"The Other Side of Chaos"
Journey to the Center of the Earth
by John Pirillo
The other side of chaos was as close as the Walgreens and as far as the Taj Mahal. When Erin got up that morning in the small town of Hoover, California, he was expecting to grouse about the weather again. It always rained. Over and over and over. He had heard on the news report that they had the third highest rainfall in the nation, though you would never have thought so with the horrible drought going on throughout Southern California.
He whisked through his morning rituals, shaving, grooming his hair, powdering his arms and underwear, and then slipping into his usual worn jeans and t-shirt. Everyone knew him in town as the t-shirt man. Or Jeans. He preferred Jeans, it sounded cool.
After all, he was a bright eyed and bushy tailed genius of a hippy. He had managed to find his niche in the small town, where the Sheriff was a portly man who rarely left his office, except for accidents, and the town gossips were regular clients of his. He always delivered and they always smoked. The new pot laws weren't going to cut into his business one bit, though he was sure it would in the larger cities for those scoundrels who brought the green gold into the country on the backs of immigrants and machine gun toting gangsters.
"Hey Jeans!" He was greeted by Molly Two Burgers. His made up name for her. She served the best burgers in town. Veggies. No one ate meat in Hoover. They were all vegetarians and except, for the Sheriff, who ate the occasional chicken sandwich, liked it that way. The local realtors usually discouraged any immigrants with big money who wanted to buy into the city and change it. If they weren't veggie lovers, they didn't belong there. Also, the local Mayor had made it the law that everyone had to vote yes for a new neighbor to move in. Course that was never done in public, the politically correct idiots would have had them sued ten times south of summer if they found out and they'd be big news across the nation.
No one wanted to be big news. A nice quiet leisurely life was the order of the day and carefully maintained in the open, and behind closed doors.
There was nothing nasty in it, they just didn't like the world out there, the meanness in it, the clambering and climbing over one another to achieve. To achieve what...a mortgage that no one could afford and the non-named depression took away from them and cars that cost a hundred times more than a person could afford.
None of the Hooverians, as they called themselves, none of them wanted to be part of the United States as it stood today. They called it the Lost Continent of the United States, because it had lost its way and sunk beneath the waters of logic and reason.
No one bought into that trash about God ruling from the state capitol and none of them believed that all children were angels. They were only too clued in about how children were, and made it their earnest duty to see to it that no child got away with anything. Ever!
The way they did that was to make sure the adults always did their duty and that no child was ever spoiled. It was terribly hard work for the smoke loving, peace hazed citizens, but they relished the idea of bringing up souls that actually had minds of their own, if not as rebellious kinds as now populated the larger part of the states.
Evans picked up the morning paper that Molly Two Burgers threw down before him and read the headlines. "Two eggs. Sunny side up. Four sausage. Golden brown..."
"Yeah. I know, Jeans. And no toast. A bagel with raisons and cinnamon with heaps of wet butter."
"Read me like a psychic."
"I am a psychic." She laughed.
"Yeah. But only to those ornery citizens who make the mistake of touring our humble little town. Speaking of which."
He laid the paper down. "My bones have been aching for days now. And you know what that means."
She handed his order over to Jake behind the counter and he began putting together the breakfast for Jeans. He waved and Jeans waved back. Jake was deaf, but he was one smart fellow. He made the best organic muffins this side of...well wherever!
Jeans leaned across the morning headlines....Terrorists cut off the heads of two state leaders in the Middle East and cook them for breakfast. "It means we're in for a big...gigantic change of weather."
"Well, I don't believe that to be true, Jeans. I do see those kinds of things, you know."
He felt the ache again in his bones. It was like a low, low vibration that was slowly building up within his body. "It keeps getting stronger, like someone was pressing me down into the earth."
"Well you sures hell ain't no black hole, Jeans." She laughed.
He returned the laugh, and then sighed. "I sure hope I'm wrong, because I don't want no one to get killed."
That stopped her grin. "Killed?"
He nodded. "Remember last time I had one of these, Brown and Sugar drove their car off the rain slicked bridge into the gully where the river was swollen. They never stood a chance."
Her face clouded over a moment in grief. "I loved them twos like hell."
"Yeah. Everybody did."
She went to her phone.
"Making that phone call."
He nodded. He knew what that phone call meant.
She did it, and then returned.
When his breakfast came steaming on a plate to him, he ate it quietly, even as more and more of the citizens poured into the small cafe to sit quietly, watching him. Finally, he finished, then stood up and faced the crowd of about thirty. The place was jam packed. The rest would be listening and watching on the video systems him and Jed, his brother, had installed throughout the town so this kind of thing could be done on a moment's notice without any great effort on anyone who might be inconvenienced to come at that time.
"Something big is about to happen."
"Better believe him."Molly Two Burgers urged.
Bread. A very large man. A baker, with huge Italian eyes and a meaty stomach from eating half of what he cooked stood up. "How big?"
"Bigger than your belly."
Everyone laughed, but Bread. "My tums pretty damned big, Jeans. You sure?"
"Yeah. Damn sure."
Bread, who was the Mayor, turned to face the other citizens. "Alright then. You know the drill."
Everyone began spilling out of the cafe, making it feel empty and hollow after all the humanity that had been breathing in it. Whiffs of pot smoke edged his nostrils. He wondered briefly who had been dabbling, then forgot it when Bread came over and sat next to him. He motioned Jeans to sit and he did.
"Weather like last?"
"No. Definitely not weather. Not that kind at least."
"Can you at least give us a hint of what's coming?"
Jeans hated doing it, but he knew it was a necessity. So he sat down on the floor and fell into his lotus meditation position. He let the world slip away and allowed himself to drift with the cosmos, his senses heightened and alert like a young kids. He felt the thrumming feeling again in his body, but this time it was more tangible, more palpable, as if it had a life of its own. He followed the vibration with his mind and found himself drifting not upwards...where rain and storms might be, but instead down. He felt himself accelerating and going further and further down.
He knew his body at that moment was sweating as if he were in a sauna, his heart palpitating from the effort of his descent, and then he saw it.
Bread and Molly Two Burgers had his body between them, his head in her lap. He opened his eyes. "It's horrible. We can't beat this one."
Bread and Molly Two Burgers looked shaken to their cores.
"There must be something we can do?" Bread urged.
"Yes. There is."
Jeans sat up slowly, wiping at the sweat of his forehead. "Everyone must sleep outside from this moment on. No one stays indoors. No one travels on the bridges, or on the waters. Make sure all our flammables are safely secured. Shore up our food and water supplies."
"Just what are we protecting ourselves from, Jeans?" Bread said as he got up to carry out the suggestions.
"The Big One. A holy god smacking, end of the world, up our ass, dead in the water, god forsaken Big One!"
They all headed in different directions, intent on making sure everyone was as safe as possible. They spent the next four days outside in tents, even when it began to freeze and huge winds began to blow, threatening to destroy their temporary shelters.
Then in the AM of the last day, when everyone began to doubt Jeans and his bones, the earth began to tremble. At first lightly. Jeans felt it in his bones the most. It became so intense he screamed in pain, and then all hell broke loose.
It was like someone had tossed a Nuke into the center of the town. They all fell to the ground as it struck, but no one's eyes left the town view, even as they were tossed and turned like eggs in a skillet by the violence of the shaking. It felt as if God himself had grown angry and decided to smash the earth with his cosmic fist.
Every single building in the town crumbled like a giant fist had whacked them. The two local bridges broke apart and plummeted into the gulches below them. The huge water tower that supplied the town fell over and a flood of water rushed towards everyone, but no one drowned, because their tents were on high ground.
But some were hurt, though precious few, by falling trees. Every single tree for miles was struck down like matchsticks broken by a massive hammer. Children cried out in terror, Bread felt his stomach flip flop as if it might never stop. Molly Two Burgers enfolded her twins in her arms and Jeans did the same, protecting them from flying debris made from the falling trees.
And when it finally ended, when the terror and destruction ended, what remained of Hoover was a huge chasm in the ground. But not one person had died. Nor would they. They had obeyed the laws of common sense and not ignored the warnings that had come to them, however unscientifically through Jeans.
And Jeans. Well, he had managed to save his crop and they might struggle a bit for awhile to get their food supplies back to normal again, but no one would run out of smokes.
And one more thing happened, Jeans never meditated again after that. What he had seen had changed him. He stopped smoking the green gold or any other color. He sold it to administer relief to those who needed it, but he refused to ever touch it again. Part of him knew that what had happened was more than an accident, for he had seen the source of the Big One. He never told one person what he had seen and never would, for fear of what it might draw to them if he did. No, instead he dedicated his time to helping the others rebuild their homes, plant crops, and heal the sick. Jeans had become a kind of saint in a way. Even if by accident.