September, 1969, southeastern New Mexico, just on the other side of the borderline to nowhere...
Dick and Daphne had put on their coats and gone with the sailor out the door. They had left the door open a little bit and Harvey, sitting on the floor, could lean over and see them walking toward the green thing and a ramp that ran up into a bright purple opening in the thing’s sloping side.
His cigarette ash dropped onto his jeans and he brushed it off.
Ah, shit, he thought, and he grabbed his hat and his field jacket and got up.
“Where are you going, Harvey?” asked Enid.
He put on his hat and shrugged himself into the jacket, its pockets heavy with the revolver and the two packed speedloaders.
“With them,” he said.
“Oh, Harvey, don’t.”
“Fuckin’ ‘ell,” said Derek. You got more bottle ‘n I ‘ave, mate.”
Paco had returned to watching On the Waterfront.
“Paco,” said Enid. “Tell him no.”
“Boy wants to go with Peyotito,” said Paco. He’ll come back. Maybe.”
“Boy wants to be a man. He gotta take a chance. Gotta make journey. Vision quest.”
Harvey stopped in the doorway and turned to Enid.
“Later, Miss Enid.”
And he went out.
"Fuckin’ ‘ell,” said Derek. Fuckin’ bloody ‘ell.”
They were already going up the ramp and Harvey double-timed on over there. He watched the little sailor and then Dick in his pea coat and Daphne in her shiny red trench coat disappear into the purple light of the thing’s inside.
What the fuck.
He tossed away his cigarette and went on up.****
Enid sat on the floor feeling the weight of a billion mad worlds on her shoulders.
Harvey had closed the door behind him but you could still see that emerald glow through the front windows. The only sound from the outside was the furious howling of a coyote, the wistful barking of a dog, the disturbingly humanoid wailing of a bobcat.
Paco got up and turned the TV’s sound on.
Marlon Brando said to Eva Marie Saint:
“There’s too many guys around here with only one thing on their mind.”
Paco sat back down and Derek took up his guitar again and strummed an E-minor chord.
Christ, thought Enid, I’m going. With them.
She got up, the inside of her head swaying around inside her skull.
“Oy,” said Derek.
“I’m going,” said Enid. “With them. And please don’t say ‘bloody fucking hell’ again.”
Derek stared up at her.
“Well, I think I’ll stay with the chief, love. Watch the telly.”
Paco glanced up at her and then turned back to the TV.
The saucer sat there in the dirt, solid and green and glowing. It looked about sixty feet in diameter and it sloped up to a height of maybe twenty feet. Enid couldn’t see an opening into it. She walked slowly all the way around it. Then she reached over and touched the surface of the thing. It was warm and it felt like birch bark. It smelled like a toy electric railroad set. She saw no sign of a doorway or hatch opening.
“Hello?” she called.
No one answered.****
(Kindly go here for our next mind-bending chapter. And please refer to the right hand side of this page for an up-to-date listing of links to all other extant episodes of a Town Called Disdain by Larry Winchester, the man whom Harold Bloom called “the only American writer equal to Arnold Schnabel”.)
Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Donovan Phillips Leitch:
I need this, Dan, because I can't tell whether my whole life's a vision quest, or if my time hasn't come. Almost certainly, I haven't yet traveled with people from other planets. But I'm hoping the next episode (Jack Nicholson's always too coy to convince me of anything)will rid me of doubt.
Well, Kathleen, since Dick's already gone back in time (with Arnold Schnabel), I suppose it's inevitable that now he travels into space. I have a feeling that the budget for the mini-series is about to triple all of a sudden.
Has it occurred to any of these guys (and gal) that anal probes might be involved?
I don't know, Manny. But I've wondered about this before -- why the hell would aliens even want to probe human anuses?
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