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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8. The Pit

.            There is nothing more uncomfortable than trying to locate your two missing friends who have been teleported to an unknown location and not being able to ask the police for help because they watched you nearly get eaten by a dog and want to arrest you for trespassing in in a cemetery. Except for maybe doing this with a girl who you kissed and who did not reciprocate your feelings and, now, is unable to look you in the eyes and is completely silent as she drives you around town in her car with Love Is A Losing Game by Amy Winehouse playing on the radio. This was the exact situation George Hill found himself in.

.            Without their map, George and Elouise had to take their best guess at where they thought the soda fountain had taken Leela, Wendy, and the two men in tuxedos. Because neither girl would answer her phone, they would have to be somewhere in the woods where there was no service. For this reason, Elouise had brought along her dogs to assist in the search. Sarge, Barkleby, and Veronica excitedly shuffled around in the backseat. Sarge’s tongue hung out of his smiling mouth and flapped in the wind. Barkleby sat so still and upright in the middle seat that he looked almost like a person in the back of a taxi cab. Veronica barked at every mailbox the car drove past. All three dogs were wearing goggles to sheiks their eyes from the elements. And also because Elouise thought they looked funny.

.            George was going to mention that his boss would be unhappy with him missing work but decided not to inflame Elouise’s current unspoken disdain. She hadn’t considered his employment concerns due to her own flexible hours working as a botanist in a greenhouse. George was employed as a beekeeper’s assistant and his hours, he had been told, were determined by the bees.

.             George and Elouise’s assumption was indeed correct. Their friends and foes had been transported into the forest. The reason they had not yet emerged was this: the soda fountain’s woodland location was perched precariously on the edge of a rather large hole. A hole into which its four passengers had fallen as soon as they arrived. In her panic, Wendy had broken off one of the soda dispensers. It was the one for Minute Maid Lemonade. Not knowing what to do with it after falling ten feet into the hole, she had placed it in her pocket.

.             The hole was wide as well as deep. In fact, long before there was a state called Oregon, there had been a pond there. When Wendy had fallen, she had ripped her jacket and skinned her arm on a tree. Both government agents had fallen gracefully due to their extensive field training regarding what to do if one were to fall from a great height. Despite this, agent Bentley had still managed to graze his head on a rock and was bleeding from his forehead. It was an injury that was far less severe than it looked and that he would manage to complain about to Agent Flexbert long after it stopped hurting in the days to come. Nobody had stood up right away. The air soon became quiet again. The night had been dark and cold and still. None of the transportees spoke for quite a while.

.             Both girls had had the wind knocked out of them. The men had staggered to their feet. Agent Flexbert’s phone had been shattered but the flashlight function still worked. He then shined it around the hole in the which they found themselves.

.             “Where are we?” he had asked, still dizzy from the fall.

.             Agent Bentley had then suggested he check the map. Upon hearing his suggestion, Leela had stood up halfway and said,

.             “You stole my map?”

.             “You dropped your map, sweetheart. You’re lucky we picked it up,” Agent Bentley had chided.

.             “Oh yeah? Why’s that?” Wendy had chimed in.

.             “Can you imagine if the police had found this? Marina Pinebill is a scary lady. You wouldn’t want her to know what you did,” Agent Flexbert had answered.

.             “You’re not the police?” Leela had asked.

.             Both men had then told her in unison that she did not need to know who they were. Wendy had had tried several times to scale the wall of the hole but had found each time that, even with her superior athleticism on which she prided herself, the wall was entirely to steep and devoid of any reliable footholds. Before long, the soda fountain had vanished from its place at the top of the cliff so he had stopped trying. After several tries, the agents had successfully lit a fire with their cigarette lighters. Then, they had placed logs on either side of the campfire and lit a cigarette each. When the girls’ hypothermia had become greater than their fear and pride, they had sat on the log opposite the men. It wasn’t long before the group had struck up a conversation.

.            “I don’t want to die in a ditch. I’m worried about what that says about my personality,” Leela had started.

.            “We’re not going to die out here. George and Elouise are probably already looking for us,” Wendy had mentioned.

.            “What if they kill us first?” Leela had been referring to the agents.

.            After this, Agents Bentley and Flexbert had scrambled to reassure the women that they meant them no harm and thoroughly apologized for having earlier in the night pointed their guns at them. When this did not reassure the girls, the government agents had decided that an explanation offered of their motivations was in order and explained that they were Black Hole Eradication Specialists sent to save the world from a teleporting soda fountain. This too had failed to reassure Leela and Wendy.

.            The temperatures that night had soon dropped quite low and the girls had found themselves sitting closer to the agents than they had anticipated because the smoke from the fire had begun to blow in their faces. Before long, both parties had been seated on the same log. Every now and again, they had taken turns gathering fuel for the dying fire. Wendy had stared at the stars for longer that night than she had done in a long time, all the while scanning the sky for the blinking of a satellite that she could call sister. She had looked at her watch and known that the orbit of the satellite had long since moved Cassandra along from the Oregon sky for that night but Wendy had still watched and searched and hoped. She had found a familial comfort even in the blinking taillights of distant airplanes passing over head and wondered if George and Elouise would really ever be able to find them or if the unfortunate Chief Dominick himself would find four skeletons in the woods three years from then. Then, her had stomach churned when she remembered the words of the Agents. She had suddenly realized that there would be no world in three years if these men did not escape the pit. How selfish of her to have thought of her own troubles when she had been sharing the dying light of a fire with two men whose lives meant so much and whose deaths would spell disaster for more than just those who knew them.

.               By morning, the survivors had managed to sleep very little and had grown so desperately hungry that they had made a breakfast by dividing up Leela’s assorted fruit flavored Tic Tacs. The soda fountain had made an appearance once again at the top of the wall. Wendy had tried again to climb to it but was too exhausted and famished to try more than once. The group had waited for hours in the early autumn sun for their rescuers until the present moment when they were only a short distance away.

.              That being how the present situation arose, George and Elouise assumed the worst as they drove so deep enough into the forest that they could no longer continue by car wherein the beautiful, healthy pine trees that made up the forest surrounding the town grew thicker and closer together. They decided that, from here, they would walk. This was the reason Elouise had brought all of her dogs along.

.             On their own, each of the Rottweilers were useless trackers. Sarge followed every scent he came across, no matter the source. He had once chewed through the fence around Elouise’s backyard and returned home several hours later sick and covered in grease from the hotdog vendor he had caught the scent of and chased down before eating every hotdog in the cart. Barkleby did not like to chase things at all because he considered it to be rude. He never ran after the mailman, but instead stared at him intently to let him know that he could chase him if he wanted to but was too refined, dignified, and kind to do so. Veronica was a very skilled tracker but would kill anything she caught. Elouise always kept Veronica indoors to keep from acing to pick up dead moles from her yard. Once, a squirrel had found its way into the house and Veronica had nearly destroyed every piece of furniture hunting it down. Separately, the dogs were each disasters in their own right. Together, however, their individual personalities canceled each other out and the team was able to work as efficiently as a penguin slide made of butter.

.              Elouise let the dogs out of the car and had them smell a hair tie belonging to Wendy tat she had once left at Elouise’s home and, without hesitation, the dogs began to search. They were a bit lost at first due to there being no trail to follow, but Wendy’s scent soon wafted through the trees on a breeze and led the three heroes and their human companions to the edge of a pit wherein they found their missing friends.

.              Leela and Wendy were ecstatic to see George and Elouise standing at the top of the ledge. Bentley and Flexbert were relieved but not necessarily excited to find themselves face to face with a pair of saviors who undoubtedly considered them enemies. The question then became that of how to remove the four survivors from the hole. Leela suggested the dogs’ leashes be tied to one another and used as a rope. Elouise and George, knowing of their new friend’s intellectual prowess, followed her suggestion. Before long, everyone had been rescued. Veronica barked at the agents, who she did not recognize, and Elouise shot Wendy a place of suspicion. Wendy nodded her head and smiled to let her know that the men in tuxedos could, in fact, be trusted, so Elouise rubbed Veronica behind her ear to comfort her and to calm her down.

.               Leela was hesitant to hug her friends because she still did not feel as though she had earned her spot among them. Luckily, Elouise hugged her first and told her how happy she was to see that she was safe. In that instant, Leela’s fears melted away. The agents thanked George and Elouise but said nothing else for the remainder of the hike back to the car.

.              When the six people and three dogs arrived at the strawberry colored convertible Ford Bronco, it became instantly apparent that the seating arrangement would be more than cramped. The dogs all managed to sit on the floor of the car, two in the back and one in the front, and the four new human passengers were too exhausted to care and all piled into the back seat. Leela did not even care to complain about her allergy to the dogs’ hair because there was nothing that could be done.

.              When Elouise started up the car, George’s elbow, completely by accident, knocked into the radio dial and changed the station. Hey Ya! by Outkast started to play as the group left the woods. Elouise reached to her dashboard to change the channel back but was interrupted by the raspy, dehydrated voice of a man who had accidentally spent fourteen hours in the woods. It was Agent Bentley saying,

.             “Wait. I like this song.”

.              Agent Flexbert admitted that the liked the song as well. One by one, every person in the car confessed to secretly enjoying the song or, at the very least, that it was the kind of song that they needed to hear in that moment. About a mile into their drive home, they all began to sing along. At one point, George looked at Elouise apologetically. The smiled at him in a way that meant forgiveness. Things happen. And that kiss on the ferris wheel was little more than just a thing that happened.

 

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