shampoo?
boy: your hair is already shiny. look at that mane!
horse: conditioner then? this has given me a new lease on life. it's amazing how you feel when you think you have a shot and the world isn't coming to an end! as to your question, what was it again?
man: is there always hope?
horse: no, but why not. the Sun is more compliocated than even i know. some say he is a god. there are many unknown reactions going on in him, that's why he's so grumpy. he doesn't understand himself. or his power. i wouldn't get too comfortable. rays have a way of piercing through the darkness.
boy: so you're saying he runs hot and cold?
horse: it's not a matter of hot or cold. if only life was that simple.
man: it wouldn't be life. i have come to realize that this is a test that's meant to be difficult. there is a definite reason why we are here. that no one will ever know.
the horse goes in for a second dive. this time she touches the loose mudbanks of the bottom. her fluffy tail surfaces poking its little eye out just above like a whale's blowhole mist.
horse: this is so fun! i haven't had this much fun since...well.....the start of the universe.
boy: let your hair down, it's contagious!
man: man needs distraction.
boy: we like your neigh better than your bray. it's more cheerful and upbeat.
the three play the first-ever game of Marco Polo and submerge themselves all at once as a trio.
boy: if only i had a camera.
man: i wonder if life is meant to be captured like that. or just experienced.
the two men are able to understand one another underwater. their communication has solidified over these months. they see the horse on their other side in the dark-blue waters of the spinning gorge. they clearly see her white teeth gleaming in the midde-draft.
JUST THEN a massive storm of fire drops enter the lagoon, whirling the waters violently. the two never see the horse again. everything, including their eyes, goes red.
...when they come to, the man is dragging the boy to an aperture in the face of the sideline rock of the chasm, one he has dug with his thumb while still paddling with his feet. they manage to crawl through the hole after skipping a few lunches and enter a cave just big enough to be called a living room. a few streams persist in bothering their faces but mostly the roof is maintaining. it holds together their life force but not their nerves.
boy: are we stars, brother?
man: yes. did you see what happened?
boy: is this our new home?
man: nature carves a way.
boy: i saw a giant balloon. orange.
man: no, it was yellow. the monster is back.
boy: did he ever leave? is it safe?
man: it never is. but we still look.
the two peer out their hole timidly. the Sun has crashed into the bay, soaking up all the water while barely fitting in his right toe.
the Sun: i really need to lose weight. hey, anybody out there?
man: you said you wanted to memorialize the moment. we got cavewalls all around us. hop to it.
boy: got any paint? that's not your blood. that ain't the point. it's too soon. still too much pain in our hearts over our loss.
man: i'm sure others have it worse. there is something to life which invites trauma. that's what these cave paintings signify. they aren't history or art, they are diary entries of a rudimentary life.
boy: we are ordinary and run-of-the-mill. and yet there is something so extraorindary about life. we have the run of the mill.
Sun: does anyone wanna come out and play? i don't mean that in a glassy threatening way. i really get lonely up there in the space sky. i've been around for a long time. i've seen things long enough to unsee them. i want to live again. renew and reboot.
boy: that's a healthy perspective,
man: fascinating. the idea of recreating yourself.
Sun: sure. we do it every second. every second is a new timestream, betcha didn't know that.
man: it's like when we wake up each day we have to learn the rules all over again. we can follow them or not. or even shape them ourselves.
boy: yeah but we still have to eat. no amount of willpower controls our stomachs, they have a mind of their own. what are we gonna do for food?
man: we can't go outside. or in the water for that matter. hey why isn't there steam coming off the lake from your outstanding heat?
Sun: thank you. there is but it instantly disappears. i eat it. hey do i look like a huge fun beachball?
boy: yes you are quite impressive.
Sun: oh you're just saying that. you have to say that or i'll fry you.
the Sun shrugs off the compliment and forms a prominence which destroys a nearby fully-inhabited planet.
Sun: do not make the gods angry. i want to be a new me. show another face. this heavenly body is meant to see the other side.
man: so much time and energy spent on being someone other than ourselves. fruitless, no?
Sun: i love apples. but i can't eat them.
boy: like the flip of one coin.
Sun: money is useless. as you can see. but i'll take any gas you got.
boy: i'm starting to get faint. we have to eat each other, my man.
man: the rocks surrounding us have covered whatever radiation is emananting. whatever they are made of is a godsend. it will never come to that, son, i'll die first.
boy: agreed. let's shake on it.
the boy licks the man's fingers during the shake.
boy: mm, barbecue sauce. perhaps if we sleep it off.
man: okay. but we can't sleep forever as much as we'd like to. can't escape problems that way i've found.
boy: learning is hard.
the two try to make it past the night. and then the nights. the man sleeps more as he is more prone to exhaustion. the boy is more prone to waking in the middle of the night after vivid dreams.
on one such occasion the boy fumbles in the dark to find a torch. he spreads out his hands along the northern wall of their hobbie hole until he hits upon an aperture on the back side.
boy: did the man do this?
he pokes around and senses a triangle of gleaming diamond. at once trembling and terrific. he touches the point with his finger repeatedly to get used to its charms. it acts as a soft downy pillow for his small head. he falls asleep hard and never dreams again.
boy: cos this is the dream.
when he wakens the man takes his cue and is already eating the substance of the diamond triangle.
man: it's not diamond, it's magnificent bone!
boy: *cutting* and it spills milk like a fountain!
the duo finish their clumpy thick liquid lunch and are satisfied at least for one more day. they touch their bellies together in comfort and rubbing sympathy.
man: once more?
boy: we don't have a choice.
man: what happened to your spear?
boy: had to use it as a torch.
at night the Sun is stuck inside the gaping circle of the pool sticking like a daisycutter blast zone squiggling and squirming. the water has all but evaporated but ghost trace elements of hydrogen and oxygen still keep the Orb cool and refreshed. the night air helps. the Sun turns into the Moon, quiet and grey and pockmarked like a teenager dreaming of being dreamy. when the Sun opens his eyes he is the Sun again.
President Bump: which Denny's, Vlad? the one in Moon Township, Pennsylvania?
Putin: Denny's again? i prefer King of Prussia, PA.
the news media is staked out in the oval-parking-lot bushes like vulturic stalkers.
Bump: i just came out of a Denny's meeting with Robert Mueller. it was a serious breakfast. the meeting was a grand slam. we had a chocolate cake the likes of which you have never seen or will ever see again on the face of this blue-balled earth.
Rachel Maddow: sir the residents of Moon, PA are saying you are stealing their magic away.
Bump: i have known to be a giant siphon. a colander with the holes plugged in if you wish. i do steal the show that's for sure. now if you'll excise me, i'd rather be out here with you guys, but i have to get back to renters business.
Putin spits in Bump's ear.
Bump: Vlad here tells me not to mention rentier, that is code for capitalism.
Maddow: are you two buddies?
Bump: no, we're straight. i know why they send you to me, Rachel, you're untouchable.
Mooch: and here are your pancakes. by working for yous i work for Denny's.
Bump: a little dry. maybe if i sprinkle a little Thai spice...
Mattis and McMaster: SIR, NORTH KOREA!!!
Bump: BLAST 'EM WITH AN ACOUSTIC BAZOOKA!!!
Bump: where shall we trod next, my friend? Lavaca, Texas. la vaca is cow. the brown cow. see? i speak Spanish. that's where all my ex-wives live.
Putin: probably not a good idea.
Tillerson: lord, what is your message to the flood folks?
Bump: tell them i'm okay, i'm fine. we made it out of this hurricane and i only used one atom bomb to try and stop it. hey, Tillamook, you have the same accent as that crowd, right? you go over there and negotiate the terms of their surrender. i'm from New York, i don't know about accents.
Mnuchin takes his hot plastic wife to a secret underground bunker in Fort Knox where the stones are silent and the secrets are scorching.
Mnuchin: the Eclipse is hot enough without the glasses.
wife: this is so not cute. this place is leaking! isn't this fortress supposably inpenetrable?
Mnuchin: that's what they said about you.
wife: the water is rising to my shins.
Mnuchin: at least it's not to your ankles as is your usual. anyway honey, get naked like the ancients did and i'll put on my striped onesie swimsuit and swim in this long bank of coins for awhile.
wife: Mnuchin, that is quite the unusual name. who did i marry again? really?
Mnuchin: it's ancient Gaelic actually. yeah, the modern Romanization translates roughly as McDuck.