The screen door banged against the frame of the small building that was once Cisco, Utah’s non-bustling post office. It’s like a ghost town abandoned by the ghosts, mused the cinematographer. Whatever once haunted this place left out of boredom. Meanwhile, the blacksmith methodically tapped the foundation along the perimeter of the building. They had brought the infractometer over from the side-by-side they had arrived in, but sometimes the old ways worked best. The rhythm etched out a Namibian bossanova that had been popular in the ‘70s. The entrance to the silo complex had to be near.
Would the tour of palaces never end? Having visited several monarchical residences, the cobbler had become habitually underwhelmed with the perpetual ostentation. Taking a seat at a padded bench to admire the mosaics of Dar al-Makhzen, the topologist hummed a Balkan square-dancing melody. The ancient Land Cruiser that had brought them here, well-cared for and highly-modified, sat in a modern parking lot that clashed with the surrounding Moroccan geometry. They pretended to take some selfies while monitoring the 360° camera feed coming from the vehicle.
It’s all about the Benjamins, or more like the Hamiltons and Jacksons as we play music to encourage our listeners to become funding members of KAFM. We make no attempt to be subtle here.
Out of all the ways there were to get into Zugdidi — they could have taken the ekranoplan, for example — the agency had chosen the bus. This exasperated the developer to no end. Their gear sat somewhere in the guts of the green behemoth, guarded by six different hardware and software protocols, but it still felt queasy to be so far removed from it. The meteorologist peered across the botanical garden to the Dadiani palaces. Somewhere in there, a nondescript yogurt stand would have a small radio playing Konnakkol techno. They were to purchase two cones and overpay. Instructions would follow.
The carpenter took a leisurely walk around the perimeter. In the weird light cone projected by the light they had installed at the top of the can, the ropes they had used to rappel down looked like the undulating tentacles of a mysterious jellyfish. Outside the cylindrical building that very deliberately resembled an oversized Coca Cola can, the security guard’s radio played Chicago sambas into the crisp Manitoba evening as he idly played his flashlight over the bushes outside. The choreographer stifled a giggle. On one of the ornithopters parked atop the domed top, next to an opening that looked like someone forgot to bring a canopener, a single LED began to blink. The mission was running out of time.
The Sasha river was running dry, and the aerialist maneuvered his craft to take advantage of the fact. As they moved swiftly along the crumbling banks, exoskeletal legs easily scrabbling over the terrain in an unearthly three-limbed gait, they encountered sun-baked sections where a trickle fed a series of pools on the cracking river bottom, animals congregated around them in a temporary truce. They hadn’t seen a human since Saturday, a fact that concerned the actuary more than the dry river, and the attempted distraction of some Guatemalan gamelan techno was not working. In its steel box, the package of Peanut Butter Crunch patiently rustled and awaited its delivery.
The accordionist’s boot was tangled in a mangrove root. The deepening dusk of Meads Bay Pond brought with it a soft breeze and an ugly threat of bug swarms. Their chances of getting to the beach and capturing enough glowing sugar crabs were dwindling. The roots, more like underwater dreadlocks, heaved as the booted foot attempted to twist out, the accordion case held high as counterbalance. The technician glared at the spectacle briefly before shining a light on the clipboard. In the distance, a barbershop quartet with a Tuvan throat-singing baritone made it incongruous presence known. The keys to the long-range waterbikes had a floaty thing on them, but they were permanently attached to the metal clipboard, which would sink like a stone. The Governor’s Office back in The Valley would certainly hear about this.
There was no official name for this giant hole, this cavern that truly made you realize the proper utilization of the word “cavernous”. Those who knew of its existence referred to it as the “Sarlacc Pit”, while the geologists debated what to call this previously unseen feature in the farthest reaches of British Columbia. The ophthalmologist could not help but recount these facts as they descended into its depths; they were the chatty sort and had barely endured a few hours of self-reflection in the noisy Chinook that had brought the expedition here. The conductor whistled a short melody and listened for the glorious reverberation. The nearest person who could recognize its Peruvian punk origins was 2,524 miles away.
The economist wondered where they’d be if the herpetologist had been available. Probably not prone under a cover of leaves, covered in protective armor, tapping two small bamboo sticks as a ruse to attract a golden lancehead. The rhythm was from the single Nordic folk d’n’b that had played on repeat 142 times on their trip out of the Port of Santos. It had been difficult to find a captain willing to land them on Ilha de Quemaida, so it was not wise to criticize their choice of music for the journey. The epidemiologist was nearby, peering into the carefully held vial and running the numbers on when it would be filled at the current rate of collection, and how quickly they could get off the island once that moment arrived.