TRAVELER — PART II, Earl

TRAVELER — PART II

Earl

“This had better be a dream, or I’m completely fucked.” I said aloud, which I found interesting that I heard, since I was in the vacuum of space.

“Yep,” a voice that had startled me agreed, “You ‘n me both brother.”

I turned around to find another person floating amid the wreckage. He was donning a beat up Tennessee Titans hat, with a dark t-shirt with enough different sorts of muted stains on it that it could almost be considered camouflage. Along with this already winning ensemble he wore a pair of worn acid washed jeans that screamed to be returned to the nearest washing machine in the 90’s and a pair of spotless, gleaming snakeskin boots. This had to be a dream, because only would my mind manufacture such a stereotypical hillbilly to menace me.

“Who are you?” I asked not because I was really all that curious but it seemed the appropriate thing to do, since he was floating next to me. With any luck he may just explode into confetti or something.

“Name’s Earl. Earl Fontane and friend, I’m about the best person you could’ve run into!” he announced with a confidence that did nothing but convince me otherwise.

“I’m Thomas.” I didn’t feel any particular need to fill in my last name; it wasn’t as though I’d be dating Earl or anything. Besides which, I was beginning to feel a little unnerved about how vivid this dream was becoming.

“Well Tommy, here’s to me, you and the destruction of Earth! Wooo!” Most people aren’t this pleased about the destruction of a planet, let alone our own, unless they’re Melvin the Martian. But Earl seems to think it’s another tailgate party.

“I…why are you happy?” I asked, though immediately regretted it. “This is the end of civilization as we know it! And while I’m at it, how are we talking, let alone breathing in space?”

“Well, Tommy I reckon we’re dead.” he offered with a tip of his baseball cap. “We’re ghosts! As to why I’m happy, well…hadda happen sometime right? Better it’s a big ass BOOM than some slow, zombie apocalypse bullshit. Though, had me a fine arsenal for that to happen!”

It wasn’t hard to believe Earl had possibly more weapons than the Taliban, but as I watched a slowly burning fire hydrant lazily drift over our heads, I began to accept the possibility that this wasn’t a dream and I had died. We all died. How many of us, residents of the former planet Earth were now ghosts adrift in the lonely black of space? We, as a people would survive thanks to the Mars colonies and some of the deep space exploration missions going on, but that still didn’t bring me much comfort. Who we are as a people, everything that was sacred and everything that explained our origins was gone. Donna was gone. Everything was gone.

“Well Tommy, since you ‘n me are travelin’ partners, I suggest we star figurin’ out where it is we’re going to travel.” Earl announced with his usual take-control tone that made me wish I could hit him with something heavy.

“I…I just need a minute to take this all in,” I murmured. “I feel like I should be crying or screaming or something. But I can’t. I just feel empty.”

“Ah you’re one of those sensitive types.” Earl dismissed with a wave of his hand. “Don’t worry buddy. Earl Fontane’s got the answer. Ghost women! Woo!”

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