The Comedy

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Action and Adventure  |  House: Booksie Classic
Maurice Callaway's call to the desert for riches is interrupted by a sandstorm. He travels through harsh conditions to try to make it out alive. Through his journey he is faced with physical and emotion obstacles. I try to use a very interesting writing style to convey certain unique images throughout the story, mainly when his journey begins to get treacherous. Please read, and provide feedback on what worked and what didn't. Thanks!

Submitted: June 09, 2014

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Submitted: June 09, 2014

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It was very late, 11:12pm to be exact.  Maurice Callaway was driving home after a sixteen-hour day at work.The forty-year old surveyor for an emerging, New York, oil production company was ecstatic after a victorious day for his company.  Maurice was always a success throughout his life, just like his father who was the CEO of a major aeronautical manufacturing firm; not to mention Maurice had an appearance of royalty with a nice fitted suit, perfect fair complexion, and freshly trimmed pepper haired comb-over, who stood about 6’2”.  His father always pushed him beyond his limits, since he was just a young boy, to be successful at everything he did.  This led Maurice to graduate summa cum laude from Cornell University, and proceeded to become the head surveyor for his current occupation.

He slowly and quietly pulled his Dodge Stratus into his driveway, and was as silent as possible when cautiously opening and closing the door.  He took a moment to look at his car.

“Well I know the first thing I’ll be upgrading soon.”  He smirked confidently.  He crept into his house tiptoeing, hoping to be as quiet as possible so he does not wake his two children, or worse his wife.  He entered the living room, and his wife, a college sweetheart, Chole Callaway, was waiting on the couch for him to arrive. 

“You’re late.  Again.”

“Chloe you will not believe what our new plans are at the company!  For years now the lab has been engineering a revolutionary procedure for flawless oil extraction and…”

“I don’t want to here it Mo, you never come home when you promise.”

“But Chloe, we are implementing our ideas within the coming months, we bought land in the desert in Egypt, rich with oil, and I leave for there tomorrow to landscape the area and…”

“You're going to Egypt…tomorrow?”

“ I know it's sudden, but think of the money Chole!” Maurice reached out to hold his wife in his arms, but she brushed him off like dust.

“You know maybe you should put a little more effort in being a good husband, or yet a good father.  Your daughters have grown up without you! I mean, Christ Mo, you missed Melody’s entire life, not to mention her graduation, and now she’s at college in North Carolina and the week she gets to come home for Spring Break you escape to Egypt? And you have missed all of poor Haley’s music concerts, the girl is only in seventh grade, she needs her father. All you care about is goddamn work!” Chloe marched upstairs, and slammed the bedroom door. 

“Good husband? Good father? If it weren’t for me you would probably be bumming around on the streets! I provide this family with everything it has!”  There was no response.  Maurice began to pack his belongings together for his trip tomorrow and decided to spend the rest of the night sleeping on the couch.

Early the following morning, Maurice awoke and quietly snuck out of the house, to head to the airport, without detection and without goodbyes.  He got on to his 7:00am flight to Cairo.  It was a dreadful twelve-hour, nonstop flight from JFK Airport to Cairo, Egypt. 

When he arrived in Cairo, a limousine was waiting outside the airport for him.  They traveled first to Giza, where Maurice was able to look at the Great Pyramids, and then made a seven hour drive to El Qars, a small city right on the boarder of the Sahara Desert.  By the time he got into his hotel it was already 2:00am.  He got out of the limousine and looked up to the sky.  He had almost forgotten what the stars looked like, living in the city.  They were so bright and vivid; everything seemed so calm and quiet.  After a very long day of traveling, Maurice entered his room and decided to lie down, get some rest, and dream about his fortune to come. 

The next morning Maurice arose early around 7:00am to prepare for the day.  He packed his belongings, mainly just water, food, and landscaping tools for his journey.  Amped with adrenaline, Maurice was very anxious to see the property his oil company had purchased. Sipping on his morning french vanilla coffee, Maurice spoke to himself

 ‘’ Our technology will change life for everyone. We will be the main oil distribution company in the entire world.”

Maurice stepped outside where he met his international agent, Amir. 

“Well good morning Amir, beautiful day for a stroll through the desert isn’t it?” Maurice was grinning with empowerment.

“ A great day indeed Sir. I have brought you your camel for the journey.” Amir walked one of the two camels he had standing next to him over to Maurice and handed him the reins.

“ Thank you Amir, now let me ask you, what is the deal with this other camel here? Surely I'm not taking care of two of these beast,” Maurice chuckled in self -satisfaction.

“ No Sir, I thought it would be beneficial to you if I would be your guide through the desert, I'm familiar with these parts and they can get quite deceiving when you are out in the wilderness.” Amir offered himself as a guide with great pride, a chance to be the leader of the boss.

“Amir you're too good of a man! But sadly I must decline, I like to work alone you see, and it isn’t that far into the desert, plus traveling through sand can’t be too difficult anyways. I’m from the coast Amir, I grew up on a beach, and I can travel through sand just fine.”  Once again, Maurice cracked himself up into a cackling laugh.  His humor seemed to escape Amir who had a stone look on his face.

“Sir I must insist that I guide you, it’s much different out there alone. I’ve heard far too many terrible tragedies in the desert.” Amir pleaded, the pitch of his voice heightened with worry.

“Ah, Christ, what the Hell! Guide me to my Promise Land, Amir!

“Thank you sir, and I will!  It’s good to have someone who knows what’s out there.”

“I’ll tell you what's out there, sand! Lots and lots of sand, and within it is my fortune!”  Chuckling, Maurice mounted his camel with his belongings and trotted away, with Amir, toward the outer edge of town.

After a very short trip he arrived to the edge of the town and he looked out over the empty desert that stretched out to the horizon. To most it is just a vacant land of sand, but to me it is a prospering land of gold.  He gazed out to a sea of sand and each grain of sand he saw as a grain of gold and he was looking out into a sea of it.  With a feeling of power and accomplishment, Maurice took his first step into the desert, beginning his journey to glory.

As the day went on, the sun began to rise towards its highest peak.  Maurice’s site was 20 km southwest of El Qars. He was almost there, about 3 more km to go.  Maurice’s excitement quickly faded while tracking through this deserted land for a few hours.  No plants, no animals, nothing except this God-awful sand.  The slight wind pushed the sand to slither along the landscape, which created what appeared to be small, ocean-like, waved across the surface.  Truly incredible, were the giant dunes that stood like mountains, with sand whispering off their peaks.  He was getting quite dizzy from the heat; he had to constantly drink water to stay hydrated.

“How much further, Amir?  We must be getting close, I assume?”

“Yes Sir, we are very close, we should be there in a few minutes.”

Maurice was being extremely impatient, as usual, and a few minutes felt like an hours but, finally, Maurice had arrived.  It looked no different than the rest of the landscape that he passed on his route, but to Maurice this was the most beautiful section of property in the entire world.Maurice dismounted his camel and fell to his knees where he grasped two handfuls of golden sand and held it up to the sky.

“Thank the lord!” Maurice began laughing obnoxiously as he felt the sand funnel through his fingers. He went up to his camel and kissed it right on the cheek.

“Isn’t it beautiful there, camel? You’re damn right it is, it’s absolutely beautiful!  Isn’t this just absolutely beautiful, Amir?  Tell me this is beautiful!”

“Very beautiful, Sir! Very beautiful!” Amir confirmed to please Maurice.

“I think this calls for some lunch!”

Maurice turned to his cooler with all his food in it and lay down beside it.  The wind transformed to heavy gusts, spewing sand in every direction.  He looked out to the horizon towards the west and saw what looked like a very dense fog over-coming the land. 

“Amir, what the hell is that?”  The camels began to grunt and act out of control.  Amir was trying to ease his camel, but when he looked to see what Maurice was talking about, he was horrified.

“Sandstorm! Quickly, get out of here!” Amir cried.  At that moment Maurice was struck with fear.  Amir mounted his camel and began to ride off.  Maurice hustled to his camel, but it was so frightened that it darted off with all his belongings without him.“No! Amir! Help me!  My camel is gone! Amir!”  Maurice desperately screamed for Amir’s aid, but he didn’t even glance back.  Could he not hear him?  Or was he just not going to risk turning back?

Maurice frantically sprinted as fast as he could in the direction Amir went, but it was no use, the sandstorm was rapidly approaching and there was no way he could out run this on foot.  He took off his shirt, dug a hole in the sand, and burrowed his head in the ground and covered it with his shirt.  When the sandstorm hit, a burst of sand struck Maurice’s bare skin sharply, like needles.  The storm lasted a dreadful three hours, approximately, and every moment of it Maurice was struggling to hold on to his shirt for cover, and struggling to breathe without inhaling large consumptions of sand.

Finally the wind died, and the storm ceased.  He slowly lifted himself up from the sand and gazed outwards towards the horizon.  Which way is El Qars? How do I get back to the city?

It was early in the afternoon, the sun was high, the sky was a hazy-gray color, and the blistering heat from the sun was beating down on Maurice.  I can’t stay here, I must move on and find water, food, civilization, anything at all.  What if Amir comes back to find me?  Maurice stood up, ripped off the sleeves to his shirt and tied them together to make a turban-like cover to protect his head from the heat.  He didn’t know which way to move forward due to the constant spinning of his surroundings.  He was dizzy, and confused.  He looked to the sun and saw which way it was descending.

“Well that must be west... So El Qars must be the other way, right? Yes. But how far off course did I travel?”

Maurice started walking east, with no water and no food.  It was a very far travel from El Qars, and it will be much longer now that he must make it back on foot.  Ha! You think a little sandstorm will rid me of my fortune? I think not.  It was difficult to walk through this terrain, the sand was soft like at the beach.  With every step his feet imbedded deeply into the earth and got buried, causing extra effort to yank his sunken feet out from under the sand.  Only about a couple hours passed before he grew very weary of walking.

“Maybe I shall rest here for the night and finish the journey in the morning. Sound like a plan?”

“Yes. Yes it does.”  After agreeing with himself, he decided to lie down and rest.  He found a flat area below a range of sand dunes and lay down on his stomach with his turban over his face to cover his eyes from the sun.

After he had been in repose for about six hours, Maurice awoke and the sun was descending below the horizon.  Everything was so still, so quiet.  The sun seemed bigger than he had ever seen before.  It was a mosaic of crimson red, orange, and golden yellow, which was reflected within the sky as if it caught fire.  He noticed that the temperature plummeted below freezing.  How the hell does it go from being so goddamn hot, to so goddamn cold?  But it would probably be better to travel in these conditions rather than when it’s too hot.

Maurice began to journey through the desert for hours, searching for any sign of civilization.  Suddenly the wind began to howl and sand was spitting chaotically around the air.  Maurice covered his face wit his shirt but it wasn’t effective, like before.  It was beginning to feel like it did when the sandstorm was approaching but unexpectedly everything slowed down again.  He peered out from under his shirt and was shocked.

The particles of sand were spiraling into a figure, or a spirit of some sort.  He couldn’t figure out what it was.  Millions of sand clusters were consolidating, as if they were magnetically attracted to each other, and the figure was becoming dense.  He started to hear faint voice, too faint to decipher, like whispers of secrets.

Shivering from the cold and pure panic, Maurice was in denial.  He slapped himself once on each side of his face, in hopes that he was just hallucinating.  It didn’t do any good.  The sand condensed into a humanoid shape.  In a matter of seconds, the sand exploded outwards with a radial shock that blasted Maurice on his back.

As he lifted himself back up to his knees, stunned he found himself kneeling before a ghost.  The spirit appeared as smoke, as if it were the haze on the horizon due to the humidity.  It was still clear enough for him to recognize who it was, and that scared him even more.  The spirit spoke with a soft, innocent voice, blended with sadness.

“Mo!  Where are you?  How could you leave me, leave us, with no goodbyes?  How could you leave us like that?”  Maurice was left gawking at his wife, Chole. 

“Chole? Chole what are you doing here?  You’re supposed to be home with the girls.”  Maurice got up from his knees and stared at his wife right in the eyes.  Her head was sulking, and tears ran down from her face.  He didn’t blame her.  He reached out his hand to push the hair aside from her face, but grasped nothing but air.  She glanced up slowly and glared at him with her swollen, dilated eyes, but said nothing.

“Chole.  Chole I’m sorry.  I’ll come back, I promise.”  For the first time in a while his heart filled with passion for his wife.  With a quick jolt he dove to wrap his weary arms around her transparent body, but once again grasped nothing, and with a strong gust of wind, Chole’s spirit had whispered away.

Maurice fell onto his back in despair and gazed upon the night sky, where the stars revealed themselves.  The stars were brighter than he has ever seen before.  They shone like diamonds and lit up the sky with a silver gleam.  They were moving so fast above his head, some seemed to fall, some seemed to rise, others looked like they were moving in circles, performing some dance, a foxtrot of some sort.  It was making Maurice very dizzy.  He closed his eyes tightly to gather his composure, but he became very dazed.

***

Maurice surprisingly found himself in his daughter, Melody’s, old high school auditorium.  She was dressed in a white cap and gown holding her diploma.  Her eyes were glossy with tears, and her face was smothered with disappointment.  Chole and Haley approached her with proud smiles, and embraced her tightly.

I’m so proud of you sweetheart!” Chole said with a smile, while wiping the tears of joy from her face.

“Thanks Mom.”  Melody, stared at the floor.

“You’re father wanted to be here sweetheart, you know how busy he is with…”

“Work.  Yeah I know and I don’t care.  He’s supposed to be here for me, but he’s not.  He never has been.”  Tears began to fall from her face, and drip to the confetti-covered floor.

***

Maurice snapped back into the present, consumed with grief and self-disappointment.

“I’m sorry! God help me!”  The cries of the desperate man echoed through the abyss of the desert.  Maurice turned and peered at a bush that he hadn’t noticed before.  Spontaneously it combusted and caught fire!  He leaped away from the bush with fear.  How did it catch fire in the freezing cold? He looked up at the bush, and suddenly a feeling of relief casted over him.  I’m gonna be okay.  On all fours, he squirmed back to the burning bush.

“God? God, are you there? Please dear God I need your help.”  Maurice begged. 

“Please God if you are there, talk to me.  Save me.”  The bush broke apart and crumbled into a pile of ash.  Dead.  A dead bush, nothing else.  Once again, Maurice lifted himself up to begin his journey, drowned in faithlessness and despair.  He turned back once more to look at the bush ashes, but they had disappeared.  He walked away, confused, and started his venture through the desert.  He noticed the sun begining to rise.  He dug deeply into the sand to make a trench which would act a a bed of some sort.  Crawling into it, he laid facing the sky.  His legs were over-worked.  Being burrowed in the trench was significantly cooler than being on the surface of the sand.  

The stars appeared to be moving chaotically as before.  He peered at the dancing stars, performing silhouettes in the night sky, blinking bright like strobes in the city, flashing vibrant colors as if he was tripping due to too much dimethyltriptamine splashing through his brain.  Maurice couldn’t bear to look at them any longer so he, put his shirt on to protect his skin from the rising sun, turned over onto his stomach, closed his eyes, and tried to fall asleep. 

After a long sleep due to over exhaustion, Maurice awoke to the sun begin a little past its zenith, probably around 3 in the afternoon, he guessed.  Although the sun was high and so were the temperatures, he knew he had to venture on.  He got to his knees and began to crawl forward like an incorrigible maggot. When he gathered the stregnth, he pulled himself up to his feet and wearily began to walk. 

“I’m going home! I’m getting out of here!”  The thought of another moment on this treacherous journey in the desert was enough to make him prefer death at this point in time.  Nevertheless, he was alive and wanted to get back to his life, where he had his wife and daughters waiting for him to get home.  The heat was unimaginable for Maurice, he felt as if he was being baked, or boiled, beginning to melt away.  He spoke to himself.

“Have you ever felt the sun so hot before?”

“No Sir I haven’t, it’s quite the inconvenience I must say.”

"I better tell Chole and the girls I won’t be home for dinning tonight.  They’ll be so disappointed, maybe I could start coming home earlier.”

“Chole! I won’t be home for dinner!  Go ahead without me, I’ll eat later!”

“Oh, Mo you always do this! We never eat together as a family… blah blah blah!” Maurice went to kick sand up in the air but drunkenly lost his balance and tumbled to the ground almost bashing his skull on a random rock.  He crawled over to it and began to slurp as if the rock were a water fountain.

“No water! Why isn’t there any water?”  He stood up and began to kick the rock with the bottom of his heal, as if it would cause water to erupt from the rock.

“I want my water!  No? Fine.  Be that way.  I don’t need your goddamn water anyway.”  It’s all just one fucked up comedy.  I’m just a fucking puppet.  Not a surveyor, not a man, just a goddamn puppet. 

“Are you laughing now? Ha!  It’s so funny isn’t it?”  Maurice screamed to the sky.

He lifted himself up slowly and climbed up to the top of a large sand dune where he witnessed the most beautiful sight he has ever seen before.  It was El Qars on the horizon!  I must make it home for dinner. I must make it back for the graduation. He could see his family now.  He closed his eyes and dove into a sea of imagination, visualizing his return.  He could see their smiling faces through the tiffany window of that old mahogany front door.  He would embrace them and promise to never leave again.  I will be a better husband, a better father. I’m coming home girls.

He dropped to his knees and began to slither on all fours, trying to reach the city, but Maurice was far too week to move any longer.  He collapsed on his back and faced the sun.  His mouth was dry, his eyes bloodshot to deep red, and his lips chapped and pale.  The sun was spiraling throughout the sky, oscillating colors between red, green, blue, and yellow. The sky seemed as if it were circumvoluted, warped into a bright pink sea during psychedelic maelstrom. A sharp high-pitched tone was piercing his ears.  This is the end is it?  This is the defeat of Maurice Calloway. 

All Maurice could think about was his family.  The entire earth began to spin violently, the sun burst into a nebula of neon cosmic dust, and the sky was cascading downwards with a rush to viciously consume him.  God, save me.  Please send me to my family.  In a quick moment, Maurice faded into shadows, and his world turned silent, black, and breathless.  Dead.

The desert was quiet, very still and calm. The only sounds to be heard were the high-pitched buzzing of the rays of the sun and the slight whisper of the sand in the wind. 


© Copyright 2019 Jay Allan Young. All rights reserved.

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