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Chapter 3

     The Story The Authors
Meanwhile, flying high through the cooling evening air in the claws of several dozen lobsters, Barbara and Pata remained unconscious. Joselito, however, was wide awake: Barb's alcoholic higher power had a splitting headache from his own earlier Happy Hour fenestrations... In fact, he couldn't even remember how he'd gotten home. Philip
Sitting blearily on Barbara's chest Joselito peered cautiously over the side. Joselito hated heights. It had been one of the reasons he'd taken this Higher Power gig despite the crappy hours and pay. It essentially made him earthbound. No long queasy nights on clouds and buzzing through the firmament in open space. God he hated this. Below him the outskirts of the city were giving way to the suburban. They were headed approximately northeast. Joselito was overcome with vertigo and shutting his eyes clung with all his might to the collar of Barbara's blouse. After a bit they began to descend and Joselito opened his nauseous vertiginous eyes on Petaluma. Lanark
Right about this time Pata's Higher Power was waking up, too — unfortunately for Joselito, however, Pata's Higher Power was none other than Hinenuitepo, the Maori goddess of Death, of she was in a pitch-black shit of a mood.
"Kai whea?" [Where the fuck are we?] she boomed in a voice which only Joselito could hear (although the dead dog felt it like a particularly sharp flea-bite on his mangy rigor-mortis'd hindquarters) "Petaluma, my little brindle-bottom," replied Joselito in his best W.C.Fields voice (which was not a particularly good one) — "Petaluma and rising..."
Click. Dr. Phibes turned on the radio in her car to see if there was any news about the sirens she was hearing. "...Time for traffic on the eights. Let's check in with Stan Burford in the KGO jetcopter North of the Golden Gate Bridge. How does it look out there Stan?"
The radio blared Stanley's traffic report with the sound of helicopter blades in the background, "Well Greg, we're here above highway 101 between Marin and Petaluma and the traffic appears to be moving swiftly along with no backups...and now back to.....what the ?....I mean....holy..."
"Stan is everything ok?"


...the radio petered out in silence then, and Dr. Phibes wondered if this weren't perhaps one of those wacky radio stunts, until she looked northwestward, over the hills and houses and past the noble arches of the Golden Gate Bridge to where the sun should have been setting in glorious pollution-rich crimson over the ocean, only to find —
that the sun —
wasn't there!

In its place a varicolored cloud blotted out the sky, winking with a billion faint movements, moving southeast, and Dr. Phibes was still imagining it as "a Thunderhead of weirdling Aspect" until the first prawns and crabs began to flap and float and flutter past the windscreen, the first flocks of aerial clams, a trio of heavy, weed-encrusted abalones thumping and scraping across the roof of the car. The radio came back to life just then:
"Stan what?"
crackle/fizz/helicopter chup-chup-chup "—fucking shark, Greg!" crackle sputter silence. A portuguese man o'war floated across Dr. Phibes' car's hood, leaving thick, translucent slime-trails on the windshield.

"Sorry Greg, I thought I saw a dog and a bunch of lobsters flying through the air carrying two women being closely followed by a shark. Must be a weather balloon or something. Back to you Greg."
"Allright Stan. You're sure vapors aren't leaking into the cock pit there? (Chuckle). Thanks for that unique traffic report Stan....."

Click. Evelyn switched off the radio. She knew it was Muffy.
Traffic screeched to a halt as the hail of crustaceans and sea life fell from the sky. The road slick with the remains of squashed sea cucumbers and squid. Dr Phibes cautiously maneuvered around a BMW convertible parked over the curb. A squealing middle aged woman in Dior scarf was trying to get the top up while avoiding the tentacles of a tremendous octopus that thrashed lasciviously in the passenger seat beside her. Cars slid helplessly down the steep side streets on a slick sheet of herrings. Cable cars careened to a stop covered in brightly colored starfish. It seemed as if every door in Chinatown opened at once as cost conscious restaurant proprietors rushed into the streets with bushel baskets and spread aprons to gather tomorrow's seafood specials. The sidewalks were a wriggling mess of felled pedestrians and Albacore death throes. Doorways were jammed with people trapped on the street taking shelter from the peppering of cherrystones and oysters. Many nursing open head wounds stumbled down the sidewalk repulsed by the throngs at every building. Even the hippy throngs along Haight-Ashbury stopped their incessant open air percussion jams to look to the sky and cry as one,"Whoa Dude, Heavy."
The air was shrill with the cries of gulls and terns and albatross shrieking with avian joy at the unexpected banquet. Barbara's car hood a symphony of bangs and skitters as armies of crabs plopped on it and sidled off onto the road. Screams, shrieks and carhorns blended in a cacaphonous whole. The emergency sirens started. A man with half his face a blistered welt from a direct assault by a Portugues Man o'War clawed at the door to Evelyn's car. She looked at him in horror and hit the gas.
Then from out of the choas came the turtle. Bright green and still with a few stray strands of seaweed clinging to her shell. She swam through the air with an almost zen stillness and landing calmly on the hood. It gazed through the spiderweb of cracked glass at Evelyn with large cow-like brown eyes. Ahau Waia [follow me] and with that it rose again and with a look over it's shoulder to see if she was understood began to move forward.
Meanwhile deep in the bowels of the Laffy Taffy saltwater taffy factory in Petaluma Joselito was between a rock and a hard place. Pata's higher power's mood had not brightened and she alternated between galring and swearing a blue streak at him in incomprehensible Maori. After securing the still unconcious forms of Barbara and Pata with the super resilient confection the lobsters had taken to a much needed rest in the main saltwater holding tank. (Months later the Laffy Taffy Confectionary company would go under in a class action lawsuit brought on by irate customer compaints about a "fishy" taste.)

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