Inanimation In Motion by John McNee

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John McNee

One day, not so long ago now, one of the Pyramids in Egypt got up and walked away.
I could have put that more dramatically, all rumbles of thunder, people screaming, earth shaking and so on, but that would give a misleading impression of the event. Because it happened just as I said: Khufu's Pyramid in Giza got up... and walked away.
There are any number of problems you might have with that statement. The Pyramids are inanimate objects, they can't move, they don't have legs. Only the third problem has any validity, because at that moment the Pyramid ceased to be inanimate and it moved. But it didn't grow legs, so I suppose if you wanted to be pedantic, you'd have to say: ‘it got up and shuffled away'. But that really misses the point.
There was a fair amount of hysteria when the story was reported, mainly amongst journalists who refused to report anything so ludicrous. When it did get out no-one would believe it; they called it an illusion, a big hoax, some Blaine or Copperfield trickery. Others - mainly hippy-types - totally believed it and hailed it as a sign from Mother Earth. They ran through the streets announcing the dawning of a new age. Others - practically everyone I met - just sort of shrugged their shoulders and said: "Oh well. You learn something new every day."
I was in Cairo, interviewing some tycoon for The Times when the story broke. The news editor ordered me out into the desert, chasing the Pyramid as it strode off ahead of God-knows how many reporters, soldiers, archaeologists and the rest. It finally came to a rest at the foot of a large cliff, a great many miles from its original location.
It was utterly perplexing. I hardly knew how to report the story. I knew I wanted to get to the Pyramid, walk around it, climb it, and find out what was going on, but for a long while the Egyptian Army refused to let anyone get near it. I camped on the perimeter for four days. Theories abounded as to how it had moved and why. My tent was next to a bunch of scientists from various nations who spent all the day drinking schnapps and trading hypotheses. Yet none of their proposed explanations - from tectonic shifts, to mass hallucination, to alien interference - made so much sense as that offered by a local photographer, who joked: "Maybe he just wanted to sit in the shade for a change."
There's a lot of strange stuff that happens in this world, but not too much that actually makes people question the nature of reality and the incredible possibilities of the universe around them. Even this monumental event might have been forgotten, labelled an unsolved mystery and left at that, were it not for what happened next.
Egypt was one thing. Anything could happen in Egypt and you could forgive people for shrugging it off as ‘just one of those things'. But then it happened in New York.
Just under a week since the Pyramid moved into the shade, the Statue of Liberty sat down. This time there was mass panic, hoards of people screaming hysterically, not least the tourists who were wandering about the old girl's head when she decided to take a seat and dangle her feet in the waters around Liberty Island.
It only got worse when she opened her yap and spoke.

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