My harness hit the road shoulder with a thud as my butt just cleared the bobwire, the hammermushed, rusty, angle-iron post-top digging lightly into my palm, exacting a twinge of pain as the price for looking the other way while I used it for purposes contrary to its own and its owner's, who was just appearing over the rise. Bouncing and honking, barreling for me in his dirty Datsun, he was spittin' mad fist shakin' furious at my violation of his fallow fiefdom, twin hemophiliac dueling-banjo lookin' overall clad underachievers standing in the back screaming and threatening, as much 'cause the dogs were yapping wild-like as anything else. I nailed the landing and gave Farmer Brown and his nephew-sons my best tight-cheeked arms-up Mary Lou Retton grin and salute, thought I had at least a 9.5 for the vault but he only held up one finger.

My ride popped the door open as I scooped up my gear and dove in.

"Hit it!" I barked, which made the hounds snicker.

The driver grinned a little too much and gunned it, spraying a handful of gravel and dust at the dogs, who were putting on their fierce act in earnest now that I was safely out of range. Swerving onto the pavement the glider waggled a foot each way on the roof but the tie-down twine, that he had left over from bringing this great rattan patio set all the way home on top of the truck from the parking lot sale at Pier One in the city last fall that was a really great deal because it was outside during the day as a floor sample, held.

I was actually thankful for the close call with Mr. Greenjeans since the show meant it was already way worth it fer sure to this guy for stopping and offering me a ride.

I was in a good mood so I decided a little extra sauce for the morsel of real living this guy was getting a taste of was only fair and would make it easier on his obviously empty stomach.

"Boy, I thought the flying was the dangerous part! You're gonna hafta lay low for a few days you know."

"Huh?"

"County Mounties'll be on the lookout for the green Explorer that aided and abetted the airborne assault on that asshole's acreage."

"Yeah?"

"Sure. I landed there instead of across the road just to piss him off and he knows it. Turn here. They won't have the report in till after you drop me at launch but they'll make a halfass attempt to locate the perps for a couple days." (Lay it on thick.) "I'll have the Feds on my butt for entering Class J airspace without clearance - and on a weekday to boot!"

"Whoa. Thanks. Well, guys like us gotta stick together."

"'chamean?"

"Adventurers! I know the wild blue yonder, been there on my own."

"Yeah?"

"Sure! I went parasailing once while I was on vacation in Mazatlan."

"Practically the same thing, brother! (Lord HELP me!) I could tell when you pulled over, you got that 'eyes turned ever skyward' look of those who know the freedom of flight."

"Yeah?"

"Sure."

Soon enough we were up the ridge and out the dirt road to take-off, where my weather weary Toyota waited with patient acceptance. Transferring the glider, he marvelled at the carbon composite tubing and padded crosspieces of my glider rack.

"Thos're mostly salvaged from bits of wrecked RPVs I found in the desert, about halfway between Area 51 and the Skunk Works." I lied. "I threw out the parts that glowed. Wrecked a few hacksaw blades before I got some diamond-coated ones off E-Bay. Strength-to-weight's out of this world. I figger anything short of a chunk of de-orbited satellite would just bounce off."

Intent on moving on, I arranged for him to meet me later at the Lift Café. He was a perfect Mugwuff, and I'd slough him off on a Vulture while I met with Dr. Benhigh to check out his latest thermal-spotting serum.

The Rube gone, I took a moment to savor the late-day serenity of this threshold to the sky. The shacks and cabins on the ridge, owned by flatland worker bees who just might someday pay them off and get a few weeks of bliss in before they flatline, were a half mile back at best, rented to tweakers and twinks and other twisted types lacking dental integrity and who don't even flutter their lids afore twilight. So I stood in the breeze and let my thoughts freeze, dangling on the precipice but not quite forming a synaptic syllable to send coursing through my corpus callosum. Shortly, my Solar Shower sack, hung all day from the rear of my rack, radiated through the evening air like a yard-sale lava lamp, and a certain muskiness about my persona made itself known.

The Lift Café was funky, to be sure, but a funk such as mine it would not endure, so I slung the Solar Shower from a sufficiently high branch, which happened to be overhanging that part of launch just where one tends to transition from foot-borne to airborne. Sky clad in the gloaming, I spun the spigot and steered the streams to the sites where the glands and secretions were thickest, soaping liberally and rinsing ravenously.

The last drops dribbled as the suds subsided and I retrieved my towel, my Terry, my comfort. Acres of luxuriant loops of dew lapping linen, last remnant of a remembered realm of responsibility and reward, comforting cotton concubine caressing me each morning, afresh and astonished in the etheral aeries of the infoeconomic elite. I'd forsaken that fraternity but spirited her away in a moment of weakness; her only regret was the occasional indignity of coin-slot commercial laundromat cleansers and hellaciously hot dessication. My regrets were legion and ludicrous, but I strove to care for my towel.

I saw the first flash through my eyelids as Terry tousled my hair. I felt it a fraction of a femtosecond later, flesh flinching fiercly and follicles fluttering. Peering through meshed eyelashes and covering middle and ring fingers I could see a glow coming from Mr. Greenjeans' outbuilding far below. I guess their methlab Mephisto had bungled it bigtime. Their bullshit bio-fuel subsidy woulda paid to rebuild, but they're all blown to crystal-come, so it don't make no nevermind no how. He musta had serious back-up propane tanks and other volatiles, cause the combustibles commenced to conflagratin' and the inferno spread like, well, wildfire.

Soon the shockwave and the outrushing air swept up the mountainside, ripping out pines and propelling them ridgeward with the force of Furies forsaken. My poor 'yota was the first to fall, rent right out from under the rack by a pair of Ponderosas.

I saw that my only hope for survival was to somehow climb above the surface barrage of biological missles. Turning transverse-wise my Terry, my towel, my tarp, and striding into the headwind I strode clean into the air, arms spread wide, hands gripping corners, prone upon her in the most stereoptypical parody of a kid feigning flight that there ever was, but the massive airspeed made the relatively miniscule squares of cloth sufficient to support me as I climbed above and away from the surface level scrub-brush tsunami down below.

From here the view of the bomb-blasted burg is beguiling, but landing will be problematic.

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