The Wondrous Times of Amy From Mars

The Wondrous Times of Amy From Mars

the multiverse, and the things that happen there


Tanis Fick once sold ice to Eskimos, and dirt to farmers. He had been a butcher, a baker, and written a book about candlestick making.  One slow night at O'Malley's he had hypothesized flight by pigs, and later that week had proven that, if properly attended, a watched pot will boil.  He was accredited with many other minor miracles of the sort.

Mr. Fick served as an engineer on the Manhattan Project, landed with the first wave at Omaha Beach, and was acquitted of all charges as a U. S. Senator.  So when TransAtlantic Construction Limited of his home town of Akron, Ohio invited the tall, hale, fifty year old archaeologist Fick to direct the building of a geothermal power station for the Egyptian government, he jumped at the chance.

Presently, he stood at the edge of an expansive and seemingly bottomless dark pit wherein lie his destiny.  Constantly adjusting his uncomfortable and uncharacteristic sun-bleached white suit- more befitting some far away American plantation owner of old than he-was rapidly becoming an irritating, but necessary habit.  Likewise, he was un enchanted with the oversized white crown of a hat good only for reflecting away a small percent of the relentless desert sun; enough of which radiated off the scorched sands of western Egypt, and in short course had scared off any remaining color in hair dangling curled hair, painted his turnip face red, and faded turquoise eyes sky blue.  Sand continually polished and sharpened his teeth.  Mr. Fick hated sand. 

Mahmud, a local man of equal build as Mr. Fick, but drawing a shorter shadow was Fick's right-hand man for this particular undertaking.  A full black mat carpeted most of his dark round face, and obscured his constant smile betrayed by his sparkling onyx eyes, and swollen red lips; he was covered from bushy head to pudgy toe in robes of white, and head dress accented with a black and gold braided head band.  Hard sandals separated his feet from the burning sand.  Mahmud was a liaison, an interpreter, a union leader, and a task master for, and between the Egyptian government, TransAtlantic, the hordes of local laborers, and Mr. Fick.  And it was Mahmud who had just summoned Tanis; they had found something.  Tanis ground a spent Camel beneath his dusty spats.  He checked the excitement coursing through blood and sand in his veins; business first.  The heat numbed and immobilized.  His sandpaper handkerchief dabbed pearls of sweat from neck and brow.  Standing abreast, Tanis and the supervisor gazed into the pit.  Mahmud gestured in an unknown language to the mulling workers; gasoline engines ground silent.  Trucks large and small, as well as cranes, conveyers, and pumps slowed; then stopped in the sand.  A thousand shovels whispered swish in quiet opposition to the great mechanical machines.  The shovels stood prone casting no shadow under the blazing white disk of Ra overhead.  It was noon time for Tanis, and lunch; it was days end for the workers - no matter what they had found, and supper.  But Tanis took an ever so brief time for inspection.  "The black walls now are forty American feet each side Measter Feek," informed Mahmud, "the men have dug twelve feet of it from the pit bottom," he added anxiously.  Tanis thought of food; he thought of a sandwich - SAND-wich, and lost his appetite, grimacing.  Turning to Mahmud he instructed, "Let's knock off then for today Mahmud.  Get the camp secured, pay everyone, and schedule men for tomorrow."  "If you please Measter Feek," said Mahmud with a worried voice, "It is holy day tomorrow Measter Feek; Is Holiday."  "Of course," Tanis said apologetically; he paused to ignite a Camel, "of course; ah...  a... ah bonus perhaps Mahmud?" with a questioning glance, but he already knew the answer before he asked, and Mahmud needed not to respond to the query.  He exhaled a plume of smoked without a second thought; he too could use a break.  "Yes," added Tanis, "Very well my friend.  Make arrangements for the camp; bid my best wishes to their families," and with a smile and a side glance, "And you?" " family in this state Measter Feek," offered Mahmud, "I shall stay in camp.  I will pray and start my fast at sunset, if you please Measter Feek?"  "Very well, and thank you; I could use the company.  Let's rest till the sun cools a bit.  Later I might want to get a look down there," Fick added warily indicating the general direction of the pit.  "Yes Measter Feek," said Mahmud as they walked toward the tents.  Tanis tilted back his crown; squinting, he cursed the sun - and the sand.  Amidst low mumbles and the jingle of coins the local workers gradually departed; the afternoon heat turned the desert into a sea of convection mirages.  The wind slept.  After having radioed news of their bizarre find to Cairo for the telegraph relay to his companies Ohio headquarters, Tanis lunched on cold curried lamb with fresh local flat bread, locally grown fruits, and imported Earl Grey left to cool; fine local sand peppered everything.  Tanis rested lightly in his tent while the sun danced with the whore sand.

Tanis shut his eyes...