I Am The Walrus
I’m kidding. I am The Caterpillar. But that doesn’t make much sense to me either. Truth is, I’m Jack. I’m a normal, hyper-intelligent guy from Provo, Utah, trying to make sense of a contract I signed three years ago. They want to develop my work, so why not? I agreed to follow instructions sent only via text message, and from an unknown superior. I was paid up front, in full, and I have been promised a house in the location of my choosing when the contract is complete.
Yesterday, I received a text to inform me that the contract is complete.
This morning I arrived in San Francisco, alone, and wearing comfortable shoes. As per. I was also instructed not to eat or drink anything after 7 pm the night before.
I loaded the cable car in the designated location, at noon, and starving. I was glad to see no one on the street car was bigger than me. Just a few high school kids and an old man. So far, so good. I didn’t expect to get thrown into the back of a moving car this time, at least not immediately.
It was a beautiful day. I had never been to San Francisco before, and the smells from the restaurants were incredible. I was settling into the ride – the air, the sunshine, the sound of the wheels on the track. The driver would whoop and shout some kind of greeting when we passed another street car. The sound of the wheels on the track.
I closed my eyes and imagined the peace of a new home in the mountains. The air. The sunshine. The sound of a raven, greeting.
Suddenly, the car stopped dead. I was thrown out of my day dream and slid hard into the seat beside me, the end of the row. The brakes screeched and moaned. We were on a steep hill. Now, the sound of the high school kids whooping and laughing, the driver on a cell phone nodding and laughing, too.
“That’s it folks! The cable broke! This is the end of the line.” He handed us all transfers. “A bus will meet you at the bottom of the hill right away quick, and finish the route. Just hand them this when you get on.”
The kids jumped off, and I hung back behind the old man to help him off. He swung down and nodded back to me, then disappeared into an alley.
Crap. This was it. The sound of a text message, incoming. The driver started laughing.
“That’s all folks!” He stuck his hand out to shake my hand. “You Sir, you go and knock on that red door. This, my friend, is the dismount.”
I hopped down off the cable car, suddenly excited for my new life, my freedom, from all of it. I didn’t care what was next. Retirement was the smell of the cafe down the street. Sunshine. I knocked on the door.
“He-ey! It’s The Caterpillar! Right on time. Get your sweet ass in here, Sir!” Q grabbed my hand, shook it enthusiastically, and pulled me into the small apartment.
“Hey guys! Boss says this is it.” I could hardly contain my excitement.
“Indeed it is, my friend.” Stick stuck his hand out too. “Just have a seat right here. Did you eat today?”
“No Sir! Starving.” I sat down, heavy with a big laugh.
“Whoop, whoop!” Stick grabbed the back of my head, almost pulling me off the chair. “Excellent. This is going to get messy.”
(This story heartily dedicated to Mansfield Grey!)