Volume III, Issue II Summer 2004

Uma Thurman in a Push-up Brassiere

It blazed into the atmosphere, hell-bent on burrowing down to the center of the earth. The friction of gaseous molecules diminished its mass in a spectacular light show, and a fiery remnant of the original hit explosively, gouging out a crater big enough to bury an SUV in, just off the patio in the back yard of the small stucco house belonging to Clete and Juanita Johnson.

The jolt of the impact launched Clete right out of bed, away from a dream involving Uma Thurman in a black lace push-up brassiere. Shaken, groggy, he rose from the rug rubbing an eye with a knuckle as he shuffled to the sliding glass door. He opened it, turned on the patio light, took one look at the destruction of his lawn and muttered: "I'll be God damned to hell."

His wife, Juanita, called from the bed, "You will be if you don't turn off that light and let me get my sleep." She, being heavier than her husband, had been able to remain in bed.

crater Ginger, Juanita's little bug-eyed Chihuahua, nestled between the slumbering couple, had been launched as Clete had, only higher. She'd hit the roof with a clunk and come down skittering into hiding beneath the bed. But she regained her senses quickly and went into a defensive mode, bursting from her hiding place and zipping between Clete's legs, yapping crazily as she dashed across the patio on a mindless territory-protection agenda against the unknown interloper out there in the night. Blinded by her reflexive intent, Ginger noticed the new hole too late. Over the edge she flew, out over the new crater's maw, propelled forward by the running motion of her spindly legs – swimming in the air without falling, like a space station mascot, illuminated by the beam of the flashlight shone over the fence by next-door neighbor Ellis Leahy, who, roused from a beery slumber by the crater-maker's seismic force, was in the process of checking out the damage.

"Holy shit!" he said, training the beam on the floating Chihuahua as she yipped and piddled in her panic, mid-air, with her urine forming itself into gelatinous droplets that failed – as did their source – to fall to the Earth.

Two police cruisers roared up to the curb in front of the Johnsons' house in under five minutes, followed by two competing San Diego television station news vans, pulled by their dispatchers from the regular assignments – an avocado grove stake-out involving a story about a million-dollar black market quacamole ring (Channel 8), and an assignment concerning a troop of transvestite street hookers flitting around nightly in the old downtown (Channel 10).

By the time the two on-camera reporters had elbowed each other like a couple of Roller Derby queens to gain entrance to the Johnsons' back yard through the side gate, Ginger the Chihuahua had been rescued, drawn from her levitation over the localized area of zero gravity by the suction at the end of a metal extension tube affixed to the hose of Juanita's roaring vacuum cleaner, wielded, at Juanita's direction, by her husband. The dog, ensconced now in Juanita's big-armed embrace, shivered and whimpered as the Channel 8 reporter – small and stylish, strikingly pretty in a nondescript way – strode out to the edge of the patio in her high heels and turned to face her camera, taking advantage of the delay caused by a technical difficulty suffered by of Channel 10's malfunctioning camera.

The Channel 8 reporter arranged her face into an expression of seriousness for the camera, as the fat man she'd spied on her entrance to the yard (Ellis Leahy, clad in a pair of cut-off flannel pajama bottoms and a t-shirt that failed to completely cover his prodigious beer belly) floated above the crater, grinning like a fool, flapping his arms in gentle motions, looking for all the world like a preposterously un-airworthy butterfly surrounded by globules of water supplied by one of Clete's broken sprinkler pipes.

The reporter, drew in a deep breath; in her view, this was big. This was the story that would lift her out of the backwater into a bigger, more lucrative marketplace, away from assignments concerning avocado thieves and tainted storm drain runoff and into the realm of news stories with meat on their bones, in Los Angeles, or (dared she hope) New York. A career lift supplied by her first on the scene status at ...

... what? What the hell was in that hole that could make this grinning idiot drift around like an feather in an updraft? Where did it come from? Think fast, girl, and get on camera.

She patted her hair, checked her lipstick in her compact mirror, snapped at her cameraman: "Get ready to shoot, numb nuts," as she shuffled to the crater's edge and trained a somber face at the camera.

"Roll, Goddamn it!" she hissed with a bit more than her normal dose of venom; because it looked as though the little blonde Channel 10 reporter had finally berated her cameraman into solving the problem with his malfunctioning equipment.

So Channel 8 rolled, and their reporter proclaimed in a dire tone: "Something from the cosmos has paid us a visit; and as you can see ..." she gestured behind her as Ellis Leahy mugged for the camera, "... whatever it was has caused a shift in the laws of physics, as we know them ..."

As we know them. She liked that. The choice of words indicated the opening up of a vast storage of heretofore undiscovered knowledge; and who was first on the scene? Who else but San Diego's Channel 8 news reporter, Marissa Maloni.

The melody for the Frank Sinatra song, "New York, New York," whispered into her head as she improvised her craterside report.

Meanwhile, Ellis Leahy, who could never resist a camera, took the opportunity to have himself recorded for posterity, turning his back to the lens and tugging his shorts down to treat the two local news stations (Channel 10 was rolling now) to a moon shot, a milk-white, pimply ass that set out of site below the rim of the fresh crater as gravity, inexplicably, eased its way back in the direction of normal.

Marissa Maloni of Channel 8 was unaware of this setting of the moon and what it implied, though. Her attention was focused on the competition. She wanted to trump them bad. She was New York-bound, and that little blonde bimbette from Channel 10, Kelli Kranston, wasn't. So with participatory journalism and George Plimpton in mind, Marissa announced to the camera that the laws of physics were going to be turned upside down by this unidentified extraterrestrial object buried in the back yard of this modest home, and then she tossed her microphone over her shoulder. She failed to notice that it fell out of sight and bounced off Ellis Leahy's head. Her career was on the line. Opportunity knocked! So she rose up on her tiptoes and made the leap out over the crater, spinning off a pirouette at the zenith of her arc.

The adrenaline rush of the prospect of losing this story to the competition put a great deal of spring into Marissa's jump. And though Ellis had drifted downward to meet the wet earth, gravity wasn't at absolutely one-g just yet. A remnant of extraterrestrial buoyancy lingered, then blinked out a half a second after Marissa Maloni reached her peak.

Camera The petite dark-haired reporter hovered there a half-second longer (and no more) than she would have under circumstances of absolute normalcy, as her expression – in this frozen moment as she felt the familiar tug – changed from supremely assured to suddenly horrified at gravity's unexpected assertion. Then she fell like a stone – not the gentle downward drift that Ellis had experienced, but a plummet that dropped her atop that man, as he attempted – in a knee-high puddle of muddy water supplied by the severed sprinkler line – to tug his sawed-off pajama bottoms back up so he could climb back up to the patio.

The two cameras recorded her fall from sight, and then their wielders shuffled forward to catch the action down in the hole.

Ellis, who had been knocked off his feet by the microphone, had just risen, his pajama bottoms tangled around his thighs, when Marissa M. slammed down across his shoulders, dropping him again. The cameras, from just slightly different perspectives, picked up the action as he and the reporter – slipping-and-a-sliding now – each fought to regain their feet, clutching at each other, pushing one another way, cursing, writhing, then falling again – SPLASH! – in a desperate embrace, into a slick clump at the bottom of the brand-new meteor crater in Clete and Juanita Johnson's back lawn, as the cops laughed themselves sick, and Ruth, Ellis' wife – in a turquoise terry cloth bathrobe and big pink hair rollers – barked like the bulldog she so resembled, from edge of the crater at her husband, exhorting him in no uncertain terms to pull his Goddamned pants up and get out of that hole with that hussy, or there was gonna be hell to pay.

     ~ ~ ~

There were two noteworthy results of this meeting of the space rock with Mother Earth: Clete, shortly thereafter, had a pool put in, saving a bundle of money on a backhoe guy; and Ellis, his forty-eight-year-old testicles stimulated by his brief but salubrious frolic in zero gravity, impregnated his forty-seven-year old wife, Ruth.

By the time the pool was ready for use, Ruth was visibly pregnant, swollen up like a giant yeast dough, and about as uncomfortable as a woman can be, due in large part, of course, to gravity. Submersion in Clete and Juanita's new pool's cool water – Juanita was generous with the invites – alleviated her weight-gain aches and pains greatly, though.

But one thing was obvious: gravity in the vicinity of that meteor strike was not normal. It wobbled; it waxed and waned; it lessened at times to the point where the water in the pool's center bulged up (a full moon seemed always to be involved) a good three feet higher than the water that lapped the edges.

Not that Ruth and Juanita let this get in the way of a good soak; and one warm evening in late June, the ladies floated on high, pool center, as Clete sizzled up some Polish sausages on the barbecue and drank a few brews with Ellis on the patio, and the shivering Chihuahua Ginger yapped at poolside, desirous of Juanita's embrace.

"Well come on, Gin-Gin," Juanita called to her bat-eared doglet. "You can swim. Jump in and swim to Mama."

The turquoise water, swelling high as the moon slipped up above the distant blue peak of the mountains to the east, had a substantial look to it. As if it were gelatinous; and indeed, the force of surface tension, under the circumstances, was higher than one would normally expect. So when Ginger placed a tentative paw on the water, she found that she was able to walk on it.

"You notice," Ellis said to Clete as he nodded in the direction of the wives, "that when it's riding high like that, it gives a view of the girls' bodies?" This as Ginger tiptoed in the direction of her Mama.

Clete cast a quick glance at the girls, took in the rotund figures, submerged in the azure bulge of water, their curves and voluptuous accoutrements lifted. "I wonder," he mused, "If we could talk 'em into to takin' off their bathing suits."

In the pool, Juanita scooped Ginger into her arms, and Ruth spread her arms wide and tilted herself up to float on her back, making her pregnancy-enhanced breasts and enormous abdomen break the water like a triumvirate of surfacing whales, as Ellis, going for another beer, said to Clete, "You know I was wonderin' the exact same thing, partner."

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