A Silly Short Story
Louis and Mara walked arm-in-arm to the recycling bin. This was a special time for just the two of them that they did together every time their bin accumulated enough plastic to justify driving the car. Gas was expensive. They did their duty to the environment and cleaned out the plastics, although sometimes their attempts were thwarted by guests throwing in regular garbage. Mara hadn’t gotten around to making that ‘recycle’ sign yet.
As Mara was musing aloud that it was strange for such an active, healthy, eco-friendly city to have only one place to dump plastics, a glimmer of silver caught her eye. “Moneys!” she exclaimed happily as she nudged it with her toe.
It didn’t move.
She frowned and kicked it again, whatever it was, it was much heavier than the quarter it was impersonating so well. It lay there glistening on the cracked asphalt, impervious to the touch of her rubber boots. Louis picked it up and shrugged. It was a flat silver disc with symmetrical markings printed on one side and smooth on the other. There seemed to be no purpose for it. He looked down and noticed that a second disc had appeared on the road. They compared them and found them to be identical.
They tossed the discs back in the road and didn’t think about them again until they were 5 light years away in the holding cell of an alien spacecraft.
Louis had started feeling sick that afternoon when Mara picked him up from work. He said he felt dizzy, and there were strange lights dancing in his vision. He infrequently had migraines, so they followed their normal procedure of giving him a pill and putting him to bed. It was the only time that Mara could get him to take medicine, so she usually threw in some other pills for good measure. She came in later to check on him and found him pale and sweating with stomach complaints. A heavy methane smell permeated the room. Mara ran out, gasping, and realized that she was also getting dizzy and seeing strange lights. At first, she attested that to the smells coming from her husband, but as she also started sweating, getting stomach pains and adding her own methane to the atmosphere, her conclusion was that they must have eaten something that disagreed with both of them. Immediately, her thoughts went to their niece’s birthday party the day before. “You can never trust carrot cupcakes,” she muttered in disgust. This wasn’t the first time that carrot cake had betrayed her.
Mara crawled into bed next to her husband, who had stopped groaning and now stared with glazed eyes at the rotating ceiling fan. Louis gave a mighty jerk and then stilled. Mara would have called an ambulance had she not also started thrashing.
All of those accounts describing an “out-of-body” experience are pure nonsense. You would be of little use to the aliens if you didn’t come with your own organic body. The fabricated stories of bodies being lifted through windows on beams of light were exaggeration. They weren’t lifted into the air, but rather they melted into the ground. The police were later to find DNA residue on the quilt, on the inside of the mattress, through the carpet, onto the sleeping neighbors, and so on until the drops of their humanity were soaked into the rich black Montana earth. The neighbors are currently in their own holding cell on murder charges. Forensic scientists eventually had to abandon their samples as evidence, as the DNA vanished overnight. The neighbors won’t be mentioned again, so we’ll say here that Bill and Stacy Brown lived long eventful lives and bragged to their grandchildren about the month they spent in jail on murder charges.
5.87849981 × 1012 miles away, the DNA was already being reassembled and starting to once again look like two beautiful humans in the prime of life. Finally, two prone figures lay side-by-side, their soft breaths barely visible in the refrigerated room. A vibration shook the floor, and the temperature slowly rose in increments. Mirrored windows hid the four creatures who were watching the procedure with great interest. This was their first higher life-form test. Over the last five thousand (Earth) years, they’d brought back amoebas (splattered into oblivion), centipedes (they grew hundreds of heads, which even the aliens found terrifying), rats (bit the chief alien and was executed for his audacity), dogs (were re-DNAed with great success and the aliens hosted a series of competitions to determine the best breed), donkeys (the aliens got bored), bears (ate the donkeys and the aliens saw a value to them after all), dinosaurs (the biggest one was named Kitty and taken around the spaceship on a leash) and now, the final test: humans. The aliens had great expectations for Earth’s highest life form, and they were curious to observe them in the flesh. What were their fighting skills, intellectual skills? How did they find a mate and reproduce? How did they build a nest? How did they defend their territory? How did they forage for food? These two humans would be set loose in a special lab filled with plants and animals from Earth.
If the humans were boring or destructive, it was thought that they might provide adequate food for Kitty. She was going through the smaller specimens too quickly to keep her happy.
Louis and Mara woke up in a grey room. The gravity was not quite enough to keep them on the ground, and they kept bumping into the walls and each other. Both of them clutched their heads when the pressure in the air became too strong, and they found themselves gasping for breath. “What happened?” Mara blurted out. “Where are we?”
“Not on Earth. Notice the gravity and the pressure?”
Louis was a NASA scientist, and he knew such things.
“Well, how did we leave Earth?” Mara reasonably wanted to know.
“I don’t know,” said Louis.
Sometimes scientists can be confused by new data.
They played over the events of the day, starting with toast for breakfast and working up to the recycling run and the silver discs. Louis noticed that the design on the ceiling of their holding cell looked eerily familiar. The words ‘alien abduction’ hadn’t quite registered in their brains when the holding cell doors opened and they found themselves staring into a tropical forest in disbelief. They slowly made their way into the forest. The gravitational pull was stronger, and they were crawling sluggishly into the artificial sunlight. The sound of birds and buzzing insects greeted their ears, beneath which they could hear the hum of the spacecraft. What happened next can best be described by the field notes of Alien Gok:
Day 1: Humans proving to be lacking entertainment value. They lay on the ground and struggle to move. Bok pointed out that the birds and other animals were also laying on the ground, and that the gravity might need to be adjusted.
Gravity adjusted. Humans zoomed to ceiling. Tok fired from field research. Humans back on ground, they seem to be unconscious. Will wait to see if they recover in a few hours, if not, will let out Kitty.
Gravity at good level. Humans are walking and talking. Our translating devices have decoded the following words: Adam, Eve, Mara, Louis, jungle, water, hot, damn-mosquitos, apple, snake, this time, kill, bastard.
Day 2: The male is very active and seems to be courting the female. He has gone into the trees several times and comes back with branches. The female is accepting his offering and weaving them into some kind of structure. They took the pieces and made a crude structure by the waterfall. They drink from the water on all fours, but they do the rest of their activities standing on two legs. Interesting.
New words are popping up with increasing frequency. The female constantly repeats the phrase, “You have a dangerous case of hungry wife.” The phrase is accompanied by furious snarls and grunts. The male seems to appease her anger by crushing her with his arms. This must be a way of exhibiting male dominance.
The humans walk through the forest, putting pieces of plant in their mouth and then spitting it out. They seem to be looking for a food source. They have found the fruit trees. The female is making happy grunting noises. Both humans collected an armload of fruit and took it back to the shelter.
Day 3. The male is working with sticks and rocks. They seem to be rudimentary tools of some kind. Upon completion of the tools, he adopted a crouching position and went into the woods.
Several hours later. The male has returned with three dead birds. The female is jumping and waving her arms in great excitement. We are confident that these actions prove that she will accept him as a mate. The male and female entwine themselves and put their mouths together. Interesting. It could be a way of exchanging food, much as the birds we observed earlier. Humans do not seem to have any other bird-like features.
Several hours later. Both humans are throwing rocks, staring at the sky and pointing. One rock is laid on the ground and another is pounded against it. The female collects dry sticks while the male continues to pound. It must be some kind of mating dance.
The results of the pounding are visible. They have made a hot, dancing orange thing. The dead birds are wrapped in leaves and put inside. Sok thinks it may be some sort of sacrificial ritual.
Day 4: Humans have reached edge of enclosure. They hit the wall with their fists. Both have developed a crafty look.
Humans huddle together with their mouths close to each others’ ears. They glance frequently around the room. They look at our observation window often, and at a small black box that we’ve covered with vines.
The humans have attacked the power box with sticks. Big explosion.
Day 5: We have been unable to locate the humans on the spaceship.
Day 6: Humans still missing. Food missing from kitchen. Will set a trap.
Day 7: Kitty also missing. Uh, oh.
Day 8: Sitting in control room. Hear thumping coming down the hall. Growling. Kitty has burst into room. Humans are sitting on her back. Both Kitty and the female are growling happily. They are lunging towa
Here ends the field journal of Gok. Louis and Mara took control of the ship, (remember, Louis is a NASA scientist) steered the craft back to Earth, landed safely, disembarked with their dinosaur, set up a viewing station, and made billions with the exhibition. Other scientists and billionaires, most notably Donald Trump, wanted to buy Kitty, but she ate them all. Louis, Mara and Kitty now live happily on their island in the Caribbean.