The Handlers and the Sherbert

Blurring the lines between reality and the unknown

The 4th of July, a celebration, a countdown with fireworks, a message to get ready…..

A quiet craft descended, as if propelled by magnets. We formed a single file. They remained silent, yet somehow we understood what to do, or so it appeared. They gave us robes to wear. Mine was pink, all the others were a distinct odd color. The handler told me using telepathy that pink was the founding color and that I will be proud and lead by example. Whatever the fuck that meant.  

handlers and the sherbert in line-Way Past Tipsy and Other Silent Cries for Help- Ran Kime
The Line

They brought us into a room made of a firm green jelly like material that when you walked, you slowly sank into it. Some people went under, I did not. The material was weird and wet. A red liquid came around for us to drink and I did not hesitate. I wanted to follow their rules, not to conform, but for the experience. The allure of the unknown has always captivated me.

I heard some handlers to my right say in a tight group murmur, “look, it’s him! He goes with such confidence.”  It made me feel good.

The woman handler told us to remove anything we had in our mouths, I had nothing in my mouth but when she asked again; I had a gum-like material forcing its way down into my throat. I gagged and did not want to spit it on the ground and show my inobedience. I didn’t know what to do with it, so I swallowed it. They asked once more to ensure nothing remained in our mouths. I still had this shit in my mouth. This was strange because I just swallowed it. 

I kept swallowing it repeatedly. Was everyone having this issue?

A group of us got into a cigar-shaped craft. Levitating smoothly, as magnets repel each other, we flew through a city with massive structures.

I concentrated intensely, but only saw a few signs held by strange creatures. One said “Fear the Felmed Coof!” another said “Don’t believe them!” We ascended into a higher elevation. It seemed to be where a unique breed of beings lived. The intercom was mistakenly on, and I heard the pilot of the craft and his handler conversing about sticking to the strict deadline of getting us back on time.  

Back to what?

The driver radioed in to central command and the crackle echoed throughout the craft. “Are you in position?” the pilot asked.

“He is not here yet, so it may not happen.” the voice on the other end said.  

“OK, we will move to Plan B.” if need be. 

The handler instructed the pilot to park our craft in a tight area between what seemed to be pillions. The handlers instructed us to get off the craft and form a single file line. They pointed us to move towards a particular structure entrance.

I passed the threshold. It reminded me of what I could only say was a Hall of Records. I had an excitement in my stomach as I remembered having as a child. Walls graffitied with books, a woman occupied a distant kiosk. She sat with a pleasant smile and vibration. She slid out a pamphlet with illegible shapes on it. I dint know what the info was about, but I remember I had questions about it, questions I didn’t know I had. Not concerning questions, but intriguing questions.

You thought you chose your own script as you went, but I reassure you, you did not.

After a brief time of waiting, they allowed us to wander about. Like a test, in a way. We walked outside among the same structures and throughways we saw from the craft. It was now dark, and I had the impression that I was being tested. It’s like we’re all being screened for something. Avoiding others, I walked on the far side of the street. It just rained, but the rain was not like the rain I remembered. It had a silk sheen and was sticky. The streets were quiet with a neutral, eerie feeling. Involuntarily, I wanted to glance behind me while walking, but an inner voice urged me to continue without seeking the truth.

I passed an intersection, and a guy leaned on a hovering post as if it were there just for him. He looked to be watching me, taking notes. I said, “Hello!”. He did not respond.

A few blocks later, streets brightened and people grew friendlier. A man pulled up next to me and said “Awe man, I love the flavors”. Excuse me, I said. “The-”, he cleared his throat “-your holding in your hand, I like that flavor the most”. He continued, “If you ask for it in a polite manor, they will make this one special for you.”

I looked down and in my hand was a cup of a light green type of sherbet. I was also carrying a thick book under my arm as if to not lose it. Where the fuck did this come from? Before I could process what was happening, I morphed into a crowd that was gathering. 

I saw people from earlier; they were back in line. They all carried the same book as me and a cup of sherbet like mine. I asked them how come they all got a different color robe than me? “This is what they gave me” one replied. “I am wearing what they gave me.” another said.

The woman, who had been a handler on the craft, now sat at a long table stretching as far as I could see. I approached her and asked her in a calm whisper… “spit, she a wha-to-cha-top”. Words would not form in my mouth. I was becoming detached from myself. She seemed surprised at my question, but she then complied. She seemed to have understood me.

“You seem to take this well” she said while organizing small magnets together to form a whole.  

“I am here for the new experience.” The words came out involuntarily and were still garbled in my mind. I knew what I was saying and somehow knew we were not physically talking, but have been talking through telepathy this entire time.

She turned to one of the older gentleman handlers and said, “Is that him?I nearly anticipated her next comment to the old man. She was about to ask, “Is he the One?”  

She gestured towards someone behind the table who appeared to be observing the crowd. The watcher slid a cup in front of me. “I already have one”, I said through my mind. I lifted and showed my cup of sherbert. I have not yet eaten it and he somehow knew.

He waved his hand and things felt odd. “Oh dear me”, she said, “I did not give you a spoon”. She made another remark that I did not understand. They seemed disappointed in me. I raised the cup to my mouth and ate the sherbert. I instinctively dropped the cup to the ground. It burned as I swallowed. The floor became silky again.

She said, “Now, be very careful,”  I interrupted her and finished her sentence. “Because you should only face-” I stopped in mid sentence and scanned the area to get my bearings. The substance I swallowed swirled and burned in my belly. I continued my sentence, “East when addressing them”. 

She had the look of complete amazement. She twirled in her chair to face the older man handler and the watcher.  

“That’s correct, but how did you know East was the coordinance to face?” She asked with excitement. 

“This time, I read the book” I said. I lied and don’t know why, it just came out rehearsed.

“The book?” she questioned. 

She reached under the table and pulled out an enormous book. The thickness had to be eighteen inches. She had trouble lifting it.

“This book?” She said. She showed me the cover. I reached down to compare it to the book I had under my arm, but it was gone. As if it never existed. “What is it about?” I asked. She gave me a sideways smile. “Really?” She said, then turned back to the watcher and asked “Do we have a positive confirmation this time”. He nodded. “It’s about who will get your carbon when you no longer need it.”, she hesitated and added, “It outlines the specific path for us all to become One.”  I took the book in my hand and examined the front and back cover. It was unusually heavy. “Words have weight.”, she said. All the covers, titles and authors flashed in my mind of past knowledge I have consumed. I couldn’t recall the author’s name, although it was right there in my mind.

She slides me a microphone off the table and said, “Here, they are waiting.”  

“What’s this,” I asked.

“The book you always read, the introductory passage to the people for every recruitment.”, she replied with puzzlement.

“I have never read this book nor do I plan to read it to anyone.”

“Oh, stop” she said with a callous burst. “You always say that!” She stood, kicking out her floating chair. “OK, come on, lets do this again.”

“Do what” I asked. She took me by the hand and forcefully lead me to a podium. There were hundreds of thousands of people, all in one color… Green. The crowd immediately went to their knees and bowed.

“I don’t understand.” I said. The microphone picked up what I said and echoed it off the city.

“You need to start the ceremony”, another handler said.

“I don’t understand any of this.” I said again, with more confusion.

The Watcher prevented me from leaving.

“Stop it! You do this every time.” She said in agitation.

“Do what?” I asked, “I don’t want to be here, I don’t know what I am supposed to do!”

“STOP IT” the lady handler shouted. She slapped me in the face and a flash of clarity hit me, an understanding draped over me. 

Ah, yes. There was no free will. There was no chance.

“Now is the time, bring them home” she said. I opened to page 5,446 and read out loud with confidence, but only in my mind. 

“Welcome, you are all at this moment. You thought you chose your own script as you went, but I reassure you, you did not. Put comfort in the thought you are here now because we said so. Now you become One. Welcome to level 63!” 

The perceived words entered their minds through a soft whisper, and a calm cheer came from the crowd.

Way Past Tipsy - ran kime

Read “The Handlers and the Sherbert” and other stories by Ran Kime in the collection Way Past Tipsy & Other Silent Cries for Help

author avatar
Ran Kime Writer
Ran Kime, a writer, poet, musician and recluse from New Hampshire, crafts abstract stories, flash fiction & poetry that probe the psyche. His collections include “Spectre of the Brocken: Halo for the observer” and “Way Past Tipsy & Other Silent Cries for Help”.