The Sinkhole that Ate Los Angeles

Gardner Mounce

A massive sinkhole appeared on the I-10 on Sunday afternoon. It spanned six lanes of traffic. Worse, it was sentient. At least, it was capable of travel. It trawled along the interstate through Midland, Rice, Chubbuck, Chambless, those little towns, feasting on traffic. Cars tumbled into it like breadcrumbs. It swept along the 210 through Pasadena, picking up speed. Devoured Glendale. When it turned at the Hollywood Hills towards Burbank, experts observed that it seemed to be avoiding places of elevation.

Hearing this, Keanu Reeves and Emma Stone descended from the hills to the Chevron station at N Vermont Avenue and Los Feliz Boulevard, where they stood fanning themselves in the shade and drinking goji berries, debating their best move.

“Because our houses in the hills are safe spots, we could save the rest of LA,” Emma said. “We could drag places up one-by-one and store them in our garages.”

“Like the landmarks,” Keanu agreed after a while, in his laconic monotone.

The rest of us, ordinary citizens who just happened to be getting gas at the Chevron station at N Vermont Avenue and Los Feliz Boulevard, asked if we could help. Why not? A sinkhole was devouring the city, after all. Here was our chance to do something helpful and do it with Keanu Reeves and Emma Stone. And who in the world was more trustworthy than the two of them? After all, no one else was offering solutions.

We lugged the Geffen Playhouse up to Emma’s house on Mulholland, where it would have a view of the hills. We grabbed Gromman’s and the La Brea Tarpits, In-N-Outs, and The Broad. People stopped us on the street and asked what we were doing, taking their favorite landmarks.

“Can’t talk now,” we said. “This is on its way to Keanu’s.” We loved saying this. We felt like we were the chosen ones.

“I love Keanu,” they gushed. “Can we help?”

“I think we have enough help, thanks.”

We dragged the landmarks upwards into the hills as the sinkhole swept around us, devouring the city block by block, from San Fernando to Irvine. We stuck The Broad in Emma’s garage, an In-N-Out on her patio. We put The Disney Concert Hall and a post office in Keanu’s attic. (Keanu had insisted on the post office and a public library.)

That night, Keanu let us crash at his place. We drank whiskey and talked about the good we’d done in saving all these landmarks. Although LA had been devoured by a sinkhole, we’d saved much of its history for future generations. We’d done something good.

On Monday morning, Keanu said we had to go so he could run lines in private. He was shooting a movie in Switzerland and would be flying out from his helipad in a few hours.

“Is it John Wick?” we demanded.

But he wouldn’t say.

We walked to an overlook on Mulholland to find that the sinkhole was waiting down below, sawing against the tree line, wanting so badly, it seemed, to devour us. We looked out at the blinding empty desert expanse. We wondered what use it was to have saved LA and stored it in the garages of celebrities. When, without Keanu Reeves and Emma Stone around to let us in, would we get to see another show at the Geffen? Where, like any memory, could we reconstruct it now, except in our heads? And what use was a post office to us now? And where would we live?


About the Author

Gardner Mounce attended Clarion West 2019 and graduated from the MFA program at the University of Florida in 2020. He works as a writing coach in Gainesville. You can find him at gardnermounce.com and on twitter at @gardnermounce