Thursday, November 25, 2010


The Lizard of Uz
By Troy Manning

After milennia of laying low beneath an unfrequented levee near the Sea of Galilee, Levi grew restless and decided to relocate to downtown Tel Aviv.

If leviathans wore watches, which they don’t, he wouldn’t have chosen Friday rush hour, which he did, to make his move. He was about the size of some of the bigger rigs so he fit rather snugly into a lane but, looking rather different from them, he drew many stares.

Since Levi was shy, he tried hard not to impede the flow of traffic and thereby invite unnecessary honking. But as much as it pained him to do so, he also had a voracious appetite and therefore ate a Mustang and a Hummer.

One of the occupants of the Mustang who escaped dialed for help and explained the dangerous situation on the freeway. The coastal patrol was contacted, who, in turn, sent out a helicopter.

A man leaning out from the helicopter tried to fill Levi’s skin with harpoons and his head with lead, but his firmly cast and immovable folds of flesh protected him. But since that stirred him up, out of his mouth went flaming torches, and out of his nostrils came forth smoke.

The man in the helicopter then called the fire department. As traffic was at a near standstill, they were able to drive a truck near the side of the freeway where Levi sat with all the vehicles and a behemoth or two. A fireman got into a crane with a hose and tried to put out flames that now leapt from a Lexus to a Jeep Laredo.

While Leviathan possessed exceptional weaponry, his eyes weren’t so good and he took a liking to the crane.

And since the crane’s eyes weren’t any better, it liked him too. Though the fireman knew his crane well enough to know this couldn’t possibly be true love, he could see he was at risk of being considered an unwanted third party and began to climb down.

Because of the crane’s heightened sensitivity, the fireman’s movements were tickling its neck and it began to laugh.

Also feeling emotionally vulnerable, Levi, who due to his impaired vision didn’t see the man descending its neck, assumed the crane was laughing at him. The cars around him were now starting to move again, and those behind Levi began to honk.

The crane’s cruel cackling in concert with the road rage mounting around him proved too much music for two ears to take.

After flooding the freeway with tears, Levi swam past the surfacing commuters, too heartsick to consume a one. He swam until he reached the Dead Sea where lay an undiscovered scroll containing a targum of Job.

Levi rolled himself tightly inside it and there claimed promise after promise to prevent his worrying about the pitiless future of the world.

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Troy Manning is a graduate of Westminster Seminary California. He has recently been taking literature classes at Cal State University, San Marcos where his stories "Edgar's Telegram" and "Head Knowledge" have been published in the creative writing program's Cat Ate My Chapbook and the Spring 2010 issue of Oh, Cat!


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