A dormant volcano finally erupts
in the province of Rio Negro as
Larry strolls its landscape.
He is with Debra on their
honeymoon. Debra, who he has
known for thirteen years, or is it
three days. They hold hands, but
only after Larry considers using her
body as a temporary floatation
device. And in this precious moment,
Larry searches for existential
consolation: He thinks about the
people of Pompeii. They are still
around, preserved in pumice, but
that thought gives him small comfort.
He thinks about plots in cemeteries
and plots of land and how he owns
nothing of real value. So there would
be nothing of real value to pass on.
Who cares. But then Larry realizes
he is alone, and he wonders who he
will pass this nothing to? Debra's
cooked; and even his dog Pugsly
has grown so distant in the last few
months. Maybe canines have
foresight. He thinks about those
indestructible micro-animals that
can survive the vacuum of space
and, also, about his orthodontist
Dr. Heinrich, who fitted him for
braces two years ago. A difficult two
years for Larry, but the results were
worth it. Maybe no man in history
will ever ever again think of Dr.
Heinrich before awesome molten
rock swallows him whole. At last
he remembers the word 'colubrine,'
which he never used in a sentence.
"This lava is colubrine," he says,
and heaves a sigh of relief.