Nick LB Mack
Variations on a Theme
We made a small fortune in the mining camps and departed in search of a more tropical clime.
Except the car wouldn't turn over, so we hollowed out its insides and fixed a sail from our
parachutes. On this, our maiden voyage, we soon discovered some formerly sunken lands.
You were up in the crow's nest when you spied the sandy lumps. You lobbed thin skinned fruits
at me until I stirred.
'You're always dozing', you hollered.
'It's the sun', I complained.
'Don't you dare speak so callously', you chastised.
We ran aground shortly thereafter and donned our boots. The land was immeasurable, inasmuch
as we had no way to measure it, and populated by a teeming horde of rabbits.
'This is foreboding', I said surveying the situation.
You licked your monstrous dripping lips and lunged after the dispersing mass.
'I'll only eat the royal host', you screeched. The blood lust in your hollow gaze suggested this was
I snagged the large butterfly net we had on board and chased you down. Tearing at your silken
blouse and cartwheeling to and fro, you managed to avoid capture.
You were a dozen paces ahead of me when you turned, your alabaster skin as red as a radish.
'We mustn't startle the rabbits', you shrieked, topless and foaming at the mouth. Slowly you
unlaced your heavy linen skirt while staring unblinkingly first at the net then at me then back at
All at once your skirt dropped to the sand and you pounced, tearing at my clenched fists. I was
heroic, however, and would not release my trap.
Much later we climbed aboard our resplendent floating heap and caught a sudden gust heading
west. I looked back at you, your broad chest and translucent teeth painted with blood. You were
panting and shaking in sheer delight. You had eaten each and every rabbit like some great
prehistoric predator. In that moment, my love for you was immense.
When we reached the land where others couldn't sleep, we found ourselves awfully tired.
'Not yet', the gathering crowd screeched at us as we reclined pastorally.
So we left. Except we hadn't anticipated this change and were low on provisions. Stopping at the
grocer we purchased many dark loaves and a large pot of butter. As we made our way out of
town you donned a heavy shawl and I almost didn't recognize you. Assuming you were a
marauder, I held my musket to your cheek. You made some mean-spirited reply and I lowered
my weapon in fear and deference.
Hiking into the foothills our bare feet shone bright blue from the cold. We hollowed out our
loaves and formed the soft insides into dense globes. These you hung from your hair saying,
'I'm a massive cosmic body.'
'Mmm', I questioned, having not heard you clearly.
'I exert forces on other lesser bodies', you said much louder.
I knew this was true and nodded in reply, finishing the small soft planets that weren't attached to
you. Shortly thereafter we fit the empty crusts onto each other's feet. I felt like a beautiful and
benevolent dictator being fitted by some demure and undistinguished cobbler. I'm sure you felt
Moving up in elevation we encountered every variety of weather happening all at once. We
were in quite a condition after it all condensed into a single massive snowflake, each arm a
hundred feet long and perfectly articulated in its crystalline form. It blew in all directions before
coming to a serene horizontal standstill above a dense copse just ahead. As we moved towards it
it sank slowly and disappeared in the upper canopy.
Though this seemed quite ominous we were late for an appointment with the clockmaker and
continued on our journey. Reaching his workshop we found a note indicating that the municipal
government had seized this building and all adjoining property to construct a more conceivable
mountain top. The summit's shape was all wrong, we read later in some heavily annotated
periodical, and was nearly impossible to capture in oil paintings.
Another unexpected turn. Additionally, we had converted our larder into practicable footwear and, as a result, hadn't eaten in several hours. In that state there was no possibility of lovemaking and we both sat silently listening to birdsong, you on one boulder and me on another, facing away from each other towards some distant inconceivable vista.
'Well, shucks', was all I could think to say. After a while I looked over and you were licking the last of the butter from the ceramic pot. Shimmering from the greasy tallow you smiled at me wild eyed and I couldn't help smiling in return.
Nick LB Mack is a writer of no renown. His most recent work has been published in Eunoia Review and Right Hand Pointing.