“Prelude to the Final Roundup”

The cold room hosted a series of three large rectangular whiteboards extending the length of the front wall. On the first board was a list of names. The other two were blank except for single headings captured separately in two different colors. One in red, “LOST”. One in green, “FOUND”. Two voices, both out of site, were conversing about the different names displayed on the first board.

“Then we’re in agreement. Until finding everyone we won’t begin the roundup…..our only question at this moment is who should we examine first?”

“I would like to start with the Rodeo Clown, if that’s ok with you?”

“Ah yes, the Rodeo Clown.”

The Chief pondered as he listened to the wind picking up outside the room…..

“Didn’t he have a dog? It seems a lot of these people have dogs and such…… What are we going to do with all these animals anyway…. I really thought this all was going to be a lot easier.”

“It never is. You know that. Just remember, it’s only required every century. “

“I’m trying hard NOT to remember….. maybe we should leave and come back after visiting some of the other projects.”

“We could, but since we’re already here, leaving without resolution does feel a bit hasty don’t you think?”

“So where do you think that clown and his dog are now?”

“For now? I would just venture to put them both down as LOST.”

As the Chief scribbled down Rodeo Clown and Bandit on the LOST board, he moved on…..

“What about this Oliver Smears fellow?”

“I have an idea that we all have this theory… the theory is that we all have this idea that we have a theory…that we all have this idea…that we all have this idea that we have a theory…”

This verbal “round” kept repeating itself until diminishing into the background behind the sound of the rising wind outside the room. Different audibles began merging into the gigantic crescendo of wind…. a rushing river, a loud steady chisel chipping away on rock, a bugle leading a calvary charge.

“That we all have this idea that we all have a theory…that we all have this idea that we all have a theory” bounced in and out of the soundtrack.

A stampede of cattle joined into the “Chorus” while passing by the windows of the stark room. The white boards fell to the ground leaving scenes in the windows behind them. A young man balanced atop a large glass top hat, jumping up until finding a balanced landing on a giant rocking glass hat. Each clackity-clack of the rocker became deafening as it joined the impromptu symphony of noises. Another window displaying crashing waves added to the audio file, which in its entirety was now becoming unbearable.

At the peak of the crescendo a bus door loudly opened bringing everything to an abrupt silence.

With the rising sun, Simon Birdsong layed alone on a printed blanket of blue. Next to him was a half filled pipe, guitar and small carving of a bull with a pigeon perched on its head. His eyes slowly opened to a bright blurring silhouette of a figure applying a damp cloth to his forehead.

“Entspann dich, es wird dir gut gehen. Mein Name ist Klaus. Ich bin Arzt. Sie haben eisen kleinen Hitzeangriff erlitten. Verstehst du mich?”

“Ja, ich denke schon…..Warum sprechen wir Deutsch?”

“I’m not sure, but I think it’s best if we move you into some shade. Do you think, if I assist, you’re up to making it over to that bench by the fountain.”

“Possibly.”

The doctor and Simon carefully made their way across the courtyard to find a seat next to each other by the fountain. Only the bubbling sound off the water and dogs playing in the square competed with the other gifts of the day.

“Es tut mir leid, wie lange sind wir schon hier, welcher Tag ist es?”

“Wir sind schon ewig hier, mein Freund…aber fur viele ist heute Mittwoch.”

Simon, looked beyond the playful dogs to the other side of the square to see Pelota feeding her lone bull a carrot while amazingly not scaring off the pigeon perched on his head and turned his head towards Klaus.

“Mittwoch sagst du?”

“Wenn du darauf bestehst.” 🙂