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The Caprock Resistance

by Darin C. Bradley

Pumpjack The bullet train likes pumpjacks — it follows them. Most jacks don’t dip anymore — Caprock dried out eleven years ago — but their oil-scabbed throats now send and relay vacuum commands from El Paso to Laredo.

I’ve seen it. The train whips and snorts, elevated through buttes and gorges by nano-carbon pillars shaped, in places, like derricks. The cars themselves aren’t vacuumed — just the magnets underneath and their snapping, electro-cousin pillars. The train slops condensation some days, germinating devils like fungus — unhappy, bored, and particularly attracted to derelict highways, where the asphalt stays hot and keeps itself damp. Little twisters play toss with old Volkswagens and big-wheeled threshers like silicon gems long since sanded clean.

Those crews back downtown, where they work the remotes, got their plastics and shunts and gibbering sats-in-their-brains. I’d like one, but the sats got no jockeys to soothe cowboys and recycled steer.

So I watch, humming my own jingles, as she bullets along, too good for the horizon, white and girlish and incapable of avoiding the blast gel now slick on her tracks. We powered it with dung and corn oil and rust-chunked petrol we steeped from the roads.

The freight won’t move for a few weeks, that’s for sure, but we can still drive our herds, we hummers — and we’ll dance back in town when the demand takes hold in the co-op accounts. My horse, though she’s fake, will never explode.

Boom, goes the bullet.


Copyright © 2006 by Darin C. Bradley

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