It was New Year’s morning, 2012. I awoke without a hangover for the fifth year in a row. I’m getting the hang of all this reality. I thought. I had yet to look out the window. Some sort of road works was going on, making a heck of a noise. Typical of the city to have some poor sod out working on New Year’s Day.
I pulled up the blinds and the far end of the street was unwinding up into the sky. I blinked, rubbed my eyes, did the required double take to make things go back to the way my brain had long ago decreed they should be. But no luck. A rhinoceros thudded up the steps onto my porch and pushed my bell with its horn. In a daze that verged very definitely towards panic, I answered the door.
“Just came to say goodbye,” said the rhino, “Oh, and thanks for nothing.”
“We’re leaving and taking this reality with us.”
“Yes. The Mayans gave us the idea. Right after they finished that calendar of theirs. Big, unwieldy thing carved in stone, almost impossible to hang on the wall.”
“Yes, the Mayans. Are you having trouble understanding me? You shouldn’t be, it’s been arranged for you to speak rhino.”
“Fucking horn! Yes, arranged. Look, you remember all those books you monkeys wrote about how reality isn’t really just the way humans perceive it. That a rhino’s perception is totally different on account of you thought we mainly perceived the world via a sense of smell? That our view of the universe was just as valid as yours. Well you were right, up to a point.”
“Good, I’m glad you’re listening. We don’t have that much time. I’m only doing this because it’s the rhinane thing to do, you know.”
“Rhinane, humane …”
“You see, the truth is that the universe actually IS the way we perceive it. The real one, I mean. And we’ve decided to leave. And take the furniture with us.”
“Well, this one at any rate. There’s a very nice parallel one we’ve had our noses on for a while now.”
“And this is all the Mayans fault?”
The noise of the unwinding street was becoming deafening. Where a lot of the street had once been there was now just a blank white space.
“Yes. They killed one of our kings.”
“But there are no rhinos in South America!” I yelled into the uproar.
“No, we know when we’re not wanted. We left. Moved to Africa. But we don’t like the climate any more. Your fault again, I believe.”
The rhino smiled, or as close as a rhino can smile.
“Case in point.” he said. As my front porch, my house and me were dragged up into the sky and winked out of existence.
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