Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Desert Rats

Rock Hill, famous for his role as Detective Grant Ratofski in the under ground film classic The Purple Fingers of Moriah Pussburger, after being stranded in the desert of Arizona for eight hours in sweltering heat, returned to the land of the living after Lyle Pymples, a desert rat, vagabond type of middle-aged man staged an unspectacular rescue.

The type of man Rock would have ridiculed in the city turned out to be his savior. Without Lyle, Rock would likely have died on that lonely stretch of desert sideroad. Lyle took Rock home and shared the kind of simple food and drink the actor would have spurned in the city. It was a lesson in humility. Don’t be arrogant. Don’t be fooled by appearances. The person you spurn one moment could be the one who saves your life.   
    Before proceeding with the story, it might put things in perspective to say a few words about the role that made Rock Hill a welll-known B-movie star. In the cult horror classic, The Purple Fingers of Moriah Pussburger, Rock Hill played the part of the detective Grant Ratofski who witnessed a disturbing event, but nobody would believe him. After listening to Grant describe strange and unusual events that took place in the vicinity of Flatlands Shopping Mall, Chief Wyzntink thought he was nuts and put him on stress leave. 

His account of space alien birds, pink eggs and desert rats required a suspension of disbelief, which pushed the patience of fellow detectives to the limit. Rock Hill insisted he had witnessed Moriah Pussburger mutilating swollen pink eggs laid by an usual bird, which had escaped from a space ship after landing on the roof of a building in some pueblo down in New Mexico. Not only did the unusual bird escape from a space ship, it laid pink eggs that gradually expanded or swelled to the size of beach balls. After about thirty minutes, the eggs exploded in a sneeze of baby gray rats.

     Not only did over a dozen gray rats hatch from swollen pink eggs laid, almost as an afterthought, by an escapee alien bird of unusual shape and size, they began to exemplify, for lack of better words, a communicative dance. Detective Ratofski watched in amazement as the rats performed a kind of parade. After a while, he began to sense the rats were trying to make contact. Rock recorded the movements of the mice in a notebook and deciphered a pattern, similar to the spelling out of letters.

     To begin, the rats gathered in H formation, after which they formed an E, followed by two Ls, only to wrap up the little event with a letter O. Detective Ratofski immediately recognized the word “hello”. He smiled and waved at the rats and shouted hello in reply. The rats responded by standing on hind legs and swaying back and forth. Grant Ratofski was delighted. He’d made contact with rodents from outer space.

     But what about the mother bird? Rock had been so mesmerized with the baby rats, he didn't notice how the strange bird that laid pink eggs which swelled and hatched rats was on the loose, a strange, dangerous looking bird, with a hooked beak, black hair like feathers on the head, a huge, almost bar-tender-type pudding belly and two atrophied arms below ragged purple wings. The bird hopped about on yellow claw feet. Grant gazed up to see the bird headed across the plains, straight towards a shopping mall, where he had recently purchased a five-pack of boxer shorts and a six pack of black cotton tube socks at Jack Hammer’s Work-wear and Sporting Goods Store. It was the only store that carried his size. He didn’t want anything bad happening to that shopping mall.

     Grant jumped up, from where he had been kneeling to examine the rats and took a few steps towards the cruiser and then paused. He couldn’t leave those unusual alien mice behind, but at the same time, it would not be right to allow that alien bird to run amok in the shopping mall. 

Detective Ratofski was torn in two directions. The easiest solution would be to gather up the rats into some sort of container, lock them in the back of the cruiser and then speed to the mall in time to intercept the bird. However, enticing any kind of rats into a container is no easy matter, especially when the only bait he could find was a baloney and lettuce sandwich he’d packed for lunch. He pulled out a slice of baloney, but the rats weren’t interested. He reached out to grab one of the apparently friendly rats, but it swatted his fingertip, creating a prickly sensation, similar to lightly brushing against a thorn.

     Those alien rats could provide a valuable link to other worlds within the universe. They represented unprecedented research potential. It could revolutionize theories about the nature of the cosmos. On a more human level, those rats were cute as hell and they appeared to like him. The rats saw something attractive in Detective Grant Ratofski. They liked his vibes, or maybe they found a man in uniform irresistible. Whatever the cause, a bond had grown between the detective and the rodents.

     The situation was too bizarre for logic. Acting on a hunch, the detective removed his leather jacked and spread it out on the ground. The rats immediately responded by rushing on to the jacket and rolling around on their backs and wagging their tails. Grant tore off his shirt, threw it on top and then quickly turned the bundle of rats into a rouleau. In other words, he bundled up the rats on the jacket and under the shirt and threw them in the back of the cruiser and tore off in pursuit of the bird.

     He drove at top speed into the mall parking lot, just in time to see the strange bird lay two more eggs outside the main entrance to the mall. Rock wasn't the only one to see the bird lay those eggs. The mall manager, Moriah Pussburger, who happened to pull up in front of the front door in his Humvee, saw it too. Moriah burst out of the SUV in a rage.

“You’re in strict violation of egg-regulating bi-laws. I won’t have scruffy-looking birds dumping ugly pink eggs in front of Flatlands Shopping Mall, where we take pride in offering friendly, speedy and efficient service.”

     The bird ignored Moriah and went into the mall as someone opened the door to come out. Moriah pulled off his gloves to reveal purple hands with long claw-like fingers. He walked up to the eggs, which had quickly swollen to the size of beach balls, poked a hole in one of them, lifted the egg and began drinking the gray fluid that leaked out. Moriah guzzled down quite a bit of gray juice, with relish and then paused to wipe his lips. He grabbed the other pink egg and did the same thing, dranking until a huge burp eructed from his belly, causing him to drop the egg.

     Detective Grant turned his head in disgust, only to notice the friendly rats, gazing out the side window of the cruiser. His first thought was that the rats should not see the destruction of the eggs. Such a sight was suitable only for adults.

     Anyway, you get the idea, The Purple Fingers of Moriah Pussburger was a totally gross movie, I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. However, this story concerns what happened to Rock Hill, the actor who played the role of Detective Grant Ratofski. Maybe I’ll tell you about Rock Hill during another radio episode, how his car broke down in the middle of the desert and how a strange, ugly-looking man rescued him. 

The rescue turned out to be a key episode in the life of Rock Hill, for it taught him to not judge a book by its cover. Inside the ungainly-looking man’s body was a heart of gold. It was a humbling experience for the slightly arrogant B-movie star, Rock Hill, to be rescued by a man who scrounged around in the desert to survive and had never held down a regular job for more than two weeks. Extreme hunger and thirst forced Rock Hill to eat and drink what Lyle Pymples had to offer. 

Within minutes of their arrival back at the shack of Lyle Pymples, the wind whipped up a vicious sandstorm, which lasted three days. Rock Hill had little choice but to drink the salty cactus juice beer of Lyle Pymples and to eat squashed locusts and beans.  The glamorous B-movie actor cowered in a shack with a grungy looking, half-crazed desert rat for three days, until the weather cleared and Lyle was able to drive Rock to the closest settlement.

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