1. If you could style yourself what would be the accoutrements?
I traveled through time, thirty-one years into the future to be exact. What was simply one day to you was thirty-one, harrowing years to me.
3. Hmm… Okay. I’ll go along with you. Did Halloween still offer all the requisite frights?
The first Halloween did. However, the second year it offered the greatest fright of them all: change.
4. How did this time travel occur?
It’s a whole space-time continuum situation, however, I promised I’d never give away the actual mechanics and so I’m staying mum on that. You can make something up if you need to. Track down Brian Greene for a theory if it’s so important. I won’t mind. My point being, I can travel and I took my inaugural trip into the future and I’ve returned to tell you that things aren’t good. Let me take you back to that day. My girl sat on the edge of her bed staring up at the ceiling, playing over in her head what the evening’s party arrival would look like. For the record, she was gearing up to be Jane Birkin and the date was gearing up to join her dressed as Serge Gainsbourg. She cracked a smile, surmising most of the night would be spent telling everyone exactly who they are — a thought that stirred in her a sense of superiority, hence the smile. She got up and stood in front a mirror so she could watch herself give the explanation a test run, “We’re Jane and Serge, thank you very much. Go ahead. Be Margot and Richie. Again. Go heavy on the eyeliner, find a leopard print coat and master the woebegone pout. And you? Strap a headband around your head and grow out your beard for 1 week in preparation. We will be over here being cool, French people whom you knew nothing about until you asked and I told you. Yes, I might look like I’ve simply shown up to this here fête wearing a white t-shirt avec erect nipples, bell-bottom blue jeans après giving myself bangs but you’re wrong. Boy, are you wrong. I’m Jane, dammit. Jane of most coveted bag fame! Jane of–” She noticed a vein protruding from her forehead. She took a deep breath. She then decided it would be a good idea to go on a hike in an effort to lose some of the keyed-up energy. This is where I came in. She pulled me on, secured the breasts and together we took to the hill country of Griffith Park. Not only was the hike sure to provide sprawling views of Glendale and beyond, it was also sure to supply the much-needed chance to center. On the way up we passed a group, 20 deep, out on horseback. The beleaguered string hugged the inside of the hill, making sure to get the full effect of the cool breeze sweeping up from the canyon. One of the horses stopped to relieve himself. My girl made eye contact with him. Is it just me or does every domesticated horse have a look of “How the fuck did I get here” in their eyes? In any case, the sound of the horse relieving himself was nothing short of hypnotic. Moving away from the horse, my girl’s eyes locked on a meandering line in the dirt. No tread marks and so it must’ve been a snake. She wondered where it was now and would the hike end with her being carried off the hill having been bitten by a snake. She wasn’t about to let the wide array of people taking selfies and groupies fool her, these hills were not a game. She had come face to face with actual coyotes and rattlesnakes — both babies (very cute) and “time to die” adults — to name a few critters.
5. Are you aware baby rattlesnakes are more “time to die” than adult rattlesnakes? According to Wiki Answers…
The venom of a baby rattlesnake is the same as a full-grown rattlesnake. The reason it seems more “toxic” is because they can’t control the amount of venom they pump out, the way an adult snake can. Actually, all rattlesnakes have hemotoxin and neurotoxin included in their venom. Baby rattlesnakes, however, contain mostly neurotoxin, and little hematin. It’s the neurotoxin that can be fatal. Hemotoxin is used to break down tissue, and aids in the digestive process.
Thanks for that but when I’m finished we’ll all wish it was simply a snake bite. She found herself almost at the top of the hill and sighed, relishing the moment of near victory. It was at this moment her eyes landed on a button. A small red button stuck in the dirt. Note: the button was at an incline so steep that if you’re traveling up, you’re trying to not pass out and if you’re traveling down, you’re trying to not slip and crack your hindside. My point is, it was a button most never see. For some reason — the reason being a very healthy cardiovascular system due to taking on this particular hike every other day, allowing my girl the energy one needs to actually survey the surrounding area — she spotted the button. She smiled, stopped and reached down to press it, “Oh what the hell…” She waited but nothing happened. But then again why would anything happen? Some CalArts student probably put it there to be clever. She chuckled, feeling silly for giving an errant button the time of day and continued on. Two seconds back on our way, a noise similar to rumbling could be heard. It was far off but definitely there. In an attempt to locate the rumbling’s origin she looked off across the horizon to see what she believed to be the San Gabriel mountain range. A little crease appeared in the middle of her forehead as she watched the range. Nothing shook but the noise definitely gave way to the movement. Suddenly the mountain range fell. Gone. She turned back to look at the button. “No,” she thought, “It can’t be!” She returned to the button and leaned down. Her finger hovered. The thought that she just did away with a portion of the earth was too preposterous to fathom but that still didn’t do away with the thought that it might be the truth. She bit her bottom lip and pressed the button. She rose to her feet and looked off across the horizon. There was the rumbling again and what followed was the disappearance of everything between the former mountain range and — if you’re measuring with your fingers from where she stood — about an inch east of the I-5. Silence. A good chunk of the earth was now missing. Behind her, the Pacific, Cedars, plenty of CVS’s and girls preparing to dress up as slutty whathaveyous remained, but in front of her… She did this. There was no other explanation. A good portion of the earth was gone and she only had herself to blame. To everyone still in existence, it was a freak accident. The earth fell off and there’s no one to point the finger at. Global warming? Cow flatulence razing the ozone perhaps? The great creator finally putting the smack down possibly? She would let those remaining war over the exact cause by dipping into the arsenal of existing reasons, but never, never ever would she come forth and let the masses know it was a button. A tiny button her finger connected with at a serious incline in Griffith Park. For many reasons she did this. Number one being, why make the remaining devote a life to deciphering the cause of something they couldn’t reverse? She knew the answer. Don’t press the fucking button. Period. The fewer people who knew the better. “I think, therefore I’m dangerous,” had never felt more apt. Before that day, it was a thought-provoking bumper sticker that upon seeing it made you say, “Oh, yes. That’s so true and so deep and people are dangerous and– Oh look! The line at In-n-Out is actually doable!” But now too many people knowing and thinking about this button would only lead to danger, disaster even. She pacified herself by thinking humanity would simply get used to the new state of the planet. Time, your worst enemy, can also be your best friend. Move far enough away from something and soon you’ll find it simply is.
6. So, what did you do after the world settled into (as much as it possibly could) the new state of things?
We remained in the hill country. It would be years before anyone dared to travel the hillside and when they did the sightings were sparse. A mammoth structure similar to a scaffold went up along the earth’s new edge. How people returned to life will forever be a mystery to me. I supposed they carried on in apropos fashion but for my girl what was once returning to grad school and becoming a journalist to cover important matters then meeting a well-traveled, handsome architect in Prague then settling into domestic life in London, having two kids – 1 boy, 1 girl — vacationing in Bali one winter only to meet a land developer, fall in love with him, leave the architect and kids without so much as a goodbye, never marry but have a child – 1 boy – with the land developer, split her time between the land developer’s yacht (that lumbered to and fro across the Adriatic during the summer months) and his manse (nestled deep in the hills of Kyoto) for the rest of the year when not traveling, only to have her daughter appear on her doorstep fifteen years later with tales of, “Oh mummy… How you could you leave us? How could you think a young girl could live without her mother? Father’s heart has never truly healed. My brother, your own flesh and blood, has taken to black market gaming and alcoholism and here you are living like a queen! Like a queen! Without any remorse! No remorse! You’re a monster! A monster!” Ya know, a real V.C. Andrews type scenario. Anyway, all of that had been passed over for the policing of a button in Griffith Park. And why? Well, she felt this was her only duty. Years would drift by but she would remain atop the hill in her small self-designated space. Her hair would become a nest of matted plaits. Whiskers would sprout from parts of her face whiskers should never sprout from. Her teeth would adopt a gray, almost black hue. She would get an infection in her right eye thus giving it a milky scrim. She would slip, fracturing her femur allowing it to heal incorrectly and take on a limp so severe it would hurt to watch her walk. Her stench would become something unable to put into words. For those who dare travel to the hills, all of this worked in conjunction to keep them at bay and away from the button. Halloween would adopt a different life entirely. “Boo,” said the people of yore on October 31st. Have a seat ghosts and goblins. Psht, zombies and vampires. Salem Shmalem… This day would forever be known as the day the earth fell off and not in the Urban Dictionary way. Although that definition does work when looking at it from the other planets’ perspectives, “Dag… the earth fell off after part of the earth literally fell off.” Her only friends were recollections of the days when dressing up like Jane Birkin was as important as life could get and all the Dick Mine songs she had committed to memory. Committed to memory back when she was existing as a loquacious, unshaven, liberal arts student running very much against the grain of society while wanting so badly to connect up with some sense of cerebral, cosmopolitan plight brought on by all the Cassavettes, Baldwin, Bergman, Allen, Downey Sr. and Pushkin she consumed. Real post-war stuff Mr. Mine’s stuff was and it felt very apt now. The last thing anyone should want is something created during a very lost and sad point in time having a relevant renaissance.
7. What happened next?
One day, while my girl sunned herself, a man appeared. He was around fifty years of age, kempt and wore a look of remorse. He stood over us, hands in his pockets, casting a shadow. Naturally, my girl popped open her eyes and let out a hiss. The hiss always worked to send those diehards wanting to glimpse the “Hag of the Hillside” scurrying back down to the low-country, having pissed themselves a little. However, in this case, the man remained. He was cool, collected. I sensed an air of guilt. My girl thrust up. This was her second mode of defense if the hiss failed to do its duty. Usually, the wafting of her stench brought on by swift motions sent folks on their way. But not this time. The man remained, leaving my girl with no other choice but to communicate. “What,” she asked in a friable growl. The man took a deep breath, “I’ve heard tell of you. People down in the low-country say you’ve been up here since the day the earth fell. I can only venture to think one would stay up here in such a questionable spot only if one knew or found something of great importance.” “What are you getting at?” “Thirty years ago I dug a hole and inside of it placed a button right around here somewhere.” My girl furrowed her brow for the first time in three decades. Nothing questionable and or perplexing had come her way in all this time. But here it was, a tiny piece of an answer. Without saying a word she collapsed to the ground releasing tears that soon became guttural sobs. The man’s eyes welled as he watched. He held out a hand to her but never made any further movement to get closer. My girl continued to sob, her face burrowing in her hands while questions formed a phalanx in her mind, “How does he know it was the button? There’s an arsenal of reasons as to why it happened so why in the hell does he believe together we did this?” But why he believed he played a part was of no importance to her. He was correct and he was here and he was taking part of the blame and that’s all that truly mattered. She suppressed the sobs and looked to him. Tears had transformed her face into an abstract canvas, the contrasting color supplied by flesh buried beneath decades’ worth of dirt and grime. She sucked in a runaway sob, “Can I ask you a question?” He took a deep breath and answered, “Yes.” “Why?” she asked. He shook his head, “To be clever I guess. I was on a hike with my girlfriend and it was at this point I remembered the button in my pocket. I told my girlfriend to go on up ahead. I never told her what I was doing. Don’t know why. I think I felt silly. Anyway, she didn’t ask questions and went on up ahead, leaving me to do my business.” “Where’d you get it from? The button.” “A thrift store in Blythe. I was in town visiting my grandparents. We walked into the store and there it was,” he answered. “Did you ever tell your girlfriend about the button?” she asked. “No. And anyway, who would believe such a story?” “Do you think she’d believe you now?” “I’ll never know. She was east of the I-5 interviewing for a job the day you pressed it.” “I’m so sorry.” He replied with a single nod. “How do you know I was the one to press it,” she asked. “Why else would you be here. Guilt makes you do one of two things: move the truth far enough away until you’re whole again or cement yourself in what you’ve done.” My girl said nothing else. She took a seat. She could feel herself racing headlong toward the want to find answers but knew, in the end, the right answers would never materialize. My guess is the man was feeling a variation of the same. He took a seat next to her and the two simply looked out over the land.
8. How are you faring?
I will not tell a lie. I was brought into this world to keep breasts steady and add a pop of color while one endured a workout. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be a part of some weird slightly post-apocalyptic situation. I dare anyone to tell me this hasn’t been the ultimate workout. One thing’s true, Stella sure made me built to last and for that, I’m eternally grateful. And now I will travel back to my girl and we will wait. Wait to see if there are any more buttons out there waiting to be placed and pushed.
9. I just did the numbers and so, are you basically saying this will happen in exactly one year?
I don’t make the rules.