WHAT IT IS
When he realized what he was looking at, the hands on the clock in his mind’s eye began spinning uncontrollably, one clockwise, the other counter clockwise until they abruptly stopped only to start up again. The clock’s gears squealed like nails on a chalk board, the ticking sound replaced by thunder and no matter how hard he clutched his head the sounds remained. Finally, the clock’s crystal began to vibrate, gently at first but within minutes it fractured and cracked into a thousand pieces and the clock’s hands came to rest at midnight.
The translucent man staggered off the road and collapsed, his body flat on its back, his eyes fixed on the tree tops above him. His tortured soul encompassed all the sleepless nights and all the anxious moments that creep into the hearts of the habitually concerned who have locked away their own doomsday clock in the naïve hope that concealment not transparency would be their fate. As he looked skyward, he flew with the three billion songbirds extinguished in the last three decades, sank deep into the permafrost and swam into phantom coral reefs. Peering into this stark forecast boomeranged him to places and events that shocked his vision both then and now. He thought of his uncle, shot up and mutilated in the Italian campaign, and would not allow his PTSD to be a spokesman for remembrance or the virtuous accolades of freedom won when racism, discrimination, injustice and acts of genocide never even got on the table. He accepted these shortcomings as pillars or at least balusters that somehow were required to uphold an umbrella of truth, a collapsible instrument to be manipulated when required.
Entombed in a future he would never know; the translucent man experienced a sliver of what he had been dancing around his whole life and it shook him in a way that predictable events do even when you see them coming. He saw the tipping point of climate, but it was obscured by migration wars, armed and gated communities, enormous acts of hoarding and millions of fingers pointing outwardly.
The duck sat on the horse’s back, Jackson sat close by, and all three waited for the translucent man, but he never showed up. It was the small horse who decided to turn around and after walking back some distance he stopped and starred at thousands of insect body parts strewn across the road. Mixed in with the carnage, tiny mechanical bits and pieces of steel, glass and wire. A few feet off the side of the road, the translucent man struggled to his feet.
WHAT IT IS NOT
The accident up ahead was at least two miles away. Baines Wanescott stood on the roof of his rented car to get a better look but could see nothing discernable. A few people mulled around their vehicles speculating what might have happened and still others, who walked up to the crash site, came back and reported two trucks collided and the wait would be hours.
Baines hopped off the roof and walked aimlessly around to kill a bit of time.
“Want your fortune read?”
Baines stopped and looked inside one of the many cars stopped along Interstate 20. Two little girls, each holding small orangish teddy bears and a handful of playing cards, sat in the backseat.
“Want your fortune read Mister?” asked one of the girls as she held up her teddy bear, a teddy bear wearing peculiar looking round pretend eyeglasses.
“This is Babs, she sees the future.” The little girl added.
“Sure!” answered Baines, as he stood outside the open car window.
“OK, you’re looking for a blind man who is not blind and yes…yes a small horse that’s not a horse.”
The little girl looked intently at the teddy bear. “That’s what Babs says.”
The girls parents turned around in the front seat and scolded them for bothering a stranger.
“Babs says you’ll find them just down the highway, then down that dirt road,” she pointed in the distance toward a stand of pine trees.