July 12, 2015
When you see things around you, you don’t only capture a single moment in time. You can also see their entire history in an instant. Almost like a photo of an elderly couple that is still together.
That’s what I see when I visit the museum. Or to put it more specifically, the Great Sauropolis Museum and Gallery of Arts, Science, and Heritage. The GSMGASH. There’s no real acronym but I like to put acronyms on everything.
Guess it’s sort of a habit with me. I do it automatically.
Anyways, I was saying about time. Yes, where was I? Oh, yeah! Once in a while, when you plan to do something or set a goal there are times when…well, the result you were avoiding is exactly the result you get. Things sort of…turn against you.
Let’s start from the…well, the start, obviously.
I was on a date with Lilia. We were on our way to the same museum I was talking about earlier. It was near the downtown area of the city. Under regular circumstances, there would be half-filled streets and people commuting.
But as you’ve seen in the previous two stories, things were anything but normal. Amarkia was still recovering from what the UN and the Amarkian rebels had done. There were several construction crews still picking up pieces of debris and returning stolen items to their place.
And occasionally, a funeral vehicle passed by.
You wouldn’t understand how my heart was torn when I saw how it was possible that humans were greedy enough to do this to us.
But I don’t want to start talking about that all over again. I’m trying to forget about all that. Lilia and I were walking up the steps of the Museum. Several soldiers were returning many artifacts and paintings that the UN had tried to steal.
But even with all that, there were still some people visiting the place. Once we entered the building and paid for our passes, Lilia said to me, “Well, the good thing is that things are getting normal again.”
I shrugged. “I guess so. But things will never be the same. I still…sigh. Well, I don’t want to stay anchored to the past. My main priority is to help the nation heal and move on.” I smiled at her. “I want people to be able to overcome this and have hope, you know?”
She nodded. “Yeah. I guess no one better than you knows about that.”
We started walking through the museum. The first section was about Amarkia’s Early History. Mostly about Amarkia’s first several million years. Writing was developed quite early in Amarkian History, so pretty much always has there been written history and recorded events.
There were several fragments of ancient scrolls and codices with vivid illustrations and now-extinct languages. English wasn’t always the main language. Modern Amarkian is still widely spoken and taught in schools and universities. Middle Amarkian is only known to a few prestigious professors and students. But Early Amarkian is basically an extinct language known only from some very fragmentary pieces and is currently challenging for linguistics.
“Hey, Spiny look!” she said pointing through the glass box. It a gold carving of one of Amarkia’s first queens, Almestra.
“Oh, yeah,” I said. “According to legend, she’s the one who was once married to Ogthar of Poseidios. He was supposedly the one discovered the Black Ruby and planned to create and army of mechanical dinosaurs to invade and take over the country.”
“What happened to him?”
I shrugged. “There’s no written historical account of what happened, just legends.”
“What does it say? The legend I mean?”
“Well, supposedly his own men turned against him and locked him into a metal prison with the Black Ruby. Then they buried it where no one would ever find it. It was buried so well that even they couldn’t find it later. And they say that to this day, Ogthar is still alive in his prison in the Lost World Beneath, under the mountains.”
She was staring at the artifact through the glass. “You think that all those things are true?”
I shrugged. “Who knows? I’d like to think that most legends are true. Like Atlantis or the center of the Earth.”
“Well, we’ve been surprised before, haven’t we?”
“Yeah. We sure have. Hey, speaking of surprises, I’ve got one for you.”
“Really? What is it?”
“Do you like to swim?”
She blinked her eyes and smiled. “You want us to go for a swim?”
“Why not? It’s the middle of summer, and we need a break from all the stress and with all those things we haven’t spent together.”
She blushed a little bit. “Well…I don’t know…I mean…it might be fun.”
I leaned over and kissed her cheek. “It’s something I’d like to try. I know I’m not really a hunk but I figured it’d be fun. What do you say?”
She smiled again. “All right. But where?”
“The pool at the Palace, of course. “
“You have a pool?”
“Yeah. It’s a really big one. You can play water polo and everything. Have you ever played water polo?”
“No, not personally.”
“It’s just a combination of swimming and volleyball. It’s really fun. I could teach you some.”
After leaving the museum, we stopped at Arnold’s to get a snack. We sat at our usual booth and got two ice cream sundaes. We were just talking when Roger came in. “Hey, guys,” he said.
“Hi, Roger,” said Lilia.
“What’s up?” I said to him.
“Oh, nothing. Just hanging around. Mind if I join you?”
“Sure, sit down, man.” He sat down across from Lilia and I. His hair was…well, messed up was one way to put it. “Hey, what happened?” I asked.
He stared blankly. “About what?”
“Your hair looks like it got tangled up in a giant pencil sharpener then got all the shaving and smacked them in layers.”
Lilia gasped and looked at me. “Spiny! Why did you say that?”
Roger just laughed. “Oh, it’s okay. Spiny’s right about the hair. I did have a, uh experience on the way over here.”
I sipped some hot fudge with nuts, which were by the way, simply mouth-watering. Anyways, I leaned forward and starting listening, waiting for what Roger would say next. “What?”
“Well, aren’t you going to tell us?” I exclaimed.
“Yeah, or do we have to hear the dirty version from the kids on the street?” said Lilia. “Ow, hey! Spiny! Why’d you nudge me in the ribs?”
“Look who just scolded me a second ago for saying that about Roger’s hair,” I said, sneering at her.
She tilted her head and just stared. “You said an insult, I just asked a question.”
I chuckled and rolled my eyes. “Ah, Roger. What can I say? You gotta love her.”
He agreed. “Well, all right. I’ll more or less try to describe what happened. Well, I came here from Waterfall City to Steirka on the train. (Steirka is a prosperous northern suburb of Sauropolis.) Anyways, Roger continued, “So, once I was there, I took the bus to my usual stop when I visit here with you guys.”
“But what’s that got to do with your hair?” Lilia asked.
Roger made a gesture and said, “I’m getting there. Well, I got here quite early and I know that you guys don’t usually come to Arnold’s until about now. So, to kill time, I decided to go rent some rollerblades and pass the time.”
“Oh, yeah, you said it’s one of your favorite pastimes, right?” Lilia asked.
Roger nodded. “Right. So I was there for a good long while. I actually have a good time and talked to a lot of nice people. The time went by and I decided to get down here. So I ran out of there and stared blazing down the street. And…”
He went silent. I tell you, it was so interesting and he quieted down so quickly he sounded like a radio orchestra whose power just went off abruptly.
“And, and, and? What happened?” I asked. I mean, please! “What does all have to do with your messed-up hair?”
He lowered his head in shame. He was so low; you’d think he was a meerkat. And as Timon said, they’re so low on the food chain, they’re underground. Well, anyways, he didn’t exactly answer in a direct, straightforward manner.
“Well…the hair wasn’t all.”
“Roger. What are you talking about? You’ve lost me.”
He slowly stood up taller in his seat and took off his jacket. His was shirt was…well, try to throw your shirt to a bunch of desperate and hungry wolves and you’ll see what I mean.
Lilia and I both stared completely agape. “Yeah, I uh, was coming down the street…only trouble was I still had the rollerblades on.”
“You mean to tell me that you were running on that downhill street at top speed?” Lilia asked.
Roger nodded. “Yeah, and uh…”
At that moment, guess who decided to walk right in?