The Universe From My Back Yard

Joel 'Cop' Furches

I'd like to thank you for convincing them to let me out of that jacket, Doctor. As you can see, insane or not, I am perfectly harmless. My story? You want to hear about the events that led me here?

Okay, where to begin? I guess I should preface this tale by saying that I've always felt like I'm prepared for anything in that I am ready for nothing. I bravely look life in the face and admit that I am ignorant. I suppose its attitudes like that that got me locked away, isn't it? I mean, only the truly sane are wise enough to form ignorant opinions on things and stick to them despite evidence it to the contrary. But I'm getting off track.

I guess it all started Wednesday morning. I was walking to a little diner to get breakfast. I thought of rabbits and frogs, and how the way they leap is totally different. I noticed the penny lying on the sidewalk, and decided not to pick it up because it was heads down. I saw that the cloud above me looked something like a fuzzy pony. Mostly, I fretted about how I was going to propose to my girlfriend when I reached the diner. I ended up tripping over a fire hydrant and bruised my shin, so I resolved to stop at the clouds and over-thinking stuff.

I limped into the diner at a quarter to eight and headed toward the booth where my girlfriend sat.

"Hi." I said.

"Hi." She responded.

Feeling I had beaten around the bush long enough, I fell to my knee, wincing at the pain in my shin. As I flourished the ring, I was aware of the sleepy faces in the diner lighting up with goofy grins that meant they were enthralled at the romantic occasion. My girlfriend stared at me. I explained my actions.

"Will you marry me?" I asked.

"No." she answered. Goofy grins disappeared and faces got really busy eating all of the sudden.

"Oh." I said, my secret expectations of defeat fulfilled. I ordered a meal and began to make a checklist in my mind: take back the ring, use the money to buy dog food, purchase groceries on the way home, consider getting a dog to justify the purchase of dog food. Halfway through the meal it occurred to me to ask her why she had turned me down.

"Oh, that," she chuckled, "Well, you see, I'm actually not from this planet."

"You mean you're an extra-terrestrial?" I asked.

"Sort of. Actually I'm from another dimension. The fact is that you are the only race of beings on this plain. Sort of 'alone in the universe', you might say."

"I'm shocked." I said, truthfully.

"That I'm an alien?"

"No, I sort of suspected that ALL women were from another dimension. I'm shocked that we're alone in the universe."

"They all are."

"So why did you go out with me, then?" I asked.

"It's tough on this plain. Every man wants to bend you to his will, and do disgusting things. I just found a clueless, moral sop so I could be connected to someone."

"Moral?" I was hurt.

"Have you ever even kissed me?"

"Well, no. I didn't want to be presumptuous."

"Right. But anyway," she sighed, "I saw this one coming. You wear your feelings where everyone can see them. I knew that sooner or later you were going to ask me to marry you. I'm transferring back to my home dimension tomorrow. I was hoping to leave before you made a fool of yourself." She got up to go.

"Um, bye," I said, "I'll miss you."

She smiled.

"Will you miss me?" I persisted.

"Not really. Thanks for everything, though." She kissed me on the cheek. I always thought getting kissed by a woman would make me feel good. It didn't. It was probably the most impartial kiss ever to be bestowed upon mankind--I mean, Man.

Did it hurt me that she left? Of course it did. She was the light of my life. She was the star of my sky. But as you well know, doc, every star must some day bloat up to an enormous size, then collapse in on itself before exploding into a cloud of gas that dissipates into nothingness.

I came into work at eight thirty and walked down the hall to my office. The coffee smells filled the morning air as my co-workers rushed from cubicle to cubicle and the cleaning lady battled a frightening creature from the sewers. I checked in my boss's office and found him sitting on the desk looking confused and disoriented.

"Something wrong, Frank?" I asked in concern.

"Well, yeah, actually," he responded.

"Care to share?" I asked, again in concern.

"Well, you see, it's the strangest thing. I was sitting at my desk this morning when, suddenly, I was sucked into a parallel universe."

"Oh." I said. "How did you get back?" I said.

"I haven't." he responded.

"Well, look, I'm running a little late, but keep me informed, okay? I mean, tell me if you DO get back from the parallel universe."

"Well, maybe the other me will tell you. You're dead in my universe." He sighed.

"How did I die?" I asked, my curiosity aroused.

"You committed suicide when your girlfriend turned out to be an alien from another dimension."

"I took that rather hard, did I?"

"Hey, it happens." He shrugged.

"Well, I guess I'll see you at lunch if you don't get back to your dimension by then."

"They have lunch breaks in this dimension?" he asked in surprise.

At noon, the entire office block was sucked into a giant alien craft, and the alternate-reality-Frank was sour for missing his lunch break. For that matter, so was I.

As the aliens dissected me under localized anesthesia, one of them chatted away with me.

"...So anyway we were making two, three hits a week. You know, we'd swoop in on a house out in the middle of nowhere, or a group of campers out in the woods, do experiments on them, zap their memories, and put 'em back where we found them. It was a killer finding samples like that.

"So one night we were collaring and tagging another backwoods bumpkin, and I says to Al, I says, 'Why all the secrecy? I mean WE have the superior technology, right? Why don't we go for the specimen jackpots like the big cities and forget this covert stuff! I mean what are they going to do, hit us with nukes? We stopped playing with baby stuff like that centuries ago!' Am I right?"

"Makes sense to me," I replied.

"See Al, the man agrees with me," the alien turned to his coworker.

"Alright, alright, we're doin' it ain't we," the other one grumbled.

"May I ask a question," I ventured.

"Oh, yeah, sure, go right ahead. We won't be finished for another couple of minutes."

"Well, it's just, I was lead to believe that Earth was alone in the universe."

"Yeah? Who fed you THAT line of crock?"

"Someone from another dimension."

"And you believed them? You know those other dimensionals will tell you anything to get their way."

"I'm beginning to realize that," I sighed.

"Well, we're finished here. He's just like all the others, except his organs are all backwards," the other one said, sewing me up, "Are we going to zap his brain?"

"Na," the first alien replied, "Why bother. A couple of thousand people saw us anyway. The borjelitz is out of the bag, so to speak."

"So why do you guys do this, anyway," I asked.

"Oh, you mean abduct people and dissect them? Well at first it was scientific curiosity, but now it's kind of a competition. Your government is dissecting every alien it can get its hands on, and so we're dissecting every human being we can get our hands on. It's a little game we play."

You might find this a little far-fetched, but after the aliens returned me to my office, and returned my office to the ground, I got a full, productive day of work in.

I worked a little late at the office, and then picked my car up from the shop where the mechanic told me it had a rare "combustion parasite." It's a rather expensive procedure to have one removed, I am told. It was late evening when I arrived home. The sun was just setting in the west, and a full moon was just rising over the horizon. I had to swerve to avoid my neighbor who was running around as a werewolf. He did this once or twice a month.

As I entered my house I saw a light on in the kitchen. I approached it cautiously; knowing it was just as likely that I had left it on as anything. The light was coming from the refrigerator where my great uncle Ferdinand was making a sandwich, which is remarkable only because he is dead.

"Uncle Ferdinand!" I exclaimed, "Aren't you suppose to be pushing up daisies?"

"I'm sorry, nephew, but they simply DO NOT have baloney, ketchup, munsk cheese, and dill pickle sandwiches in the afterlife," he explained.

"Well thank heavens for THAT," I muttered. My uncle gave me a dirty look, and continued making his sandwich.

It had been a long and exhausting day. I went upstairs, changed clothing, inspected the bruise on my shin, and marveled at how well the incisions the aliens had made on my body were healing. When I came back to the kitchen to get a snack, my great uncle had vanished, leaving a rather messy baloney sandwich on the floor, where it had slipped through his ethereal form when he had attempted to eat it. I sighed and cleaned it up. After making myself a plain ham sandwich, I sat down to watch the evening news.

It bothered me that there was no mention whatsoever of the alien abduction in midtown, and in my troubled thoughts, my mind began returning to my girlfriend's abandonment of me.

A knock came at the door.

I arose in trepidation. I was expecting no one. I opened the door, and there stood my girlfriend, outlined against the distant streetlight. She flew into my arms, and kissing me cried, "I was only joking, you big goof, of course I'll marry you!"

Yes, doctor, THAT is when I ran out into the street screaming.

[ Secrets of the Universe | Comments | Back to pariah | My home page. ]

Votes for: The Universe From My Back Yard.

(C)2003 All Rights Reserved