Wednesday, November 9, 2016

The Incomplete Alien

A dream I had that I embellished somewhat.

Bree, Matt and I had been hanging out for days at this bar on the square, just staying completely hammered, and then - I have no idea why this was decided - but it was agreed amongst us that Matt would drive all of us home. On the way I was coughing and feeling a little sick, so after we'd arrived at Bree's place, I hurried up the stairs and forced my way inside, where I immediately stretched out onto her couch and got all comfy.

Bree shouted up to me from the bottom of the stairs, "You asshole, you broke my door jamb!"

"I called shotgun," I shouted back at her, as I closed my eyes and snuggled down into the couch pillows.

I began to wimpier loudly as she pounded up the stairs, and then I howled like a stricken thing when I sensed her shape blocking the light from the balcony outside.

"Oh... uh, hey. You ok?"

Huh? Oh. Bree had said that. I'd forgotten that she was there. "Yeah. Coughing a little," I croaked.

Bree knelt down, ever so gently and with utmost care, next to the same couch upon which I was stretched out upon. Then, ever so gently, she cupped the soft, ever so flawless substance of her palm, ever so carefully, against the ever so noggin of my forehead.

I coughed again and creaked, "I'm coming down with something." Then I coughed again and looked up at Bree and wheezed, "I'm coming down with something."

Bree thumped me on the forehead. "You just said that. Twice. What are you, coming down with retarded?"

Before I could hock up a witty riposte, my brother Matt stepped inside just then and shook himself like a dog, sending rain water all over the damn place and onto Bree and me and totally interrupting our moment. That's my brother, by the way... Matt. The spoiler of the moment. Thanks, brother. Geez.

After Matt had shook himself dry, he kind of just stood there, leaning against the door jamb with a lit cigarette and blowing the smoke out through the open door.

"It's starting to rain," Matt declared.

Bree, with one hand still on my forehead and the other wiping the rain spatters from her own forehead, quipped -

"Oh, you think? Thanks for the first hand weather report, Rain Man!"

SILENCIO...!

For several seconds, Matt was THIS CLOSE to being chagrined, but then he actually took notice of me, stretched out on the couch, and with Bree feeling my head. That shook him out of his moment of humility, right quick!

"What's this shit? You big faker!" Matt exclaimed. "You're just using sympathy to get her onto that couch with you!"

What? Huh? What? What what what??? Whatev... I said that by rolling my eyes. Then I tried not to smile, which made me try not to laugh, which made me try not to get all rolled up in a coughing fit.

"Ya got me," I managed to flubber. Bree slapped me on the forehead and then stood up abruptly. She glared down at me.

"Turd!" she cried.

Damned if that didn't do it and get me to laughing at full-volume, which quickly turned itself into a full-speed coughing spasm! Then it started to rain harder outside.

"Hey Matt, why don't you close the door," said Bree, looking at me with genuine concern. Matt hastily threw out his cigarette and turned to shut the door.

"Wait!" I wheezled. I was completely discombobulated. I looked up at Bree, and suddenly it felt to me as though a benevolent hand had just pushed gently into the center of my heart, as if to say... 'Hey, you. Don't go dying on me, k?' A single tear rolled down my cheek.

"I didn't know you cared!" I blubbered as I gazed up into Bree's eyes, which were like limpid pools. Then she backed several steps away from me.

"Look," she said. "Right now, millions and billions and trillions of your little endoplasmic reticulums or whatever those things of yours are called are being violently gang raped by billions and trillions and zillions of megaviruses, and I'd prefer it off your tired, poor, huddled and unwashed masses didn't yearn for freedom in my direction, ok?"

Another tear rolled down my other cheek. I felt like I'd just been poleaxed. Hearing Bree say those words to me hurt really really bad, right in the center of my chest where my fragile heart is contained. I heaved a shuddering breath, blew a snot onto the rug which landed right next to Bree's flip flopped foot, and said shakily...

"Never have I ever heard the poetry of Stubbins Ffirth recited more beautifully. Thank you, thank you thank you..." and I collapsed into a pile of whimpering shivers.

Bree looked at the snot on the floor, looked at me, looked back at the snot, looked at Matt, who just shrugged and made a whirling motion around his ear with his forefinger (if anybody knows the meaning of that ear-whirling gesture, hit me up on Facebook, please), looked back at me, looked at the snot again, looked at me again, then she slowly produced her smartphone, turned away from me, and began to type laboriously.

I peeked up from my shiverwhimpers. I could just make out the corner of Bree:s mouth, oh so slowly forming the sounds of the letters that she was trying so hard to locate on her little keyboard screen...

"S.......... T.......... U.......... B..........."

Etcetera, etcetera. It took about 15 minutes for her to misspell it and start over, and then another 30 minutes before she abruptly threw her phone into the kitchen sink, which was filled with dishwater. It was actually a pretty good shot, from the living room all the way to the kitchen.

"Thanks Ash, I think," Bree said to me after her brain had cooled down. Then, "I gotta do the damn dishes, dammit." She ran into the kitchen and started cussing and splashing dishwater all over the damn place.

I wheezed as I pushed myself up off of the couch and proclared, "I need a cigarette."

At that moment, as I was getting up, I saw something outside, in the sky... something that was visible through the open door for just a second, and then it disappeared from view. I scrambled up and hurried toward the open door and outside, into the rain. Matt followed me.

"Did you see that, Matt?" I shouted through the downpour. I sped around the corner of the balcony to get a better view, and there it was again. At first it looked like an airplane of some sort... a large, square shaped cargo plane, maybe... rectangular, and with rounded edges. I thought that it was possibly coming in for a landing, as it was pretty low in the sky.

I hurried down the stairs to ground level, so that I could get an unobstructed view of it from the parking lot.

"There! See it? Do you see it? Matt!"

Matt appeared next to me, and I pointed through the rain toward the strange, rectangularly shaped flying thing. Matt followed my finger outward with his eyes and in the direction that I was pointing.

After a long pause, Matt finally said, "Yeah... but what the heck is it?" A guy from the floor above offered his own observation.

"A blimp?"

"It could be a blimp," Matt agreed.

"Yeah, that's definitely a blimp," I said.

I said it, but I didn't believe it at all... I'd only said it because the guy on the balcony above us had said it, and then Matt said it, so I said it too, because... there's safety in numbers, right?

Then something lit up the sky behind us, casting long, dark shadows of the apartment buildings out onto the parking lot and into the field beyond. From there it looked like the surreal daylight that comes with a lightning flash, lasting for about three seconds and then fading back again to an overcast night.

Matt and I stood there, both of us shocked into a kind of motionless state like a couple of rabbits caught in the headlights. We watched the rectangular craft as it descended below the horizon, and a far away part of my mind recognized what we were seeing as an absurd impossibility - that for something so far away - what was it, about twenty miles to the low hills on the far horizon? For something so distant to disappear like that, why, that's the curvature of the Earth that the square aircraft thing had just disappeared behind. Just how big IS that thing? I thought... a mathematician would know. F'ing huge, maybe?

I was thinking those observations in a dislocated part of my consciousness, because... come on. I was in a state of shock you know, and so was Matt... as was, I'm pretty sure, the guy on the balcony one floor above us.

After about a minute of all that, a low rumbling susurration which proceeded from the direction of the distant flash behind us came rolling in, like the sound and feeling of the Earth politely clearing its throat in preparation for some godawful caterwaul that was to follow. And follow it did, right on the heels of that sound, and then the susurration increased to a tremble and then a rumble and then a genuine shaking off the Earth.

Then I saw with my peripheral vision the buildings of the apartment complex around us just kind of... lift and hover for a few heartbeats, and I felt myself going up too, and with that same faraway place at the back of my mind, I recognized the strangest contradiction -  that going up shouldn't make me feel heavier, until I realized that it wasn't just me that was going up... EVERYTHING was going up, as if the ground, beyond all reasoning, had become an impossible elevator platform. That's what was really happening. The ground of EVERYTHING, and we along with it, were going UP.

Then it all slammed back down again, followed immediately by an absolutely deafening thunderclap that just kept going and going for an interminably long time, which was followed immediately by an atmospheric shockwave, hot on the trail of the one that had just passed through the ground beneath us. My brother and I were thrown down and flattened, and I experienced the sensation of all the air inside of me just being PRESSED OUT, as if I were being squashed by an extremely heavy pile of nothing, which was quickly replaced with just a whole bunch of HURT being crammed, forcibly, into every collapsed part of me that used to contain life sustaining positive pressure.

I laid there for about another minute, flattened on the asphalt and sure that I was dead, before I finally realized that I had my breath back and that there was still a world around me. Finally I pushed myself up into a kind of crouch, and I could see my brother about twenty feet away, already standing up and looking around in a kind of insensate stupor. When he saw me trying to stand, he stumbled hurriedly over to me to help me up.

Neither one of us spoke as we surveyed the general condition of things, both of us trying to determine whether or not reality was still intact. I was slowly surprised to understand that the apartment buildings around us were still standing, but each one had been canted here and there, this way and that, into and away from the adjacent buildings at shallow angles. There were bricks and pieces of mortar strewn about, like the kind of debris that you'd see in old photographs of London and Dresden, hours after being bombed, and dust was thick in the air.

I suddenly remembered the guy on the balcony above us, and I turned around and looked up, but the balcony had apparently broken off. The shattered bits of it on the ground were obvious once I realized what I was seeing, and I recognized the arm of balcony guy sticking out from underneath a pile of third floor balcony, resting haphazardly on top of another pile of what used to be second floor balcony. All of it had become part of the ground floor.

What came next looked and sounded like the Shock and Awe footage from the second Gulf War. Streaks of light illuminated the clouds intermittently and then disappeared beyond the horizon, followed seconds later by low, rumbling staccato thuds, which gently shook the ground beneath us. This activity of streaking lights in the sky increased until it looked like the light of thousands of flashbulbs going of behind the clouds Most of the flashes brightened and then faded, but some of them punched through the distant cloud bottoms, suddenly becoming fiercely illuminated. All of those that punched through were followed by the whistling sounds of falling projectiles and the flash of each one as it found its target on the ground and each time, several seconds later, that distant series of low, rumbling thuds.

I suddenly realized that Matt was shaking my arm and shouting at me. I didn't understand why, because I wasn't asleep, obviously. I mean, who could sleep through such a racket? Matt knows that I'm a light sleeper, and that I don't need all of this shouting on top of all the rockets and bombs, just to put me awake. I mean, what the heck, man.

"...Ash. Ash! ASH, look at me! Hey! Fart head!"

I looked at my brother. "Huh? Shut up. Whut?" I'm pretty sure that Matt had just shooken me awake and out of a fairly authentic stupor. I mean, WTF and everything, but I was definitely fully aware and back to the surreality of the moment.

"Huh? What the...? Hey, leggo, asshole."

Then I woke up and realized that Matt still had hold of my arm from that time, billions of nanoseconds before, and that he was looking at me with crazy eyes, like Steve Zissou. When I finally focused on him and made mutual eye contact, his grip tightened on my arm, and he thrust his other arm out in an impatient gesture with his palm up, toward the light show on the horizon, as if to imply... Well? Are you gonna explain that, or what?

Yeah, ok... THAT, over there. The bizarre alien invasion or what-not that was going on. I could definitely explain that. Easy! Right? I mean, why else have I been reading all of the sci-fi crap that I've been reading for all of my entire life, if not to prepare me for a moment like this? Huh? I dunno? Maybe because it was all entertainment? Fun, and absolutely not scary or deadly or real in any way, shape, or form? A way to relieve stress, perhaps? A calming balming calming balming blam for clam?

I made up my mind and decided to play along.

"Well," I facted out loud, "I'm fairly certain that wasn't a blimp we just saw flying over the edge of the Earth."

I turned back toward the brightly flashing clouds. For a moment I almost skipped back into a protective, catatonic daze... but then I remembered that my brother was absolutely counting on me to provide an explanation for this shit, so I frantically thought about all of the ways that the human race had totally butt pounded so many alien invasions into fart dust, so many times already, throughout the history of science fiction. Hundreds of dozens of times! Countless examples of a sucker-punched humanity - rallying and kicking all kinds of alien ass -bubbled up to my frontal lobes from out of the despairing darkness of my Islands of Langerhans.

Thusly fortified, and with as much contempt as I could muster, I spoke the following words, loudly -

"I've read enough science fiction to recognize the last ditch efforts of a bunch of desperate trunk tentacled alien elephants with completely depleted resources just arriving here at Sol, Terra Firma, after a hundred light year journey and besought with bullshit alien elephant politics and and alien elephant mutiny, acting out of desperation and fueled by a remote hope - that the sudden presence of an alien starship full of skinny, starving, pathetic alien elephants into the Sol System, at Terra Firma by God - will be able to intimidate the entire Human Race with this bullshit paper tiger bombardment of a few million chunks of the asteroid belt, as if every four year old didn't already know that chucking 20 trillion dollars worth of nickel, iron, and carbonaceous chondrites at a blue-green planet which is right in the middle of going full swing into the information age and with a pretty cool planetwide internet already in place is just stupid, because it'd be FAR MORE beneficial to establish a profitable trade relationship with the Humans than to finance an exorbitantly expensive invasion with little hope of actually pulling it off, and an even lesser chance of recouping even a marginal percentage of the staggering losses that such an undertaking would surely inflict upon a bunch of withered, desperate elephant looking alien fag holes... so! Yeah."

I tried to fold my arms as a kind of gestural exclamation point, but Matt still had ahold of my left arm.

"Shit," Matt said. "We're fucked." Instead of delving into a proof of Occam's Razor, I found it easier just then to simply agree.

"Shit is right," I agreed. "Matt. Let go of my arm, will you?" I complained.

"Sorry." Matt let go of my arm. "That was a UFO, then. Wallago. Not a blimp," he stated matter of factly.

I folded my arms, since Matt didn't have hold of the one anymore, so I folded both of them. "Yup," I observed.

Matt went on. "Remember the one we saw from the pasture, behind dad's house in Commerce?"

"The one what?" I asked.

"The one UFO," Matt replied.

"Which one UFO?" I was genuinely puzzled, and not trying to be an asshole, at all. "I've seen a bunch of UFO's. Which UFO do you mean?"

Matt, incredulous - "The one that I just said, the one we both saw!"

I folded my two free arms. "Matt. Seriously... I can't remember who was and who wasn't with me when I saw this or that UFO. Can you be more specific?"

"WHAT??" Matt erupted. "You gotta be fucking kidding! The one that was shaped like a wheel, with spokes, and with lights where each spoke meet at the wheel... red lights... and one bright white one, exactly in the center, and the whole thing just happened to fly exactly in front of the MOON! And we saw the spoked, circular wheel-shaped silhouette of it, going right over the MOON! Remember? Both of us saw it, after we'd run out onto the back pasture behind dad's old house in Commerce, twenty-five years ago!"

It sounded like my brother was being genuinely sincere, but you know how brothers are... plus, how the heck can anyone expect anybody else to remember something from twenty-five years ago? I mean, as far as I know, I was only just born twenty-five years ago, and I'm pretty sure that I'm supposedly forty-five years old. Go figure...

Anyway, back to the dream.

"Could you be more specific?" I inquired of my brother.

I can't remember anything that happened or what anybody said next, right after that. The only thing I'm positively sure about is that something happened, and that I don't care what it was. Moving on.

"Yup," I repeated. "It didn't look like this one though..."

"Ok. Yeah," said Matt in an out of breath, exasperated tone of voice, and with what seemed like a really dry mouth, and also really sweaty and red. Don't ask me... I have no idea! Anyway. "Yeah, the one we saw didn't look like this one. Thank you!" continued Matt.

"The one what?" I said, utterly confused.

Just then, and I have no idea how I was able to detect his intent, coming so unexpectedly and right out of the blue like it was, but I did detect it... and I knew it, right then, that Matt was about to throttle me, and right in the middle of an alien invasion... I mean, come on!  It's a total mystery to me as I record these memories here, for posterity, but still, somehow I was sure of it! I think I might be psychic.

My thoughts shifted into lightning mode.

"Nope," I agreed.

That seemed to mollify my brother for the time being, and we were able to resume whatever it was that we'd been talking about about earlier.

"What are they dropping on us? Ash!" Matt was yelling at me again for no reason at all. "Ash? Ash! Snap out of it!"

"Huh?" I said, I mean slobbered. With a sizable effort, I wrenched my gaze away from the spectacle in the sky before us, and I fully regarded my brother.

"It's hypnotic, isn't it though?" I kinda sorta mumbled. "I can't hardly tear my eyes away from... whatever it is."

Matt fairly shouted this next part, right into my left ear...

"Fucking terrifying is what it is! What in the hell? What the fuck is this bullshit falling out of the sky? One of 'em just landed right behind us, about..."

Matt paused for a moment to think about something, then he continued.

"One mile for every second between the lightning and the thunder is about... ten seconds. About ten miles then, right? Ten miles behind us, so it's either about a 300 kiloton air burst, or at least a one megaton surface detonation... based on the overblast shockwave of about 4 psi, and out to about ten miles... FUCK! We're TOAST! I can't believe we're getting nuked by fucking UFO's!"

I couldn't believe that my brother had just spouted all of that technical data, so loudly, and in such a panicky manner. Was he actually right? All of that nuclear technical info had my brain in a whirl, and of that I'm absolutely certain.

Wait... wait, just sec, I thought to myself... what was I missing? OH YEAH!

"I have an app for that!" I exclaimed in triumph. I whipped out my Android phone and loaded the NukeBlast app, which is handy for calculating just this kind of thing, and for just this type of situation. I hurriedly entered all of the data that Matt had just spouted, and I was just about to exclaim, HURRAH! - when I realized that it was all bullshit. My phone was still working, so it couldn't have been a nuclear blast, because the EMP would have fried the electronics.

SHIT!

Uh. I'll type more of it later

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