In case you have forgotten, our traveler’s detour has turned from bizarre to frightening. Somehow, he has been flushed into Alzheimer’s Canyon itself, where survival seems questionable.
There’s that rumbling again. Louder. No way can this turn out anywhere near good. Even if I can stay on this wall a little longer, it will only be until the next SAN-DI-FLUSH peels me off and does who-knows-what with me.
“Help! I need help!” I’m screaming now. “Isn’t there anyone here?”
“Well, ahm here, buddy. And y’all don’t need to shout,” says a soft, Southern voice.
“Who…where…what are you? What do I do?”
“That’s a lot of questions from someone out on the ragged edge. Is there any particular order you’d like ‘em answered? Just in case you run out of time, I mean," the voice answers.
“Wh- where can I be safe?”
“Too late for safe -- you goin’ Down, buddy. You gonna hang on for me to get to your other questions? Ah got time.”
“Owww,” is all I can manage to say.
“I believe y’alls first question is Who am I. That’s a deep one. Since we may be a little pressed for time, how ‘bout I just tell you my name for the present? It’s Rhodes, Dusty Rhodes. Question #2: Where am I. That’s easy, same place as you, the edge of Alzheimer’s Canyon. You jest ain’t seeing me! Question #3: What am I. Now y’all gettin’ deep agin. And from y’alls squirmin’ I think I gotta give you the short short version: Ahm an age-less self. You caint see me because ah don’t have a body no more. Don’t need it, nor a mind neither. All those years watchin’ that mind and that body growing stronger, cleverer, if ah don’t mind sayin’ so. Then, like everyone else around here, watchin’ ‘em shrink...shrink to no more no less than a turkey turd. Well, since this is the short version, I’ll save you the details, but I decided along the way that I didn’t want to return to the beautiful pile where we all started with the final breath, like everyone else do.
"Now, didn’t you have one more question?”
“Yes, yes! What do I do now?”
“A very good question, and sadly, no time for an in-depth talk. No time, because you goin’ DOWN, pal. A little advice: don’t even try to hang on that sand-slippery wall no more. You can’t go back and you know it. Let it go, buddy. It’s simple…you are goin’ DOWN.
I release my claws on the sandy stone and, in an instant.….DOWN….away from everything I can see (and can’t see!)….DOWN….as the chaos ramps up all around me….DOWN….trying to keep my head above the choking mess roaring at me from everywhere….DOWN.…
At long, long last the roaring and the falling ease off, and with amazement I realize again: I’m not dead yet. I try to dust myself off a bit, but that’s pretty much hopeless. The dust is settling everywhere, including right where I am…wherever that might be.
Time to take stock, yet again. Once again, I pass the “wiggle test.” Nothing obviously broken. Never mind that up and down seem about the same difference in this choking smog. I remember feeling the sweaty palms of panic as I tried so desperately to cling to that wall seconds ago. Then, the depthless terror of letting go, abandoning myself to whatever grisly end was in store for me.
Why do I have no idea where in the world I am?
And, was that just today that I took that miserable detour that landed me in this miserable sandbox?
“Now, that warn’t so bad, war it, cowboy??