His mouth claws the ground; his teeth, however, pull at a cave of endless fur.
A small glint of metal rushes across his lips.
He angles himself to grasp it, touching it with his tongue.
A hole? In the middle, tiny.
Even edges, no sharp bits.
He imagines the tan back of a dromedary camel, sat in a dark cherry rocker, long toes gripping a set of needles.
Then he imagines the reverse.
He caresses the edge of his tongue against the smooth metal, exploring the triangle, the square.
The circle in the center.
Things like dots stick up in a line down the center, like the track of a ski slope cart.
So it’s a zipper, then.
His lips curve across, erupting in a gleam that is wholly Cheshire.
He grips with his teeth and pulls with his jaw, organizing the mechanism with agile lips.
He tugs. He yanks.
How did the zipper get inside, he wonders as he begins to see progress, a bleed-through of light into his little cave.
Drip, drop, drip.
Like water in a deep cavern.
Trkkkkkkk goes the backward zipper, born forward by his mouth.
Fur agitates his ankles, burning his knees. He squirms.
It rubs against his bits, biting him with little fires.
It squirms, itching against his stomach.
His tightening nipples dance in the face of No More Of This Tedium.
The pooling light becomes a wave of triangular rays, superimposed on rainbow rings.
Jack spills out of Jack, and into the sun.
The green of grass and mud greets him.
Dirt stuffs his nose, earthy and charitable.
The Time Agent is, it appears, a smudge in someone’s back yard.
A screen door closing.
Jack blinks against the day, letting the grit fall from his long eyelashes.
His delighted blue orbs latch blearily onto the yellow plaster trousers of a sturdy, faded lawn gnome.
Leading past the little gnome, there is a series of barefoot tracks leading into the house that owns that screen door.
“Locked, it looks like,” Jack murmurs, getting up and dusting off. A sudden glare from the sun skirts across his vision, singing something as it seems to lay a track of fire in the grass for a moment.
His eyes float up, following.
The breeze is breaking and entering through a small window…
The yard turns like a merry go round; the white house melts into the edges of a bowl, and the screen door becomes a silvery decorative line, just above the strange green noodles.
In his hand, there is a smashed fruit; red bits of peel reveal the pale cream flesh of a superbly depressed apple.
Hearing that whistle again, he ducks another of the falling fruit, diving backward onto one knee and a hand.
The hand curves around its landing spot; fake fur… a zipper.
Jack turns around…
“The panda!” he breathes, his chest heaving.
Then he relaxes.
The silver glint of the zipper is shining in the afternoon sun, a testament to Anahata, the green chakra.
“Hirsute…’ he says, grinning, appreciating the situation along with his chin. Then he stands up again, letting the furry costume slip back onto the grass.
He walks away from it, toward the gnome again.
A pile of apples shifts from the roof of the house, casting a strange shadow for a second as they fall, a triangle made of dots; one, two, three, four.
Jack watches the shade mutate out of sync as it grows toward the ground, then stops.
There is someone in the room with the open window.
He draws several heavy breaths, then strides over to the window and its high sill, grasping the edge for a better vantage.
Behind him, more apples plummet from the loud and cloudless sky and plop to the ground.
Soon, the gnome is up to his knee pants in the red and green fruit.
Jack peers into the room.
There is a man inside the well-shaded room; he is standing there, wrapped in a sheet. The sheet is draped like a toga around him, held by one hand clamped hard to the hip.
The face is hidden by a cascade of odd shadow from a part of the room Jack can’t see- probably a vase of something.
More apples fall outside; Jack can hear them tumbling down, hitting others already below; in fact his feet are balled on a pile of them, reaching tippy toe.
The man in the room has changed position; now all ten of those lovely square strong fingers are wrapped around an apple, part silver part gold.
Jack blinks again, feeling his fingers tilt in on the cold metal of the sill. His hands hurt, but… that man…
This time, the apple is closer to the man’s face. The light it emits will illumine his features, and then Jack can…
The man raises those fingers, giving up the apple in offering to his face.
“Just a little more,” Jack whispers, but then…
The window flies out of view in a rush of red, green and white and little black seeds.
Jack falls painfully, decisively back into the sea of apples that was once a back yard.
He feels something in his hand, tries to raise it to his eyes.
Every tiny bruise is a bastard with a hammer as he struggles to raise his arm from the weight of the terrorist fruit.
“This isn’t funny, Doc,” he mutters softly as his hand is finally freed, “…apple pie doesn’t even begin to enter into it.”
With a sigh, he gingerly bends his arm in front of his face, turning his wrist to face the object to himself.
Long small bit, check.
Smooth, slightly rough, slender, narrow with a bit of a sharp tip and a little round pushy bit, check.
Round, dimpled four times on bottom, but only once on top, check.
Roundish, dumpy, check.
Smelling of sweet pie, of spicy cinnamon, the juice of a lemon and warm summers, check.
Of course it’s an apple.