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A Bro on a Volcanic

A Bro on a Volcanic

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Published by Ben Austin
Short story about a bro.
Short story about a bro.

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Published by: Ben Austin on Feb 19, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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02/19/2013

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 A Bro on a Volcanic
One particular bro on a volcanic, dystopian landscape, in the midst of current andimpending extinctions, looked like his fever was increasing, in part since we hadregressed to the pre-antibiotic days when anti-inflammatories were just tree barks. He
 was pedaling across no path at all, just sifting, thin dirt and maroon sand; folks hadn’t
been in the area for five years, and he had no idea he was wandering in circles like
those desert explorers from back in the days of Baghdad, the city of dreams. Don’t
confuse this bro's story with science fiction or a spooky prediction just by the scenery;this unlush place full of dust and short, stiff plants that grow in gravel is incidental.
 Think about Mars; we have tons of photos of it, and nobody seems to know if it’s the
dead-end future of the Earth or what everything used to look like in Toronto, eonsback, in the heyday of crabs.He had lived with a bunch of other teenagers who looked like they could haveplayed basketball with Leo DiCaprio: gaunt, catholic-school chic, but they were out of place in a two-room shack with no foundation, held together only by wood staplesand a few nails. The horizon in every direction yielded no concrete courts, no goals with missing nets, or chain link, twelve feet tall, and several horizons over you'd still
find none as well. Animal or bro, if you don’t match your landscape, there’s very little
point in survival, even with the sustenance of the species in mind; however, thiscontrast drives all the best trends and forward-thinking fashion, where the aim is
forgetting what you’re wearing because your clothes become entirely functional from
your point of view: Yves Saint Laurent was obsessed with the elegance of Kashmirfarmers for a long time; to him, they were the closest thing to being naked, naive, andelegant, a rare combination.
His buddy who went by “Sudsy” was the only teen who meshed in with the
near-Bedouin cloudscapes out where t
he bro’s shack was. He was the only one who
thought to bring real footwear out into this dead zone, so he seemed like an expert by comparison. Realizing this particular bro wandering the sands on a Giant mountainbike was too sick to just sit down on the shack foundation and ride it out, Sudsy wasthe one who gave him the go-ahead to take a bike out through the volcanic flatlandsto the next town. He was also the only one competent enough to realize building a
 
shack out here was a good idea since land was free to all takers, with the caveats of norunning water and only little nutria-type mammals around for food.
Sudsy could’ve lived in the cities, but he saw free land as an intuitive gamble
bound to pay off. Think of buying up swamps in Miami during the depression, how did that work out? If they flipped alligator territory into pink stucco beach fronts
back then, they’ll be able to turn this humid desert into artesian meadows again,
maybe with casinos and even a Regis Galeria with pharaohs for sale and Michael Jackson sifting through his wallet for a gift card. When you pay nothing per squarefoot, this kind of fascination can lure you anywhere; any locale can become asessential as settling near running water. This particular bro was the only one in the shack that saw opportunity the way 
Sudsy did; everyone else was just a runaway or didn’t have the practical choice of 
making a living in the cities. They were just along for the ride and were useful but
didn’t think or even imagine more than three days ahead, so they couldn’t fantasize
about signing over vast acres to Chinese firms with hundreds of bugged offices andmicrophones tucked under the driver seats in company cars. These short-termsurvivalists would probably still take the money, but how could they ever make it long enough without an obscene hallucination pulling them to the horizon?***Behind a dune, a half-bear creature knocked this particular bro off his bike; bro ate
the ground and didn’t want to look up to find the thing that was after him, es
pecially since the region was supposed to be vacant and uninhabitable as far as large animalsgo. Luckily, it just made off with his 10-
speed (a means of survival). Again, don’t getlost in the outlandish part of the bro’s story; most contemporary convenie
nces arestill intact; for instance, Moscow has barely been affected from a structural standpoint,all the same apartments, Starbucks, and ATMs, but there has been a radical increase inpopulation, due to the rusted-out dust plains like the one where this
bro’s bike got
jacked. He could still make it to a place with water, medicine, and food in a coupledays; it would just be grittier and slower without the bike, which was in great shape,even outfitted for the last ditch possibility of treks between towns. The bro's assailant was an opportunistic scavenger, no surprise. From apractical perspective, if a Giant Talon 29er was useful for the bro, think of how paradigm-altering it would be for a pseudo-Sasquatch just getting the hang of brushshelters since his usual forest bit the dust? Cognitive surplus was a new thing for his
 
species, and this bro wasn't going to halt the squatches like the newly paved interstatesdid back in the 50s in the American West.
Not to keep harpin', but, at this juncture, don’t get into “climate change” based
on the wildlife in the crispy flatlands; hone in on these bros' lack of free time; thenature of work and the conquest of slavery: the engine of progress. These shifts are way more important than anything like the evolving amounts of salinized water
affected by the moon. A better question is, “Can you even sell yourself as a slave voluntarily?” What can a bro give up in his own interest, from his perspective? Thisparticular bro we’re tailing has no time to talk to people, fri
ends or otherwise; he only earns those minutes by assailing the terrain in order to get Advil and possibly someciprofloxacin for whatever is wrong with him or he just maintains his residency in alean-to in order to make an enormous land claim. Even for us to care enough to beon his trail is empathetic to a degree that makes people nervous, overflowing with thesticky dread of becoming involved, like seeing a downbeat hobo kicked off a traininto similar rocky flatland, knowing full well that there used to be a
de facto
acceptanceof vagabonds; they were part of the way things go, or went.
 
He figured trekking to the next city was just one of the time sucks of getting 
free land; there wouldn’t be doctors in this area for years. He thought it was like CEOs
 who live in an idyllic isolation but are forced to drive 30 miles to company headquarters; you just can't everything both ways.
 
His backpack was filled with Gatorade (the previous formula, before they removed brominated vegetable oil) and thousands of hard pretzels; some were ruinedby being left in a moist storage corner where they kept food and tools, though they  were probably still edible, considering this was a life and death situation; on foot thisshould've still be enough to make it to a pharmacy.
In England they’d call this kind of traveling “wild camping,” but it’s misleading since there’s no road, path, or trail at all, there’s no traffic in this area, no reason for
any bro to go to the next city; in fact, travel is more deadly than useful. This particularbro happened to be ill, sicker than anyone had been in a long time, not unlike when Jacquin got stabbed in
The Village 
, except the geographic isolation here verges on
“involuntary,” no opt
-in.
 
The Happening 
has what is generally considered the worst trick ending in recent
memory. Plants makin’ folks off themselves doesn’t keep us up at night, and they don’t make any bro wary about going into a dark kitchen with a dripping faucet, but
 we know angry plants have just the kind of boring, yet effective, eccentricity that

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