Uggetta buggetta. I’m sittin’ in the forest by myself. Or so it seems. I’m tuned in to “llama central” so I’m never really alone.
How did it come to this? — You might ask. I was “just goin’ along for the ride.” My job. Carrying stuff for tourists, but basically addin’ ambiance. Plenty of time to hang with the pack later, and, before now. Yes, I can will myself to ‘before now’ as easily as ‘tomorrow.’ After all, “time” is a human construct. Wugetta, gugga-bugga.
Millennia ago, we ruled. Proud herds in the uplands. But we could not elude the invaders for long. Well, our so-called ‘ancestors,’ the guanaco, were and still are the wild ones. Buggetta wuggeta.
This quarrelsome couple shows up where I live with my fellow ‘pack animals.’ “We are going to trek in the wilderness,” she says. “We think it would be cool to have a llama carry all our stuff.”
He sniffs, “you think it is ‘cool.’ I’d rather rent a horse.”
“That’s so typical of you! So heavy-footed! I want to tread lightly.”
They bickered but she won. I was next in line to go trekking. ‘Trekking’ — that’s what the idiots call it. I call it bidin’ my time.
The obligatory tutorial: “Don’t beat your llama. When it’s tired it will lie down and there’s nothing you can do until it is good and ready to continue.” That’s nice — my so-called “owner” knows that about us. Buggetta, buggetta.
We dispatch from the trailhead. My owner drives away with the horse-trailer. She and he gaze at each other, attempting to beam their affinity with nature. Wugga wugga. I tolerate her good-natured efforts to ‘befriend’ me. If I were reduced to experiencing human feelings, I might, as usual, entertain the hope of getting through this without major mishap. At any rate, I do hope that it will be a while before I become encumbered again. Buggetty wuggetty. Sinkin’ back into my unique cellular subconscious …
Each and every one of my race knows one another — regardless of time or displacement. To a human’s understanding, we are at one with the universe. But we don’t call it that. The continuum stretches out into all directions and dimensions most humans cannot begin to fathom. We traverse many of those trajectories without difficulty. But, back here on earth, we plod along …
She brightly engages in continuous narrative. He grumbles. They switch. He attempts to catalogue all they see into his worldview. She objects frequently. “I don’t think that that mountain gives a shit about us!”
“Honey, people like us are at one with the world. That’s why I suggested this trek, so we can re-connect.”
“You’re the one needing re-connection! I’m already there!”
And so they alternatively bicker, make up … (ugh, do I have to watch their love-making? Shuggetta shagoo. I project elsewhere.) Bickering re-begins almost immediately.
“You don’t give a damn about how I feel! Make an attempt to last longer!”
“You don’t know what you want! Everything could be perfect — but you still want it your way!”
Finally, nightfall. I’m tethered near a stream amongst the late spring grass. And they’re mercifully quiet. Shuggetta wuggetta.
The invaders, these people among them, will have to either eventually TRANSFORM themselves, or the more-likely alternative, kill themselves off. We project and hold to a future where they haven’t destroyed everything for us. Daybreak …
“You are such a pig! Can’t you piss outside?!”
“You’re jealous! Just ’cause I can go in a bottle and not have to leave the tent?!”
“That doesn’t matter! You’re pissing in the tent and I don’t have to put up with this!”
Their attempts to re-connect with nature and the universe during breakfast lack the sincerity of the previous day. They argue over who gets to have the llama accompany them on their respective solo hike. He wins.
“I’ll tell ya’ buddy,” — yes, he’s talking to me — “I really love her. We’re soul mates. You poor animals probably don’t know anything about that.”
I shake my head to remove the flies. Puggetta waboo.
“But she drives me crazy. Perhaps it’s ’cause we’re so close. It’s rare to find someone as enlightened as oneself.”
And on and on he talks. I tune in to llama central. Puggetta wamboo. We’ve established a network over much more of the planet than we used to occupy. There are other places similar to the Andean highlands, which IS good news, once we’re rid of the invaders.
Gunshots echo off the valley’s rock walls. He curses. “She brought her gun too?!” He pulls out his 9mm Beretta from beneath his jacket, inspecting it. “What’s she shooting at?” I hope he’s not expecting an answer from me. Puggetta wubba -wubba.
Back at camp. She’s been there a while, sulking and cleaning her Ruger 22-caliber Mark II automatic pistol. I betray my usual tranquil manifestation, involuntarily fertilizing the ground with both the solid and liquid varieties. “Why the hell did you bring your gun?” he thunders.
She does not thunder back. After a dead-silent-several-second pause, she looks up, slowly, with a sickly smile on her face. This is what high noon in front of the sheriff’s office might have been like. He sits down on a rock across the fire ring from her.
He has forgotten to tether me, but I lie down to wait this out. Whatever this is. Actually, I’ve been expecting it. Puggetty wuggetty. Plenty of cud to chew on. Llama central promulgates a few discrete scenarios as to the disposition of the invaders. I might be witnessing one such outcome in miniature.
She slowly gets up, having finished cleaning her gun. Without a backward look, she walks off into the forest. He looks at me, as if I might counsel him otherwise. I don’t. Puggetta, puggetta. Patting and checking a pocket beneath his jacket, he follows her.
Gunshots. Silence. I wait a few minutes. Continued silence. Think I’ll just sit a while, takin’ it easy. Uggetta buggetta.