Fantasy Science Fiction posted March 23, 2021

This work has reached the exceptional level
animal crackers story

Gopherwood Rising

by LIJ Red

The author has placed a warning on this post for language.

A week or two later I went back to Hoyden with my commuting uncle to put flowers on the wife's grave. I mean, things started off good, and left memories.

The county sheriff grabbed me in the graveyard and hauled me to jail. I was given the option of signing some forms or getting into a legal hassle about my former belongings. I signed and ended up on the street with a garbage sack of unwanted doodads and my old nonrunning Yamaha 650 rat bike.

Then who should slide briskly to a stop beside me but the long-legged temp. Her old Topaz was rattling and smoking, but we got the center of gravity of the rat into the trunk, and the bag in the back seat and "cut on outa theah."

She had two bags like my one, and was seeking new quarters. Old witchy Granny had a smug Itoljaso smile when she hobbled down the hill to invite us to supper.

To cut to the chase about the Noah's Ark thing, we drew our unemployment checks and bought another rat bike, and scavenged parts of one to make the other run,

Then we tied the knot (damn ol' smartaiss Granny)and took off to see the third planet of a dim little star in an outlying barred-spiral galaxy.

We made it to the edge of the high plains and the old vertical twin began to sound like a tin can half-full of nickles rolling down stairs. We turned off the interstate into what we thought was a town with a carnival visiting.

I found a job shoveling manure, while Temp got a job in a soup kitchen. There was no town, just this camp they called the Set. There were hundreds of workers.

The lash-up carnival look centered about a grounded and blocked-up ship. It had no masts or stacks and was painted and striped to look like a timber construction. The only water around was in a tank truck and plastic bottles. Middle of now here.

"Mistah Jong ob de bottomless pockets is mekkin' a movie 'bout Noey and his ark, " the cook told Temp, "He is a Chinymun. Got a lot of Hollyweird wannabes wukkin' fer him. Tomorr' we load the Ark, den ships de animals back ter de zoos, and heads fer the studios to finish up."

Jong (Zhang) cracked the whip, at break of day. A dozen camera teams were everywhere. I got to drive some yaks up the slippery gangway into the stalls in the bucking bawling bleating bowels of the ark. Temp helped close down the kitchen and pack the goods into the numerous semis that hauled the Set hither and yon.

We watched the filming hellaballoo and sipped cokes in the shade of a trailer, Temp and I. A smallish, dark oriental gentleman strutted by. He looked us up and down and said, "You'll do. Board the ark, straightaway."

"You got it, Zhang," I replied. "let me get my shovel."

"No need. Make haste," he snapped and moved on.

We tiptoed and spun aboard through beastly bowel drizzle, and stood at the rail, where there was a hint of fresh air,

Crews were removing power cables and braces all around the Ark. Some of the 18-wheelers were belching black out of there.

Temp smiled. "I guess we are about the latitude of Israel in arid land. And they even loaded two chicken mites. Realism!"

"Why didn't he fudge this like Hollywood, film edits and stock footage and CG. We musta loaded a thousand tons of critters, sixth great extinction er not."

She giggled. "Maybe he expects a rain."

There was a sharp ringing whine. The blue containment shield flickered into existence around the Ark. The tractor beam gently lifted the Ark from its blocks and the rescue ship towed the barking meowing tweeting vessel at one gravity toward Wolf 359.

Approaching writing like an icy stream, here I wet my toe. A first chapter, where the hero's wife blew herself to flinders and cracked his head with the Bombat, and he met the Temp, who his Granny wagered he'd marry, was mostly irrevelant.

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