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Chronicle of the NonPop Revolution


 
The Essay
Show #375
Cabin Physics
David Gunn

Surrounded by a thick ring of sand trees, the cabin sat in the forgottenmost sector of the New Hampshire Desert, though "sitting" was a job that the cabin did rather poorly. Having found a sedentary existence extremely limiting, it was now prone to shaking and shuddering, wiggling and writhing. It also often floated quite well--up to six feet off the ground, with no side effects from gravity, whose attractive force it simply pooh-poohed. During those periods of gravitational discombobulation, the root cellar sometimes accompanied the cabin on its minimal tropospheric journey, but mostly it stayed behind and sulked.

One day when the cabin was a few inches above ground, a blesbok--an antelope native to southern Africa--parted the trees' curtain of grainy leaves and strode gamely up to the front door. Ignoring the bell, it tapped a convoluted tattoo on the door with its antlers, stepped back and listened. The only sound was the feathery chewing of the tent caterpillars as they contentedly robbed the trees of their leafy canopy. The blesbok tapped again, harder this time. Still no response. The animal took the doorknob in its mouth and turned it. The door was unlocked, and it swung open with a creak. The blesbok peered into the cabin; then, with an easy leap, followed its peer inside. The weight of the animal caused the front of the cabin to pitch slightly, but it soon regained equilibrium. The blesbok twisted its head at an angle that suggested its neck muscles were on gimbals and sniffed. Its ears perked like diner coffee--something in the cabin didnít belong! (The irony of its own incongruity with this house--indeed, North America in general--was lost on the antelope.) Following its nose, it sauntered into the parlor, the floor of which was littered with rocks. Its keen eyesight identified them as limestone, and its taste buds confirmed the data. Each rock sported an address label and postage, as if their placement here was only temporary and they were about to take a sedimental journey. A commotion from outside raised the blesbokís curiosity, and it raced back to the front door. Two mule deer stared at him from just beyond the tree line. The antelope sniffed again. They smelled delicious. His pheromone level rose as he recalled the dissolute play session he recently enjoyed with them on the nearby savanna. The nearer deer licked its lips suggestively and curled its tongue inside its nosal cavity. The blesbok was barely able to sublimate its primal carnal urges.

Suddenly, a slight movement from behind the trees triggered the antelope's internal panic button. But before it could decide how to react, the second deer moved stiffly forward, opened its mouth wide--wider than was anatomically possible--and sang. It was the most come-hither rut aria the antelope had ever heard. Powerless to resist, it bounded down from the house and sashayed up to the deer. Now it could clearly see the figure crouching behind the trees: standard hominid design; 17 hands high; approximately 10 stone in weight, excluding that silly adobe hat; and aiming a projectile discharging device that, were the antelope not so smitten, would prompt it to absquatulate at once.

Zenon A. Bagbee aimed the tranquilizer gun at the blesbok and squeezed the trigger. The animal, already altered by the potent chemical emanations from the two robot deer, managed a licentious fondle of faux deer #2's rump before it collapsed in a bewildered haze. The deer smelled like a salt lick in a hot tub full of insane camels, and Bagbee was glad to switch them off. Then he examined the blesbok: standard ruminant design; 17 hands long; approximately 10 stone in weight; antlers made of a titanium alloy; a golden mane infested with tiny anemones; and a breath of the most rancid cud imaginable. Confirming that the animal was fast asleep--though typically much faster when awake--he began to stuff it into an anvelope, a well-padded shipping pouch, for its journey back to southwesternmost Lincolnshire. Bagbee had enjoyed many intriguing employmental opportunities during his illusory career; now he was a field researcher for the University of Hummock-on-Smythe. And the blesbok, that most reflective of creatures, was the object of study by that institutionís Department of Ruminantology.

As he pushed the anvelope into the pannier of faux deer #1, Bagbee bumped the Go button. A cloud so malodorous that it brought him to his knees blew out of the deerís analog exhaust pipe. By the time he had gotten back his breath, which had fled to the cabin in disgust, the deer was nowhere to be seen. Quickly, Bagbee programmed the second robot deer to follow the first one. Then he hopped into its pannier and pressed the Go button. But this time, the attendant effluvium was so foul that he beat his breath to the cabin. It took him a moment to collect his wits, which were scattered amongst the rocks in the parlor. It took him a second moment, aided by an alarm from the cabin's elevationometer, to realize that the house was rising faster than the price of a house in Fixed Income, Vermont. With a dirigible-like grace, it floated towards the sun, its root cellar trailing behind like the improbable tail of an even more dubious kite.

Bagbee pulled out his binocular and trained it on the receding landscape below. He noted that the two faux deer had rendezvoused, the blesbok had awakened, escaped the confines of the anvelope and was having its way with one of the auto critters, and that the tent caterpillars had commenced the dessert course. He also noted that the house temperature was rising, and he began to draw parallels between his research project and Icarus' flight from Crete. He stepped closer to the doorway for a better view. In response, the house yawed and he had to grab onto the jamb to keep from tumbling out. The rocks in the parlor, however, had nothing to hold on to and, one by one, rolled out the door. But instead of dropping like proverbial stones, they drifted ambagiously downward. By now, the cabinís aluminum siding was beginning to sizzle from the heat of the looming sun, and Bagbee, too, was perspiring heavily, though his reaction was more fear-based. There was only one thing he could think of to do, and as the last rock rolled through the doorway, he grabbed hold of it. Free of its ballast, the cabin ascended rapidly, eager to add a new action verb to its repertoire of shaking, shuddering, wiggling, writhing and floating.

Zenon A. Bagbee, meanwhile, descended gently back to Earth. His was the last rock in a line that stretched forward for nearly a furlong. A second row extended from the lead rock, making a V-shape formation, rather like the configuration of migrating ducks. A sudden wave of alarm swept over him as he tried to recall when duck hunting season opened. The sound of buckshot ricocheting off of the rock directly in front of him answered his question.

We hope you'll take no potshots at this 375th episode of Kalvos & Damian's New Music Bazaar, and that you'll find the music on it in turn shaking, shuddering, wiggling, writhing and floating--which is a pretty fair description of the current comportment of Kalvos.