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.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Woman in the Blue Spacesuit, Part 7

Luke sat on the curb with his head between his knees, half between sleep and alertness. He leaned his head against the hub of his car and tried to sooth the throbbing in his brain. In his mind he followed a woman in a spacesuit through his college dorm, and she kept vanishing and reappearing in the most unexplainable places. It wasn’t exactly a dream, just a fancy he had.
            “What are you doing there?”
            He felt something suddenly cold against his skin. He realized with a jump that another man was with him, quite close and his hands gently rooting in Luke’s clothes.
            “Sorry to disturb you sir. I am cold sir,” said a deep flat voice.
            “It’s all right chap, I don’t mind. I’m pretty cold myself.”
            “Why are you outside on a night like this?”
            “Man, I can’t drive home the way I am.”

            “Pity.” Luke felt his pocket lighten and watched as the stranger’s hand moved slowly away with a small brown wallet in his hand. Luke murmured to protest, but the stranger raised a finger to his lips and hushed gently. Luke’s head drooped down to the hubcap, and the other man looked around and hurried away.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Sunday Song #19: Is ar Eirinn ni neosfainn ce hi by Dervish

There's a home by the wide Avonmore
That would sweep o'er the broad open sea,
And wide rivers where the waves wash ashore
While the bulrushes they wave to the breeze;
Where the green ivy clings round the door
And the birds sweetly sing in each tree.
Oh me darling they're tuning their notes
Is ar Eirinn ni neosfainn ce hi.

Like a sick man that longs for the dawn
I do long for the light of her smile,
And I pray for my own cailin ban
While I'm waiting for her by the stile.
Oh, I'd climb all the hills of this land
And I'd swim all the depths of the sea
To get one kiss from her lily-white hand,
Is ar Eirinn ni neosfainn ce hi

I have toiled sore those year of my life
Through storm, through sunshine and rain,
And I surely would venture my life
For to shield her one moment from pain.
For she being my comfort in life
Though my comfort and joy she may be,
She's my own, she is my promised wife
Is are Eirinn ni neosfainn ce hi.

Oh, but when I will call her my own
And it's married we both then will be,
Like the king and the queen on their throne
We'll be living in sweet unity.
Oh, it's then I'll have a home of my own,
And I'll real up a nice family.
Oh it's then that her name will be known,
But for Ireland I won't tell her name.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016


Sometimes I look at the present and I see the future. I see a child and I see him as he will be--an old man with those same bright eyes and undying spirit. I see a young insecure teenager and I see her in five years from now, in a dark place from which few return.
And sometimes I see what we will look like in the grand scheme of things--how everything that we think is modern and fashionable will one day be as the Middle Ages. In your mini-skirt I see a bustle and in your rock band I see a bard, and one day our age too will pass and a better age will come.
Someday I'll be that old lady on the porch saying that in my day we had cars run by gas and how we had stronger morals and better attitudes. One day everything that is cool will be old fashioned.
Some day people will shake their heads at us and wonder at how backwards we are. Our obsession with war, the hundreds of us lost to drugs and violence, rape and darkness every day around the world. Some day the human race will outgrow this stage, just as we outgrew every other stage.
It's discouraging too, because it makes you realize that in the grand scheme we really are backwards.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Woman in the Blue Spacesuit, Part 6

As Luke left Martha’s house he got a text from his roommate. Wanna come Karioki?
            Who all is there?
            Anna and Michael.
            Luke knew he wouldn’t be able to fall asleep for a long time yet, and he felt like drinking. Kim’s Karioke and Sushi Bar was on the other side of town; he had been their hundreds of times before, usually at late hours with his roommate, usually making a fool of himself yet he always felt like coming back. Luke drove in silence. It started to snow faintly and he turned his windshield wipers on; they kept rhythm, thudding back and forth and dissolving the white dots that flew out in front of him.
            The woman in the spacesuit was probably from NASA, he concluded. That or Martha was playing some large practical joke on him, but she didn’t seem like the type. Of course they might both be crazy, but how could they both lose their minds at the same time and hallucinate about the very same thing? She seemed as genuinely confused as he was; anyways, if this all was some advanced technological science experiment then as far as he could understand it they didn’t have anything to worry about. The woman was probably well on her way, out of their lives forever; they just had a glimpse into something a little larger than themselves, that was all. He felt no fear that they would ever see him again, although he briefly wondered, not seriously, if some Doctors would appear in the next few days to wipe their memories from the event. He doubted it, but he wouldn’t be too terribly upset if it happened.
            It was still very interesting, however. Science was his worst subject in school and he never really got into sci-fi, but he wouldn’t mind too much if some of those fantastic technology advances came true in his life time. He wouldn’t mind teleporting to work or taking vacations on the moon.
            He arrived at twelve-thirty. He found his roommate and friends at the bar; they waved their glasses in his direction and smiled brightly, drunkenly, mostly at each other than at him. A very small blond sang Rolling in the Deep in a wavering soprano. Luke pulled a seat up next to Anna and ordered a whiskey.
            “What kind for you?”
            “I don’t care—something strong. Anything over thirty-proof please?”
            “Rough night?” Anna asked, throwing a careless smile back at him with a toss of her bright blond hair. She dressed haphazardly, her baggy flannel unbuttoned over an olive blouse, a shark tooth at the base of her dark throat. She had a Long Island in her hand, half-empty, and her eyes rolled when she addressed me.
            “Odd night. Nothing too difficult.”
            Anna nodded and with a slight tilt of her head returned to listening to a store that Luke’s roommate was telling. The little soprano at the karaoke stand struggled over her song; some of the notes hit too deep for her and a low painful rumble escaped from her, quivering in the air. She seemed too small for such a song about fire and passion, like such a song would explode out of her miniscule, childlike frame, and her little face glowed read with effort and embarrassment. Luke felt sorry for her and glad when she finally made her way to her table. Next up was a fat, balding man with his son, both very enthusiastic about it all. They sung poorly but everyone laughed because they had huge grins and sang loudly and fearlessly.
            Luke took another shot and moved over to where his roommate was. Another couple came and sat at the bar with them and started talking with him, something very clever.
            The night kept on. Luke took more shots and sang a few songs, once by himself and once with Anna and Michael. He sang very poorly because he was drunk and kept laughing at his mistakes so that he grew worse and worse the longer the song was. Anna got angry at him and steamed quietly for the rest of the night, but Luke did not remember them leaving.
            At two o’clock he paid his bill for fifty dollars and crawled to a small booth. He did not know where his roommate was or where his friends were, and the people who were with him now he had never met before, although he had been talking with them all night. When he managed to pull his head up from the table he looked around the room for something familiar. He found his roommate Robert on the other side of the bar, tucked up in a booth with a woman and both of them huddled over their glasses, their faces very close together. Luke wondered if Robert was fit to drive and if he would remember him, or whether he would leave with the woman and Luke would have to sleep in his car. The people with him were teasing him, trying for him to say something funny as he had been entertaining them so well all night.
            “What do you do for a living, kid?”
            “Remember, you’re drunk and we’re strangers. You can tell us whatever you want, see? I’m an architect myself. You know the Sears tower? I designed that.”
            Luke laughed. “I can be anything I want to then? Can I be the man who lays in bed and eats popcorn for a living?”
            They laughed very loudly, and Luke laughed loudest at all. Then he said, “Don’t worry about it, I work for NASA. They are testing the effects of anti-gravity.”
            “They haven’t done that in years!” One of the men objected. “I know for a fact that they’ve moved on to more advanced things. The advances in telescopes, for instance, and the amount of electro-magnetism has improved our understanding of the universe—“
            The man would probably have continued on this trail for a long time if his comrades did not hush him up and ridicule him.
            “He’s right though,” Luke said. “I would know, I’ve worked for NASA.”
            “Come on then, what sort of things have they discovered, wise guy?”
            “It is not impossible.”
            “How would I know? All I know is I’ve seen—“ he hesitated, then looked up at the smiling, encouraging faces and laughed. He felt suddenly it was all a joke—Martha’s spacesuit woman who appeared, and the party, and now a karaoke bar full of strangers. He had taken it all so seriously. “Would you believe,” he said leaning forward and with a faint whisper, “That I have seen people appearing and reappearing out of thin air?”
            “Maybe it is, but I’ve seen it. More than once, and not at NASA; in Minneapolis. People on street corners vanish. A friend of mine claimed that a woman in a spacesuit appeared in her house and then vanished again.”
            He looked around at the cynical faces, and they reacted as he had hoped, with more laughs. It had all grown into a joke, he realized. He chuckled into his folded hands.
            “Are you referring to that old conspiracy theory? Those people are mad,” someone said with a snort. “Someone will find some conspiracy to attach to anything. There hasn’t been any evidence.”
            “But Andy, people have gone missing. How can you explain that?”
            “People should not go walking alone at night alone if they don’t want something terrible to happen to them.”
            “You’re no fun. Always the simple, easiest answer.”
            “People have been going missing for centuries, there isn’t anything special with this city. People like to make up lies for themselves for entertainment.”
            The last commented had a bit more bite to it than he meant to and to relieve the tension someone ordered another round of shots. Luke did not see Robert again that night.
Three blocks away an old gas station sat decaying, as it had done for the last three months. The old owner, Mr. Patel, had decided to retire and had sold it to someone who wanted to build a bar out of it. They had torn out the gas-tanks from under the ground and left a gaping hole of sand and rocks; the windows were taped up with notices saying that the shop was closed for good, some of these were broken into, for long ago thieves and gutted the shop for anything that Patel had left behind. Inside the shop the paint had gradually started to flake and curl away from the wall. A thin layer of sand-like dust lay across the bare floor and stains from the stands and tables that had been taken away still remained, white on the floor like ghosts.
            With a flash a man appeared. He stood completely still in the corner, as still as a statue, his large eyes wandering around the room. He dressed in all black, a one-piece suit that covered his entire body in one long black shadow. He had unnaturally dark red hair, the color of blood, and his black straight brows hung over his eyes sternly. He looked troubled.
            From his pockets he pulled a small white orb. He put it up against his lips and quickly, in a harsh whisper, he said: “I have arrived at Solo 3. Home base reply.”
            He stepped forward, his boots crunching on the shattered glass that lay scattered across the floor. He placed the orb back in his pocket with one deft movement and raised his wrist, pointed towards the door, like a gun; a white beam appeared silently and darted across the walls and bare shelves until it reached a window, where it vanished in the open night. He moved quickly and gracefully across the floor to the door.
            Cars roared by on the four-lane shop-road beside him. The pull of the cars made a cold breeze that made the trees shake around him, a loud confusing rustling. For a moment the man looked to have lost his senses, but he took a deep breath, closed his eyes, and when he opened them his glance was cold and collected. Two laughing girls with long wispy hair and pale short dresses stared at him as he passed tried to look pleasing, but he looked straight ahead.
            A clear voice ran out quite loudly: “We’re glad to hear you’re safe.”
            He snatched the orb out of his pocket and raised it back to his mouth. “Give me the list of contacts in Minneapolis that I can go to for questions. We’ll see if we can’t stop her before this need escalate any farther.”
            He started walking quickly and rapidly down the block as if he had no time to lose. He passed groups of college kids going from bar to restaurant to bar, and many stared at him as he passed. He stared straight ahead.
            He needed money, he realized. He felt very hungry.

Monday, May 9, 2016


As he was unpacking he found the old painting under a bunch of framed pictures and inherited prints. He took it out, looked it over, and decided that it was as ugly as ever. Blended colors of green and brown and blue scattered the page in no form or direction; in places he had stabbed the painting with the dipped-yellow paintbrush. Little trails of stabs etched the deep blue, trails leading to nowhere.
"How was it?"
"What?"  Her eyes averted back to her book, then to the paintings on the wall, then to the floor--anywhere but his, anywhere but where they needed to be. She got up and looked at the string of sketches on the wall. One of them had a whale carried through clouds on balloons; it was her favorite.
They were friends for now. Just friends, waiting for their luck to change, waiting for themselves to change. Eye contact burned. Finally she turned from the whale and looked at him, and he looked up too and it burned.
"He said no."
"Because I'm not a Christian?"
"That and--everything else." And she started to cry. She cried a lot back then.
He took the painting and tried to figure out where to put it. He tried putting it on the bookshelf next to her copy of The Sun Also Rises by Hemingway. They had read it out loud to each other a long time ago, and he decided it was too much of her in the same place. He moved it to the desk and it didn't look right there either, so he found a nail and stabbed the painting, and then the wall, in the corner behind the door. He finished packing.


Sunday, May 8, 2016


Would you like to take a walk with me?
Do you want to go deep into the unknown, to see
And remember the world is a little bigger than what ever you're going through. Even if everything is going wrong, there still is beauty out there and we always have the freedom to go wonder in it. Come walk with me; lets see what we can find.

Sunday Song #17: Written or Spoken by Steve Smyth

I'm writing this letter for a fool to laugh,
For an actor to cry,
But you should know it comes straight from
The heart, to show you the line.

I don't have the words clear,
the story from the start.
Now my hands are shaking, I feel it
Straight from the heart
To show you the line.

So tell me when to stop dear,
Maybe it's something we both feel
Or maybe words are just pointless
Written or spoken,between you and me.

I know my excuses,
You won't find them here.
I left them long ago, they went
Fighting straight from the heart
To show you the line

So tell me when to stop dear,
Maybe it's something we both feel
Or maybe words are just pointless
Written or spoken,between you and me.

I can see for miles dear whenever you're near
Or maybe it's something not real.

So tell me when to stop dear,
Maybe it's something we both feel
Or maybe words are just pointless
Written or spoken,between you and me.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

The Woman in the Blue Spacesuit Part 5

“You needn’t put it so darkly; it may be uncomfortable but it has its own pleasure.” And Jun grinned mischievously, which did not help Martha feel any better. The two women watched each other for a long time under the window. The sky was lighter now and their faces appeared more clearly in the dim room. Jun’s face looked strained, her eyes bloodshot.
            “You know,” she whispered, “I came here to wipe your memory.”
            “Are you trying to frighten me?”
            “Not at all. No, you are not one easily frightened. But all of this disturbance could be gone forever, and I could leave your life and hide somewhere else. I will not make you help me.”
            Martha honestly was not motivated to help the stranger who claimed to be an alien. If she had not seen a few fantastic things happen today she would have thought the woman insane, but there was some evidence to what she was saying and Martha wasn’t a fool. Martha felt curious, and she was the sort who, once they had made up their mind about finding out about a matter, would figure out how to do it.
            “Show me that you are not lying, and I will help you,” Martha said.
            She reached towards Martha slowly, and Martha saw—or felt, she could not decide—a white light radiating from Jun’s glove.
            It felt very much like a drop of water landing on your forehead, but in a way it felt like nothing at all. And suddenly Martha stood on solid ground in a shade wood. The pale grey trees stood in straight lines on either side and everything lay completely silent. The wind did not stir in the trees; the birds did not sing, the crickets did not chirp. The air bit, frigid, and Martha stood alone by a wide straight path.
            She felt she had been stupid about all of this. In every instance so far she did not know what to do or what was going on; she tried to gather her senses more closely and pay attention to everything around her. The sky seemed to whirling, she noticed first; the shadows seemed to speed across the ground. Jun stood a few feet to her left, sitting at the foot of a tree and staring up at the clouds.
            “Welcome to my mind,” she said. “Sorry—I know it is quite different from yours. They’re sort of actual places, or they become like that as we grow older. The more realistic your mind, the older you are.”
            Her lips did not move as she said all of this, and Martha realized that her voice seemed to penetrate from the wood as if it was coming from it.  Martha walked closer to Jun and watched her carefully. Somehow this wood seemed to fit her like a glove.
            “You feel like you cannot doubt what I say in this place, and you are right for this is my mind and it cannot lie. You sense that; again, you are a bright one.” Martha looked around in awe at the silent forest, almost at ease.
            “You said that someone is after you?” Martha asked. “For a crime you did not commit? If your people are telepathic, wouldn’t they be able to decide whether you are guilty or not?”
            “Three thousand years with telepathy and you don’t think that we’ve found ways to get around that sort of thing? Anyways,” she added tentatively, “What do you think of my mind? Is it—pretty? Comfortable? I hope that it doesn’t embarrass you that I ask—we become a little more frank this way.”
            “I understand.” Martha found that the strange woman’s words became far more believable in this strange forest, or orchard, whichever it was.
            “I will show you then, what has been going on, and why I need your help. You can believe everything that I say; there is no way for me to lie for you in this place, for my thoughts cannot help but be honest. But that sometimes makes them harder to follow; pay attention to my meaning. Now, the first things that I need to show you—“
            And she flashed before Martha’s eyes a man, living and breathing and standing quite closer to her than she would have liked, a man with glowing grey eyes and dark red hair. He had his hand on the hilt of the weapon at his side, and he talked gently to Martha.
            “Do not believe her, she is a thief, the destroyer of the Peace, a scoundrel—“ and in a moment he vanished and Jun stood shaking a little and trying to look unaffected, hardening her face.
            “I am sorry that you had to see that,” Jun said. “It is how I feel about him; that is all. He is Rum, and he was willing to sacrifice everything in order to see through my justice. And he is wrong!”
            Martha looked around. The forest seemed to have changed a little, drawn closer about her and their leaves thicker, growing higher up and blocking out the sky. She tried to move closer to Jun but she felt almost as if she was under water, and it had gotten harder to breathe. Jun had warned her about the discomfort. She moved slowly over the roots and stones towards Jun and waited.
            Jun stood silent for a while. She looked deeply into Martha’s eyes for a long time and the eye-contact lasted for what felt like hours. It felt so intimate, Martha realized. All the while the trees around them continued closing in and growing taller, their branches slowly darkening the forest ceiling. They were her thoughts, and she was thinking, yet she was shielding the thoughts from Martha and Martha could feel it. Perhaps she thought that she had already said too much, but she never told Martha why. Finally Jun said, “I am an alien. I am a thief, I will not deny it; but I did not steal this particular thing. This particular thing has the capacity to destroy the world, but I did not take it and I never would! I don’t believe in killing. But they all think that I have done it and that is why I left our planet. They are wrong. I would have done no such thing. I ran away from our planet because I did not want to get arrested for a crime I didn’t commit, and is that so hard to understand?”
            “You are so very honest about your flaws!” Martha observed.
            “That is the Mari way, my dear,” Jun replied. “The more honest you are about how you feel, and the less you lie about your flaws and your problems, the more likely you are going to get help and people are going to trust and like you. It’s good manners, you understand.”
            “And do you know that in our culture all of this turns out to be extremely overwhelming?” Martha exclaimed.
            “Well you’ll have to get over it! You should be thankful you have a more accurate knowledge of the universe than anyone around you who thinks that aliens are preposterous. What narrowmindedness! Do you have any idea how many stars there are out there?”
            “This seems to be something you are very passionate about,” Martha observed dryly.
            “There is nothing wrong with being passionate,” Jun replied. “Oh, I can’t get a human like you to understand this sort of thing. But you will have to trust me. The device that I use to get around, to hide, to vanish—it’s been malfunctioning. It’s supposed to be able to make this silly spacesuit to disappear and replace it with regular clothes. At least the translator is still working, but I have a hard time with your dialect. Would you mind me asking where I am?”
            “Welcome to America. Minnesota.”
            “Oh! You have a giant, no?”
            “That is just a bedtime story; I am surprised that you know anything about it.”
            “I studied Earth mythology in college; your species is very interesting to us. Thanks to your internet we know everything about you.”
            That made Martha very uncomfortable somehow, but she could say nothing about it.
            The contact slowly faded away. Martha was in her own head, in her own body, dizzy and holding on to the corner on the wall. Jun put her helmet down and got down on her knees.
            “I beg sanctuary. I don’t mean to bring a threat to your family, but I need somewhere to hide.”
            “You are not a threat—“ Martha said, and how those words would be proven so wrong in the days to come! “You are not a threat. You are welcome here, I suppose. It’ll be interesting, like a story. Only—I do hope that you get your watch fixed soon so that you can leave.” She realized how rude this probably sounded and flushed red, but Jun did not seem to have noticed. She was deep in thought.
            “I will repay you for this, in any way I can,” Jun said. “This kind of favor shall not go unrewarded. I can’t guarantee your safety.”
            “I am quite capable of keeping myself safe, thank you,” Martha replied. “I will give you the spare bedroom. You are not allergic to anything? I have a cat. Aren’t aliens supposed to be allergic to everything?”
            “That is what the spacesuit is for.”
            “That is brilliant!”

            “Like I said, our technology is far superior to yours.”

Monday, May 2, 2016

Sunday Song #16: My Mind is a Box by Pretty Balanced

My attention is cashed so don't
Talk to me anymore be the
Subject terrifying or
Important or pure,
My cigarettes are spent so don't
Expect productivity be the
Matter just or crucial or
Personal or reactive.

My mind is a box and you put things in and you
Take things out and it's empty.
My mind is a box and you gut it then and you
Flatten it and you leave me blank and the
World is big my body's small, my
Body's short the world is tall.

So fill me up with chemicals or
Other people's words,
I shout it from this pretty hole in
Modes and fifths and thirds.
My mind is a box,
My mind is a lie.
My mind!

My mind is a line running down my spine
Like a vine of green and psychedelic
Iridescent rainbows
My body is built like a function of mechanics
Like a robot when he gives himself his
Own petty instructions.

My mind is a box and you put things in and you
Take things out and it's empty.
My mind is a box and you gut it then and you
Flatten it and you leave me blank and the
World is big my body's small, my
Body's short the world is tall.

So fill me up with chemicals or
Other people's words,
I shout it from this pretty hole in
Modes and fifths and thirds,
I steep up an infusion there and
Pour it on these keys.
I'm influenced so easily so
Influence me please.

Fill me up with chemicals or
Other people's words,
I shout it from this pretty hole in
Modes and fifths and thirds.
I steep up an infusion there and
Pour it on these keys.
I'm influenced so easily so
influence me please.
I'm influenced so easily so
influence me please.

Thursday, April 28, 2016


On every planet there is an equal and opposing side of good and evil, one that creates and nurtures while the other destroys and burns. When aliens first came to our planet they told us this and we couldn't believe them; at first we thought that we were the good guys, to which the aliens simply snorted; then we realized, with horror, that we were the destroyers. But then who was the equally good force on our world?
"What other species has existed as long as you have and whose life span is a great deal longer than yours--who over populates the planet almost as much as you do while never harming anyone? On the contrary, they produce so much for us: air, fresh food in each season and shelter for humans and animals alike and, in their death, return all their rich nutrients to the soil? It's the trees, lass."

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The Woman in the Blue Spacesuit Part 4

“Why are you still doing in my house?” asked Martha. “You have made yourself a positive nuisance today. I told you to leave my home and I would have expected you to have the decency to do so.” She couldn’t believe she was having this conversation.
            “I have nowhere to go to, Martha Walker,” she said. “I’m sure you understand what that is like.”
            Martha stared at her long and hard. “How do you know my name?”
            ‘It is a long story, one that I think you will not have the willingness to listen to or believe.”
            “If it has to do with me I want to know about it,” Martha replied. “I have the right to know if some weird scientific experiment has to do with me.”
            “Have to do with you?” the woman in the spacesuit rolled her eyes dramatically. “You people think that everything is about you all the time, as if you were something of any importance!”
            “You keep saying ‘you people’ as if we were something apart from you. What makes you better?”
            “Lots of things my dear, but—my, aren’t you quick one.”
            “Don’t change the subject.”
            The woman in the spacesuit began to pace up and down across the room, fingers pressed to her chin, deep in thought. Martha stood quivering in fear and awe, although she tried to look composed and serious. Outside the sky began to tinge red; it was five o’clock and the sun was starting to rise.
            Eventually the woman in the spacesuit stopped pace and crossed the room to Martha, standing very close to her and peering deeply into her eyes. “I must make you promise to listen to me, not just listen but believe. I do not lie. I have never lied in my life. I am telling you all of this because I desperately need your help; there is a man hungry for my life and my protection is broken, for now. This little apartment of yours seems to be the only protection I have. Please hear me out.”
            She took Martha by the elbow and led her to the window. They stood beneath the rising sun and talked quietly, the spacesuit lady leaning closely to Martha’s ear.
            “I am an alien from another planet. Don’t be alarmed; I’m harmless as can be. My species developed teleportation and space travel quite a long time ago—oh, about three-thousand years ago now,” she added with a little laugh, almost bitterly it seemed to Martha. She continued: “I set out to this planet a long time ago, and I am in hot pursuit for a crime I did not commit. He is dead set on punishing me for it too.”
            “And how on earth do you expect me to believe all of this?” asked Martha. “Who are you anyways?”
            “They call me Jun. As for proof, I could do three things to show you that I am telling you the truth. I could either do something else spectacular to show you that I am not of this world—but I wonder if you would actually want that, considering what a great shock the other two did you. And why should I do it again, considering that I have already given you evidence that I am something that you have never seen before? Then there is the second option, which is to use my telepathic abilities to enter your mind and show you that I am telling you the truth. Fair warning though, it’s a fairly uncomfortable experience, especially considering that we are not even of the same species. Other than discomfort, it would definitely help to prove a few things.”
            “What is the third option?”                      
            “I could always just force you to do what I want,” Jun said solemnly. “Of course this would only be as a last resort; I don’t find mind control to be very ethical, but you insist on being stubborn and putting my life in danger I will have to do what I deem necessary.”
            Martha stepped back and cleaned against the desk with a heavy sigh. These options did not seem to be in her favor, but at least they would help her figure out what was happening.
            How unfair it was that this had chanced to happen to her! She wanted nothing to do with this situation, so surreal that she could hardly believe it all wasn’t a dream. And now this stranger was demanding her help when Martha couldn’t ascertain whether she trusted her or not. Martha just wanted to be left alone entirely. Martha however could feel within herself that this would be all right. What other reason could this be here for than something spectacular? She could think of no rational explanation. And she could not turn away someone who was suffering. So slowly she turned to the lady in the spacesuit and answered,

            “So you invading my brain seems to be the only option.”

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Sunday Song #16: Dust in the Wind by Kansas

I close my eyes only for a moment, and the moment's gone.
All my dreams pass before my eyes, a curiosity.
Dust in the wind, all they are is dust in the wind.

Same old song, just a drop of water in an endless sea.
All we do crumbles to the ground, though we refuse to see.
Dust in the wind, all we are is dust in the wind.

Now, don't hang on, nothing lasts forever but the earth and sky!
It slips away, and all your money won't another minute buy.
Dust in the wind, all we are is dust in the wind.
Dust in the wind, all we are is dust in the wind.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

The Woman in the Blue Spacesuit, Part 3

And eventually, one by one with each a different excuse, they all left. They did not offend Martha because she was glad to see them gone. Sandra and Mike had work early in the morning and it was already ten o’clock, they said, and the baby sitter would want to go home. At eleven Kyle said he still an essay do in the morning that he needed to finish. Then Patricia said she’d be going but couldn’t seem to get away. She sat with them a long time and Martha did not even notice the hour go by, and she had found enough energy in herself to actually pay attention to the conversation, for as usual Patricia had interesting and important things to say. They talked a while about how difficult work had been.
            “I find it impossible to keep up with the expected number of clients,” she said. “I find no one can, and this new plan is a doomed failure.” Martha found the struggles of work uninteresting in comparison to a vanishing spacesuit lady in her house. She remembered her boss reprimanding her about a difficult customer, and how far away and unimportant that impossible struggle was. She shrugged her shoulders.
            “I find it all so pointless,” Patricia said with a yawn. She twisted her thin wrist around to look at the time—12:30, and they all had work early in the morning.
            Luke stayed seated as Martha led her friend to the door and then out towards her car. Patricia gave hinting glances back at the house, hoping that Martha would notice, but Martha kept her glance on the ground until they got to the car. Patricia could not go home without knowing.
            Her tone surprised Martha, and she blushed. “It’s not like that. We’re just talking.”
            “Well, don’t do anything rash.” She glanced at the living room window, where a light shone out onto the street and they could see Luke. He stood and stretched a long while, and then began pacing the room. Martha squeezed Patricia’s arm.
            “Don’t let me get my hopes up,” she said. “There’s really nothing behind it anymore.”
            Patricia understood what her friends said and meant: that the conversation was over. She looked over and said quietly, “Do you know that professor Schwinger is sick?”
            Martha nodded. “I’ve heard about it.”
“What have you heard? No one seems to know anything.”
“They say it’s a blood disease, not too different from Leukemia. They don’t know if they can fix it or not, but of course they’re doing the best they can,” Martha replied.
            Patricia looked at her friend with her sorrowful brown eyes, and her head tilted slightly on her slender neck in thought. “I don’t think that I talk to anyone that I used to, including you. I haven’t seen the professor in two long years.”
            “Same here,” Martha replied. She didn’t add how guilty she felt because of it, but she didn’t know. The wind blew through the branches above them and rustled Patricia’s strawberry blond hair against her ruddy cheek. She was flushed from the whine and excitement. Before she got in the car Martha squeezed her hand lightly and stood to wave as she drove away.
            She walked towards the house slowly, walking carefully in her the snow so as not to get snow in her flimsy shoes. As soon as she entered her apartment the wave of heat hit her and fogged up her glasses, and she felt scared. Luke had grown impatient during her talk with Patricia and as soon as she entered the door he was by her side, his dark eye glowing as he looked at her.
            Luke felt as many things as Martha did about the situation, but he said less because he knew that it was not the time. Now that he had Martha alone, he felt as scared as a child and wanted to be as near to her as she would let her. She felt shy and scared herself and pulled away from him often and he had grown unjustly angry.
“Do you know I had a terrible idea in the middle of all this? I imagined that perhaps that thing the girl had on her wrist didn’t send her away! Perhaps she is just invisible, walking around in the house somewhere! And you haven’t yet told me what all of this is about!”
            “I haven’t had a chance,” Martha answered. “She appeared out of thin air in my pantry and told me that she was a part of some operation. I asked her if it was a part of NASA and she said no, then I told her to leave—well, maybe that isn’t the right order. I don’t know. I thought of calling the police, but then you came in. That’s really all there is to it.”
            “All there is to it?” Luke said. “This is fantastic! That means the government’s discovered stuff like teleportation at least.”
            We sat silent for a while. Then he asked how she liked working as a secretary.
            Perhaps it seems a little weird that this was what he decided to talk about at this exact moment, but then he was never known for grace. And after all that had just happened to them Martha was glad that he still cared about her own wellbeing.
            “I like it,” she replied. “It pays well and the hours are regular; that is better than any kind of job I’ve had so far.”
            After that there was not much to say. Luke left shortly after and Martha locked the door after him.
            Now she was alone in her own house. She later despised Luke for ever mentioning his theory about the woman, that she had turned invisible instead of teleporting safely away. There was ever so slight a possibility that the woman was still here, in the house in some hidden place. Martha tried to remind herself that it was not very likely. After all, what had that woman to do with her?
            Martha went through her nightly routine for bed. She changed into an old t-shirt and yoga pants, she took her make-up off and put lotion on. She texted a few people to wrap up the conversation for the night—her mother, about some business with the cat, and with Patricia Fox. Then she opened her bedroom window, curled up in her bed and went to sleep.
            All night long she had odd dreams. She dreamed she was drifting off in space, and woke with a start, cold all over. Later on she dreamed she was in a house of mirrors where her face kept vanishing and reappearing in odd places. The last time she awoke it was a three o’clock, and she owned she would not go back to sleep.
            A cold shower would do her some good, she decided. She enjoyed it and dressed afterwards in a white button up and black skirt. She prided herself in dressing professionally and behaving so while she was at school and carried that attitude into her new job, which was something her boss appreciated about her. After she put on makeup and did her hair the sky outside was still dark; the streetlights glistened in her window. She sighed.
            Somehow her mind led her to a pad of paper and a pen. She had not written much after college, and the words came with difficulty. She was trying to sort out the queer events of yesterday but she could not make sense of it even on paper. She dribbled on about it for half a page, and then realized that it was not even the spacesuit lady that was really bothering her, that it was something more. She began talking about her secretary job and how much Mr. Stanchez required of her. That upset her more than she expect it would and eventually she threw the pen on the desk, defeated, and stared out of the window and the city streets.
            “I would advise you not to keep that paper,” said a voice from behind me.

            It was the woman in the spacesuit, her blond hair flowing clumsily on her thick suit shoulders and arms. She held her helmet under her arm and her watch device in her hand, and she did not look pleased.