Sunday, July 10, 2016

Sunday Song #20: Nights In White Satin By the Moody Blues

Nights in white satin,
Never reaching the end,
Letters I've written,
Never meaning to send.

Beauty I'd always missed
With these eyes before,
Just what the truth is
I can't say anymore.

'Cause I love you,
Yes, I love you,
Oh, how, I love you.

Gazing at people,
Some hand in hand,
Just what I'm going through
They can't understand.

Some try to tell me
Thoughts they cannot defend,
Just what you want to be
You will be in the end,

And I love you,
Yes, I love you,
Oh, how, I love you.
Oh, how, I love you.

Nights in white satin,
Never reaching the end,
Letters I've written,
Never meaning to send.

Beauty I'd always missed
With these eyes before,
Just what the truth is
I can't say anymore.

'Cause I love you,
Yes, I love you,
Oh, how, I love you.
Oh, how, I love you.

'Cause I love you,
Yes, I love you,
Oh, how, I love you.
Oh, how, I love you.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

The Woman in the Blue Spacesuit Part 13

Meredith tried to put aside what the man at the bar had said. She had many things to accomplish that morning anyways that she must focus on. She had tea in Lady Geneva’s garden where they would have an exhibit of alien plant species, and she must run into town and get the dress she had made for it. Her daughter Elena had decided to join the soccer team at school, a disgracefully boyish hobby that her mother could not dissuade her from. It had put Meredith quite out of temper.
            She bathed at eight and smoked while reading the newspaper. She was about to start breakfast when the doorbell entered and her maid brought in a tall unusual gentlemen.
            “What can I do for you sir?” Meredith said civilly. “I apologize for my disarray.”
            “Not a problem, kind lady. I came to discuss a woman on the run that you might help me find.”
            “A woman on the run?”
            “An alien on the run. A criminal.”
            “Why, that is disgraceful! Do you mean to tell me that she’s on earth of all places? Running wild here? What has she done?”
            “I did not mean to startle you ma’am. I assure you we have the problem under control.”
            Meredith hadn’t noticed it before, but recognized the man’s subtle, blank uniform, the faint black mark of a cross on his chest.
            “Do you mean your people lost her?!” Meredith cried.
            “We did not lose her—“
            “But you don’t know where she is.”
            “Not yet. I was hoping you might be able to help us with that.”
            “You do realize it’s your duty to protect the citizens of earth from alien life forms? They bring diseases and dangerous cultures to the planet! You have put my daughters at risk—“
            The man with the dark red hair looked coolly at Meredith for a long moment until the weak-willed woman grew silent until her voice trailed of to a thin squeak. “I know it is my duty,” he said darkly. “That is why I am here.”
            “I have not seen anything of what you’re talking about in this area, no,” Meredith said as strongly as she could. “How do you even know that she is here? The earth is a lot bigger than you realize.”
            Meredith scoffed, but by then the man had already turned towards the door and his long stride had already taken him half way away.
            Back on the street again, he found himself surrounded by walking people and passing cars and flashing lights from every window and street. He walked briskly, almost angrily, away from Meredith’s flat and down the road. He had Home base’s list of others who might know of any transportation happening in the city, most a lot more intelligent and helpful then this dumpy spacy mother. He grinned as he walked away, for he realized how his little deed probably did more good than it seemed.

            After he had turned his back, a long face appeared in the window and watched his back for a few seconds as he wandered away. Then the curtains were snatched close again. Meredith found her friend and called a friend, and she stayed on the phone for many hours on her very busy morning.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Woman in the Blue Spacesuit Part 12

“Here’s the list, Anagan.”
The man with the blood-red hair woke up. When he opened his eyes all he saw was the cold grey surface that he had made as his bed the night before. He sat up and looked at his Estute; the small monitor burst into life, with white flashes bouncing across the street.
Anagan was on the edge of a river, under a bridge. The surface of the water had frozen solid and a thin, sparkling layer of ice lay on the concrete around him. Above him he could hear the cars and trucks passing along the bridge overhead.
            He touched the screen faintly and a small picture came up on the screen: Meredith Mehiggins, East Street. It showed a thin-faced, well-dressed woman who clearly did not belong to this century at all. She dressed with the elegance of lace and bows and delicate, intricate beauty that had not been invented yet. The paragraph below her said that she kept a record of those about town who did not belong, there, for social purposes mostly, as a directory for secret societies that the rich and foreign thrived on to enjoy this city.
            He wiped the snow off of his jacket and pants and briskly headed up to the road and towards East Road.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Woman in the Blue Spacesuit Part 11

“Okay, so I have a few questions for you.”
            “Fair enough. I probably have answers, and I owe you a favor.”
            “What were you accused of stealing?”
            Jun looked sideways at Martha. She had spent the afternoon trying to think up an appropriate answer to that question, one that Martha would accept. They were inside now and the sun had gone down; Martha had just gotten home and collapsed on the couch, exhausted.
            Finally Jun answered, very slowly, “The stealing wasn’t the problem.”
            “Stealing is wrong, that’s a problem.”
            “You are very quick to judge something you admittedly do not understand.”
            Martha fell silent, indignant. She did not understand at all, and hated it; she could not decide what to believe, and what was real. Yet she said nothing.
            Jun spoke, after thinking long and hard about how much truth she should tell. “I did steal something.”
            “What was it?” Martha said faintly.
            “I stole the Estute to get here. I knew that they suspected me; I can tell when someone’s framing me.”
            “Now they will suspect you even more because you ran.”
            “You’re an observant one.”
            “Another question then, Jun: how can you understand me?”
            “The internet. Travels across space.”
            Martha looked very skeptical, but Jun nodded reassuringly. “I’ve got a facebook account even.”
            “You’re kidding.”
            “No, but still it is a bit primitive. I’m one of the people who study your culture, you know. I work at an alien version of University; we call it roughly translated, “Great Library,” where we study all day and then go into the library attic for sleep. And professors hold lectures in it. Good fun. I write books about your culture though.”
            “So you’re a researcher,” Martha said. She felt as though she knew that somehow.
            “You know you still haven’t answered my question. What were you accused of stealing?”
            Jun’s face fell quickly and she turned away. “Information,” she said finally, with a huff. “Now I do not wish to speak of that.”
            “Fair. Then if you can’t answer that, tell me how you can know if someone is following you? Have you received a signal or something?”
            “Why do you keep asking questions about things you cannot possibly understand?” Jun said sharply. She looked Martha full in the face, her eyes glowing. “Do you really expect me to explain all of our technology to you, technology that is more advanced than yours by several hundred years? I would have to get maps and papers out for you, it would take many hours of you time to learn it. Suffice to say I know what I am talking about.”
            Martha looked steadily back at Jun. “I meant no offense. I just want to understand what was going on. This is my home; I value its safety.”
            Martha was smaller than Jun. As Jun stood now, her shoulders hunched over and her head forward, she was still three inches taller than Martha, who stood straight as an arrow. Still at that moment Jun looked carefully at her rival for seconds and then relaxed her posture and smiled. “I know you mean no harm,” Jun replied. “Forgive me. You have been very hospitable. Now may we be done with questions for tonight?”

            And Martha fell asleep at eight, for the second day of an alien in her house.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Woman in the Blue Spacesuit Part 10

After Martha left for work Jun worked on her Estute. She could not leave the house until it was repaired, and the sooner she was out of Martha’s hair and heading towards her destination the better. She ran her fingers gently across the panel and it buzzed weakly to life. She closed her eyes and probed inside it. She slid her mind over the memory storage, the energy source, the wires and the air-cleanser. All seemed to be intact and felt whole, but only worked faintly, as if they were out of energy. She wondered with sharp fear what would happen if she could not get this thing to work. What sort of diseases would she be exposed to, she thought, remembering the reports received from the first explorers to different planets. Someone made a terrible mistake with their air-filters and they received twenty-three diseases between the five of them and three of them died a long, painful death. If Jun did not get her Estute to work properly she may suffer the same fate. The little machine was also her only route home.
            What could have caused this? The people who made Estutes deliberately made them fool proof. They had their own energy source, a created black hole the size of a pin hole. They had a force field twenty-feet around that humans didn’t have weapons to break. It had an endless chemical process of cleaning the oxygen and breaking down and cleanly storing any discharge, eventually expelling it in sacks. It cleaned her body once a day. More than that, it had the teleportation that had brought her to this planet. It had dissolved her body into atoms, carried those atoms within it and traveled at twice light speed across the universe for eight years. How could it get broken? What would she do without it on this strange rock?
            She carried it to the balcony for better lighting. Martha’s porch had potted plants and a metal rocking chair; Jun placed the Estute on the railing and looked at it long and hard. She had only one explanation for this, though she was afraid to face it. She thought of the fires that they had escaped from, eight years ago and what felt, like her, for a day.
            She looked down at the street. This was the first planet she had ever been to. Of course as a child she had visited their moon, back home; it had trees, like this planet, and a blue sky, but from the balcony could not see any trees and the sky was a dull, metallic grey.
            She really had thought that, coming to a different planet, she would have a feeling of revelation and purpose. She felt nothing but loneliness and worry for her Estute; this was a great deal more boring then she had thought it would be.
            And of course a part of her was waiting.
            She knew he followed her. He always kept his promises.
            She wondered if she had broken the Estute in the fire; she wondered if something had happened to them during the flight that had messed with its materialization. Maybe a chunk of it was missing. She wondered if it was safe to use; in the meanwhile she would figure out what to do.

            She fixed the Estute in one way: now she didn’t have to look like she was wearing a spacesuit. She engaged a small force field for diseases, with safe anti-biotics in the air and air cleansers engaged. She tightened a wire inside the projectile, a minor repair, and the spacesuit dissolved into a pair of neat straight jeans, black flats and a white T-shirt. She felt much more comfortable, and the air felt cleaner and the force field protected her a little from the noise ad smell. Slowly she sank into a chair and waited, her hands crossed across her lap and her eyes wondering among the huge grey towers of downtown Minneapolis.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Woman in the Blue Spacesuit Part 9

Jun had spent of the morning wide eye-eyed, staring at the ceiling and thinking. Her stomach felt queasy from the four-year journey across space. She could hear Martha moving quietly in the other room and the T.V. humming, and faintly heard the neighbors downstairs and the loud rumble of cars in the street. She had never heard any of these sounds before. They seemed to echo in the room, coming from everywhere and just starting up where they had finished; they were cacophonous, angry sounds that she did not understand. She felt very ill at ease.
Besides what she could hear, she could sense much. Throughout the night she could hear Martha’s little thoughts mumbling in the other room, although they were not distinct and Jun blocked them out. As the hours stretched on the thoughts grew more active and clear, and then burst through Jun’s mind like a knife. She scrambled to place up her mental barriers out of respect, but Martha’s thoughts screamed as an insistent child. Jun burned with embarrassment as pictures of Martha’s inner mind flashed inside her, thoughts she could not avoid.
Martha thought about what to do about Jun, and every thought cut Jun to the heart, for Martha radiated distaste and discomfort and Jun realized how inconvenient she was. She did not like the sound of human thought. It was like a bad accent riddled with fallacies and grammar mistakes; they were unfocused and indecisive, like brute animals despite the intelligence they showed on the outside. Martha’s thoughts came in foggy pictures where only what Martha remembered stood out, and she seemed to remember precious little. Jun saw a picture of herself, appearing and reappearing in the kitchen pantry, and felt Martha’s confusion and distaste radiating like a hot wave. Then Jun saw a picture of men in blue uniforms entering this house with weapons and shouts; they broke down the doors and pointed their weapons into the rooms, until they found Jun hidden away. Martha feared these men, she held them to be in some authority, but Jun couldn’t understand who they were. Martha thought of Jun attacking her while she slept, or robbing her. She thought of Jun as a spy or a murderer, and thought of endless scenarios of evil crimes Jun had committed in the past, both alien and earthly. Jun listened to these thoughts in torment, knowing there was no way to dispel them and knowing that the truth was much worse than Martha’s tiny, unimaginative mind could think of. Martha could not decide what to believe. All of her ideas were so foreign to her normal experience she had no gage of truth, and she floated from one fantastical idea to another, searching for some familiar answer. She could find none.
After what felt like ages Martha’s mind returned to quiet little thoughts that Jun could not hear. She had other discomforts. The air reeked; she could taste something bitter in her lungs and she struggled to breathe in the thick air that felt so heavy in her chest. Although the spacesuit did its best to counteract the light gravity she felt dizzy and lightheaded, and the spacesuit itself, though she had traveled with it for four years through the universe, fit very tightly and jabbed her in the neck and shoulders. She had traveled across three galaxies to feel miserable.
If she was in her comfortable little home on Eyesta, she would hear the wind tearing through rock and whistling in the windows, and if the wind stayed still she would hear the water rushing over the rocks outside.

Her brother would be eight seasons old by now, if nothing had gone wrong in her travels, and he would be sixteen by the time she had returned, a young man who could hardly recognize her. Perhaps he would die; many children died now in Eyesta nowadays. Perhaps the war would be over, although Jun doubted it. And even now, after she had gone this far, perhaps Rum would still reach her and take her freedom from her. She had no reason to think of the possibilities, since by now she knew them by heart, but so far none of them had stopped her and none of them would make her go back now. Too much had been sacrificed.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Woman in the Blue Spacesuit, Part 8

            What was Martha supposed to do knowing that there was an alien in her house? Was she supposed to go to sleep in her great ancient bed, where she had a sky light and could see the starlight even with her eyes closed? Was she supposed to pace back and forth in her large empty bedroom where the floors felt like they went on forever, unhindered and dark? She stood a long while beside her window and looked down to the first floor, where the streetlights shone brightly and she could see her little blue Toyota parked there beside the fire-hydrant. The alarm clock told her she had five hours before work, and she knew that if she fell asleep now she would simply be too tired when she came in to enjoy herself. She might as well stay up.
            She watched Orange is the New Black for two hours and organized her closet. She found a lot of old books that she hadn’t had room for before, so she put them out where her textbooks used to be. She moved her favorite books onto her desk and ironed several blouses for work.
            She didn’t know what to think. She was wide awake now, her brain running smooth as clockwork, yet she couldn’t be sure of anything. She wondered what the lady in the space suit would require of her to do; whether she just wanted Martha to harbor her, or food that she would need, and if Jun’s presence would bring any unnecessary danger. She felt a little helpless and knew that she had no choice in this matter, no more than if Jun had pushed her against the wall and forcedly entered her mind. She did not like having an alien in her house, if that even was what Jun was. Martha liked everything in her life to make sense, to be something easy to follow and succeed in, and until last year she had been quite satisfied with everything. What terrible luck she had.
            She tried to read but she could not focus. It was odd that Luke had arrived early, she realized. He was usually late to parties. Why he had been so eager to help and get involved it Martha could not tell, and she wondered a little if he had some ulterior motive. She thought about how serious and thrilling his glance at her had been, and she felt resentful and confused, but again she could not get any answers about it yet.
            At six she changed into a pink checkered shirt, pink earrings and a grey skirt. She pulled her brown hair back and neatly combed it. If she was going to talk to the lady in the spacesuit it would have to be now, for if she started any later than she would be late for work. She found the woman in the living room, asleep on the couch with her beautiful blond hair draped over its side. Martha hadn’t really noticed how beautiful she was. She had flushed cheeks, unblemished, and dark full eyelashes. Her features were rounded and clear and her face a soft creamy color. She did not look like a human, Martha decided after a long minute. Or at least, she resembled a human in that she had eyes and a mouth and hair. She could not describe it well, but she felt something not quite right in the shape of her face; the eyes were spaced differently and were disproportionately large. The mouth was large, but attractive, and curved up as a smile even in her sleep.
            “I am going to work,” Martha said in a calm voice, and the Jun’s large eyes open and blinked up at her. She sat up and stretched and yawned, as naturally as a cat.
            “Oh yes, that is what you humans do, isn’t that right? You get into your little cars and drudge to places where you can get money from every day. Well, the time away will give me a chance to work on my Estute and fix it, maybe get some decent disguise going.”
            “Well, good luck to you. Is there anything that I can do to make you more comfortable?” Martha asked, wondering how much money she had in the bank right now and how well she could financially handle this sudden duty she had taken onto herself. Jun only shook her head and smiled.
            “I am an easy guest, my kind host. I will stay out of your way for the most part, and I do not eat your human food. And I’m sure I will answer any questions that you’ve accumulate throughout the day as soon as you get home. I can tell you hardly have an idea what is going on. You did not sleep well.”
            “No,” replied Martha, who hadn’t slept at all. There was nothing more to say. She put on her dress shoes and cardigan, grabbed her bag and headed out the door. The air bit her cheeks and hands and the sky was rising in pink and gold across the park across the street. Her car door cracked and creaked as it opened from the ice and she quickly turned her heat on as hot it could go and rubbed her hands across the steering wheel to warm it up. She pulled out of her spot and headed downtown.

            It took twenty minutes to get from her little second-story apartment at Brooklyn Terrace to Simon and Wilfred’s consulting services. She pulled into the parking lot at seven fifty and found that she was the first one there as usual, except the janitor’s little car parked near the back. He had left the door unlocked and Martha went in and turned the lights on. She had several tasks already for her on her desk in an untidy little pile; she found reminders on purple notes scattered around her computer screen, and the phone told her she had three voice mails that she needed to deal with. No doubt as soon as Mr. Wilfred walked through the door he would find five things she needed to get done. Her watch said seven fifty-five. She could have gone to straight to work but thought better of it and pushing the papers aside slowly sipped at her coffee. She wanted to be miles from here. She couldn’t think of any specific place, maybe a place with mountains or lots of books, as long as if it was as far away from this dreary cold little lawyer firm where she felt keenly that she did not belong.