My secret identity

Concept image of alter egoThe day it happened I had gone to work like every day.  The Metro 72 bus took me downtown to the Mercer Building.  I went up to the fourteenth floor, to the offices of the small non-profit I worked at as a bookkeeper.  The non-profit was called Persons for A Clean Earth, P.A.C.E.

It was New Year’s Eve, December 31.  Downtown was relatively deserted, most people staying home for the holidays, I figured.

At a little after noon a UFO landed on the roof patio where I was eating lunch.  Most people use the roof patio for outdoor eating only in the warm summer months, but it’s a lot less crowded in the winter.  In fact, no one but me was sitting at the picnic tables.  Great view, though.

The UFO wasn’t what you’d think.  It was small, about the size of a yo-yo.  I might not have noticed it except for the incessant pinging sound it made before landing.  It was like one of those car alarms that keeps going off in the middle of the night when you’re trying to sleep.

The UFO itself was bright green, a day-glo green, actually.  I don’t know why it hadn’t been spotted by NORAD or the FAA or whoever does the airspace monitoring above our city.  But at any rate, it seemed to have arrived unnoticed.  That is, unnoticed by anyone but me.

The top hatch flipped open.  A small alien poked out its head, then emerged from the vessel.  It looked like a cross between a grasshopper and a fruit bat, all furled wings and green head and long spiky legs.

I said, “Take me to your leader?”  It seemed like a funny joke.  But the alien just stared at me.

Somehow I heard its thoughts inside my head.

You must keep this a secret.  You have been colonized by the GRRGHian empire.  You have a new identity; you are known as XXRRYU.  The other colonists will follow in a mass invasion.

“Okay!” I thought.  Or, at least, I thought I thought it.

This will make a terrific cover story for The Globe tabloid:  “Non-Profit Staffer First to Communicate with Proven Alien!”

I swooped down on the alien with my empty soup container and caught it by surprise.  After lunch I took it downstairs and put it in the fridge before I went to my desk to call the news tip line.


The quest of Jesse

Rich-wealthJesse was a first generation bot.  An efficient handler of packages was especially in demand in the winter holiday season – UPS, FedEx, and even the U.S. Postal Service couldn’t wait to get their hands on a bot when Jesse was new.  He bustled, organized, stacked, shrink-wrapped and shipped, all at optimal speed with top efficiency.

Jesse liked his work.  He gained satisfaction from completing the tasks in his queue, and you could say he was proud of being among the first to do well in the new flexible autonomous bot world in which he was employed, as proud as a bot intelligence could be.

All too soon the next generation of bots came into being.  Jesse was able to stay in the game for some time, thanks to backdated system upgrades that emulated the features of the next generation of bots.  But eventually his generation was retired from service and put out for possible re-employment in far-away location.

That’s when Jesse found his expertise was needed in an unexpected location:  The North Pole.

Elves were just as much in need of packing and shipping expertise as any of the traditional freight services.

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Les poissons vivent

SeabedThe fish were running that day.

Ginamarie got her fishing genes from her father.  From her mother she got a love of Impressionist art.  Monet, Renoir, Degas.

She came to the French River in Ontario where you could catch largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, rock bass, and her favorite, the northern pike.

The water was clear.  The rocks were blue.  The fish were silver slashes in transparent sunlight.

She meant to cast.  She could feel the muscles in her shoulders and arms tighten as though she were casting her line.  She felt the imagined tug of the water as it caught the fly at the end of the line, pulling it downstream.  She made as though to open her creel to check her catch.  But her movements were only in her mind as she watched the fish sprint through the liquid rushing around her ankles.

The fish were fine that day.

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Where you are calling from

Old compass on ancient map

Did you get my message?

Did you see my email?

I sent you a text ten minutes ago.

Jeremy’s going away.  I wanted to call you, but my phone doesn’t get good reception at Jeremy’s place.

I left you voicemail last week about Jeremy’s “issues” – did you get my message?  I didn’t hear back from you.  Jeremy says I’m “too intense” for him.  He says he feels “stifled” and he needs “some space.”

I don’t know what to do!  I need to be with him.  I just need to be with him.

I’m in front of Jeremy’s place right now.  Call me!

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