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Funny Fiction Mystery

My tongue is about to explode out of my mouth.

I can’t recall how I ended up walking through the desert on my own. All I know is that I am so thirsty, I could suck water from a cactus needle.

The sand is endless and blowing everywhere in the strong wind, making it almost impossible to see more than an arm’s length ahead of me, but through the sound, I detect a low hum like some energy-driven device moving past me at a rapid pace. It sounds familiar, yet unmistakably alien with its high-pitched whir and hiss. Even more peculiar to my ears, I sense it is travelling downward – almost hovering above the storm-blown desert landscape.

I must be experiencing the early stages of delirium. Thirst will do that to you. It’s messing with my memory as well because I know not where I am, nor how I got here. All I know is that I am grateful for this face mask - or more accurately, this frilly veil, protecting me from the pin-like attacks on my cheeks. Plus, without these absurdly large sunglasses on my head, I would imagine that the wildly blown sand would damage my eyesight.

Stopping to catch my breath, I hear a distinct clunking sound and that unrecognisable hum dissipate, as the sandstorm recedes into the distance. Collapsing, I fight the urge to sleep, because as discombobulated as I may be, I do not welcome death visiting me at the base of a sand dune. Come back when I’m too old to care, Mr Desert Reaper. Until then, leave me to the rest of my life to fight for my continued survival.

My words trail into the settling sand, too weak to follow the wind. Did I just shout that out, or were they just loud internal thoughts deafening my ears? It is hard to decipher what is real and what is fantasy, but the emerging sun in the sky is both welcomed and feared, for along with clearing my line of sight, it brings heat to exasperate my dry mouth and taunt my longing thirst for water. Oh please, Gods of rain, let your mercy on this wandering lost soul quench him with a downpour. My tongue protrudes in excited expectation of a single drop of your life-giving precipitation. I kneel faithfully like a starved Catholic worshipper awaiting the body of Christ at Communion.

I find it oddly peculiar that at my moment of great need at death’s door, the only question I can muster is, why is it that only the followers get the body of Christ, but the holy men get the blood? Aren’t the disciples more important to keep on-side? There will always be sermonic soap-box orators for us all to follow, but with no-one to listen, there is no requirement for preaching or those that preach.

I drop to my knees in the realisation that I am now hallucinating and blabbering nonsense. I’m not even Catholic. Hell, I’m not even religious, but what I see towering high and wide in full view of my eyes, cannot be logically explained beyond one word… Celestial. A shining Egyptian-styled pyramid, adorned with a gold cone where all sides converge, has landed in the desert. Was this the sound I just heard? I’ve read about aliens disguising their craft to look like pyramids to blend in with the landscape. But as a sliver of memory returns with the sun recharging my mind, I don’t remember ever leaving the USA, or travelling to Egypt. So, what is a pyramid doing in the Nevada desert? Nevada! Yes, that’s where I am. I do remember that much; so, have I inexplicably wandered into the infamous Area 51? I need answers quickly before I start to panic, but sleep is calling me, and it must be fought off. Closing my eyes now could mean never awakening and never being enlightened.

Suddenly, a rush of adrenaline jolts my eyes wide open. There is movement coming from the direction of the craft and it is approaching me at speed. Squinting at the silhouetted figure increasingly towering over me, I raise an arm toward them in a physical plea for help.

“Mercy,” I plead, before my voice weakly whispers, “Water.”

“Why are you here?” A deep male voice pings around the inside of my head.

I try to respond, but no coherent words escape my rasping throat, so I just grunt.

“Drink this,” he instructs.

Caringly holding a metal canister of otherworldly metal to my lips, he pours measured drops of its contents into my mouth.

“Slowly,” he warns. “You’ll drown yourself.”

It tastes so divine that it must be the liquid of the gods. How many mortals of this plain can say that they have drank such a heavenly elixir? It must be the drink of divinities because I feel it soothing my raspy throat, clearing my thoughts, and filling me with energy. This is not the blood of Christ, but the revered fluid of Frank Herberts’ Arrakis in his Dune novel. My parched imagination runs away with me and plants the idea that Frank Herbert was chosen to travel the stars, then returned to Earth to tell the tale of the sacred spice of life. How else could he know about this liquid?

Slowly, my vision returns to normal, and I am both shocked and in awe of this person stood before me. He is by all appearances, dressed as an Egyptian Pharoah, proving to me the stories of how the ancient civilisation came to be. It has long been a theory that they were children of the stars sent to colonise a resource-rich planet – bringing with them a language untranslated for several thousand years. If it had not been for the discovery of the Rosetta Stone in 1799 by Napolean’s soldiers invading Egypt, this ancient civilisation would still be a mystery to this very day. But history right now is secondary to my recovery.

My eyes catch a symbol on the side of the canister. It looks so familiar, yet my mind is still too foggy to identify it. Where have I seen that before?

“Close your eyes,” my Pharoah rescuer instructs, as he removes the wide-rimmed sunglasses from my face. Oh my, he is blessing my head with cascading liquid so cool to the touch, it momentarily protects me from the heat of the sun. Oh, to be anointed by the blessed fluid of the Pharaohs is an honour I will never forget. It is an acceptance into their culture and civilisation. Perhaps, a prequel to join them in their galactic exploration of the universe. I am ready – I tell myself. Ask and you shall receive my enthusiastic yes to accompany you across the stars.

“Your mode of dress is peculiar,” he points out.

His is spectacular. A combination of gold, purple, and white adorn his headdress and tunic. He is reminiscent of a time when appearances were regal, and status was everything. Gold bracelets wrap around his forearms like conical rings of importance. Leather strapped sandals continue their binds up above his calves. Truly, he is a majestic specimen from Alpha Centauri or some other similar earth-like planet light years from here.

“I cannot match your opulence, oh Pharoah, my Pharoah,” I apologetically reply.

“No, seriously,” he adds. “Is that a Tutu around your waist?”

“I look down. He is correct in his observation. I am wearing a Tutu. Why am I wearing a tutu?

“Yes, oh Pharoah, my Pharoah,” I repeat.

“Then these sunglasses make sense,” he says, while gently replacing them on my face.

“Let’s get you on your feet, buddy,” he suggests in colloquial terminology – like he’s had many millennia to study our customs and language. “The sandstorm has blown through, and I need to get back to work.”

“You actually work?” I ask while rising onto shaky legs. I never imagined Pharaohs working. I thought that they only rule over kingdoms.

“Yeah, I was on my way to my shift, when I spotted you stumbling across the parking lot,” he explains - with a slight southern lilt to his accent.

Parking lot, he calls it, like landing a spaceship is an everyday occurrence. Like a helipad, Area 51 must have pyramid docking pads.

“Here, take the rest of this water bottle. Courtesy of Luxor.”

My eyes open wide. “It’s true!” I internally exclaim. Luxor was used as an alien outpost. He’s just confirmed it. Even the side of the water canister bears the name of the River Nile’s city of immortal royalty. Oh Pharoah, my Pharoah, I am honoured by your generous gift.

“What were you doing out here on your own?” He concernedly asks – interrupting my internal blessings of gratitude.

I look at him in awe. What powers he possesses within his bluntness because my memory is suddenly flooding back in tidal waves. His drink has restored the missing past in my brain. As I am about to drop once more to my knees and kiss his gold painted royal toenails, a flash of instant geographical awareness and binded dutiful honour keeps me upright on my feet, forcing a startled look to snap into place on my face.

“Married!” I exclaim. “I’m getting married!”

“Congratulations,” my demigod replies. “When?”

I briefly ponder the question, then like a truth serum has infiltrated me with his query, I answer, “Saturday.”

“That’s today,” the celestial keeper of time informs me, before adding, “Right! It all makes sense now as to why you’re in such a state of confusion. Did your stag party buddies leave you out here last night?”

My heart sinks with an awakening stab of reality poking me in the gut.

“Where am I?” I sheepishly ask – hoping for some other answer than the one he is about to give me.

“Heck, you’re in Las Vegas, buddy.”

“You’re not an alien god?”

“A what!? You must have hit the booze hard last night.”

Pointing at his spaceship, I try one last time to unearth some form of sense to what he is saying.

“This pyramid before us is not your spaceship?”

“Spaceship? No, buddy. It’s where I work. The Luxor Hotel.”

Truth abounds and hits me so hard in the gut, I double over in phantom pain.

“My fiancé is going to kill me,” I cry out with added realisation fuelling my memory.

“Your buddies hire some hookers last night?” My Pharoah asks.

“Why?” I defensively answer with a question.

“Coz, your face is covered in red lipstick, and they all look like sets of lips. Plus, that face mask under your chin, looks a lot like a pair of panties.”

“Oh no,” I despairingly mumble.

“Look,” he says. “I still have twenty minutes before my shift. Why don’t I convince the manager to comp you the honeymoon suite. You can clean up there and call your buddies to bring you your wedding tux.”

“You’d do that for me?”

“Sure, buddy! I’d do it for anyone wearing a pink tutu and bra.”

“Oh my,” I gasped – looking down at the lingerie across my chest. “How will I explain this?”

“Haven’t you heard our famous saying?”

“Saying?” I innocently ask.

“Hell, buddy. Don’t you know that what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas?”

“Does it really?”

“Sure does. Unless someone blabs.”

“Shit!” I exclaim, as another wave of memory recall returns. “My best man has my phone, and he was using it to take pictures last night.”

“Then, buddy. All I can say is destroy the evidence first chance you get.”

He guides me toward the entrance to his spaceship, and I follow like a lamb to the slaughter – head bowed, and shoulders slumped in an anticipated sense of foreboding doom. Oh Pharoah, my Pharoah, how I so wish that you were an interstellar traveller taking me on a journey to the stars, because if anyone I drunkenly invited to the wedding last night shows up, I might need to leave town pretty damn quick…

 

October 15, 2023 08:44

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14 comments

21:50 Oct 23, 2023

Thanks for the chuckle!

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Chris Campbell
00:27 Oct 24, 2023

My pleasure, Vicki. Thanks for reading and commenting.

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Judith Jerdé
14:10 Oct 21, 2023

Oh Chris, what ride... I Loved every word. The pink tutu and bra was the pièce de résistance. Excellent, good luck.

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Chris Campbell
15:08 Oct 21, 2023

Judith, Thank you for the wonderful feedback.

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Mary Bendickson
18:20 Oct 18, 2023

So funny if it weren't about Vegas and the Luxor. That is exactly where my ex landed and where he was working last I knew. Oh, that may have been him in the stuper but he was already married, I think. Anyway, great imagination. Thanks for liking my 'When Falls the Night'. That's the job I had to get after ex left for Vegas.

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Chris Campbell
06:27 Oct 19, 2023

Thanks, Mary. Sorry it brought up some uncomfortable memories.

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Michelle Oliver
14:36 Oct 15, 2023

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. Love the twist as reality soaks into his delusional mind. You tease us so well with hints and red herrings that we wonder where this story is going, (and knowing you Chris, it could possibly go anywhere,) before you settle in for the most mundane explanation, a stag party gone wrong. But you stick with the glimmer of humour because that last line is gold. What did he do last night, with whom and how much is it going to cost him? Great story.

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Chris Campbell
03:50 Oct 16, 2023

Thanks, Michelle (Re-edited - Must have been tired to call you by another name. Sincerest apologies). What imaginations a thirsty mind can conjure up. Especially, when it's hangover induced. Thanks for your great feedback.

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Susana Sela
21:44 Jan 06, 2024

Love it!

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Chris Campbell
01:02 Jan 07, 2024

Thanks, Susana.

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14:23 Dec 29, 2023

That was great! Very funny. (love the Dune reference, maybe it really happened! :D) 'Truth is stranger than fiction - fiction has to make sense.' - How could you make any sense of the 'truth' in this story? 😂

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Chris Campbell
14:41 Dec 29, 2023

This was a complete stretch of the truth of a 4:00AM walk back to my hotel room in Las Vegas, one early morning - way back when. I stumbled across another hotel that had Brendan Shine and his Irish Showband playing live. So, I went in and stayed until 6:00AM. Nothing remotely close to my short story. But inspired - all the same. Thanks for reading.

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Amanda Lieser
20:27 Nov 16, 2023

Hey Chris! What a creative for take on the prompt! I appreciate some of the religious musings that you decided to incorporate in the first portion, and I really thought that this is going to be a very serious piece where our protagonist must deal with the process of coming to terms with his own death. You had such vivid imagery in this piece. I specifically loved that line about the cactus needle and then you also incorporated the vivid language around taking communion, which was exceptionally well done. It all built up the drama to making m...

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Chris Campbell
23:39 Nov 16, 2023

Thanks, Amanda. I intentionally set out to mislead, building to a punchline using imagery most can relate to. Great feedback, thank you.

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