So what could I do but ask Larry to take me to the Heart of Darkness? Mind you, I didn’t actually say “Larry, take me to the Heart of Darkness.” I doubt that particular sentence has ever been spoken by anyone. Although I could be wrong; many strange things do indeed come to pass.

For instance, it turned out that Larry and I were not just from the same Eastern metropolis, but from the same neighborhood. This gave us something to talk about as we made our way to the other side of the park. Our progress was fairly slow, partly because we were in no particular hurry, and partly because Larry’s car accident had given him a hitch in his git-along, as he put it. They don’t talk like that where we come from, but I guess he’d picked it up somewhere.

Eventually we came to a sort of dock where people were lined up to board a series of small replica steamships at the edge of a narrow river. I was pretty certain that there was no river in this geographical location, so I was forced to conclude that it was either quite an impressive feat of engineering or a hologram. Or maybe mass hypnosis. I didn’t know what to think anymore, except that everything in this place seemed to be running smoothly. Elasticland was a mindfuck, but a very successful mindfuck. What then were the difficulties Rubelcaba had referred to?

A question suddenly occurred to me. “Hey, Larry.”


“That last thing we did…with the tunnels…you’ve gone through it before, right?”

“Sure, lots of times.”

“Then why didn’t you know the way?”

“It’s different every time, man.”

I puzzled over this as we waited. Each of the little boats carried only a few people, so we were in line for a while. Larry amused himself by chatting with the park employees who were hanging around, each of whom he knew by their first name. After awhile my mind began to wander. Music from the 70s came up on my mental jukebox, for some reason. I heard Billy Joel singing, “Slow down, you crazy child….” Then Carly Simon: “I had some dreams, they were clouds in my coffee….”

The temperature began to dip as fog came rolling in. I had foolishly failed to layer up sufficiently, so I started having second thoughts about the whole enterprise. But then we reached the front of the line and Larry, myself, a young couple, and a pair of teenage boys were shepherded onto one of the boats. David Essex was crooning “And where do we go from here” as we pulled away from shore and headed off into the fog.