And God Belched
AVAILABLE: Friday, January 26th
In this riotously funny romantic adventure, Randy and his younger brother, Craig, find themselves in a different universe, on a strange planet, desperately searching for Milo, a handsome stranger in imminent danger, all while being chased by the heavily armed local authorities. And that's just the start of this epic journey. But what else does fate have in store for our brave heroes? And can one human save two worlds, the handsome alien he's fallen in love with, his entire family, and a self-aware watch? Read on, dear Earthlings, to find out!
In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the surface of the waters, and God said, “let there be light,” and there was light.
Um, you know, sort of.
Actually, in the beginning, God belched out a universe—a big bang of a belch, in fact. It was, so it’s told elsewhere, an odoriferous, gaseous cloud of a rumbling belch. And like all good belches, it was followed by several smaller ones, each forming their own universes, which spread out and filled that above-mentioned void.
Ours was belch number four, the very last one. God had to pound his expansive chest to get that one out. “Oomph,” He said as our existence was made manifest, as our atoms spread outward, trailing those other far greater universes, just before that famous light was flicked on.
Picture, if you will, four bubbles floating through the blackness, turning end over end as they rapidly grew and expanded, as molecules collided and elements formed: hydrogen and helium and lithium—so that many years later we could have zeppelins and balloons and long-lasting batteries, and all because God was a bit gassy one day.
Anyway, that first belch, that first universe, went to the right; we veered leftward. Those other two, well, they’re not really pertinent to this story. So, for the sake of argument, let’s just say that one went up, the other down. Ta ta, sister worlds. Live long and, um, prosper.
A year went by, two, then fourteen billion, give or take. I, too, was made manifest: Randy—both a name, namely mine, and an apt adjective. Made, in fact, by my mom and dad, belching my way into the void on a cold January morning. Yep, just like it’s said, we truly are made in His image, at least in belching ability.
In any case, on that same January morning, in a universe far, far away—sort of, though, uh, not really—another baby boy was born: Milo. Well, that’s what I called him, anyway. Or at least would, at a time when those two universes happened to decide to play bumper cars together. In any case, his real name was close to a dozen letters long, strung together with nary a vowel to be had. I tried to pronounce it once and was instantly stricken with a sore throat.
But wait, I’m getting ahead of myself here.
Back to me, Randy—the name, for the time being, not the adjective. I was born in San Francisco, the city by the bay, the city by the gays. I lived high upon a hill, one of the steepest in the city, sort of like a prince in a castle. Though our home was made of steel, not brick, not wood, not even stone. The architect was hoping to design a quakeproof house, or so the legend went. And like so many legends, such was not even close to the actual case, as it turned out. Anyway, we froze in the winter and melted when the sun poked through the endless fog. In other words, our house was wisely one of a kind.
“High upon a hill lives Prince Randy, clad in his ermine cape and golden crown, scepter raised in royal salute.” The story rolled off my mom’s tongue as she fed me Gerber’s mashed peas: my favorite.
FYI, the cape was my blankie, not ermine so much as polyester. The crown was a yellow bowl bought at Safeway. I still own said crown. Now I use it for cereal, as opposed to headwear. The scepter was my rattle. It was bequeathed to my younger brother a couple of years later. These days, I lift my cell phone in royal salute.
“Prince Randy will be king one day. Prince Randy will marry a beautiful princess and live in an even bigger castle on an even higher hill, and will live happily ever after.”
It was a short story, but, to be fair, it wasn’t that big a bottle of Gerber’s. Also FYI, I would become more queen, so to speak, than king. And as for marrying a beautiful princess, yeah, good luck with that. And what of the even bigger castle on the even higher hill? Wait, just wait for it. Oh, and as to that happily ever after, that also remains to be seen.
For now, back to Prince Randy.
I dropped the scepter. My crown tumbled to the floor. I spilled cereal on my ermine cape. I cried like a baby—mainly because I was a baby. You could say that I was a clumsy one, but the dropping and tumbling and spilling were due more to living in an earthquake-prone city than mere childish clumsiness. You could say that, and most people, like the morning news, would’ve believed you, but, as it turned out, the earth wasn’t quaking at the time so much as colliding, all bumper-car-like. And no, no one would’ve believed you if you suggested such a thing, myself included. That is, until it was me suggesting such a thing—here, in fact.
Mom scooped me up as the ground beneath us trembled and shook. She ran to the nearest doorframe and crouched down, covering me protectively with her body. “Shh,” she said. “Don’t cry, Randy. Those are just friendly giants on their way to say hello, bigger than even the Transamerica Pyramid. Boom they go as they clomp their way up our hill.”
I shrugged and stopped crying. I suckled on a teat for comfort. It wasn’t an affectation that would follow me into adulthood. Dare I say, duh. Anyway, the earth eventually stopped rumbling. The giants returned home—those San Francisco hills too daunting, apparently, even for the likes of them. Mom put her boob away. And I, I was already fast asleep, dreaming of that happily ever after that may or may not be at the end of all this.
§ § § §
Life rolled along. Mashed peas were replaced by whole ones. My blankie became threadbare, until not even my younger brother, Craig, wanted it. The teat was shelved—phew—and replaced by whole milk. I stopped wearing a cereal bowl on my head, at least in public. But the ground, yes, the ground continued to shake, rattle, and, you know, roll.
“Strangest thing,” said the morning news, which was the only news my mom watched, mainly because she was too tired at night to bother with it. Again, “strangest thing,” it said, “but there doesn’t seem to be any fault movement during these quakes.” It was, as if, there was effect without cause. “And the quakes are only happening in and around the San Francisco area.”
“Weird,” said Mom.
I shrugged. “Weird,” I echoed. I was eight at the time. I was at that aping stage. If Mom said, “Weird,” I said, “Weird.” If Mom laughed, I laughed. If mom dressed in a dress, I dressed in a dress.
“It’s just a phase,” she whispered to Dad when I emerged from her bedroom in one of her blouses, teetering in her high heels, my lips smeared in red, eyes in shimmering blue.
I shrugged. “If you say so.”
The ground again shook. She ran over and scooped me up, Dad close behind, Craig along for the ride, until all four of us were huddled beneath the narrow doorframe.
“Weird,” Mom said.
“Weird,” agreed Dad.
But weird didn’t even begin to cover it.
§ § § §
I went from being eight to fifteen. I went from being short to medium-tall. Heck, I was taller than my mom already, but had a ways to go to beat Dad. Craig was a late bloomer. Craig was adorably scrawny. Thin and short with glasses, he was nerdy chic—his words, not mine. He’d just turned thirteen, his voice alternating from high to low and back again. He sounded like a record repeatedly sped up and slowed down—Mom’s words, not mine; mainly because I hadn’t a clue what a record even was.
I stopped eating peas. I stopped eating vegetables, altogether. I ate meat. I ate fried food. I was a rebel, albeit one with teenage acne, owing mostly to all that fried food and meat I was forever eating. I grew my hair long. I grew a beard. Or at least I drew one on my face, which Mom promptly washed off. I stopped wearing her blouses. Turned out, it really was just a phase. Go figure. I still wore makeup, though. Just a bit of black smudged around the eyes. Mom let me keep that. Then again, I’d used a permanent marker, so what choice did she have, really?
“What’s got into you these days, Randy?” she asked.
I shrugged. I trembled. Actually, the earth trembled. By then, we’d stopped huddling beneath the doorframe. The morning news stopped reporting on it. We stopped calling it weird. The only thing that didn’t stop were the quakes themselves.
As to what had gotten into me, it was the quakes. I was certain of it. The earth shook, awakening something deep inside me, something foreign. I felt tied to them, like the ground was putting on a show just for me. It quaked and I grew taller. It quaked and I grew randy—the adjective, not the name, namely mine. So, like I said, it had gotten into me. And I, I promptly spewed it out. Pft, pft, pft I went, the bathroom door locked, pajamas bunched around my ankles.
“Hormones,” my Mom called it, though I, of course, knew better.
§ § § §
Fifteen turned to eighteen turned to twenty-two. I was six feet and some change by then, just out of college and still living at home. Mom had mentioned giants when I was a kid. Now, I was the giant. My acne cleared up. My chest filled out. My hair was Sampson-like. I looked like the cover model of a Harlequin novel, only gayer. Mom said I looked like Fabio. I took her word on it, seeing, like records, I hadn’t a clue who or what a Fabio was.
I often stared at myself in my standing mirror. It wasn’t out of vanity—mostly—so much as fascination. Who was this man staring back at me? Where had he suddenly come from? I felt eighteen inside my head, fifteen, eight, but the person staring back at me was not any of those people.
I bounced my dick. It waved back at me. “Hi, Randy!” it seemed to say. “Let’s play!”
I nodded my head. “Good idea, dick,” I said, quickly stroking it to climax.
It remained resolute. “Let’s play some more, Randy!”
“Really?” I asked it. “So soon?”
It shrugged as it leaked, as an opalescent bead dripped to the floor below. “Sure, why not!”
Why not, indeed.
And it was then, as I came for the third time, as the earth began to quake beneath my already quaking legs, that I saw it for the very first time. I froze, mid-stroke, jizz splattering against the mirror before slowing sliding down. My eyes went wide. I shook my head—the big one, not the dripping littler one. I blinked. I blinked again. “Can’t be,” I said as I squinted into the reflection, as I moved my face closer to the surface. I chalked it up to coming too many times in rapid succession. My brain was addled. It was a mirage. Too much, uh, heat. That had to be it, I told myself.
Eyes, after all, didn’t stare back at you from inside a mirror, especially eyes that were a stunning shade of blue.
Oh, and, by the way, mine were brown.
The earth stopped shaking. The eyes disappeared. My dick was still hard as granite. I looked down at it. “Did you see it, too, dick?”
It didn’t reply. It was a very single-minded dick. It only wanted to play. Strange mirror sightings, it seemed, weren’t its thing. I suddenly blushed and covered my prick. Could the eyes see me? I chuckled nervously. This was crazy. I was seeing things and talking to my dick. It had to be those hormones again, I figured. If they raged when I was fifteen, twenty-two must’ve been one hell of a bonanza.
It was then I realized that I hadn’t locked my bedroom door. I say this because one minute it was closed, and the next it was open, my brother gazing at me as I in turn gazed at him.
“I’m sorry!” he shouted, covering his eyes.
“Craig!” I in turn shouted, further covering my still-turgid tool. It took two hands. I say this out of modesty and not vanity. Again, mostly. “Shut the door! Shut the door!”
He peeked from between his fingers. “Which side should I be on?”
I sighed. “The inside.”
“The inside of your bedroom or the inside of the hallway?”
My sigh repeated. I bent down and grabbed my T-shirt, which I wrapped around my waist as best I could. I again stared at my covered-dick, now turned pup tent. Like all good things, my third sigh, like my coming, came, no pun intended, in threes. “Inside my bedroom.”
He shut the door, his eyes still covered. “Can I look now?”
I nodded. “Sure, but straight ahead. Down, not so much.”
Slowly, he removed his hand from his face and locked eyes with me. “You should lock your door, Randy.”
Again, I nodded. “Duh, Craig.” I paused. I gulped. “I, uh, I saw something.”
He grimaced as his eyes momentarily wandered to my still-tenting equatorial region. “Tell me about it.”
“No,” I said, turning as I pointed to the mirror. “In there.” My gulp repeated. Mainly because I’d also forgotten that there was a rather large spunk-trail still gradually making its way down the glass. And so, I again grabbed my T-shirt, wiped the spooge away as best I could, then found my underwear, which I yanked up and on. The tenting, suffice it to say, remained, but had at last began to abate.
Craig sat on my bed. “If this is some sort of sex education talk, Mom and Dad already have it covered.” He pointed at my midsection. “And better than you do.”
My blush returned. “Sorry, little bro, it’s just…I really did see something.”
He looked at me incredulously. “In the mirror?”
“In the mirror.”
He nodded. He rolled his eyes. He was apt to do that when he was agitated with me. Which was more often than not. “In the mirror?”
I nodded. “In the mirror.”
“Are you on drugs, Randy?”
My nod turned shake. “Mom and Dad would kill me.”
He wagged his finger at the mirror. “Yeah, they wouldn’t be too thrilled about this shit either.” He yawned. “Makes three of us.” He fell backward onto the bed and stared at the ceiling. “Though, I am glad you’re two years older than me.”
“Why is that?”
He turned his face my way. “So I can learn from your mistakes, many and varied that they are.”
I grinned and tossed my T-shirt into the hamper before slipping into some shorts. “Lesson one: lock the door.”
He nodded from his prone position. “Check. Got it.” He pushed himself up onto his elbows. “As to the mirror, those were your eyes. A mirror reflects an image. You were staring at the mirror, as is evident in what Mom will surely find in the hamper. Ergo, those eyes were yours.”
“Hence. Thus. It’s a word, Randy,” he said.
“The eyes were blue.”
He blinked. “Yours are brown.”
“Ergo, the eyes weren’t a reflection.” I closed the gap between us and sat on the bed next to him. “It’s the earthquakes.”
“What’s the earthquakes?”
“It’s tied to the earthquakes,” I replied. “The eyes.” There was silence in the room as he seemed to take this in. “Sounds crazy, huh?” I finally said when I could no longer take the deafening hush.
“Yep.” He pushed himself up even further, his back again at the vertical. “Why do you think that your sudden hallucinations are tied to the earthquakes?”
“I wasn’t hallucinating.” Was I? “And as to the earthquakes, I…I don’t know. It’s just a feeling I have. It’s like, it’s like they’re tied to me, to the eyes.” I balled my hand into a fist and placed said fist against my chest. “I feel it, Craig. In here.”
He touched his index finger to my temple. “It’s more up here I’m worried about.”
“I’m not crazy.” Was I?
I nodded. Yes, there was that. There was always that. Seriously, always. “Think that’s it? Hormones, like Mom is always saying?”
“It’s just an educated guess,” he said. “Maybe you’ve reached some sort of threshold. Maybe this is simply a side effect. Maybe leave your willy alone for a while, then the eyes might go away.”
I would’ve agreed, but my willy had a mind of its own, and the little head seemed to rule the big one these days. Not that the little head was all that little, mind you, but still. “I’ll try.”
He grinned. “I suspect a resounding failure in that regard.”
My grin matched his. My brother and I were polar opposites. We didn’t think alike or look alike or act alike, but our smiles were strangely identical. “Yeah, probably.” I stood. “Don’t tell Mom and Dad, okay?”
“About which thing?” He pointed to me, then to the hamper, and, lastly, to the mirror.
“Any of it.”
He shrugged and also rose. “Trust me, it’s not a conversation I want to have. For a second time. Heck, I could’ve lived without the first one.”
He turned to leave. “Wait,” I said. “What did you want when you came in here without knocking first?”
He scratched his head and squinted my way before replying. “Oh, yeah. Almost forgot.” His grin amped up a notch. “Mom said to wash up for dinner.” His finger rose and again aimed for the hamper. “Pizza. And I’m so not touching the slices next to yours.”
I chuckled. “I don’t blame you, little bro,” I said. “I don’t blame you one bit.”
He turned to leave, while I, in turn, turned to the mirror. “Please,” I said in a hushed whisper. “Please don’t fuck with me anymore.”
And, as if in reply, the ground once again began to shake.
I ducked beneath the doorframe, old habits seemingly returning. Thankfully, the eyes didn’t do the same. Return, I mean.
At least not that time.