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Chapter Twenty-two
Stories From the Sky

"Hmm hmm hmm. Hmm hmm hmm..." The midget hummed a song. The words he'd forgot years ago. "Hmm hmm hmm. What is that song?"

Laura crushed her Coke can and threw it into the campfire. "How the hell should I know?" She yelled at the little man.

The midget pulled his stick with a speared marshmallow out of the fire. He waved the burning lump of sugar in the air. "Don't talk to me like that you little bitch."

"You keep pointing that stick at me," Laura threatened, "i'll shove it up your ass."

"Eat me!" Cried the midget

Laura jumped to her feet. "You little fucker." Her fist tightened and her arm swung back.

"Hold it!" David emerged from the woods edge just in time to stop Laura mid swing. "You two stop fighting. Now!" He let her arm go and stepped back towards the woods to pick up the dry branch he had hastily dropped. "I can't leave you guys alone for five minutes without the world self-destructing." He shook his head in disgust, lifted the branch and tossed it into the fire. Red sparks broke from the flames and drifted upward toward the Milky Way, momentarily posing as Red Dwarfs before they extinguished. A fleeting illusion to man's insignificance in the universe that didn't escape David's eye.

"Did anyone bring any hotdogs?" David asked.

"Were we supposed to bring hotdogs?" Laura sat back down on the opposite side of the fire from the midget. "Here, let me look in my purse." She opened her black leather purse and pulled out a white cardboard cylindrical object. "No. That's not a hot dog."

"That's real funny." Snapped the midget.

Laura's face turned red. She had had enough of these two losers and would have walked out if she knew where she was. In the distance she heard the cry of a wolf, and she moved herself closer to the fire. She hated everything about camping: the snakes, the spiders, the prickly things stuck in her hair, she wanted to go home. "What are we doing here?"

David had discovered the marshmallows the little man kept in his knapsack. He held the bag up, "Do you mind?" The midget shook his head. David tossed a marshmallow into his mouth and looked back at Laura. "You know what's wrong with your generation? You're too impatient. You expect life to come at you at the pace of a video game. You can't just sit back and let the mysteries of life to come to you. You guys use too much caffeine and not enough pot."

"Speaking of her generation," The midget asked, "What do you think Bud's up to?"

"I'm not sure," David kicked a clump of dirt into the fire, "but I have some big plans for him."

"Big plans?"

"Big plans."

The little man leaned forward. "So what are you going to do?"

"Well, I don't want to give too much away, but I assure you there'll be several explosions, a car chase through a graveyard, an out of body experience, two pack mules and a band of circus freaks on acid."

"You're gonna get him real good." The midget snickered.

"Real good."

"Teach him not to screw with David Lynch."

"No. He won't be screwing with my stories anymore."

"David's the Man!"

"You're both idiots." Laura could no longer restrain her anger. "You know what's wrong with your generation? Fat guts. You look down at your guts and mistake them for a sign of maturity. You..." she looked at David, "stumbling around in the dark like your the king of the scout masters. You can't even admit you don't know where you are. And you..." she turned to the midget, "can't even keep track of a barefoot guy in a hospital smock."

"That wasn't my fault. The French love me. I couldn't ignore my fans..." The midget must had signed one hundred autographs that day and kissed twice as many old ladies. "Anyway how could I had known that bitch would come back... it was totally nonscripted. David - you know I'm a professional, how can you expect me to work around these amateurs."

"It wasn't your fault little guy." David looked at Laura. "Why must you spoil this beautiful evening? Look around you." David's gestured his hand toward the darken woods. "We are given gift of nature. Look at those straight gothic peeks of the pine trees and listen to those joyous little chirping creatures..."

"They're bugs."

"...and the beautiful clear night sky pricked by millions of stars containing billions of stories. Laura, you know I love you like a daughter. I just want you to be happy." David lifts the bag of marshmallows. "Come on. Let's make some Smores." He put the bag down and moved along beside Laura placing his arm around he shoulder. "Little guy, why don't you tell us a story."

The midget squinted his one bad eye as he thought back to past glorious experiences. He smacked his lips then slowly nodded his head. "i'll tell you guys the story of the night I saw the Big Dipper fly away."

"Wow!" David chuckled. "That would be strange."

"I think it was the summer of eighty one. I had just finished making a movie for Rob Reiner and was taking a well deserved break. It was unusually chilly for Rio that time of year, and somehow I fell asleep underneath my beach blanket. When I woke, up I had no fucking idea where I was. For a moment I though I had been kidnapped and placed in someone's trunk. Then I threw the blanket away, and I could see this beautiful night sky." The midget points up. "Just like this one. I looked around and found the only constellation I knew, the Big Dipper. All of the sudden I noticed that the handle of the Big Dipper is moving. It's like... it was going out to sea. It just kept on moving further and further away. After about two minutes, it was gone."

Laura stared up at the sky. "Well, apparently it has come back."

The midget ignored her sarcasm. "It never left. I looked back and there was the handle of the Big Dipper. Later a maitre d' at the hotel told me they were probably high flying jets or satellites."

"So big deal. You saw some jets."

"Yes, but what are the chances of seeing three high flying jets move across the sky in the exact formation and location of the handle of the Big Dipper. It was a wondrous and mythical experience."

David saw the relevance in the little man's story. "It's beautiful moments like that which give life its serendipity. I know I'm not as old as you but I to have learned the only true experiences come from..."

There was a loud snap of a branch nearby and all three froze their gazes fixed on a spot where the fire's light reached out to the tree line. "Who's there?" David called out but no one answered.

The three sat quietly for a moment then suddenly Ricardo Montalban burst out of the woods. He looked frazzled as he brushed leaves off his sport coat, and his eyes adjusted to the fire's light.

"Ricardo?" Laura questioned.

"Laura?" Answered a surprised Mr. Montalban.

"Ricardo?" David wondered out loud.

"Ricardo." Laura repeated.

"Laura?" Ricardo said.

"Hi Mr. Montalban." Said the midget.

"What are you doing here." Asked Laura.

"What are YOU doing here." Ricardo asked.

"Care for a roasted marshmallow?" Offered the midget.

"Do you know how to get out of here?" Laura asked Ricardo.

"No. I don't even know what State I'm in." Ricardo scratch his head. "Why'd you say you were here?"

"I didn't."

David spoke to himself. "Why are we here?"

Just then all four heard a high pitched whistling sound radiating from across the hills. They all looked up into the night sky and wondered... .

The PX2 laser guided missile broke through a thin layer of clouds and closed in on the bright speck in the desolate forest below. Two seconds later, the earth opened leaving nothing but a crater the size of a small school bus.