Dreamweaver Bar & Grill - September 2020 - W/C 1,590
I wake up in a field. Grass higher than my head, yellow as the sun shining in my eyes. The grass is dry, its crackling sound filled my ears. What was that buzzing sound around me? I don’t see any insects or birds. I lifted my head, then saw the reason for the noise. Dozens of people on some sort of machines. Going in circles, creating great clouds of dust. Nags lifted her head as well, munched on some of the dry grass, put her head back down again.
When did I fall off Nags and into the grass? A tiny puddle of blood lay by my hand. I touched my head, found the wound. What caused that? To say I didn’t know what was happening would be to say this day is getting more curious by the moment.
“Oh, Nags, where are we?” I again peered over the grass. The machines continued to grind grass into dust, a buzzing, high-pitched noise. It began to hurt my ears. The equine was no help.
“Do you need help?” A strange person appeared over me. This man was dressed all in black, from head to toe. “Can I be of service to you?”
I wasn’t sure I needed any help. What kind of machine was that next to him? A curious device consisting of two metal wheels with a seat between sat in the grass nearby. Nags walked over to check things out.
Another man appeared, then another. Soon a crowd surrounded me. They chattered like a group of birds about me, my condition, who I was, why the horse, how I got there.
I stood up and all were quiet. “I am fine. I do not need any help. I just need to know where I am so I can find my way back to my home.” I touched my head, the wound had stopped bleeding.
All the crowd stared at me, heads craned back in amazement. I am taller than they.
“Well, buddy, tell us where you live and we’ll surely try to help,” said one of the onlookers.
“I live in a small settlement by the name of Slayton. It is on the Musselshell River between Burgoyne and Lavina. I work on the Frank Hazelton cattle ranch. I was out working the cattle when suddenly I woke up here. I need to find the way back to the ranch. Me and the horse here need to get back to help with the branding.”
All the folks gave me a dumb stare. Finally one person spoke up.
“I could tell by your dress perhaps you’re not from around here. I’ve never heard of those places. This is the year 2125 and you are in the Sovereign Country of Mondakota. We are in the county of Rushmore and this is the wild grasslands county park. We folks come here to race our jet motorcycles.”
“So I’m not in Montana Territory, and this is not 1830, and not the United States?” My head started to hurt trying to think about this.
All the folks surrounding me laughed politely. They stepped back a few feet and let me get to Nags. She whinnied as I approached.
“Well this is a heck of a deal. I need to get Nags here some food and water. I need some as well. Where can I get some food and a room?”
A woman dressed in black stepped foward. “Just follow me. I’ll take you to a shelter in town. I’m guessing you don’t have any way to pay?”
I shook my head. “Nope. I hadn’t exactly planned on a side trip today.”
“Never you mind. We’ll work out something,” she smiled and started up one of the machines.
I mounted Nags to follow her dust cloud into the town. The woman stopped in front of a small building shaped like an old barn.
“Okay, I’m Millie. This place is mine. Come on in. You can leave the horse tied to that light pole.”
We entered into a small office for ‘The Wayfarer’s Inn’.
“I’m sorry, the name is Harry. Harry Smith by the way.”
“Pleased to meet you Mr. Harry. I’m Millie. Let’s see. Just your name on the device there. Since you’re not a local, don’t worry about the address and all. I’m sure it would be hard to prove where your address is, I mean 1830 versus 2125. Bit of a gap there.”
A square metal object sat on a counter. Millie had me sign my name with my finger on a screen. No paper, no pen. She then pointed a small gun at my palm.
“I imagine you’re having a little trouble believing that story.” I tried to smile.
“As a matter of fact, I’m not. One look at you and I knew you weren’t from here.” She gave me a stink-eye glare.
“Your room is #10. Top of the stairs. The key is in your hand. Just wave it over the door. I just imprinted a key onto your palm. The key will work for 24 hours.” My look of befuddlement led to a long discussion of how that happened. I still don’t understand. Then she showed me a place for Nags to graze, and a place to corral her for the night. Supper would be in the ‘Just A Bite’ cafe suggested Millie. My room key would pay for some food.
Later I fell into the thing Millie called a bed which was in the cubby Millie called a room. I prayed Nags would be safe in the little area Millie led her to. Water and feed seemed easy enough for Nags to find, so we wayfaring strangers were fed and put to bed.
All night I dreamt of the wide open skies of Montana. How did I end up in this time jump? It was a strange state of affairs to be certain and my mind went back and forth all night. One thing remained constant in my dreams. I needed to get back to 1830. I needed to get back to the ranch. Nags and I didn’t belong here.
Morning came as a surprise when I woke in the cubby. Millie knocked on the door then entered.
“Harry, that animal is trying to find you. You need to come out now.”
“Nags? Is she alright? Where is she?” With that statement Nags tried to barge her way into the cubby. Right then I knew we needed to be on our way.
“You need to get out of here, Harry. This animal is filthy. I won’t even make you pay for the night’s stay or the food you both ate. Just leave.” Millie left me alone with my horse.
Nags and I wandered outside to a gathering of folks. With all their machines in a circle, everyone dressed in black, they were a repeat of yesterday.
A man stepped forward. “Harry Smith, we are ready to see that you get back to where you came from. You’re not the person we thought was coming. We expected someone by the name of George Hendee. He invented a motorcycle named the Indian. We need to consult with him about some problems we’re having. Evidently your coming here was a mistake in the continuum.”
I glanced at the man, at the machines. Nags nickered, prodded me along. “I think that’s a true enough statement. My horse and I don’t belong here, wherever here is. We need to get back to the ranch. And since I don’t remember how we got here, I’d be much obliged if you’d send me in the right direction.”
The folks mounted their noisy machines which then led us away from the town. I followed on Nags, kept a steady pace in the dust cloud. When we stopped, it was beside a large grouping of rocks.
“Here is where we leave you. Go to the old men, then to the cave fifty paces north. That is the portal for you and your animal. Go in peace, Harry Smith.”
The men and their machines left Nags and me in a cloud of dust. ‘Thanks for nothing,’ was my thought. I dismounted Nags and led the horse over to a gravel path leading to the edge of a rock cliff.
“Well, Nags, we are going back home. He said go to the old men. Where in the world are they?” I turned around to look and sure enough, there they were, old men. Carved in stone, four men on the mountain. Then I walked fifty paces north. Just where the man said it was I saw a cave. This was a portal? It seemed just an opening between two large pieces of rock.
We walked between the rocks. Within a moment I woke up at the ranch in Montana, sitting on the ground. Nags stood beside me, eating grass as usual.
“Well now wasn’t that the most unusual way to spend a day,” I said aloud. Nags lifted her head, blinked an eye, then continued eating. I rubbed my head, trying to find that bump or bruise. It seemed to have disappeared. It sure was an unusual story and one I’m sure the guys in the bunk house will never believe. Jet-powered motorcycles, rooms with keys in your hand. No more United States and Montana as part of a new country. Craziness and lunacy.
I got in the saddle and rode Nags to the corral. We had some catching up to do.