Wheel in the Sky


    Jay was completely bummed.  He had been looking forward to this camping trip all year.  Three weeks of back country hiking in Yosemite Valley; no other people in sight.   As he packed up his gear on his final hike out to the ranger station, he sighed.  A heavy cloud cover had fogged in the valley for the entire three weeks.  The first few days he didn't mind it, but as the days went on, it stubbornly persisted.  None of the glorious mountain peaks or canyon views were visible the entire time.  A drizzling cold rain kept him secluded, reading inside his tent most of the trip.  Now he trudged down the damp trail with his gear packed on his back, resigned to try again next year.  

    When he made it down to the ranger's station in the early afternoon, Jay was surprised to find it empty.  He had registered as a hiker, and was supposed to let them know when he was leaving the park.  After a few minutes, he decided to leave a note, and head on out of the valley.  He was getting an uneasy feeling in the pit of his stomach like something was vaguely wrong.  There should have been plenty of people in the park, even in bad weather, but the roads were empty.  He didn't see another car for nearly a half an hour as he followed the state road that winded down towards the interstate highway that would take him back to San Francisco. 

     Jay turned in to a gas station late in the afternoon.  Pulling up to the pump, he noticed that the cloud cover was breaking up.  

    "That figures" he mumbled to himself, walking towards the small store.  

    "What do you want!"  An angry voice startled him as an older man burst out of the double doors to confront him.  "We don't have any gas or any food!"

    Jay took two steps backwards.  "Jeez! What are you talking about?!" he said, thinking it comical how rude the old guy was being.  

    His wrinkled face stared suspiciously for several seconds.  "You're not here to rob me?" he said gruffly.  

    Jay had to laugh now.  "No! I just need to buy some gas!"   

        The old man continued to eye Jay sceptically.  "We don't have no gas.  Nothing.  The whole world's gone crazy."  he said, his tone a little more friendly, but not much.  "Because of that." he said, vaguely pointing upward, like Jay would know exactly what he meant.  

    Glancing skyward, Jay's jaw suddenly dropped.  At first he thought it was the moon, but it was much larger; or much closer.  He nearly fell down from vertigo.  His brain at first just couldn't comprehend.  It looked like some kind of huge planet in the sky, but as his unbelieving eyes took it in through the thinning clouds, it seemed to be metallic; like a huge structure.  "What... wha..." was all he could manage to utter.  

    The old man turned his back and began to walk away slowly.  "They call it the Death Star."

The End

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