Note to the Mother Ship
Well, I’m here. In case you were wondering. Which you probably were. I apologize for being remiss in not checking in upon arrival, but the transmitter was immediately discovered to be non-functional, and Radio Shack—being the only place I might locate the parts needed to make the transmitter go—went out of business. So, I had to buy everything online over the Internet, and that proved difficult as you didn’t supply me with a credit card, or a place to live that had an actual address, which is a requirement here so that people can deliver things to you. But I’ve finally managed to straighten all that out. And the transmitter seems to be working okay now, thanks mainly to me and not whoever designed it.
I want to start by saying that humans do, in fact, have two legs and not four, the latter idea having been put forth by some members of the Deployment Team and with great though highly questionable assuredness. Fortunately, the four-leg concept was dismissed, as had you provided me with four legs it would have been very awkward in terms of mixing in and being inconspicuous.
I have adopted the name Alvin Zaronsky. No particular reason, it just sort of came to me. Apparently it’s a reasonable name by Earth standards as nobody’s made any comments about it.
Up till now I’ve been making a few little notes to myself but mainly just casually observing this new and sometimes strange life that surrounds me. Going forward I’ll be transmitting my observations with all the necessary details.
Let me just update you on things of an immediate nature. I’ve just recently taken up residence in a small city called Madison, Wisconsin. I was thinking it would be beneficial to take some classes here at the university so as to not just probe more deeply into Earth’s history but to also get an idea of how other humans view it. As for the university itself, it’s very large with about forty thousand students. The greater majority are between the ages of eighteen and twenty-two, so I fit in. Well, physically anyway.
I was able to find a place to live with three other students in an apartment on the periphery of the university. I have my own room, as do they. Two of them are men, and one is a woman. I found this odd initially, a woman living with two strange men (now three, including me), but no one seems to give it much mind. Her name is Rika. This rhymes with pica and Formica. I find her pleasant in that she’s of a jolly nature. She’s also attractive, and I would also add sturdy, though, I don’t mean that in a derogatory sense. The other two men here are named Nick and Tristan. The latter is quiet, easy going, and non-offensive. The former, Nick, is more outgoing, assertive, but like the other two, a not unreasonable housemate. I’m not sure what field of study the males are into but Rika is a history major and we have a couple classes together. So, that’s nice to have a kindred spirit in close proximity.
While I appreciate that the Deployment Team had the foresight to provide me with American Earth money for the time I’d be here, I have to now let you know that the hundred dollars is not nearly enough. I’ve spent a considerable amount of time consequently looking for a paying job. This was quite a challenge given that I don’t know how to do anything, at least here. Fortunately, I found a job working at a relay center for the deaf. This is where one hearing person talks—to me, like they’re talking to the deaf person—and then I type what they said and send it to the deaf person. Then the deaf person types a response, and I speak it to the hearing person as if I’m the deaf person. It’s a very good system, however, given the rate at which the Earth people are making technological advances, particularly in voice to text transmission, I’m sure this system will be obsolete in six months, thus rendering me unemployed. So, I do have my eye out for other things that I might be capable of doing and provide steady income. I’m thinking professional writing might be something to pursue since I already know how to type. That said, there’s a lot of downtime at the relay center, and while it’s kind of boring—deaf people having nothing particularly interesting to say to each other any more than hearing people do—it does allow me a lot of time to read and bone up on Earth’s history. So, that’s good.
I think I’ve covered the main points that bring us up to date. However, there is something else and this is somewhat concerning, though, maybe not terribly. I find myself “blipping out” (my term, not anybody else’s. I don’t know what else to call it). I’m having these tiny little moments of missing consciousness of reality. Sometimes I find myself talking to someone, and I have no memory of what they said or just asked me. It’s like I blacked out. I don’t fall down or anything. I just stop being present. They initially just lasted for seconds, but I’ve noticed recently they’re getting longer. Yesterday, for example, I was sitting at a table at the student union, but had no memory of having walked there. I knew where I had been ten minutes previously, but I had no memory of anything that had gone in between. These functional blackouts, as I said, are becoming more frequent and lasting longer, and while not overly concerned, I do feel they are worthy of note, especially for the benefit of anyone who might follow. I don’t know if it’s the Earth’s atmosphere affecting me negatively or something else, but I do feel it could be attributed simply to my presence here on a planet which is alien to my physiology. I’m unable to produce any other possibilities. Anyway, not a huge concern, just something to make note of. I’m thinking it’s likely akin to living in a weightless environment where odd things are playing upon the body and causing structural alterations and muscular deterioration. So, we’ll just deal with it, I guess.
OK, that’s it for now.
P.S. Oh, I’ve composed a palindrome. This is a phrase that reads the same way forward as backwards. It has no purpose; however, the process gives me something to do when I’m confronted with a boring situation from which I cannot escape, such as having to listen to someone talk without the ability to interrupt them. I’ve taken this on as a new hobby. Here it is:
T’is I, on a clove volcano I sit.
Note to the Mother Ship
While I appreciate the level of detail and effort that was employed in the satisfactory creation of my Earth form, I find that I also have as a byproduct a desire for Earth females. I can only assume this was an accident in the body design process. Consequently, the byproduct of this is “want.” “Want” is something I could have done without. It’s quite a distraction. By itself “want” may seem nothing more than a rock on the running path to be easily bounded over, but Earth females are not nearly as accessible as has been statistically suggested. Humans do not like being alone. Consequently, pretty much all of them are attached to some other human romantically, whether being so is in their overall best interests or not. This leaves a relatively little pool from which to pick and creates kind of a musical chairs scenario. Beyond that, though, and more problematic, is the issue of compatibility. Humans are very complicated. Not only is it difficult to find one of similar nature, but there’s really no practical way to truly get to know somebody without marrying them first and living with them, which unfortunately is putting the cart before the horse. That said, in regard to my own issues of compatibility, my few forays into this arena have not been fruitful.
In comparison to females, gum, on the other hand, is easily acquired, and had I been infused with a want for gum, that wouldn’t have been a problem. Please take note of this for future reference should you be sending down another intelligent probe.
Note to the Mother Ship
I had the scare of a lifetime about eight months back and that was caused by something they call winter. When I got here everything was really nice, but then it started getting colder, all the trees were dying, and if that wasn’t bad enough, this cold white stuff started falling out of the sky and covering everything. I thought it was the end of the world and consequently would be the end of me, but then just a few months back it started to get warmer again. Apparently this hot-cold cycle is normal and happens every year. I don’t care for it a bit. I do know that many countries are injecting chemicals and gasses into the atmosphere in an attempt to heat the planet up, so at least somebody is making an attempt to improve the situation.
I really didn’t want to leave the transporter pod during this winter period, as cramped and claustrophobic as it was. A lot of humans, though, seemed to think winter was great. They’d go out and roll around in the “snow” and cut holes where the lake had frozen over and fish for no reason whatsoever (you can buy fish in the store—so, what’s the point here? No clue).
In closing today, I’ve composed some more palindromes. Here they are:
Sam, a Jap’s pajamas!
(Kind of racist)
Pass a snake, Kansas sap!
(Also maybe not okay if you actually said this to someone from Kansas)
(Mimes that accidentally say “thank you” when socially appropriate)
Revolting nit lover
(I don’t think there are any of those, though)
Reb made Kansas as naked amber
(Makes no sense at all)
Same nice nude dune cinemas
(I kind of like this one)
Also, I’ve taken this palindroming thing one step further and composed a tiny short story. There is a literary website that is open to submissions, and feeling a moment of whimsy I have submitted something to them. I have no idea if it’s something they’ll like. Frankly, I don’t care. I might care. I’m not really sure. No, I don’t care.
By Alvin Zaronsky
Long, long ago, the God of Palindromes looked down upon the land and was displeased. He decided he would erase the current crop of humanity from his Earth with a mighty flood. Whoosh.
He did not want to start a new crop of humanity, though. No, for he had pulled a muscle the last time. And it didn’t stop hurting for a long, long time. So he decided he would save one person. And that person would continue the human race. And then, when he realized that wouldn’t work, he decided to save two people, preferably of different genders.
He couldn’t decide who to save. No one was any better than anyone else. So he chose to do it by lottery. He would save whoever had a singular name. He looked about and saw several Nabobs, a few Rachels, a plethora of Amulechs, a pair of Johns and a wide assortment of Jaheezabits, which he thought strange. But suddenly, he saw a man with a singular name, and in his glee, be that the word for it, the God of Palindromes called out–
“Ha, one Noah.”
“Yes, Lord?” Noah responded, hearing the voice come out of the firmament.
“Going to destroy the world again, eh? Well, thanks for the tip. What leads you to believe that I could build a craft that would lift me above the water, however? We’re in the desert. Where would I get the wood? Then there’s the problem of finding pitch to seal the joints. What do you suggest, damp sand?”
“Not much of an answer really. OK, I’ll do it. I’ll figure it out somehow. Of course, it would have to be more than a raft. The kids will want their own rooms. It would have to be a good-sized boat, I’m guessing. Then it’s got to have a name. What do you suggest I call it?
“Ark O’ Noah! Ha! On! Okra!”
“What’s that last part supposed to mean? The thing about okra.”
“Well, it was weak. And I don’t know about Ark O’ Noah. Strikes me as a bit arkaic. Ha. Get it? Arkaic? Archaic? Building an ark? Naming it in an archaic way? It’s a pun. Get it?
“You bet. A gate buoy.”
“No, a pun. Never mind. Either way, I don’t like naming it after myself. Seems boastful. Pride and all that. One of your sins, you know. Plus the neighbors will know who the idiot is.”
“Sail an alias.”
“Hm. How about Mark’s Ark? Toby’s Ark. Ark of the Covenant—no, it would have to be small and we’ll probably get lost. Well, I’ll sleep on it. So, fine, I build this big boat. But what direction am I supposed to head in? Where do we stop? What do we do in the boat all the time we’re waiting to get there?”
“West. Ararat. Sew.”
“OK. I’ll tell the wife we’re leaving. I’ll gather the children. I’ll make sure we have a sturdy ark and that it has sufficient supplies—no okra though. Then we’ll all get on board and await your flood. Do I need to do anything else before that?”
“Slam in animals.”
Note to the Mother Ship
The population of America is now up to two hundred and forty million. They do indeed seem to be on the upswing after having dropped considerably from their three hundred and sixty-five million several years back during what they refer to here as The Great Harm. That said, it seems rather crowded here and I personally can’t imagine where they put everybody when they were up to almost four hundred million previously.
Note to the Mother Ship
Cars drive by the apartment with their stereos up frightfully loud. The bass shakes the walls. You have no idea how annoying and unnerving this is. Utilizing the fazzick shifter and prom barrel from the transporter, I’ve fashioned a tiny radioactive laser torpedo which fires from my window when activated by ninety decibels and 60 Hz at sixty yards. I’m concerned about the driver becoming dysfunctional while driving and causing an accident, so I have limited the output to three grams per foot, thus not causing their brain to melt for an hour later, at which time I assume they will have reached their destination and are sitting in their living room watching TV or sitting at their desk at work. At which time they keel over and die. The street is a little quieter but I still have a long way to go here. I’d like to think my efforts are appreciated by the neighbors. I guess I’ll never know.
Speaking of cars, necessity required me to buy one. It cost me six hundred dollars. I consider this a lot of money. Apparently a lot of other people don’t. Anyway, I do not like cars. I do not like other cars and I specifically do not like my car. I consider cars to be amazing machines that take you to far-away places and then leave you there. I like trains. I like trains because they always start and also because there’s somebody else driving them.
I found a hamburger and fries on the sidewalk in front of the apartment. And the box. While feeling separate from this particular species, a chill ran through me nonetheless as I could imagine what situation caused this. Obviously, someone was walking to their home with their recently purchased dinner when they were attacked. I’m guessing this was some sort of city dwelling animal, perhaps one that only comes out at night and so is rarely if ever seen. I assume the person with the dinner was able to drop their goods and flee. At least I hope so. I don’t know why the animal left the hamburger on the sidewalk, though. It was from McDonalds. Maybe they don’t like fried food. That may or may not have anything to do with it, I really couldn’t say.
I see a lot of evidence of these creatures if not actually seeing them. It’s not unusual for me to see empty beer bottles and discarded candy wrappers out on the lawn in front of the apartment. I assume the night creatures are attracted by these treats, perhaps just scare away the owner, who drops them, and then the creatures consume what’s left behind when the owner quickly departs. So, I don’t know how big these things are, but they must be pretty formidable. It’s a concern, and the main reason why I don’t go grocery shopping after dark.
I make a habit of cleaning all this stuff up because I don’t like to look at it. I mean, it’s garbage on one hand, but also evidence of an event of terror on the other, so I get rid of it. I bought this three-foot long grabbing device to pick things up with so I don’t have to actually touch anything. It’s pretty neat.
That said, I don’t hear people talking about these creatures. I’m thinking perhaps it’s a taboo to mention their name; you say it and they show up. So nobody talks about it. Personally, I call them The Night Harpies.