Tagged: california

Horizon

Dear Planet Earth,

We drove all through the night, heading in a single direction to find our missing companions. It was a long shot, even by global mole men invasion standards.

We started having real conversations about what could have happened. Sure, mole people could have kidnapped them, but why? Why leave us? Why use ninja-like skills to take everything but my broken walkie talkie, but keep us alive? Did our friends leave on their own? It seemed like we were all getting along just hunky dory, all things considered. Yeah, the army guys made all the major decisions, but no one seemed to complain about it.

The word “tyranny” came up. Along with “abandoned,” “suicide,” “spy.” “Rapture.”

I was squashed in the back seat next to Maria. Our bare arms touched each other several times during the bumpy trek, and I felt like I was back in middle school, wondering whether the contact bothered or excited her. Portly Private Linares crushed me on the other side. He didn’t smell nearly as good.

Then we saw it — 90 to 100 miles away on the horizon. The rising sun illuminated its silhouette, instilling an otherworldliness that it already had enough of on its own. Our first Californian drill.

In the Beginning

Dear Planet Earth,

The horror and confusion from that first day seems like a lifetime ago. It’s only been a week, but I still feel like an old man remembering the days we searched throughout the city for our presumably kidnapped comrades, defiantly holding on to hope and a “leave no man behind” mentality.

“Rachel!”

We shouted their names from a Jeep we stole. We used to use the word “stole” back then.

“Randall!”

Malls, gas stations, restaurants. We raided any place we thought had the slightest chance of having our friends; all the while, foraging, storing for the upcoming fruitless manhunt we all knew (but never admitted) was coming.

“Margaret!”

Apparently, Mrs. Bing’s first name was Margaret. It echoed along the empty streets of Los Angeles as the uncaring sun baked us from above.

“Mr. Ozawa!”

Finally, a clue. A tire track from our transport truck — fresh and southbound, if Lieutenant Halston’s tracking skills could be believed. And back in the beginning, we were willing to believe anything that could bury away an ugly truth.

Paparazzi Boot Camp

Dear Planet Earth,

It’s been a long time coming, but Halston and Karter finally gave us some training with rifles. I’m surprised how easy it really is to use these things. Granted, we only got the most basic of basics in the hour-long crash course, but it’s still clearly unnerving that these weapons — created exclusively to kill people — can be used by ten-year-old girls.

“I got it! I killed him!” Rachel shouted with glee. The scattered remains of Justin Bieber’s head blew over the edge of the hotel.

“You sure did,” Karter said. He grinned mischievously and yelled, “Some of you got a real knack for this.”

I narrowed my eyes on Jennifer Lopez, pointed my weapon on her iconic legs, up to her perfectly sculpted chest, just under her pink lips that defined pouty.

“That’s right, man. Just below the chin.” Karter came behind me and matched his own line of sight with mine. “Let the rifle do the work for you. Let it move just –”

CHKTKCHKTKCHKTKCHKTK!

I coughed, rubbed my shoulder, and waved away the thin layer of smoke before me — only to see a perfectly intact Jennifer Lopez staring right back at me.

“Jesus,” Randall whispered nearby. Directly in front of him lay the stiff bodies of Stephen Spielberg, Nicole Kidman, and Audrey Hepburn. “Well, keep at it.”

A few yards away from him, Maria stood over Denzel Washington and Johnny Depp’s obliterated figures. She examined the areas that were once elaborate eye sockets and nasal passages.

“Die, motherfucker!” screamed Rachel. And Samuel L. Jackson’s intimidating frame toppled after a few deafening clicks.

Karter put a hand on my shoulder. “You got this, man. Don’t overthink it.”

I tried not to think of anything, tried to push away the memories of everyone I’d lost and everything I’d never have. Parents, friends, college, career — only dreams now in a world the mole men have turned into a hopeless nightmare.

CHKTKCHKTKCHKTKCHKTK!

I scanned the globs of wax that once looked like Jennifer Lopez and grinned.

Suite Setup

Dear Planet Earth,

I feel like I’ve been using the words “abandoned” and “desolate” too much in these posts lately, but those are the only terms I can think of to describe Los Angeles right now. There’s no one here. Dusty cars line the streets, some crashed into street lights, others frozen forever in a traffic jam that will never let up. Electronic billboards flash messages for movies, vodka, strip clubs — anachronistic reminders from a culture so swiftly extinguished.

We checked-in to the swanky Renaissance Hollywood Hotel and Spa and helped ourselves to the executive suites. It’s no Bellagio, for sure, though with a 6,400 square-foot spa and a diversely stocked, full-sized refrigerator in every room, this place is emanating pure swank.

Most of our crew is out scavenging for supplies in the shell of a city, but I offered to help Maria care for Mrs. Bing, whose scattered thoughts are becoming more and more unnerving everyday. Maria worked in a nursing home before the mole men attacked, so she’s more than qualified to babysit one hysterical old woman.

Lovely, lovely Maria. Okay, my intentions for staying here aren’t exactly pure, but my leg still isn’t 100%, you know.

You know?

New Real America

Dear Planet Earth,

Two cars, six rest stops, and nineteen stale cinnamon rolls later, we’ve made it Los Angeles. I’m charging up my electronics in the least disgusting Starbucks on the Hollywood Walk of Fame — it’s hard to tell if the mole men made this place such a rotting hellscape or if this is what LA always looked like.

I’ve only been to California twice for vacation, and even then my mom made sure to keep us only around the San Diego area. Still, there’s a charm to this place, a feeling in the air that we’re experiencing the real heart of America’s past, present, and future. It’s the same feeling I’d get sometimes walking the Strip back in Vegas.

This soulless neon cesspit, I’d think to myself in a drunken stupor. This is life.

But that was all a different life — in a different world. Homework, money, sexual frustration. My problems today involve constipation and an elderly woman going through a complete mental breakdown.

Mrs. Bing started wailing uncontrollably somewhere past Barstow. She begged us to stop driving, to let her go and meet back up with her daughter. So, we’ve stopped. We’ll try to find some other survivors, stock up on supplies, and hope to the Flying Spaghetti Monster that Mrs. Bing gets her shit together before we’re ambushed yet again.

Maria later whispered to me that her daughter was one of the many we lost at Apple Valley.

Fear and Loathing in Los Angeles

Dear Planet Earth,

We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when I had the unshakable feeling that our troubles with mole people had just begun.

Ha. I’ve been dying to use that line ever since I knew we’d be driving past infamous Barstow. You have to keep it light around here sometimes.

Anyways, we snuck out of the mall late last night (assuming that the mole men keep their guard down at night). Maria, Rachel, the soldiers, and I had been suggesting for awhile that we stay on the move in the general direction of Fort Kross. The old people were intent on continuing our Cinnabon camp out for as long as we could. It all came down to an anticlimactic vote that only left Randall grumbling. I don’t think Mr. Ozawa speaks English.

There’s been no sign of mole people or huge bats yet, but we’re not looking forward to whatever’s going to greet us in LA. It’s become apparent that they began the invasion by taking out all of our major cities first. I thought the west coast was relatively untouched by everything — last week changed all that.

The Apple Valley Massacre

Dear Planet Earth,

We’re still playing cat and mouse. We’ve been playing (and losing) for the past five days. The nine of us left.

It started when we felt some tremors from below. Our first thoughts went to the October earthquakes that heralded the entrance of the mole people’s massive drills. They got more and more intense the closer we got to a city named Apple Valley. (I dare you to try to think of a city that sounds safer and more unassuming than “Apple Valley.”)

Just as we reached some decaying factory at the city limits and got out of the trucks to search for supplies, the ground broke apart and the monstrous behemoth drill snake appeared. Women screamed. Soldiers screamed. Shit, I probably screamed. I was face to nightmarish face with a weapon I could never hope to comprehend. My years and years of dutiful study of alien invasion movies hadn’t prepared me in the least for interacting with this very real — and very fast approaching — threat.

We sprinted back to the trucks. I lost my cane somewhere. I didn’t care — I couldn’t care. I could hear the vibrating hum from the drill grow louder and louder as the ground tossed me up and down and backwards. The serene, albeit decrepit, scene I had walked past only minutes earlier was now transformed into a full-fledged war zone. Bricks crumpled like Legos on all sides of me. Cars exploded in swift yellow clouds, the heat and smoke determined to engulf me. And all the while, the unforgiving earth was steadily pulling me back towards the torturous death machine.

I don’t know how I made it onto the truck. I don’t know how we starting camping out in this mall. I don’t know how we keep putting off the inevitable.