“Gotcha,” He responded, and continued, “Go back to looking at the window, I’m gonna walk over and bump into you. You start yelling at me, and then smile.”
Boy this dude belonged in Hollywood, a real Cecil B. De Mille making a big production. I
didn’t pay him any mind and started across the street. What if he was one of the bad guys who set Doobiz up. I walked right up to him, and he played it straight up like an old ham. He made it a big deal. It was a spectacle as he screamed, and hugged me,
“Why you old hound dog you, I haven’t seen you in ages, where you been?”
Then he stood back to look at me, and continued, “What have you been doing? What are you doing now,” he didn’t let me get a word in, not one. He continued, “We should have lunch, man.”
“When,” I interrupted.
He stopped talking and looked like the proverbial doe staring into the headlights. So I looked at my watch, and added, “Why not now?”
“He hee heee…why not,” he responded.
Then he put his arm around my shoulders and led me across the street to a Mexican restaurant. “I know how much you guys like Mex, so let’s go in there and do some.”
I looked at the ground, gave him a half hearted smiled, told him how Doobiz had bought us some last night and we never got a chance to enjoy any of it. So instead we walked to a nouveau cuisine place a few doors down. Boy it’s one of my favorite things in this city. There’s cuisine from all over the planet just next door to one another. If you don’t like one place, you can just schlep a few doors down. There are numerous options all around you. His people came from a Galaxy diametrically opposite to mine and they enjoyed the wines here. It was a balmy afternoon so we decided to sit outside.
“Garson!” He smiled as he waved his hand up in the air.
But a lovely lass who looked a lot like Brigitte Bardot sashayed her derriere over to our table, smiled, and with a noticeable Bronx accent, greeted us,
“Ah…listay de vin s’il vous plait,” He responded.
“Gimme a bottle of Perrier,” I smiled.
She left to get my Perrier, and moment later she was back with the wine list and my water.
Jokid ordered a glass of red French Vin, and both of us enjoyed a mild buzz at a corner table as people walked by.
“So what did Doobiz tell you,” he asked after his first sip.
“Not much, like I told you last night, he gave me your number. He said I should call you, if anything happened to him. Then just as he finished writing down your number…he was zapped.”
“Yea, I never got to talk to him. He called me the day before and we set up the meet. When we met we reminisced a bit, I hadn’t seen him in almost 70 years, not since the crash. Damn! He still looked the same. But he was very anxious about letting me in on something, something big, unbelievable. So we got our take out, and sat in the car. Before he took one bite, before opening the bags, anything, he started writing. He told me to call you if anything happened to him, then he got zapped. He never let me in on what ever it was he was so anxious about. You know the rest. I got the hell out of there as fast as I could.”
I never let him in on our magun, and hoped that Doobiz had never told him about it. We were supposed to keep that a secret. Nobody except him, Yanis and I would ever know, unless we ran into another Aranjaynion. We never have. He looked disappointed that Doobiz never told me anything.
“Doobiz told me that he wanted to talk you first, before letting me in on something he had recently discovered. He wanted to run it by you first. But we did know that there’s a terrible danger threatening us all, not just our community. This world is in danger.”
I played stupid, and acted the part for him. I didn’t know any more today than I did yesterday.
“Not a thing, uh…ummmm!”
He was quiet for a while, sipped his wine, looked around, then he cleared his throat,
“Well,” I said, “What is it you guys want me to know? What’s the danger?”
“There’s a group of people, not from any one area in particular, working on a forbidden
project that could upset the natural balance here. We have an idea who some of them are, and where they may be working. But we need to infiltrate them. Soon! Find out what they’re doing. We need to know how far along they are into what ever it is.”
Jokid and his people knew who some of the people in the group were, and that was more than I knew.
“Do you at least know where they’re located? They need a place to work, a lab at an out of the way place.”
“They’re in the Antarctic. Below the permafrost, an old base we had there. We know exactly where they are, but they can spot anybody from miles away. They also have laser cannons that can erase anything out of the sky without a trace. They’re pretty far from any earthly explorers. But then if even they came close, they wouldn’t hesitate to take them out either.”
“Does the council know about this?”
“We suspect some may, but many in the council don’t believe any of us would be so foolish.”
“So how many people are working with you?”
“We’re about a dozen, not counting Doobiz. The only reason I’m telling you this is because Doobiz trusted you. If not, you would never know. As a matter of fact we’re taking a chance. To be honest if you turn out to be otherwise, we’re not going to hesitate to take you out.”
He was looking straight at me, dead serious, and I have no doubt he would have had me
taken out right there. I have no idea if he had a crony nearby, but for sure this was my audition to join the group.
“A few weeks ago at the last lunar festivity, I overhead a group talking about a cosmic texting transmitter. From what they said I gathered that it wasn’t one of our projects. Before I could learn more, I was interrupted. I didn’t get a chance to find out much, only that such a foolish outlaw group exists. I realized that if this is what’s going on, it’s a well organized danger facing us. I had hoped Doobiz would have had more information. These people need to be stopped, no matter the sacrifice.”
“So we’re on the same page.”
“Indeed, the sooner the better, yesterday would have been fantastic.”
”So, Ornious…what do you hope to do about it.”
“I want to do what ever it takes, to convince the council, they need to be awakened. I’ll join a raid party, if there’s one. You tell me what you want to do. I’m one guy, you seem to have a small organization, so you must have some kind of a plan.”
“Well I’m satisfied. There’s nothing like an eyeball to eyeball meet to size people up. Now that I know you first hand, I’ll talk to the group. Once our plans are in place, I’ll get back to you. Don’t worry you’ll hear from us by the end of the week. So be ready.”
He stood up, finished his wine, shook my hand and left me to pay the tab. I had a small buzz from the water, and didn’t want to drive up the mountains right then. I decided to walk it off, and meandered around looking at the different art galleries, shops, and people walking around. The poor souls didn’t have a freaking clue.
It was all Hallows Eve and people were walking around in their silly ghost costumes. I was walking down 8th Avenue when four thugs approached me. From a few feet away I could see they meant me harm. They were going to lay a heavy smack down on me. But the minute they started running towards me, I hit my mag and vanished before their eyes. They freaked into a state of shock and froze on the spot.
“Di di di youses see dat!” One blurted out.
“I don tol youse diz acid was strong, dint I?”
“Wuzn’t no acid! Youses saw it too dint ya?
“It wuzn’t no ghost yo! Ain’t no sech thang, man.”
“It wasn’t real man!”
I was really amused, standing right next to them. So when the dummy said I wasn’t real, I
reappeared in front of him and admonished,
“Youses shouldn’t be mean to strangers yo,” and vanished again.
The first one to see me screamed, and took off. The one next to him turned as white as an
albino, and ran after his pal. It took a second longer for the other one to realize what happened. These dummies don’t tie their shoe laces, and when he saw me, he actually jumped out of his shoes. He ran off leaving one of his expensive sneakers on the sidewalk. I’ve never seen anybody run so fast in my life. It seemed as if the heels of their shoes were kicking them in their asses as they ran. I reappeared and shouted,
“See y’all next time, mofoes!”
That boosted my spirits and as I walked back to the garage, I noticed a gay club on West Fourth and Eighth Avenue. I vanished again and went inside. It was really crowded, there was an open mike, and there was a transvestite, (a tranny), on stage. She, he it was dressed like Marilyn Monroe, and there was a fan on the floor blowing smoke up her, his skirt. I went right behind it, him, and picked her up as if she were a bride.
She he it screamed, dropped the mic, and I dropped her. He was lying on the floor
whimpering like a sad puppy, and like the thugs he was also in a state of shock. I grabbed the mic, and slowly raised it up to my lips, as I modulated my mag a few times. It made me appear, vanish and diaphanously reappear, as if I were an ethereal being, or some kind of phantasm. At first the crowd thought it was part of her his gimmick, the act. So appearing like as a specter I smiled into the mic and in a deep bass tone, my notion of a ghostly voice, I slowly announced,
“Sodomiiieeeee E is EVIL!” Then I vanished.
With tears streaming down his mascara, he got up crying, and scrammed through the crowd, and out of the club. All the while I was loudly laughing like the Crypt Keeper into
“He hee heee!”
I know that was mean but it helped me forget my troubles. Still invisible I took a drink from the bar,
“Thank You,” I ghoulishly laughed. Then I raised it up in the air and walked out of the place. It was pandemonium, everybody madly scattered out of the door. I laughed so hard I lost my buzz, and happily walked back to the garage. Once on my way home, I put on a little jazz to soothe my spirit. Donald Byrd and his trumpet accompanied by gospel voices was just what I needed. I remembered our out post in the Antarctic. It‘s been there for the longest the time. It was a place much like we have on the moon today. It’s where we experimented with the elements, to try and find what we need to build a ship and go home. But with the primitive technology existent, any ship built to cross the void would be much like a raft to cross the Pacific. Then in the late nineteenth century the Russians went to the Antarctic. We were filled with apprehension, and were afraid we would be discovered. When the nations of this world signed a treaty to deal with that lost land, we abandoned it and went off world to the moon. I had forgotten all about that facility until now. Damn, that is a big site, at least a mile below the surface. It’s about three foot ball fields long and almost as wide. Even by today’s supposedly high tech, cutting edge standards, that place is still way beyond anything here. Indeed it would be hard to crack. The best bet would be a nuke, but that would start another world war.
My mind was going around in circles. I called Gloria and brought her up to speed. I realized I needed to talk with Yanis before deciding anything. Before the end of the week Jokid had said, that was at least two more days, because this one was gone. So I had two more days to go, and I still didn’t have a clue, I had no idea which way to go either, because for all I knew Jokid could be lying.
We’re all spiritual beings, and not long after our childhood we forget what we are. It takes a long time before we remember what we are. Off world people are no different than other people, except for our longevity. We live long enough to evolve and remember who and what we are. There are two dimensions to spirituality, the light and the dark. Unlike saints, martial artist gravitate to the dark. They rationalize that it is for defensive purposes. So they use the spiritual forces for destructive ends. But even they are split, because they too have what they believe is a dark side. We know it’s just a darker side. Saints have it right, but those are special souls. We too have souls who gravitate to the darkness. Passion can and does cause souls to slide into the dark for whatever cause they champion. The light is the only place where souls are nourished, but it can take a long, long lifetime to grasp that. It seemed to me that these souls in their impassioned desire to go home slid into the darkness.
Still situations, conditions can act like a catalyst and force us to do things we may not want to do. Stranded away from home, family and friends can lead to gloom. It can be such a catalyst. These poor souls want to go home. Being here secretly and not doing anything is really an involuntary sacrifice. I supposed some of them just snapped, met similarly desperate souls, and now we have a dangerous group that can destroy everything. The trick is to put them down before they put us all down. If we knew who they were, we could take them out one by one. But we don’t have a clue. We’re in the dark with no direction waiting for a sign.
It was sometime after eight in the evening as I headed home. Once out of the city, with the overhead pollution gone, I could see the stars. I could see my home, and the cosmos so teeming with life. If not for Gloria and the kids I too would have snapped a long time ago. I guess it’s why so many of us have gone native, and taken a mate, but still we want to go home. As for those who have snapped, we have places for them where we can treat their psychosis. We can bring them back to reality, and teach them to cope with it. Surely these poor wretched souls must be recent arrivals, living lonely lives. Souls need constant contact with a loving mate, otherwise they snap. Still there are times a mate can cause you to snap too. Truly it is a blessed soul who has a loving mate who has his or her back.
“Ah…you missed their trick or treat adventure, they were really miffed with you.” Gloria
lamented. I got home in time to kiss the sleeping tots goodnight, and to enjoy a glass of water with Gloria while she enjoyed her vino. I recounted all that had happened, and went to bed. Tomorrow and Yanis would be another matter.
Nookodubididy is a recent citizen to our community, being that he’s been here for only about forty years. His ship crashed in the Andes with two survivors. They zapped it immediately leaving no trace behind. Back home on Dubidizes he left a wife and four kids. It too was supposed to be a short observation trip. But, alas like so many things in life something that wasn’t supposed to go wrong did, and they were stuck here. He longed for his family and worked tirelessly for a way to build a ship. Finally after years of trying, and realizing how primitive the technology is here, he gave up. Ever since he’s been concentrating for years on building a gizmo to send a message back home. Every time he shows up anywhere his chatter has always been the same. Cosmic transmitters. All of us can in some small way empathize with Robinson Crusoe but there’s no way to build a raft to cross the expanse. Like the rest of us he established a long record of one failure after another. He was embraced by the community. But he and his pal Zoutious were loners, and didn’t much care for it, except when it suited them. They constantly searched for like minded disgruntled souls. So that’s where my mind went. You have to start somewhere. The problem is there’s no record of them anywhere. There’s no way of making contact with them. They usually make the move, and then disappeared until the next time. I went to bed with the intent to bring them up to Yanis. Hell, it would make for a great conversation opener. If they were the ones behind this thing, it would certainly rattle him. Like myself, Yanis, is not a good poker player. I would know if I was on the right track. However if it didn’t rattle him, then it would create a lot of questions. I also thought of bringing it up to Jokid, to see if it rattled him or not. But for now it would be my lead with Yanis in the morning. Gloria liked the idea, so I went to bed with that notion. Perhaps there was a light at the end of this damned tunnel. It made perfect sense.
Moiva floated in her splendiferous silver light in the lavender sky. To the left not far behind her was Gorsh, her lover in his dazzling golden light. They floated above shedding their light on the beach below as the clear waters ebbed upon the golden shore. Beyond them was a clear night sky dotted by the countless sparkling stars of the cosmos. There I lay next to Gloria, as we sipped a rainbow of cool Aranjaynian water. The breeze was soothing and I was at peace. I had not felt like that since I sat on my mother’s knee as she caressed my hair. All the while telling me how smart and handsome I was, and how much she loved me.
“Hey look!” Gloria blurted out.
“To the left of Gorsh,” she sweetly answered.
It was a shooting star, and it seemed to be slowly descending towards us.
“Wow, isn’t this just beyond words…it’s breath taking,” I responded as I gently tightened my grip on her hand. Suddenly the shooting star increased speed and turned towards us. It was coming fast. There wasn’t time to move, we were frozen to the spot, and it was going to crash on top of us.
“Ayiiiiiiiieeeeee E!” We screamed in terror, and I woke up soaked to the bone and shaking.
“Orn, Orn…what’s the matter are you alright?” She tried to comfort me, as she caressed my back, and kissed my face.
“Oh my, it was so, so real.”
“It was just a dream my sweet.”
“No, no it was more than a dream…it was a terrible nightmare.”
“What was so terrible?”
“We, you and me, were relaxing on my favorite beach, enjoying a bright starry night back home on Aranjaynion. Moiva and Gorsh were shinning in the lavender night sky. It was so peaceful, and the ebb on the beach sang to us. Then a shooting star appeared above, and in a flash it turned and started towards our beach. It was going to crash upon us, we started screaming and I woke up.”
“Tee he hee,” she laughed like a child, and
“Oh it was just a silly dream Orn.”
“I haven’t had such a vivid colorful one in a very long time. It was so damned real,
and the way it ended. It’s an omen!”
“Oh don’t be silly, you have a lot of stress on you right now, especially with this treacherous alliance…
“I’ve had dreams like this before,” I interjected, and continued, “They’ve always had a
meaning. I’m being warned to be careful.”
“That is all you can do Orn, stay on your toes,” she responded. Then she gave me a long wet, loving kiss to stir up my blood pressure,
“He hee heee…get up silly,” she laughed and got out of bed. She ran off to wake up the kids, and I went for a run. When I returned I had enough time to get a kiss, a hug, and the see the kids off to school. Time was flying this morning, and right after breakfast the phone rang, it was Yanis.
“Hey pal can you make it today?”
“Where and when?
“Why not lunch at that Mex place you like so much?”
“Yea, that’s it!”
I really didn’t want to go there, but I didn’t want Yanis to suspect anything so I agreed.
“Okay, what time?”
It was only eight, and it wouldn’t take me more than twenty minutes to get there. But I had things to do. So, I responded, “Okay how about 11:30, that way we get there before the place gets mobbed by the lunch crowd?
“All right then 11:30 it is, see you then,” he responded and hung up.
He really sounded cheerful though, and that rattled me. I had to wait and see how things went, and how Yanis reacted to my questions about Jokid, Doobiz, and those two bozos from Dubidizes. I had plenty to talk about with Yanis and looked forward to lunch. But, after seeing him involved in Doobizes murder, I had a lot of doubt, and fear for my family as well. After all, Yanis knew everything about us. Everything! If they wanted to take us out, he was the man. He knew about our magun, our ship, our security, hell there wasn’t a thing he didn’t know. So I was threading on egg shells.
When I got to the parking lot he was sitting on his car, smiling and waving at me. There was a spot right next to his, and as I parked he rushed to my window. I got out, we hugged, he smiled and,
“How is it going, man?”
“Oh everything’s okay, man.”
“So how did that horse farm go?”
“It’s cool, but they want too much, and we can’t afford it. At least not that one, there will be others.”
“For sure, man.”
“Why don’t we get take out, and eat on that bench over there?”
When he said take out my heart skipped a beat, but then it was midday, the sun was out, and it was a really bright day.
“Cool lets do it!”
When we went inside the waitress recognized me,
“Hey how joo dooning?”
I smiled and got real nervous, but just then Yanis excused himself,
“Orn get what ever you want and get me the same, okay!”
What a life saver. I smiled, and
“I got you man.”
“Hey how joo pal Doo doo bi…do?
“Oh he moved on.”
“So wadda joo want today?”
“I’ll have a couple of chicken tacos, a couple of tamales, an order of refried beans and tortillas. Oh, yea and get me an enchilada with an orange soda.”
“How bout joo pal?”
“Gimme a double order, he’ll have the same.” She ran off to the back and as she disappeared,
“Is it ready yet, man? I’m starving.”
It was Yanis, he was looking cheerful and perky.
“What’s got you so animated?”
“Dude I haven’t seen you in a long time, and we have so much to catch up on, man.”
Just as the lunch crowd started to fill up the place, she was back with our order. Yanis
grabbed it, and before I could say anything, paid for it. There was a small triangular park across the street where people played chess or checkers. We went for it, spread our feast out on a table, and dug in into it.
“Orn, you’re one lucky soul, everything is great with you. You got your health, your wife, and your kids are okay. You’re on top of the world, man.
Was he playing with me? I couldn’t tell, so I asked,
“Have you heard from Doobiz?”
“What brought that on?”
“Oh I haven’t heard from him in a long time, and here we are eating Mex.”
“Oh yea,” he smiled, and continued, “I remember that first time too from time to time. It was just the three of us. Then he disappeared, and we never heard from him again. I’ve always wondered about him.”
Was he playing stupid, maybe he was trying to see if I knew anything or maybe he didn’t recognize him. It had been a long time. So I asked him,
“Have you ever heard of a guy named Jokid?”
“Jokid! Is he a native or one of us?” Either he learned to play poker or he really didn’t know.
“I don’t know?” I responded and asked,
“Well how about Nookodubididy?”
“Yea, him I know, isn’t he a pal of that kook Zo Zoo…Zookious?”
“Yea, but it’s Zootious.”
“Hey dude it’s all the same they’re both nuts. Trying to do so something we haven’t been able to do in a short a time. They’re always asking the same damned stupid questions. Then they disappear, and you don’t see them again until they want something. Damn bro, why are you asking all of these questions about nuts. What’s up?”
Suddenly it occurred to me that in the Gamboozian Galaxy there are several worlds with
intelligent souls. They have a federation there to prevent wars of expansion, and they’ve been at peace for eons. On one of those worlds, they perfected cloning technology. All they need is a hair sample or a swab of saliva to produce a perfect clone. The federation outlawed it, but their people still possess the knowledge.
“What do you know about Gamboozians?”
“What are we playing 20 questions now?”
“No, no I’m just curious…are any of them among us.”
“Well, okay. You know they’re a federation in the…oh hell, I forget the quadrant, but they’re composed of several planets. I believe the people there have perfected cloning technology to a fine art, but the federation outlawed it.”
“Umm…are you aware of any of them among us?”
“Dude, I don’t know everybody here. There are so many of us, and from so many different worlds. And that Galaxy is so damned far from here…it’s probably the furthest. But hey you never know. I think every intelligent soul in the cosmos has been here at one time or another. It’s possible some of them may have been stranded here too.”
Suddenly I didn’t feel any fear, danger or threatened. From the way he was acting I began to realize, to feel that he was my pal, my brother. This dude before was, is Yanis.
“It’s funny man, I thought I saw you around here the other day. But before I could reach you, him, the dude moved too fast, he jumped into his car and left.”
“Sooo, you thinking the Gamboozians made a clone of me…he hee heee.”
“No, no you know there are people all over who resemble somebody somewhere. Hell, in
China there’s a million people who look just like each other.”
“Well it certainly wasn’t me, man. I just came back yesterday morning. You were the first
soul I called. I was on the other side of the planet, in the south pacific. I was investigation the possibility of an element that resembles jouniquiem.”
“Yea, it has possibilities, but it’s a lot of work to extract it.”
“Yea man, you can say that again. If we can work it out or find the real stuff there, we can
create the metal we need for our ships. It’s almost too much to hope for isn’t it?”
“Wow, after all these years!”
This was heart stopping news, so that Yanis was not my pal. I had to check this out before going any further.
“That’s funny I called Eve a few days ago and asked her if there were any new projects, and she flat out said no.”
“Oh, she wouldn’t have known, this was top, top secret man. The premier doesn’t want to create a panic, have all these people rushing over there, and creating a spectacle. And possibly exposing our presence.”
“So why were you calling Evelyn?”
“I wanted to get some information on Doobiz, and see if she knew where I might find him, but she didn’t know anything. It’s like he fell off this world.”
“Yea, I haven’t seen him in a very long time.”
“I pass by this place all the time, and the other day it reminded me of our escape.”
“You think something may have happened to him.”
“I don’t know, I was just thinking of our pal.”
“You know, I take that back, I did see him after we parted. I don’t know how I could have
forgotten it. I went to his wedding, he married a local girl. Like you, he went native too. But, I haven’t seen him since. He was disappointed that you weren’t there, but we couldn’t find you anywhere.”
“When I take the family camping up into the mountains, I turn off my communicator. It had to be then, because I never turn it off.”
“That would explain that, but I haven’t seen him since then, and that was a long time ago. As a matter of fact you only had one kid at the time.”
“Then that was at least six years ago, because Bobby is seven going on eight, and Kate is five going on six. I think that was the trip when she was conceived.”
“Okay that explains that, I always wondered what happened.”
“So what did you want with him.”
“Whenever I come here I always remember you guys, and I was here a few days ago. So I called Eve to, to you know see if she knew anything.”
“No man, she was a dud.”
“So what else is new?”
“Dude, I had this dream last night, it was so real. I was at my favorite beach back home with Gloria. Moiva and Gorsh were overhead on a clear starry night, and everything was so peaceful. Then a shooting star appeared, and she was so excited when she pointed it out to me. Suddenly the freaking thing seemed to turn towards us. It increased speed and it was going to land on top of us. We started shrieking and I woke up screaming. I was soaking wet and trembling, man.”
“I think it was an omen.”
“Lots of people believe them to be omens back home. But mostly they’re caused by anxiety. You got any pressure on you?”
“Maybe because I was disappointed about the way that horse farm turned out.”
“Dude, there are others, I’ll keep my eye out for you. I have a local pal who is into real estate. But right now I have to take off. I have to go over stuff with the premier’s people. Let’s stay close, after all we’re family, man. You’re the only family I got, dude. Don’t worry about your dreams divo, they’re just that…dreams, man. We finished, hugged and he started for his car. Then he turned around, and
“Oh man, I almost forgot,” he reached into his coat pocket, and my heart skipped a beat. I feared he was going to zap me, but then he pulled a small purple rock from his coat pocket.
“This is for you!” He grinned as he flipped it to me.
“What is it?”
“A souvenir, pal!”
“It could be…jouniquiem,” He smiled, turned around and left.
Damn, that would be something if it was. It’s one of the elements we’ve looking for so long. We need it to make our ships, and to make the things we need…like fuel. If it is, it’s a dream come true. We can all go home at last. Wow! It was all I could think about. For a moment I forgot all about Jokid, the conspiracy, and Doobiz. I was speechless. I wanted to check things out, and look into the possibility that that wasn’t Doobiz or Yanis. If all things squared out, I would clue Yanis in, and apologize. But I had to be sure. I needed to know if there were any Gamboozians among us. If so, were they close to Jokid? Was he from one of its worlds? I had a lot of work to do, and I needed to trust somebody. Maybe Yanis was my best bet.