Friday, June 27, 2008

Happy Birthday, Martin Aimes! (Part II)

The assault on his nose ended almost immediately, to be replaced with a stifling feeling of heat and the smell of dust. Afraid of what he would find yet still infinitely curious, Martin slowly opened his eyes only to be blinded by the brightness of the sun beating down on him. The fear he felt at finding himself in a new locale with no explanation as to how he got there was ratcheted up several hundred degrees when he realized he stood in the middle of a dusty street, large wooden buildings rising up on either side of him, and that a large and angry looking man stood at the opposite end of the street with a gun pointed in Martin's direction.

The angry man was dressed much like the men from the Westerns Martin had so enjoyed as a child, and he realized, looking down, that he too was holding a gun and dressed like an extra from The Rifleman. Fear more than instinct made him squeeze the trigger, and he jumped what felt like 15 feet in the air at the explosion that emanated from the barrel of the gun. Shaking in fear, he threw the gun down even as a large whoop went up from the people standing on either side of the street, watching this showdown. Guns were fired into the air in celebration all around him, and he cringed and shook with each one. Men poured onto the street around Martin, slapping him on the back and yelling for whiskey for the hero. Martin allowed himself a small smile at being called "hero" and looked forward to a bracing shot of whiskey from the saloon he found himself dragged into, but the smile quickly faltered and disappeared when he heard a loud crack from above his head, as the people around him yelled and scattered away from him. He looked up to see a large, ornate chandelier tied to a huge beam that sunk inward and broke apart even as he watched. As the chandelier shot rapidly toward his head, Martin had time to think "Again?," before he was overtaken and shot back into the dark.

Next Martin awoke to find himself in the Industrial Revolution, in a large factory producing some product or another. Men and smoke surrounded him, and he found himself covered in grease and grime, and sweating profusely. As per the previous experiences, he became aware of his situation even as shouts warned him of some disaster. He looked up, expecting to see the ceiling of the building hurtling toward him, but instead fell flat to the floor as an explosion rocked the factory around him. After several confused moments, foremen came around and started ushering men out the door, and Martin found himself shoved unceremoniously into the street. He decided to take advantage of the longer duration of this visit and take in some of his surroundings. He walked down the street, nodding at people who passed him, and generally enjoyed his bizarre once-in-a-lifetime journey. That is, until shouts around him warned him, once again, to look up just in time to see the next in the series of head-trauma-causing objects whistling toward him. This time it was a large, dead, vulture-like bird, beak pointed straight at the crown of his head. "Oh, you have GOT to be kidding," his mind exclaimed shortly before being pierced by five pounds of carrion fowl and hurtled back into the blackness.

This time, Martin came to comfortably seated in the grass, leaning against a tree and surrounded by music and the smell of marijuana. Looking down at himself, he saw his clothes were of varied shades of tie-dye, and he suddenly realized the music he was hearing was Jimi Hendrix's famous version of the Star-Spangled Banner. Amazed at his good fortune at being able to see such a legendary musical moment, Martin threw back his head and whooped with pleasure.

And saw a naked man sitting in the tree above him, holding a set of bongos hooked on one finger and gesticulating wildly toward the stage. Martin's joyous yawp turned into a resigned sigh as he watched the bongos slip from Tarzan's finger, and he thought to himself "Stinking hippies," before the bongos crashed into him in the least musical way possible.

When the blackness and dizziness subsided for the last time, Martin found himself laying on his own couch, in his own home, in his own time. The chair was not where it had been when he sat in it, and a quick perusal of his house likewise turned up no mystery chair. Since his head still throbbed and he could still detect the faint smells of farm animal, grease, dust and pot, he quickly came to the conclusion that all the experiences were real glimpses of himself throughout history, and that once the chair had shown him these sights, it had travelled on without him to who knew where or when. He wasn't sure why the chair had shown him these things, except maybe as a warning to go through life with a hardhat. Martin realized he had only a few minutes until his guests were due to arrive, and so rushed upstairs to clean up and change for the party, filing away his journey for examination later.

He had just finished his ablutions and was slipping on his shoes when the first knock came on the front door. Giving himself one last look in the mirror, he smiled at the almost-40-year-old version of himself in the mirror, and laughed at what he was quickly becoming convinced was the dream he must've had while dozing on the couch. He giggled quietly to himself at the sheer absurdity that a mystery chair could take him on a space-time tour of his previous lives. He was still giggling to himself when he opened the door and welcomed his friends to his home. And he was still giggling to himself when he heard one of the supports he had installed for the Brazilian sculpture, under which he was currently standing, crack and start to give way. His giggle subsided when he looked up in time to see the 300 lb. sculpture slowly descend toward him, the figure's huge erect phallus pointed straight at his skull. "Happy birthday, Martin Aimes," he thought to himself even as the black embraced him once again.

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