The Emigrating Wall
17 February 1999
Then there was the fire. Several hundred men trapped between it's mighty surface and it's lesser brothers and cousins. The volunteer fire brigades of four towns could hardly manage to contain the fire's rage. By morning, the Wall was left wailing, like it's famous ancestor in Jerusalem.
Over the next few weeks the premises on which the hospital stood were scavenged by all manner of legal or journalistic investigators, by the local scrap yards, and by curious young boys and men. Over the next few months, some real estate investors came and had the audacity to discuss tearing down this innocent and faithful Wall that had stood for over a hundred years doing it's civil duty. Falling bricks made short work of the men and their heinous landscaping plans.
That was fifty years ago. It has been a lonely fifty years with only the vines, the birds, and the occasional rodents. The Wall realized early on that its future would be lonely. People became superstitious about the bricks that might fall upon their heads were they to conspire against the Wall. Also, the land was not only far from prime real estate, but also there were a number of liens against it, to further lessen its desirability.
Walls don't usually move very fast. Old and overweight walls are hardly exceptional to this general rule. This Wall, however, had been witness to some of the most clever escape artists. The hardest part was getting to the side of the almost perfectly level plateau upon which it had been built. This wall, standing eight stories high above this mesa, happened to have some friends in high places - specifically among clouds and the weather gods who lived amongst these clouds. Many of the thunder gods were especially pleased with the way in which The Wall would reverberate their clamorous creations. Thus they deemed it only a very small favour when The Wall requested enough rain to erode the eastern side of the plateau.
One of the most important lessons the Wall learned from the inmates was that gravity can be the escape artist's best friend. One can descend vertically faster than traveling in any other direction. It took thirty years, but with the help of the weather gods, the wall managed to crawl down to the desolate roadside.
The Wall was not sure what it was going to do when it finally arrived at the road. This road was rarely traveled anymore and it had never witnessed a truck capable of carrying an eight story brick wall, or even any but the smallest of its cousins for that matter. The Wall figured that it could count on the weather gods to provide for some more erosion, but the weather gods could not disintegrate a path for the Wall without inadvertently eating away at the Wall itself.
The Wall also wasn't very sure about where to go. Walls are usually sedentary creatures. Some of its smaller cousins found employment in the transportation sector. Others were known to house more adventurous spirits who thought to imitate a snail as best a human can. The Wall had even heard rumors of a mighty cousin employed as a castle who was moved across one of the great oceans, but such cases were exceptional. Thus, the Wall was troubled for a destination. "Where does an eight story wall migrate to?" is a question that walls rarely have to deal with and the Wall didn't have the necessary background to ponder the question intelligibly. The Wall did, however, have the vague notion that it should make towards a beach. The sun had many discouraged worshipers who might thank it for its shade if it could only be there to serve them. Thus the Wall figured it should head West, being as the western California shore was by far the closest.
But traveling for the Wall, even once it decided to head West, was a terribly slow process. It had arrived at the road almost an hour ago and only moved a few inches since then. The well kept concrete road didn't erode nearly as well as the earth-composed and neglected mesa. Thus, this towering wall was in the middle of the road when John was making the commute home in his shiny new Porsche.
John had to hit the brakes very hard to avoid this wall. He was used to driving down this stretch of road. He drove over this tar twice every day. And there was never a wall here before, not even a little one. John was not sure how to react. He couldn't drive around the wall and he couldn't think of any way to get home to his loving wife if he did not drive around the wall, at least not without driving about an hour and a half out of his way. Even then he wasn't sure of the route.
Having come to an impasse, John shut down the Porsche's motor and climbed out of the car. He walked up to the wall and felt it to make sure the wall was really there. He never trusted the people back at the office and there were always rumors of various substances being slipped in drinks. Granted, he never heard of anyone hallucinating a vivid eight story wall before, or that such a hallucination might not be accompanied by at least some other, perhaps more fantastic, hallucinations, but John could think of no other way to explain this giant presence.
When his hand touched ivy and brick however, his ability to
reckon dwindled from no other way to no way, period. John
began to perambulate around the wall in a counterclockwise