The Translocation of Dr Pepper

Many residents of a small Oregon town have their lives uprooted when the soda fountain in a local diner begins to teleport, threatening the very existence of the planet at large.

This is meant to be a lighthearted, fun, and somewhat humorous story.

First draft.

Work in progress.

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2. A Brief Discussion on the Origins of Black Holes in General and the Formation of One in Particular

.              The residents of Pinebill, Oregon were a thrifty people. Their affinity for recycling had recently been a catalyst for change in the community. A new law entitled the “Rebirth of Metal Act” had been passed by the mayor which declared that commercial appliances used by local businesses should be made from recycled scrap metal found at the dump. Unbeknownst to the citizens of Pinebill, this law, while intended to help save the planet, would actually come fairly close to destroying it once and for all.

.               The reason for this was a man named Rubio Clarksen. Mr. Clarksen was a scientist of sorts in that he had no scientific degree or title but was such a fan of science fiction that he had dedicated his life to inventing a time machine. With no scientific background or knowledge, his inventions were failures. After a stern intervention from his wife who wanted him to mace out of the basement and find a real job, Mr. Clarksen loaded all of his failed experimental into the back of a rusted teal colored pickup truck and drove them to the dump. Mr. Clarksen then went on to become a taxi driver without ever knowing that one of his time machines had actually been fully functional. This time machine was then recycled and became the soda fountain at the local eating establishment, The Baffle House” where it dispensed four kinds of drinks: Coke, Diet Coke, Minute Maid Lemonade, and Dr. Pepper.

.             Regardless of what may be taught in schools or written in very credible books and periodicals, black holes are not formed by supernovas and other large explosions. Their true creation is a far more delicate process. And object moving through space and time appears in evenly spaced locations in a perfect circle. With each revolution, the time it takes the object to complete the circle becomes shorter until it takes no time at all. When this happens, a black hole forms at the center of the circle. It's very simple science.

.              Such an object was present in the town of Pinebill, Oregon. The teleporting soda fountain was traveling in a circle around a central location, appearing in places that were exactly three and a quarter miles from one another. The center of its circle was town hall, or, really, slightly to the left of it. At the beginning of its time as a teleporting object, the soda fountain reached all twenty-four of its location exactly an hour apart. It had, however begun to acellerat slightly. When there were only fifty-eight minutes between each teleportation, the government of the United States was notified by an alert from a super secret black hole detection machine installed by NASA in July of 1957 after discovering that it was a possibility that a black hole might form on Earth.

.            In response, the government dispatched the two most qualified black hole elimination specialists in the nation to investigate what would soon become the first instance of the phenomenon ever recorded and also to stop the event if possible. Their names were Agents Bentley and Flexbert and they both wore black tuxedos and sunglasses and were presently driving into the parking lot of the Dandelion Motel and discussing their disdain of the fact that the only rental car available at the local airport had been an electric blue Volkswagen Beetle. Agent Bentley’s complaint was that the car’s color and shape appeared unprofessional and was not even remotely intimidating. Agent Flexbert was more concerned with the fact that it had a vanilla scented air freshener shaped like a vanilla flower hanging from the rear view mirror and a bumper sticker that said “Save the Bees”. One upside, though, on which they had both agreed, was that at least the car had XM radio. They were currently listening to Intergalactic by the Beastie Boys.

.             The sky was dark when the two men stepped out of the car. Agent Flexbert remarked to his partner that he had never seen so many stars. Agent Bentley nodded in agreement and lit a cigarette instead of saying something obnoxious about light pollution which was what he really wanted to do. The sign for the Dandelion Motel unsurprisingly had a dandelion on it. Both men, however, took note that the neon lights in the sign were not dandelion colors but, instead, the colors one would find in a sunrise and also purple. Neither of the suave government agents remarked aloud what they had noticed about the sign. Agent Bentley dropped his cigarette on the parking lot ground and stomped it out with his shiny Oxford shoes. The men walked inside in perfect synch.

.          The lightbulbs in the lobby of the Dandelion Motel were old and emitting a bit of a yellowish light. Most of the illumination in the room came from the purple UV lights in the fish tank which was full of Coy Fish and Sea Bass. Agent Bentley was about to make an obnoxious comment about how those two particular kinds of fish shouldn't coexist in the same water environment but decided against it because the fish seemed to be doing fine and it was possible that he had misidentified one of them.

.         “Welcome to the Dandelion Motel. I'm Camilla. Would you gentlemen like one room or two?” said the young girl behind the desk.

.          “One room two beds,” Agent Flexbert said sternly. Agent Bentley payed Camilla and the pair went upstairs to begin their investigation.

.         In room 121, both men sat facing one another. They kept their sunglasses on and read the newspaper for any reported instances of teleporting objects. They found instead a report from and old woman named Bethany who claimed that the ghost of her brother visited her every day at 12:48 PM in the form of a coke machine that contained his favorite soda, Dr. Pepper. The agents decided this would be a good place to start their search.

.           The government men pulled into the elderly gardener’s driveway at 12:09 in their blue Beetle while listening to Take On Me by A-Ha, their faces deadpan as they resisted singing along and betraying their collected exteriors as it appeared to those outside of the car that they were driving in silence. They didn't know that one of their windows was slightly rolled down and the music could be heard by any and all passersby. The men couldn't help but notice that the old woman’s garden, like the rest of the town, was saturated heavily with color. A pink bee landed on one of the exotic daisies and neither of the agents said aloud that they thought pink was a strange color for a bee, but they were thinking it.

.           Agents Bentley and Flexbert stepped out of the car and made sure to walk as smoothly as they could to Bethany’s door. After discussing in hushed tones whether it would be cooler to knock or ring the doorbell, the men settled on doing both at the same time. On the count of three, Agent Bentley knocked on the door while Agent Flexbert rang the bell. Bethany the gardener answered the door with extreme caution as though she had been expecting the grim reaper. This was because she always answered the door in this manner so that, when the grim reaper did eventually knock on her door, she would be expecting him and have the necessary strategic advantage to beat him up and live forever.

.          “What do you want?” Bethany demanded.

.          “We just need to ask you a few questions,” answered Agent Bentley.

.           Bethany invited the men inside. They followed her into her living room which was decorated in delicate floral patterns and pastel colors. The woman sat in a love seat facing the couch on which the men sat. The agents were sure to leave a full cushion of space between themselves so that they would not accidentally touch. The song The Sidewinder by Lee Morgan played from a gramophone in the corner. Bethany offered to make tea for the men but they promptly refused even though both of them would have loved some tea. There was a long silence as the men tried to draw out their visit long enough to see the soda fountain arrive. It occurred to Agent Flexbert that they could have arrived later and seen it sooner. He cleared his throats and spoke.

.           “Ma'am, we are here to ask you some questions about the strange occurrences you have reported to the local newspaper,” he said.

.            “Oh! Are you boys ghost experts?” Bethany asked with glee.

.             “Yes ma'am. Can you tell us what you saw?” Agent Bentley said.

.             The old woman explained to the government agents that the soda fountain which arrived at the same time every day must have been a sign from her brother because it contained his favorite soft drink and because it always appeared in the spot where her brother had died.

.           “Where was that?” Agent Flexbert asked.

.            Bethany pointed a wrinkled finger at the couch on which the men were seated.

.             “There,” she said.

.             The agents looked at one another, unsure of what to say. In an attempt to break the tension, Agent Bentley blurted out “I guess it's ironic to call this a living room, then!” and immediately regretted it. Agent Flexbert was in amused and punched Agent Bentley in the arm to show his disapproval. He was about to apologize when Bethany bursted into laughter.

.            “Oh! I love a good pun! Have you heard the one about the egg? It just cracks me up!” she exclaimed and continued into her fit of laughter.

.             Agents Bentley and Flexbert were both relieved and disconcerted by her laughter but laughed along tentatively. When Bethany calmed down, the men told her that they would like to stick around and see the soda fountain for themselves. To their surprise the old woman distinctly refused. She did not want to scare away her brother’s spirit. She asked if there was anything else she could do for the men before they left. Agent Flexbert explained that he and his partner were looking for other similar instances of paranormal activities in the area and inquired where they might find one.

.             Bethany thought for a moment. She remembered something that was not disclosed in the newspapers but that she knew from eavesdropping on Marina Pinebill’s home while she was secretly planting daffodils in the empty window boxes at the Pinebill estate to attract bees to the wretched woman's home. Everyone in town was painfully aware of Lady Pinebill’s allergy to bees. What she had overheard at the window from Marina as she complained to a marble bust of herself was this: that Lady Pinebill’s deceased husband had not only visited her, but he had also robbed her blind.

.             Bethany disclosed this information to the government agents who she believed to be ghost hunters. The men thanked her and went on their way.

.            The Agents had no trouble at all finding Pinebill Manor. It was an enormous mansion surrounded by a large, flowerless topiary garden. Both men observed that this was the first area of to that appeared to have no flowers. Neither mentioned it aloud. It was a beautiful property nonetheless. The magnificent mansion was painted a faded sunny yellow with a light pink trim. A shiny, black, cast iron gate stood tall at the entrance to the estate which was surrounded by a ten foot tall brick wall. The blue Volkswagen Beetle stopped at the gate while the men inside mused at how to open it. It appeared that the woman living in the manor seldom, if ever, left. It would be a wonder if the gate were to be opened from the outside at all.

.             Agent Bentley fought sight of something moving in the rearview mirror. It was a young man in a dusty, green leather jacket running up to the wall surrounding the property and holding a crossbow. Agent Bentley’s first thought was that it was a safety hazard to run with a crossbow. His next thought was that this was a strange thing to see. He pointed the young man out to Agent Flexbert and they both stepped out of the car and pointed their guns at the man.

.             “Freeze!” they yelled almost at the same time but not quite.

.              The man with the crossbow stopped running and dropped his weapon. He also wet his pants ever so slightly. The crossbow was not loaded with an arrow. It was loaded with a wooden stake. This young man was a vampire hunter but, in the current moment, this was irrelevant. The men pointing guns at him were not vampires.

.            “Who are you?” Agent Flexbert demanded.

.            “My name is Felix Johnson and I'm a vampire hunter. Please don't shoot me!” The skittish boy replied.

.             “Do you know how to get inside?” asked Agent Bentley.

.              Felix nodded and exhaled with relief. He led the agents to a hedge of shrubs that lined the brick wall. He pulled back the branches of one of the bushes and revealed a hole in the ground. It was a tunnel leading to the other side of the wall.

.           “I dug this a long time ago when I first heard a legend of a vampire that lived on the property. I haven't found the vamp yet but I come back here every Thursday to look,” Felix explained.

.            The agents looked at each other. They knew what the other was thinking. Their tuxedos would have to get terribly dirty. But it was decided that the high cost of dry cleaning was a price they were willing to pay to save the world. The men followed Felix into the tunnel and arrows from the soil on the other side of the wall. This was a challenge for Agent Flexbert who was incredible claustrophobic ever since an incident years earlier when he had become trapped in an airplane bathroom for an entire six hour flight after a stewardess carelessly left the food cart in front of the bathroom door. Agent Bentley had a fear of heights but insisted it was purely instinctual.

.            On the lawn of the Pinebill estate, the men brushed dirt out of their hair and off of their clothes. They were still filthy but there was nothing they could do to clean up now. Looking around, the agents found themselves abandoned as Felix had stolen away to go look for the vampire rumored to live on the property. It was Thursday after all.

.          The government agents in their soiled clothing tried once again to look as suave as possible walking up the front steps of the astounding mansion. Agent Bentley rang the doorbell and it rang out a section of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony that echoed throughout the house. An impeccably dressed elderly woman in a glowing navy blue velvet gown descended the magnificent marble staircase. Her movements were elegant and regal. She wore her finest jewelry at all times ever since the robbery so no one would ever be able to take it from her. Lady Pinebill opened the door and glared at the men who stood before her covered in dirt.

.          “You have seventeen seconds to tell me who you are and why you are here. If I don't like your answer to either question, you will be forcefully removed from my property before the end of the eighteenth second. Am I making myself clear?” she announced.

.          “Ma'am, we are paranormal investigators here to inquire about the recent robbery at this address,” Agent Flexbert said nervously.

.           “That is a private matter. I don't know how you know about that but I want you off my estate this instant!” Lady Pinebill screeched.

.         The men left the same way they had come and drove back to the motel in silence.

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