Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Alton One: Chapter Six

"Sarah?" Mike said into the bloody i-phone.  "Are you're parents still in Key West?"

"Yes," she said. "They're flying home tomorrow"

You can't be home alone.  "I need you to get over here right away," he said, "and I need you to be careful"  Did I do the right thing.  

"Mike Rove, what's going on?  And what happened to my Lance Goodman?"

"You have to come here right away.  I know this doesn't make any sense, but you have to come here right now.  Come here slowly and calmly.  You have to park at Wesco and walk here.  And I mean walk here.  Do you understand?"

"Mike, how am I to stay calm when you tell me to do something like this?"

"You have to, Sarah.  Lance wanted me to contact you, and I am.  He said you'd understand.  You have to.  Do as I say, Sarah. Please."

Mike ended the call, and typed in his blog password. Lance knew about his blog, and hopefully since he was updating his own blog he'd monitor Mike's blog, even though Mike hadn't updated it in six months.  He did all this while the bloody corpse seemed to stare at him.

Seven days ago Lance Goodman disappeared off the face of the Earth.  He was my best friend, and the only person I told my story to.  He was (is) five years older than me.  The police have an all out search for him, involving over a thousand concerned men, women and even some children.

I have no intention of telling them they are on a wild goose chase.  First of all, if I did so I'd have to tell them my reasoning, and I know from my past experience that would just open up a whole new can of worms.  Second of all, that search is providing me a cover to do what I think needs to be done to find my best friend. 

On Sunday my brother Myles takes me with him to the Skitville Wesco.  I get out of the car and make my way through some shrubs behind Wesco, and a branch scratches me good just my left eye.  I took off at a full run, wending my way down an alley and between a couple houses, until I'm on Columbus Avenue.

I see your house from the corner, and right away things look different.  I see you got rid of the boards that wrapped your porch and cranked it up, leveling it out.  With the new railing, the swing, and the white paint, it looks great, perhaps the way it did in the Victorian era when it was built.

As I get closer I see all the odd stuff you did to it.  The large television satellite looks like something white trash would do.  And the wires, red, white, yellow, green, and pink, are strung from the satellite and wrapped around the posts, and along the north side of the house.  And here they seem to connect to an antenna that towers way above the house, and even above the trees. I can't help thinking, "Is this legal?"  It's obviously a neighborhood eye sore.

As I close in on the house I look in your front window, I see him.  A cool, shiver rushes up my spine.  I see his head clear as day: narrow, white, and with huge slanted black eyes. I look away, and I feel a breeze of something brushing past me.  A brilliant flash of light above directs my attention that way, and when I look back Tsatso is gone. 

I rush into the house and slam the door.  

"Sarah?" Mike said.  "You got here quick."

Sarah slammed the door behind her.  She grabbed a book on the table by the door, breathing heavy as she did so.  She was pale, very pale.  She opened the book, and motioned Mike to the page.  As she did Mike saw that her hands and sleeves were stained with blood.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Alton One: Chapter Five

"I don't know what's wrong with you, I've been trying to get a hold of you for three days," she screamed into my ear through Lance's i-phone. "The way you acted the other day I though of leaving you, and then I decided..."

Mike cut her off, and whispered, "Sarah, I need you to pretend to be my mom.  I don't have time to explain.  I have to answer the door right now, and I have to have you pretend to be my mom."  There was a BANG on the door, followed by a muffled, "OPEN UP RIGHT NOW!"

"Why would you... Mike?  Mike? What are you doing at..." she said. And she continued to speak as Mike went on.

"I have no time to explain," Mike said, "I have to answer the door, and you have to pretend to be my mom.  My life, and your life, and Lance's life, depends on it.  Please! Please Sarah!"

"What in the world are you talking about?"

"I don't have time to explain."  Mike opened the door.

"I just talked with your mother, and she says you never talked to her.  What's going on in here."

Crap!  Was I that long reading Lance's blog?  "I gotta go," I said into the phone, and hung up.  Now I was facing an angry cop.

"Look," he said, "I don't know what you have going on here, but you have to listen to what I said.  you have to take care of yourself."

Hugh?  What's he talking about.  Yet as Mike thought that, he saw the blood on Officer Chuck's shirt, and unlocked the screen door, and opened the screen door.  And Officer Chuck stumbled into the living room.

"Sit down! Sit down!" Mike said, helping, the best he could with his meager frame, the office to the ground.  He sat in the middle of the living room, with the officer on the floor.  He was lying right over the spot Mike found the pool of blood and the gun when he arrived.

"Officer Chuck, I'm sorry.  I didn't know you were shot?"

"It was the aliens, Mike," Chuck looked up at Mike, grabbing Mikes collar.  "I just want you to know that Lance was right.  Lance was right, Mike.  I didn't want to believe him, but you have to.  You have to do whatever you can to prove Lance right, even if that means...," blood started pouring from Officer Chuck's mouth.

"Whatever you want me to do, I'll do it," Mike said, tears rushing over his face.

"Don't...  leave this house!"

"Please don't die.  Please don't die, officer Chuck." Yet despite his plea, officer Mike's eyes froze, as if in a state.  His breathing stopped.  And Mike thought about jumping on his chest, but there was so much blood, that even at his young age, he didn't think it would do any good.  Officer Chuck was dead.

Mike didn't know what to do.  He decided to phone Sarah, but he couldn't find the phone.  He reached into his front pocket, and his phone wasn't there.  His wallet was missing, and now his i-phone.  And now he had a dead man on his floor.  And then he saw Lance's i-phone lying next to the dead body, covered in blood.  And Lance's i-phone rang.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Alton One: Chapter Four

Now what the heck was that all about?  And what the heck was Lance going to do?  Now he had a bloody mess in here, a bloody gun, a missing friend, a cop nosing around, and some little white guy running around and disappearing.  Although Mike new it wasn't a little white guy.  Oh, and plus you had the U.F.O. sightings that were not U.F.O. sightings according to law officials.

The only way he was going to figure things out was to read Lance's blog and, for the love of God, hope Lance was able to update his blog with some more useful information, real soon like.  Better yet, he needed to figure a way to get in touch with Lance.  And he had to do it before that police officer came back, and before he called his mother, and that kind of put a damper on things.

Mike looked back at the computer, which had gone to sleep.  He pushed the mouse, and the computer woke up.  There was a new message from Lance:
Tsatso is amazing!  This whole situation is amazing!  No:  it's WOW!  And he's right here, working beside me while I'm writing this.  And, you know what?  I'm working on a machine just like the one you're reading this on. 

I'm not joking!  This is absolutely unbelievable. 

Okay, I don't have much time.  Here's my story.

You were there, Mike! You were there the night this started for me.  Jim was there too.   It was the night of the fantasy football playoff.  Remember?  That was when I saw that first message from Tsatso.  I was flabbergasted.  But, with what happened last time still fresh on my mind, didn't want to say anything; at least not in front of Jim.

Anyway, that should explain my strange behavior the rest of that day.  I was so excited I could hardly focus on ANYTHING.

After you left, Jim tried to get me to go with him to Jackson's Actin Center to play games or, more accurately, to check out the scenery (if you know what I mean).  I wheedled out of it.  Any other day I would have gone in a heartbeat, but not that day.  Instead I went on the greatest adventure EVER. 

I swear it wasn't as soon as Jim slammed the door the phone rang.  It was Sarah.  Man, if she didn't pick a dandy time to call.  The way I got rid of her, I'm sure she'll want nothing more to do with me if I stayed. 

Hey, when you get home talk to her.  I KNOW she'll listen to you.

Anyway, that call terminated, I checked on my "silly hobby."  There were eight more emails, Mike.  Eight!    I had never seen anything like this before.  These weren't just random emails like the one's I showed you.  They were ALL from Alton One.  A REAL ALIEN SPACESHIP!  Yeah, like the one you told me about.  

Mike, I want you to know right now, that if I had told you about this right away when I saw that first email from Alton One, you could be here with me.  Or, you at least would have seen Tsato and the ship.

Tsatso!  He's...  WOW!

The SHIP!  You would never in your wildest dreams imagine how cool this thing is.  It's...  It's... WOW! 

OK, I'll get to that in due time.

That first email read point blank, "I am to visit you now.  Respond!"

The second read, "I am coming.  Respond!"

The 4th, 5th and 6th were the same.  But the 7th was THIS:

"Lance," I typed.  "The names Lance Goodman."
My heart was already racing, but now it was POUNDING in my head.  If there was any doubt this was real, seeing my name MADE it real.  It also took my breath away, literally.  I grabbed my inhaler and took a hit  -- and a 2nd, 3rd and 4th for good measure. 

"I am FRIENDLY, Lance!  I WILL NOT HURT YOU!  I AM YOUR FRIEND.  YES!  I have received all your messages.  I WILL NOT hurt you.  RESPOND NOW!  This will be the last message.  If you do not respond RIGHT NOW I will have to turn back to Alton One.  RESPOND NOW!"

WOW!  I thought my heart might thump right out of my chest. My mind racing, hands shaking so bad I could barely type, I wrote, "cme g et mea." And before I knew what I wrote, I clicked send.  

At least 10 minutes went by before I got my fingers and brain to work together.  I typed:  "Go AWAY!"

Ahh, what was I thinking?  I know:  I was thinking, "I blew it!"  No new messages from the alien meant that I blew a chance of a lifetime. 

"I AM HERE!  PLEASE COME!"  My fingers typed.  It was, as you like to say of your writing, as though someone took control of my fingers and started typing for me. 

Twenty minutes passed and still NOTHING.  Adrenaline rushing through my veins seemed to flow freely into nothingness, like blood gushing from an open wound.   And that blood being replaced with a rush of disappointment.  Here I had a chance of a lifetime, and I let it slip through my fingers like a new bar of soap in a hot shower. 

Nonetheless, my eyes never averted from the screen.  IF a new message came, IF they made new contact, I WAS NOT going to miss it; even if that meant waiting all night, all day, and all night again. 

I was locked in.

“Good. If you would please open the screen door and step aside.”

I did a double take to be sure of what I was seeing:

"YES!" I shouted at the computer, and leaped from the chair, knocking it over, causing an ominous bang.  Startled at the noise I created, I jumped.

"What a dream," I thought, staring down at my knocked over seat.  I picked it up. 

"Got to move," a voice in my mind said, and looked back at the computer.  "GO!"

I clumsily rushed across the room, and promptly slid the patio door and screen open.  That job done, I opened the window and removed the screen.  Thinking back, it was as though I knew what to do.  Remember the dreams I told you about?

So, I was standing there, poking my head out that window, waiting for what?  My mind was burning with curiosity.  Would it be like the stereotypical disk shaped UFO, or would it be something unexpected?  Remember, you said you never got a good look at it, other than the bottom side.  Right?  

Nothing came right away.  It may only have been a few minutes, but it seemed an eternity while I waited.  What if this was just another hoax Jim was playing on me?  What would my neighbors think if they saw me with my head jutting out the window?

"What ON EARTH are you up to," I could hear Martha from across green house across the street screaming in my head, "If you want to enjoy the warm breeze, why don't you just step out on the porch?"

I pray now that no one did see me.  If THAT happened, we will ALL be in jeopardy.

After a few minutes of staring up at the evening sky, I SAW IT.  Willow, you would never...  no, YOU would.  Jim, HE would never...  it was.. WOW! 

First it was a series of shining lights, like the pictures I showed you.  It moved so fast I could barely follow it.  Brighter and brighter and brighter it appeared. Now it was like a star, moving closer and closer and closer to Earth.   In the blink of an eye, it was no longer a light, but a hazy, oval shape in the sky over Scottville.

Then it was gone.

"GET AWAY FROM THE WINDOW!"  The voice rang in my head. 

Turning, I tripped over my own feet and fell with a mighty force, smacking my head on the corner of the desk.  MAN did that smart!  I rushed to my feet, knocking over the chair in the process, and started typing when a new message flashed up on the screen:

“You are safe. Stay where you are.”

Then the following events occurred in what seemed to me very slow motion. I looked away from the screen toward the window and saw an unexpectedly small, elongated craft very slowly and inaudibly traversing through the open window. From where I stood, the machine was barely visible; if I wasn’t looking right at the craft, expecting it, I might never have seen it.

Then the thing simply hovered over the couch and coffee table as those objects were slowly and inaudibly repositioned out of the way by invisible hands. Finally the rectangular craft softly landed on the carpet.

The more I looked at it, the more visible it became. I know this sounds odd, but that’s how it really was. It appeared, at this point, to be made of a dull, gray and inexplicable material unlike any I had ever studied in school or read about in any book. And you know how I love science and stuff.

Its color started changing.  It was red, blue, yellow, and then...

The smell overwhelmed me.  First it was as though I were standing amid a powerful and aromatic flower garden.  Then, instantly, a disturbing scent like that of burning electrical circuits  finally settled on that dull gray color. 

I felt a trickle of moisture rushing down my face, down my chin.  I licked my lips; the taste was coppery.  I made to wipe it off.  The PAIN was overwhelming.  No.  It was a pressure, and I could feel my heart thump, thump, thumping in my head. 


It was so amazing, Mike! 


It was a sound like the release of trapped air rushing forth.  The machine rose slightly, and a cool, white mist shot from beneath, rising up the sides of the object and...


...the machine relaxed to the floor. 

A cool, refreshing breeze wafted past me.  I shivered. and watched as the mist faded away. 

A chill rushed up my spine.


The top of the craft popped open.  A dim light from within peered out.  Then...  It became brighter and brighter.  I winced, instinctively placing my arms over my eyes.  I tried peering beyond them:  still too bright.  The PAIN.  The pressure in my head was so strong I thought I was going to pass out, when... 


Lowering my arms, I saw that the light was gone, and a cloud of mist was billowing from the top of the machine.  A cool breeze blew that mist my way.  It was... 


The pain was gone, and the wind too.  The smell NOW was of cinnamon. 

The top of the mini spaceship opened slowly, stopping to an audible CLICK.  A thought, that it was like watching the lid of Dracula’s coffin being opened, occurred to me.  Only, this coffin was not black, nor eerie, nor creepy.  It was...  WOW! 

The underside of the lid had what looked like hundreds of little gadgets and digits and dials, and they suddenly lit up, flashing all different colors.  

Then this gaunt, pale, alien shot straight up into a sitting position like a dead body come to life. I jolted back, slamming into a wall.  The little alien opened its eyes.  A warm stream dribbled down my pant leg.

The alien clambered from the box so it was standing atop the opening, and sort of just floated to the ground where it landed in front of me.  Now it started walking my way.

It stopped ten feet from me and looked up.  I swear it wasn't any higher than my waste line, and yet it had an aura of power about it.  I could see its head, it's freaky facial features barely visible.  But those eyes...  They were HUGE!  They were big and black, pupil-less, mesmerizing.

It simply looked at me a moment.  Then, amazingly, I thought I saw the corners of its lip-less mouth move in an upward direction.  It blinked.  I could now see clearly a sparkle in its eyes. 

"Bababa," it mumbled softly. 

I tried speaking, but no words left my moving lips.  It appeared to be studying me from head to toe, and I studied it.  Naked:  it was.  NO!  At closer inspection, there was a faint outline of white material above its petite hands and at the neckline there was a barely visible small, white "A" stitched above where the left nipple would be if this were a human.  Did it have nipples?  The strange thought crossed my mind.

Man, its eyes were huge.  I couldn't keep myself from going back to and focusing on those eyes; large, slanted, black, bug-like things amid a huge, white light bulb shaped head.  It was wider at the top than where it connected to the neck.  Its chin was tiny and v-shaped.  In the middle of its face was a nose that protruded a tad, with two mere slits.

Those slits flared out slightly as it sighed, wafting a fresh scent of cinnamon my way.  Isn't that how abductees describe it?

It's eyes:  they were INCREDIBLE.  Now I could see that they were not black, but a dark, glossy green.  And there were wrinkles upon its white face, like a sickly old man who smoked his whole life.   At the very top of its pale, bald head were thin strands of white hair, or fur -- barely visible.

A hand was offered, or, you might say, a four fingered, webbed palm.

I hesitated a moment, then took it.

“Peace,” it said in a soft, yet firm voice. 

It's grip was strong, not what I expected from such a bony thing; warm, not cool as some accounts I've read; ironically human; and awkward.  It's eyes moved from my eyes to my forehead and down to my white Hanes socks, settling, finally, back on my eyes. 

It was smiling.

"Iminon."  It's breath, cinnamon-like, was strong.

Releasing its grip, it said,  “Peace from Alton One. I am friend. My name is Tsatso.”

My response was a simple sigh.  It waited patiently as I continued to stare at it.  Finally, the creature's smile widened, and its lips parted.  A cool, tingly shiver crept up my spine.

“ Lace Gorma... and I reperset a earth."

"Lace Gorma," it repeated.

"NO!"  I shouted.  It stepped back.  Oh, my God, I'm blowing it!

"No reperset?" 

"NO!  My...  My...," I stuttered.  The machine behind it let out a WHOOOOOOSH and a cool mist shot up from it, filling the room with a white mist, and for a brief moment I couldn't see the alien, and the mist disappeared in a heartbeat. 


"My name is Lance Goodman, and I represent planet Earth." Man, what's going on here?

“I know.  Come,” it said, motioning me to its ship.

I stood stiff.

“I need you to come with me," it said.

My jaw dropped. 

"It's your decision, but I encourage you to come with me."

"Why don't you just take me?"  I smiled.

"It is your decision to make.  It cannot be the old way."  What old way?  What's it talking about?

"What...  Why...not...jus..." 

"I don't not have time to explain.“

"How?"  How?  How what?  Come on Lance, turn your brain on.

"It will all be explained."  The creature sighed, puckered its lips, and looked down.  Shaking its head slowly, it looked up, and into my eyes.  

"I...You are a...I want to--"

The creature moved closer until its nose brushed my shirt.  Glancing down, I had a good view of the top of its head, and thought I might be able to smash my elbow right through its cranium.  My arm jerked, as though a surge of power was rushing through it.  I could do it:  I could kill the beast.

Then it backed up a step, and I jerked my head and stared at the machine it hovered in on.  Without looking at the alien, I could tell it was peering up at me.  I could feel moisture dripping down my brow.  What's going on?  What do I do?

Now it reached up and soothingly touched my forehead with its left palm, pulled it back, and held it for me to see.  I could see my blood on what I had determined was its pointer finger. 

Smoothly, it turned, walked to its machine, turned again so that it was facing me.  "It is your decision to make. We do not have much time."

I was peering back into its eyes again.  “Tell me about--”

"We do not have much time."

"Why don't you have me in a trance?  Why aren't I paralyzed?"

"Time," it mouthed.

"You can just take me? You can't just kidnap me, like..." the words trailed off, as though I knew I was taking a wrong turn.

"No.  It is your decision."

Setting its right webbed palm over its chin and mouth, looking down and appearing to be staring blindly into nothingness, it signed and puckered its lips. I wondered if it was thinking.  Then, as though in response to my wondering, lowered its hand.   

"Tsatso has been a member of Altonian Earthguard patrol since 1985 Earth year.  Our guard has watched your people for over 3,000 years.  We are scientists with the aim of studying, learning, and, when needed, protecting.  When we first arrived here, it was our intention of helping humans advance. That didn't go so well."

It paused as I absorbed what it had said.  Then it raised the hand contaminated with my blood, and held out all four white digits.  "This many times we intervened.  The final time this happened."  He curled up all his fingers but the long bony pointer. 

"So," it continued, "we decided that Alton could not rush time.  We swore to work surreptitiously until Earth was ready."

Staring at it, expecting more, I could feel my head pounding again.  It stared back. 

"Tell me about..." I began.

"No. I do not have time to explain more now. I do not know how to convince you.  I need you to decide now if your will is to come with me.”

"Ah....I have to talk"  I smiled, and only started to nod my head when it grabbed me and rushed me to its machine saying, "Good.  Good." 

Motioning me to stop, it pointed to the floor in front of the machine.  I stopped dead in my tracks, and could feel myself moving up.  Looking down, I could see a small platform.  Was that there before?  It lifted me to the height of the box, and moved me sideways, then down. 

"Lie down," Tsatso said.  "Don't look at anything inside.  Lie down, and then roll over." 

What?  I did as I was told.  The air was cool inside, like fresh air-conditioning.  And I could also smell rubber, like that of a fresh rubber coat or chair.  To my right, I noticed the many dials and gadgets lighted up and flashing. 

Supine, I seemed to be floating on air, staring up at the ceiling.  Strangely, I felt a sense of calm. 

"Roll over," I heard the alien say.

I did.  The machine was gone.  I was floating in midair facing the floor.  Then, by a mere thought of the idea, I was standing up in midair looking down at Tsatso. 

"You can not see it, but it is there," Tsatso said, smiling.  "Enjoy the ride."

My stomach dropped down to my knees as I started moving up, and then down so I was staring at the worn-out carpet.  Slowly, slowly I was moving away from the floor, then gliding sideways.  Next moment, I was crossing the threshold of the window, and over the porch. 

"Maybe I should paint this," I thought as I hovered over the floorboards on the porch.  "Am I that bad of a homemaker?"  Then my thoughts shifted back to the alien.  Was he for real?  Is this just a bad dream?  NO!  If that were true, I'd feel uncomfortable in this position.

Suddenly I was standing up, hovering on my front porch.  I could see a figure of a person approaching from the South down Columbia Avenue.  I tried to focus in on them, but was suddenly blasted by a cool, white mist.  I remembered no more until I had awakened in a white room.

"We had to go back for Tsatso," a smooth female voice said.  Looking around the room I could see no one.  I could not move.  "It tricked me," I thought, "didn't he?  I'm paralyzed? 

"It was traumatic for your first awake ride," a voice said.  I tried opening my eyes, but the light was too bright.  "It's okay.  You'll be just fine."  The smell was again of cinnamon.

"Am I dreaming?" I asked, feeling as though I were floating.

"No, you're here, among the Altonians."

"Am I on drugs?"

"Your an Altonian now.  You live the Altonian way."

"I'm feeling good.  I don't understand."

"You will.  Have patience, Lance Goodman."

"I don't remember ANYTHING about that trip to Alton One."

"You wouldn't want to," Tsatso voice this time.

 "Why?" I asked, opening my eyes, trying to adjust to the light.

"It will be best if I just show you."

I could see him now at the foot of my bed, or whatever it was I was lying on.  I saw that I was covered by a light sheet, and above my feet was that ancient head and those big eyes.  What human could not be mezmirized by those things?

I wanted to say something, but I couldn't; just flopped my head back on the bed and looked up at the white ceiling. 


I looked for a light source, a corner, some kind of detail to focus on, and could find nothing. Beyond the bed, and Tsatso, all I could see was whiteness. 

Something pricked my forehead.  "It's time to head on," the female voice said.

"Come," Tsatso said, motioning me to get up.  I did.  I hopped off the thing I was lying on, and followed the alien.  I felt light headed and week, like I did while trying to walk after spending that week in a hospital bed trying to catch my breath.   

The hallway was long, white and with no doors.  I followed the two aliens, and it was a challenge to keep up.  They turned and suddenly an opening appeared and they disappeared.  I feebly stumbled across the threshold and found myself in the same room I'm writing from now. 

As I look up from my writing, the view is breathtaking.  The best way to explain it is:  Wow!  I'm talking about the view of our planet, Earth.  It's BEAUTIFUL!  

All of a sudden I'm hearing an alarm.  Tsatso says it's time to go. 

I know YOU would be amazed to hear all that I've learned about the Altonians and Altonia and Alton and Earth.  You would be astonished at how much we don't even know about our own history. 

But THEY tell me Alton One is going home, and it will NEVER return to Earth.  Tsatso says otherwise:  "Never should never be spoken." 

If I ever get a chance to write you again, I WILL.  So, remember what we talked about.

Keep THE LIGHTS ON and be patient.  
Keep the lights one.  That was a code word that Lance and Mike used as kids that meant:  something I'm telling you isn't right.  So Lance was trying to tell Mike something Lance doesn't want anyone else who might read his blog to understand.  Something he wrote, one part of his story, was fake.  But what?

Before he had a chance to mull it AC-DC's Hell's Bells started playing.  It was his i-phone.  There was a knock on the door.  It was officer Chuck, and he didn't look pleased.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Alton One: Chapter Three

"Is your parent home?"  It was a tall police officer with white hair.  He stood tall and professional on the porch.  He talked through the screen door.

"Umph!" Here's where all that training at Shoreline Catholic School makes life hard.  "I'm Mike Rove!  I'm Lance Goodman's best friend.  I just came in because I was supposed to meet Lance here to discuss a project we were going to work on together, and he never showed up."

"Is that true?" Typical police officer to be skeptical.  "Yes, it's the truth."  Keep it pithy, Mike.  Don't give away any self discriminating evidence when talking to the law.  It was his dad's voice.

"You probably don't have any I.D., I bet."  With his left hand he rubbed the top of his gun, and Mike wondered if this was meant to be intimidatory, or just some kind of nervous habit.

"Um," Mike said, looking at the blood and gun in the closet, "No, I don't drive."

"Well, I can tell you don't drive.  What are you, about ten or something?"

"I'm fifteen," Mike said, trying not to sneer.  "I have no I.D."

"Well, I don't mean to scare you.  I just want you to shut the door when I leave, and lock it.  And shut the patio door, too, and lock it.  And close the curtains.  And I want you to call your parents."

Well, if you didn't want to scare me, you're failing.  

The officer reached for his wallet, and offered an I.D. as he said, "There's something fishy going on in this area.  Were you around here about an hour ago?"

"No.  I don't think so.  I think I just got here about a half hour ago."  That sounded retarded.  

"Well, then I guess I don't need to talk to you."

"Chuck!" Another officer rushed to the house.  He was obese, sweating perfusely, and breathing heavy.  "Chuck! I need to talk to you," he wheezed.

The officer with the white hair, Chuck, stepped off the porch.  "What is it, Billy?"

"The lady in the green house said she was sitting on her front porch, and she heard a loud bang, from over this way."  He motioned to the northern sky, above the skyline.  "She said it came from there, and there was a bright flash of light.  She said after the bang she saw a little boy in a Halloween costume coming from Lance Goodman's house.  When she stepped off her porch to try to see who it was, the person just vanished into thin air."

"Okay, well, don't say no more," Officer Chuck, the white haired cop, said.  "Mike," he turned to Mike, "Are you sure you weren't here an hour ago?"

"I'm sure, officer."

"Were you wearing a costume?  Are you playing a prank, boy?"

"Um, no."  He tried looking right into the officer's eye's, but his gaze ended up on the officer's shoes instead.

"Where were you an hour ago?" huffed the beefy cop.

"Um, I was in school," said Mike.

"How did you get here, then?"  the beefy cop beamed.

"I, I walked from..." I started.

"Oh, come on, Billy," Officer Chuck said, glaring at Officer Billy.  "He's just a kid.  I've already instructed him to close the door and lock it.  "And Mike," he looked at Lance again, "You do as I told you.  And you don't touch anything inside that house, you got that."

"Yes, sir!"

"Except the phone."  Officer Chuck added.  "You keep the phone by your ear."

Mike shut the door, and locked it.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Alton One: Chapter Two

A sense of déjà vu ripped over Mike. Was it happening all over again? Memories of when the criminals from Alton that kidnapped him raced through his head.  It was easier to make up the story about the bearded guy with the black lab, than try to explain what really happened. This time it was Lance who was missing, so what lie would he make up about that?

After scrubbing the blood off the keyboard, and the floor and walls, and then cleaning the drains with Drano, scrubbing his hands and arms like a surgeon preparing for surgery, he stood looking at the couch.  For some reason it was blocking the patio door, covered by on the ends by Lance's ugly dark orange drapes.  The curtain on the right fluttered slightly by a breeze, a breeze that felt good on Lance's bare chest.  What in the world was Lance up to?

After closing the patio door and fixing the curtains, he stood looking at his shirtless self in the bathroom mirror.  He didn’t have the body Bill Philips said he would after finishing the Body-For-Life Program, yet he could see some tone in his upper arms. 

Over his right nipple was the scar.  Was it Geech or Mrove who discovered the chip?  It was so long ago.  He wished he had written about his experience.  He started writing his story many times, yet he couldn’t get past the first or second page.  It just never came out the way he wanted.  So he quit!  Damn, why did I quit?

He felt behind his left ear and could still feel that chip.  He wondered if they still listened.  He wondered if they still saw what he was seeing, or if they still knew what he was thinking.  Should I get a knife and start cutting where I suspected a chip was?  It wasn't so much the pain as the anticipation. So he left well enough alone, so long as they left him alone.  And until now they did, or so he though.

He slipped on his shirt, poured the remainder of the Drano into the sink, and returned to the living room.  The laptop was sleeping again and he woke it with a tap of the spacebar.  Lance’s blog was still up, and it was updated once again.  The new post had no header.  He started reading:

Oh my gosh, Mike! I don't know where to begin. So much has happened, I mean... I've missed you all so much, but WOW! I mean... WOW! You aren't going to believe THIS...Okay, here it goes. I promise to tell you EVERYTHING. I didn't plan it. REALLY! It just happened. Well, you know; you were the only one who REALLY showed interest in my machine, and you alone believed my story about it: that THEY planted the idea in my head. That THEY started what Sarah said was "just a silly hobby." NOW you and I BOTH know it was more than that. Right? Otherwise you wouldn't be reading this. You know I wasn't furtive with my hobby.  You know if I had the chance, or the ability, I would have let you in on this awesome opportunity. But the way things turned out, that was just not possible. Tsatso is risking everything letting me write this, so I know this has to be important to him too.  More later.”

There was a knock.  Mike jumped from his chair, and rushed into the kitchen to get rid of the bloody rags.  He opened the cupboard under the sink, frantically searching for a bag.  Then he had a better idea.  He tossed the rags into the cupboard and shut the door.  There was another knock.

He stood in the middle of the living room and scanned for any other things he should hide, and that was when he discovered the gun.  It was sitting on the floor of the closet, and as he stepped closer he could see more blood. What in the world went on in here, Lance?  

There were three loud bangs on the door.  "OPEN THE DOOR!  THIS IS OFFICER THOMAS!  OPEN THE DOOR!  Three more loud bangs!  Mike opened the door.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Alton One: Chapter One

Mike Androve looked fixedly at the monitor.  He re-read the first paragraphs, leaned back in the chair, shook his head and smacked his blood stained hand on his brow.  "This can't be possible."

He beamed at the Shoreline Daily News that sat on the floor to his right, and above the banner in big bold lettering read, “UFO Spotted over Shoreline?” 

"Homeland Security Secretary Barton Leflow has officially denied the object seen by hundreds of Shoreline residents above the Eastern Skyline of Shoreline Lake as that of an unidentified flying object (UFO).  “What looks like a precarious object is simply a weather balloon.  That’s all it is.  It’s been confirmed.”

Could this really be true? Mike thought.  Aren’t U.S. officials SUPPOSED to deny  UFO sightings? Yet if what he says were true, then Lance Goodman’s latest blog entry has less credibility than a kid who says, “I didn’t do it!” when caught with his hands in the cookie jar. 

Under the banner was a picture that took up the rest of the entire front page, with old man Jared Stevens, looking every bit of 100 years, with his brown cowboy hat and red and blue corduroy shirt, pointing at an object in the clear blue sky. 

The object, ominous in all its glory, clearly looked like the prototypical UFO described by so many. It was shady, white, and if you looked real close you could make out the little dark windows around its circumference.  Yet it’s just a weather balloon?

The perspicuous caption under the picture read: "Jared Scott Jezer points to the ominous object over the Eastern sky above Shoreline Lake early Wednesday morning.” 

He read the brief story and all the related ones inside on page three and eight, several times each over the past couple hours, and he read the latest blog entry by Lance about a hundred times.  What did this all mean? 

He looked back up at the monitor of his laptop, and it had gone to sleep.  He clicked the spacebar and the blog, Alton One, reappeared on the screen.  The same UFO Jezer was pointing at in the paper was now in the header of Lance’s blog.  THAT was not there two minutes ago, was it?  Was it? 

No.  He was sure the Blogger header Lance had created had just a plain “Alton One” etched across it – no picture.  Someone had changed the header, and he knew who did it.  The question lingering was:  Does this mean Lance is a killer, or is something more going on?  

Saturday, March 3, 2012

I wish I was stupid

I wish I was stupid.
I wish I didn't have a lick for brains.
I wish I didn't know poop from the donkey's butt.

Life would be so much easier that way -- you'd think.
Well, I wouldn't think,
Therefore I wouldn't care.

If I didn't care, I wouldn't worry
I could just live MY life
without a care in the world.

What goes on in Washington?
I wouldn't even know about Washington.
I wouldn't care what effect it had on me.

What goes on in Lansing?
I wouldn't even know about Lansing.
I wouldn't care what effect it had on me.

Have an emotional pain?
Someone else will take care of it?
Someone who's wiser.

What's the cost?
Let someone else worry about that,
Someone who's a sucker.

Ben Franklin said something like:
"I would rather be the dumbest lot on earth
Than the wisest with no one to share my wisdom with."

What a wise man Franklin was,
He's my favorite man in history.
I'm not half as wise as he was.

lthough I AM a thinker.
I think I think pretty well,
Which, by default, makes me wiser?

Sometimes I wonder if it would be better
To be the dumbest lot on earth,
And not have a care in the world.

Though upon reading the news
I see non-thinkers running states
and poverty creeping up

Upon viewing the news
I see non-thinkers making laws
and pockets no longer jingle

Thus, reality sets in
and the thinker thinks:
stupidity breeds stupidity

Friday, February 10, 2012

The Naughty Chair

Alton One:  Friday, February 12, 2012
By Lance Goodman

Today Tsatso told me a story from his childhood.  It was early morning and we were sitting at his work station gazing down at Earth, admiring her beauty.  "It's amazing how innocent it looks from up here," I said.

"Alton looks innocent too from this distance," Tsatso said.  I leaned back in my leather chair and looked over at him.  "The Alton Guard doesn't just guard over your planet, you know."

It's amazing how I never thought of that before.  It's amazing the stereotypes we develop.  When we think of aliens we think of large heads, big black eyes, and thin, white bodies.  We think they are so technologically advanced they don't have the problems we do.  Ditto for how they thought of us on that infamous day 2012 years ago.

So Tsatso told me a story, and while he was telling it I found myself gazing down upon a planet focusing on North America.

I don't want to get this story wrong, so I'm entering the printed version of what he said into this blog. Yes we have the technology for that.  You'd be so amazed what can be done here.  But that's not the topic for today.  So here's Tsatso in his own words.

I was a boy of 12, innocently playing on the Rotabond play set. It's a computerized play set that kids on your planet would yearn to try out.  I found myself on a spaceship on my way to planet Earth, when all of a sudden all went dark.

So now I'm no longer an Alton boy, and my life is forever changed, or so I thought.  You know how it turned out, but back in 3012 I had no idea how things would turn out.  I didn't even get much of a chance to think about that.

Just to give you an idea what life was like living among the Sassa Guard I want to tell you a story.  You see, I trudge down to the principal's office and sit on an old wooden chair reserved for the naughty Children of Sassa Elementary.  Mrs. Nehpson is an old prune faced secretary who shows her lack of respect for me by monotonously typing as though I didn't exist.

Click-clack, click-clack, click clack went the keyboard as the old goat works away on her project. I look up at the clock on the wall behind the secretary’s desk and not the hands seem to stay on 3:10 for what seem an eternity. I continue watching the clock as the second hand works its way around.

I look back down at  Mrs. Nehpson  who said brusquely the first time I sat in this chair, “Stay seated and be very quiet as to be respectful to others who pass through this office. Mr. Chnarb will let me know when he’s ready to see you.” Since then I sat in this chair way too many times, becoming all too familiar with her -- Mrs. Nehpson's -- habits.

I look back at the clock, the monotonous din of her typing in the background, and not it now reads 3:11. I watch as the second hand slowly, slowly works its way back around until the minute hand moves over a smidge to indicate 3:12. While these few minutes move by unnoticed by the secretary, to me they seemed an eternity.

I hear the shuffle of feet just outside the door behind me and to the left.  There's a little hallway, and a guard stands tall and stiff in his full military gear. He looks as you remember me looking the day I introduced myself to you, how most humans remember us.  I can't see him now, I just know he's there, waiting to nab me if I choose to run.

Finally, as I watched the minute hand move over to the 3:13 spot, another little boy with a sheen of snot spread across his face sat beside me in a second old wooden chair. This boy wipes tears off his face with the back of his hand, and then used his forearm to wipe snot from his nose to his neatly pressed Dleiftsew Elementary uniform.

He sniffs and sniffs and sniffs again until the old goat stops typing, grabs a box of tissues, and tosses it at the snot-faced boy. The box smacks the boy on the forehead and lands on the floor by his feet. Stunned, he looks up at the secretary who proceeds typing as though nothing had happened. Tears run down his face in torrents, his cheeks reddening with fear. He moves his hand as though to pick up the tissue box, but then he must have decided how foolish that would be -- how deadly that could be, and sits back in his chair.  

The clock ticks and now indicates 3:14. I never stop watching that red second hand go slowly, slowly round and round the face of the clock. The whole incident with the snot-faced boy and the secretary was observed only by my peripheral sight, without any movement of my body or head. I was well aware of what might happen if I made the wrong move, or even blinked too many times.

The clock strikes 3:15.

In the distance I (we) hear a muffled scream followed by an adult male voice bellowing, “Hush!” Then there is a snap, as though by a whip, and another scream, and another bellow of, “Hush.” Then the room is silent except for the old goat click-clacking away.

I watch as the clock strikes 3:16.  I think of my dad telling me stories of the the principal, of how he was in every horror tale ever told.  How he must be older than dirt. I wonder if he was older than the prune faced secretary.

"There is a tale I will relay when you are older," my dad said the day before he lost his head. "Of how this man lost his arm when he was a boy, and yet conformed to Dleiftsew standards. Now he is the inflictor of what he once feared most, and does so without empathy."

Without having to look, I know to my right is a door with the name Enaz Hcnarb in large bold black letters painted sloppily across it, and the word Principal scribbled in red paint below that. The red paint had dripped down the door and some drops had even landed on the floor. I had asked another boy about it once, a naughty boy who sat next to me, and he had said the red was not paint but blood of innocent boys, boys they call naughty. Earnest had never seen that boy again. From this same door the muffled screaming is heard once more.

The noise had ceases, and I continue to watch the clock for what seems like years but is actually only ten minutes. Ican tell the boy next to me is miserable, as the boy occasionally turns his head and rubs his nose on the shoulder of his navy uniform. He blows his nose twice more and sits stiffly every time he thought the secretary sneers.  

I watch the second hand work its way awkwardly around the face of the clock. Via my periphery, I can see flashing blue and red lights out the window to my left. I hear a hover car door shut, and 
think I see people moving. I know what they are doing: They are gathering a stretcher and are heading for the back door to the principal’s office to haul another naughty boy off to Dleiftsew Hospital.

The clock strikes 3:20. Click-clack, click-clack, click-clack goes the keyboard, and a sniff, sniff, sniff from the boy with the snotty face.

Finally, the phone rings. Mrs. Nehpson stops typing. “ Mrs. Nehpson,” says the brusque, raucous voice into the receiver. “Yes… He sure did deserve it… I have two more brutes waiting so don’t go far… Yes. Call me when you know how long he will be out of school; I need to let Mr. Cochran know… Good day, sir.”

She hangs up the phone and continues with her typing.

The clock strikes 3:22.

To my right I can hear the principal speaking and figure the paramedics had entered his office to take away the naughty and severely punished, perhaps mutilated child. I could hear a beeping sound coming from the principal’s office, a slam of a door, an inexplicable screeching sound, and then silence but for the click-clack, click-clack, click-clack.

I almost didn't realize what I did, but I'm now staring at the principal's door.  I look at the secretary and notice she is staring at the computer screen as she had been doing all along.  "Whew!" she didn't notice my slip. “Not very often one gets a break like that,” I thought. I look back at the clock and see that it is 3:25. I figure I better not test my luck like that again.
Out the window I see paramedics loading the hover ambulance. I hear the double doors in the rear slam shut, then the door in the front slam shut as the driver boards. I hear the engine rev, and then, in a heartbeat, the rescue craft is gone.

The phone rings the typing stops and the prune faced secretary picks up the receiver, “Hello,” she says. There must not have been anyone there, for she hangs up the phone. In the silence that ensues, and for the first time since I'm in this old, musty smelling place, I hear the ticking of the object I'm so focused on.  Mrs. Nehpson turns in her chair so she is now facing her desk and us boys; but she never looks at either of us. She continues to sort out papers on her desk until the phone rings again.

“Hello,” she said. “Okay.” She puts down the receiver, lights a cigarette (yes, such habits are not just human), and walks across the room. As she does, a cool breeze wafts the cigarette scent past my nose. The snot-faced boy sneezes. I wince slightly, but otherwise don’t budge -- don't dare to.

The old bat knocks on the principal’s door. “Come in,” the principal shouts. She opens the door just enough to squeeze through; then closes it tight behind her.

“God, she looks so scary,” the acne faced boy whines; then sniffs. He snatches the box of tissues from the floor. “What do you think they’re going to do with us?” He looks at me, then at the floor, then back at me. I, on the other hand, continue to look at the clock; and listen to its ticking. I can hear the muffled sound of voices from behind the principal's door. I know my time will be up soon. He figure the old goat will be coming back out this time. My heart starts racing.

“Boy? Boy? What do you…?” the snot faced boy starts, but stops as we hear the handle on the door make a sound. After several minutes of staring stiffly at the door, he the boy turns and faces me again, and whispers, softer this time, “I’m scared. What are they going to do with us?” I don't answer. I turn to look at the boy to see his eyes are still teary. I wonder what this little kid had done. I wonder what his punishment will be. I wonder what MINE will be.  No time for those thought, though.  I look back at the clock, note the time (3:31), listen for the sound of voices, hear none, and look back at the boy.

“What do you…?” the little kid starts, but stopped as I mouth, "Be Quiet! 

“What?” the kid inquires, “I don’t understand.” Then I mouth, "Be quiet!" The snot-faced boy says, "Shut-up?”

I concentrate on the second hand.

“My name is Wilbur. What is yours?” he says. He looks down at the floor, sniffs, and then at me.  Concentrating on the clock, I mouth the word, “No."  

The boy starts taking again, and I whisper very quietly, "We are both going to die if you don't shut!" My teeth grit so hard my face aches.  

“They won’t kill us, will they?” He continues to whine naively, his voice a bit louder this time. “They surely won't kill us.” He looks from the floor at me.  He's now shaking his head vigorously. “Would they?”

I don't answer, only pucker my lips and work hard to hold back my own tears. I mouth, "Shhhhh!"  

The boy says, "What? What are you trying to tell me?” I mouth, "Shhhhh!"  

He isn't getting the clue. So I turn in my chair, sit upright, and stare back at the clock. He note the time as 3:36.

“Should I run for it? Is that what I should do?” he says. He rips a tissue from the box and blows his nose, loudly.  The boy gets up from his chair, looks at me, and says with a shaky voice, “I can’t go in there. I can’t.” Tears stream down his face. I don’t budge.

The boy sits, as though finally trying to compose himself, but not for long.  I understand why he's so full of trepidation.  I feel so bad for him.  But if I do anything, show any fear, we will both die.  Staying calm is hard, but in his state of mind this boy is not going to survive.  He was scared to death what will happen once he enters that door.  By God, so was I.  

"Why,” he said in a more composed voice this time, “My name is Wilbur.  Don’t you stop looking at that clock and help me. You could get out too. Why can’t you just answer my questions?”

I mouthed again for him to be quit.  The boy again ignores my plee.

“Come on!” Wilber demands. “Tell me something. I’m tired of people at this school being so serious. I’m tired of not knowing what happens in the real world. I’m tired of being scared that doing one little thing will result in me becoming a missing person. I’m tired of all the boys leaving Dleiftsew for a week and coming back with missing arms and legs and…”

The door to the principal’s office opens and  Mrs. Nehpson  pokes her ugly head out. A puff of smoke billows into the room as she exhales loudly. I stare intently at the clock and Wilbur at the floor. Mrs. Holden then shuts the door. We can hear the muffled voices of the secretary and the principal from behind the door. We know the time will come very soon when one of us will have to enter that room

The clock ticks 3:42. Wilbur sniffles and blows his nose. I watch as the second hand revolves around the clock to 3:43, 3:44, 3:45 and, an eternity later, 3:46. That was when Wilbur shoots up from his seat, moves so that he stands right between me and the clock, and peers down into my eyes. 

“Why can’t you just tell me something?” he roars. “Why do you have to follow the rules? I’ve followed the rules all my life and now look at me."  His screeching voice gets louder with each progressive syllable.  "What’s the purpose of your silence? Why do you have to delay your response to me? I WANT TO KNOW NOW!” 

With that, mostly out of annoyance at the little boy’s credulity, and, perhaps, also because i had empathy for the boy who was acting as I myself did last month, I turn to face the smaller boy, and opened my mouth wide as he can.

Wilbur screams!  Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

Out of sheer surprise I'm knocked back in my chair.  I hear a click and look at the pricipal’s door, see it opening, and watch as both  Mrs. Nehpson  and Mr. Hcnarb come rushing out. Wilbur rushes for the exit, but he ran right into a security guard who is now standing in the doorway.  The guard wraps his arms around Wilbur’s scrawny body as the boy writhes and squirms in his panic and his feeble attempt to escape.

“Take him into my room. The straps are ready,” decrees the principal. The guard awkwardly carries the flailing boy across the room and through the entryway to the room the kids of Dleiftsew fear the most, and so seldom talk about.  Mrs. Nehpson  follows the guard and closes the door behind her.

Mr. Branch stands before me, blocking my view to the clock as Wilbur did moments before. He says, “Now what did you do this time boy? I figured you were here.  "I don't budge, just continue to stare at the principal's chest, at his black tie, white shirt, neatly pressed. If I'm not mistaken, there is a tiny drop of blood just to the left of the tie.

"Why are you here boy?" Mr. Hcnarb demands. I notice my heart is racing, reverberating like a jackhammer trying to split my ribs and open my chest.  I fear Mr. Hcnarb might hear it.

For fear of my life I DO NOT BUDGE.

"What did you do?" Again, I DO NOT BUDGE.

“Well, what?” He places his right hand firmly on my chin and lift my head so I'm forced to look him square in the eyes. “Cat got your tongue.” 

I think of my dad and what he said.  If this guy is older than dirt, older than the secretary, his face didn't show it.  He had not one wrinkle. I grit my teeth so hard my face aches.  Please let me live! Oh God, I hope I didn't just mouth...

An awkward expression appears on the old man’s face; his eyes bulge, an eerie grin spreads. The stump that once was the principal’s right arm flailing back and forth like the tail of an overly excited puppy’s.

"Aha,” he says, “That’s it. I don’t have to punish you for your delayed response, because you can’t respond. Open your mouth boy, let me see how your stub is healing.”

I opened my mouth. The old man looks pleased.

“Yep,” he says. “You can close your mouth now. I see you’ve conformed well, and I’m quite pleased. I am, however, surprised to see you back here. You have heard stories of what we do to boys who keep coming back, I’m sure.” He steps back and leans against Mrs. Nehpson's desk, folding his good arm across his chest. The sleeve of the other, I cant help but notice, had been cut off and tied neatly to cover the stump.

“Would you like to get off with a warning this time?” He says more as a statement than a question. I nod solemnly, unrelenting.

“Good. Well, let me think,” Mr. Hcnarb continues. “Since you can’t answer me, I won’t order you to tell me what you did wrong this time. I can’t play that game.” He stops as a scream is heard from his office. Wilbur continues to yell things that can not be understood through the door.

“Ah,” says Mr. Hcnarb. “It won’t be long before he learns a lesson the hard way just as you did last month. You did learn your lesson quite well, I think. Your conformity this evening is impressive.” Then the principal, agile for a man supposedly older than dirt, leaps forward so he stands right before me, grabbing me by the collar, losing his grip and slapping the me across the chin. The corners of me lips curl just so slightly, but otherwise I don't budge.

“Oops,” the old man says. “I wanted to get you to stand.” He gestures for me to stand. I stand. The old man bends down awkwardly so his face is level with mine.

“ Guess what,” Mr.  Hcnarb  says, and smils a huge gaping smile that reveals teeth perfectly aligned and white as a toddler’s. I want to look away, but I did that last time and it cost me.  I force myself to look right at the old man’s face, at his eccentric grin, flat nose that looks awkward on his narrow face. Then he look at his hair all perfectly, meticulously combed back but for one strand of hair on top that stood straight up. Then I look right into the old man’s deep, dark eyes.

“YOU'RE ALL RIGHT, YOUNG MAN!” the principal shouts. A God awful smell of rotten mints comes from his mouth.  “You know, I think I might have a job for you some day. Well, if you don’t get yourself killed like that Preen boy did today. You know, he kept coming back and coming back; I just couldn’t let him continue being that way. You know: If you can’t be perfect, then what’s the point of being. I know you understand what I’m talking about. You do, don’t you?”

I don't budge.

“Do you?” Mr. Cndnarb asks earnestly. I'm afraid to nod, instead I continue to heed my dad's advice.  Yet I give in.  I nod.  

“There you go again with your delayed responses. You know, just because you have no tongue does not mean you can’t answer me prompt. Do you understand?”

I nod.

“Much better. Yes. Much better.” He smiles, turns, takes two long steps toward his office door, and stands; his nose nearly touching it. I focus my eyes upon the clock again. It reads 4:05.

“They should be here any time now to pick Preen up. I told Mr. Cochran to just leave him lying in the front of the classroom. Perhaps this will be a lesson to the class, and they will stay out of the naughty chair.”

Shouting continues from the boy tied up in the room behind the door Mr. Hcnarb was staring at. Through the window to my left I hear a craft pull up to the school and shut its engine off. Without taking my eyes off the clock (4:07) I think the vehicle was a hearse, but I can't be sure without turning to look, which I surely couldn't risk.

“Now!” Mr.  Hcnarb shouts as he spins around quickly, taking two long steps back so he was once again stands between me and the clock. He looks squarely into my eyes.  He says, haughtily, “I’m going to let you off this time boy. I know you were imperfect in gym class today, but I don’t care anymore. From now on, I’m not even going to have you take gym class. Yeah.” He nods. “For now on, I’m going to have you take another class instead.  I say this because you're the brightest Alton I've ever met.  You have potential for conforming brilliantly and making me look good.”

A shout of some profanity is heard through the door to his office. The door opens, and Mrs.  Nehpson  pokes her head out, looking dismayed. “Mr. Hcnarb,” she says, “you had better get in here.”

“Right there.” He says without looking away from my face.

"Yes, we are ready," Mrs.  Nehpson  says before disappearing into the mysterious room. She leaves the door open, but not enough so I can't see in.

“I didn’t do anything wrong!” Wilbur bellows. “I’m innocent. All I did was sneeze. I’ve been absolutely perfect all my life and what do you do to me for it. I’m innocent I tell you I’m…

“You know," Mr. Hcnarb  says. "He was perfect. But we can’t have him sneezing on the other children. We can’t have him inconsiderately spreading his germs."
Mr.  Hcnarb takes a step back, turns to his right, and looks toward the window. "Yep," he says, "That boy preen is dead; I’d hate to make it two today."

He turns to face me, stands silent for a moment, then says, "You know if you wouldn’t have panicked last month like Wilbur is right now I never would have had to..."

Wilbur screams and I can't help but to jerk back.  It was a deathly  scream like none other I'd ever heard.  Mr. Hcnarb seemed oblivious to it, conditioned to such chilling sounds.  Instead of flinching, he steps forward and says:

"Wilbur’s going to learn the same way you learned, my boy. I sure hope he turns out as well as you have. Imperfect, intractable and ignoble children: they do need to be punished. Don’t you agree?”
I nod. That jackhammer now working through my skin.  Thank God I had a shirt on.  

Mr.  Hcnarb  continues, "Yes, allowing an intractable child to leave this school without the proper disciplinary actions would result in internecine behaviors from which few, if any, would benefit. We cannot have that in this world; especially in our attempt to homogenize.”

He spins on his heel so his back faces me, and in a single motion scoops up a paper from the desk, and saunters to the entryway of his office. There he stops, turns, and says, “Now Tsatso, I’m giving you one more chance to conform. Don’t screw up.”

I nod. The principal disappears into his office and shuts the door. I continued staring at the clock, not confident that I should stop or leave. But, if I stayed, perhaps the principal would change his mind about letting me go if he came out and saw me still seated 
here. What should I do? I surely didn’t want to make the wrong move. But, then again, indecisiveness is punishable.

watch as the clock strikes 4:10. I can still hear the muffled shouting from the panicked boy with the snotty face. Then, as the clock strikes 4:11, a scream is heard, and then silence.  Then please of, "Don't hurt me!  DON'T HURT ME! DON'T HURT ME!'

Silence.  I watch the second hand as it works its way around to show 4:15. I make a cursory glance out the window, and observe that it was, after all, a hearse waiting out there. Was it for Preen?  “What if it’s waiting for me to make a wrong decision?”

Before I have a chance to make a decision I hear a deathly scream from Wilbur.  I jolt out the door, past the security guard, and book for home.  

I return to school the next day, and, thank God, never sit in the naughty chair again. I did, however, return to the principal’s office, but that wasn’t until several years later when I was promoted from my job as professor of inaudible students at Dleiiftsew Elementary.

So that was Tsatso's story.  My gaze barely peered away from Earth (mother Earth as he calls it).  People on that planet have no clue how good they have it, I thought.  I had so many questions, like how he progressed from professor for the Sassa Guard to protector of earth for the Sassa Guard?  Did he have to kill Sassa boys and girls?  How did he do it?  I decided it was best to hold my questions for another day.