You can follow this blog on twitter at twitter.com/DreamOfAWorld. Separately, my personal twitter account is twitter.com/randycon and my personal blog is randycon.org if you want to know what’s up and new.
Oh, and more stories are coming. A torrent. A whirlwind. But I can’t release them before their time.
That time will come.
In the meantime, follow it on twitter!
I’ve spent the last months working on the book that I just released from St. Martin’s Press, the Indie Band Survival Guide and the European version, the DIY Music Manual from eBury/Random House. Writing all of that non-fiction only gave me more ideas on fiction, but I haven’t had time to finish anything recently.
Now that things are finally released, more stories here soon.
Darkness, and then a white background. A place as empty as it is full.
“Is this the end?” He asked.
The answer came, from nowehere and everywhere. “It’s an ending. And the start of something new. But if you still have care of the world from which you came, know that you are immortal there through your legacy.”
“So there’s more after?”
“So much more,” the voice said. “You are needed where dreams dance, and forever just needs permission to lay its stake.”
“You realize that I’ll want a cut of gross, not net.”
He crossed his arms.
“We’ll discuss it.”
“That’s okay,” he said, settling in for a negotiation, “I’m sure forever can wait a bit longer for my permission.”
-RIP Gary Gygax. You touched so many of us. You will be missed.
As I was walking through the park, the boy looked up at me, and there was something in his eyes.
He had unruly blond hair and wore a cartoon T-shirt that stuck partway out of his jeans. He looked to be about eleven, maybe twelve years old. The age that marks the difficult crossing between childhood and adolescence.
But although his body seemed to be that age, there was something in his eyes.
There are people that are considered to be an “old soul.” No matter what age they seem to be physically, they have a presence of someone much older. The boy seemed all of that, and more. As he looked back at me, he recognized my intuition and nodded to me in a very adult manner. In fact, it was as if he were a mentor who was pleased that a younger charge opened his eyes about some part of the world and finally realized what was in front of them, unnoticed until that very moment of understanding.
“What…” I stammered, surprised that I was suddenly inarticulate, “what are you?” I finished quietly.
He looked down for a moment and sighed. It was the sigh of an old man.
“Have you read many stories? Books? I mean, fantasy books?” Although I expected his voice to sound very grizzled based on his demeanor, his voice was a high tenor, and not yet at the point where it cracked. A child’s voice.
“When I was a kid, I used to.” I said.
“Good. That’s the right time. There are stories that require a certain kind of main character. A child.” He pushed his hair from in front of his eyes; his bangs were too long and got in the way. “And they are the only ones that can save the world. Not our world, but some fantasy place where there is a prophecy of some kid that will come and save them. Do you know the kind of stories I mean?”
“Yes, I think so,” I said skeptically, not sure where he was going with this.
“And after saving the world, they live on in that fantasy place as kings, or thieves, or assassins, or magicians, or knights, or any one of a thousand careers. And at the end….” he paused for a second to push his unruly hair out of the way. “At the end, he returns back to his world, a child again, but able to live his real life with the experiences of a lifetime in that special fantasy place.”
“You’ve done that?” I narrowed my eyes at him cynically, now wondering if my original intuition was wrong.
His response was to narrow his eyes back at me. I realized that he hadn’t stopped watching me, and his eyes narrowing was a direct and immediate response to my change in stance. The unspoken rebuke was palpable, impossible to miss, and quite unmistakably adult.
“I haven’t done that just once,” he said, drilling his eyes into mine, “I’ve done it almost ten thousand times.”
“Spinning, down from the heights came the wanderer. Final worth not smiling, but on a blue couch,” the animatronic Wombat pontificated to the confused tourists.
“What’s wrong with this thing?” asked one woman, as her terrified little girl clung to her yellow, flowered dress. “It’s scaring my daughter.”
The tour guide peered at the Wombat whose animated mouth and gesticulating arms made snapping movements as they moved. She suddenly looked up into the sky for some reason.
“As the lights below excommunicated the burning one and committed the milky volume to the lunch day under the abstruse cardiograph,” the Wombat said.
“Wait, what day is it?” asked the Tour guide.
“Thursday” said an older gentleman, standing next to an elderly woman, presumably his wife.
“No, no, what date? What day of the month?”
“What should that have to do with anything? The 19th I think.” said the woman with the girl again.
“Oh no.” said the tour guide, holding a hand to her mouth.
“What? What’s wrong?”
“Under the spatch blade the averlith burdened,” the Wombat continued.
“This isn’t Mickey Mouse!” said the little girl, loudly. “This is scary. Where is Mickey?”
“We’re going there soon,” said the woman with the flowered dress to the little girl. She turned back to the tour guide with an angry expression. “What is wrong with this thing, lets get out of here!”
“It won’t do any good,” said the tour guide. “Orlando is broken.”
“Don’t you mean this puppet thing is broken?” said the elderly woman. “Let’s take the monorail somewhere else.”
“No, Orlando is broken. The Immanentization failed, and we have left the world you came from. The monorail is nothing more than a snakelike path of doom. Epcot is now a cauldron of broken angles, and Magic Mountain…well Magic Mountain is nothing more than a gateway to madness. Nowhere is safe.”
The little girl started to cry.
“What the hell are you talking about?” said a man wearing a Hawaiian shirt, and a camera around his neck. “This is not what I paid for.”
“Blow me around the transformed–” The tour guide suddenly turned and smashed the Wombat with her fist, which cut off its sound instantly.
“Money is irrelevant,” she snapped. “But, very well, I will tell you what I’m talking about. I will finish my role as a tour guide, and I will tell you, and you will not understand, but you will know.”
“Forget this. I’m leaving,” said the man with the Hawaiian shirt. He turned around and started to head towards the parking lot.
“You will NOT!” shouted the tour guide, and raised her hand, which was in a fist, near her head, and flung her fingers outwards.
A ripple, a twisting, an unnatural wave of space flew outwards, and enveloped the man. He instantly stopped. She turned her hand, and he turned as if connected to her like a puppet.
The little girl screamed, and started to cry again. The tour guide looked at her, and brought her other hand up near her head as an open hand, although with her fingers at strange angles. She clenched it into a fist. The little girl abruptly silenced and grabbed her throat. She looked like she tried to cry again, but no sound came out.
The others started to run, screaming.
The tour guide sighed, and then dropped her hands for a moment, then she held one hand up vertically in front of her face. With her other hand she wove her fingers in a strange pattern over her open palm, sometimes in a typing motion, sometimes flinging her fingers outwards, and sometimes curling them in to her palm.
Another unnatural ripple flowed from her body, and enveloped all of the tour group. They all turned as one and walked back, mechanically, to where she was standing.
“A long time ago,” the tour guide began, as if they had just walked up to another exhibit, “a gateway to another place opened from this place. It contaminated the other place with what was then Orlando. And Orlando was contaminated by it.”
“This was not a problem, then. Orlando was wild, and uncontrolled, and so was this other place. But, unlike this other place, things changed in Orlando. And, the other place, now bound by time as it had not been before, changed.”
“It all began when a person named Disney came to Orlando, and decided that it would be a good place for a theme park. Now, most think that he chose it because of the weather, or that he liked Florida.” The tour guide smiled crookedly. “But Disney was a visionary in more ways that he is acclaimed. He had a sense about the other place. He knew that it was there, knew what would happen if he put a theme park in the thin place between worlds. He had ambitions.”
“You see, the other place, which does not and never will have a name, should it fully merge with your world, will create what is called an eschaton. Even that concept fails to really capture what it really is, but there is no such thing as language in that other place, and because of this, language will never be able to fully describe what it is.”
The tour guide looked at the quivering crowd listening to her, some were crying, others were futilely trying to leave, but held by the forces that she had brought to being. Her face glared at the group as she tapped her foot as if she was impatient. Then she moved her hand in a circle in front of her and raised one finger. Another wave of force went outward from her finger towards the man in the Hawaiian shirt, who screamed.
He suddenly stopped when the force hit him, and closed his mouth, then raised his hand, shakily.
“Yes, I see that someone has a question,” the tour guide said darkly.
“But…what…is…an…eschaton?” said the man with the Hawaiian shirt mechanically.
“Very good question. My how you are such a good inquisitive group! And that led me to my next part of the lecture. How convenient. Well, how do I explain this? An eschaton is a concept that means that this world has merged with the perfect, immaterial state that is usually represented by what you call ‘God’. In this case, it is the complete merging of the other place I told you about and ‘Orlando.’”
“Now you heard me say Immanentization before, well, the process of making the eschaton come about is a process called Immanentization, or making it more immanent.”
“But we have failed, and the reason we have failed is a problem called time. I told you that time never existed in that other place until the gateway opened. Well, the eschaton needed to happen before a certain critical juncture in the merging between these worlds, which is now past.”
“You see, Disney realized that the good will and happy children that Disney World drew to this place would hasten the Immanentization of the eschaton. And once that happened, well, he would become as unto a God in this place, because it was his concepts that created the impetus that would fully realize the eschaton. No matter that he is dead now, that concept has no meaning here, his essence would survive and come to into full being if the eschaton occurred.”
“It was so close, but it failed. And now Orlando is in that other world, instead of being merged and perfected. And that is where we are.”
The tour guide looked out at the group, and they all looked quite confused now, on top of being terrified.
“I told you that you would know, but you would not understand. And so I have done my job, and there is only one thing that we can do now, and that is to purge Orlando from the other place that we are now in.”
“How do you do that?” asked the woman in the flowered dress.
The tour guide reached behind her head with both her hands, as if she were grabbing the back of her shirt to take it off, and pulled. Her skin started to peel off, along with her clothes, as if her skin were something that she had just put on in the morning.
What stepped out of her skin was…Mickey Mouse.
“We, the essences that were part of that other place, were forced into Disney’s ideas,” the mouse said, in Micky’s high voice. “We became containers for his dreams, and the more people that came to the park, the more solid this became. To purge it, all sentient beings that can believe in these ideas must be terminated. And that means all of you.”
Mickey walked up to the little girl, who looked amused at the little mouse walking up to her. He smiled back at her. Then he reached his hand to her neck, grabbed her head with his other hand, and snapped her neck around violently. The girl died instantly.
The rest of the group screamed, but still could not move.
Mickey bent over the body, and bit into the little girl’s neck. He looked up, with his lips and mouth covered with blood, and addressed the screaming group.
“You have no idea,” Mickey Mouse said, “no idea how long I’ve wanted to do that.” He bent down again and began drinking the blood from her neck. The helpless screams from the group continued.
He looked up one last time and smiled, bloodily, “And before I forget, welcome to Disney World.”
I sighed as I got to the bottom of the story that I was writing. â€œTHE END.â€ I typed, and rubbed my eyes, then wiped my sweaty forehead.
I scrolled to the top of the document in my wordprocessor, and started to re-read again from the beginning: â€œIn all of the worlds that could be conceived, in all of the possible realities that could be visited by human minds, the ones that are strangest are closest to those with which we are familiarâ€¦.â€ I hit the down arrow and continued down the page. As I read the third line, I gasped as I saw the words â€œIn all of the worldsâ€ get smaller, as if they were falling away from me. I squinted at them as they continued to shrink.
The rest of the letters on that line dropped away, as if falling into a deep hole. The next line began to disappear as well, as if my story was a strange rope that was uncoiling in front of me, and plummeting into a white, bottomless well.
My eyes went wide with alarm! I had worked on the story for so long, had created such vivid descriptions, and they were falling away. I clicked the disappearing words, but the story continued to get pulled downwards. If anything, it sped up, as if the earlier words had weight and pulled down harder on the parts that were still anchored. In fact, the scroll bar at the right shrunk as if it were becoming a shorter document because of deletions.
I tried saving the document, but it ignored my commands. In desperation, although I didnâ€™t think it would help, I touched the screen at a line that was disappearing. But, instead of just feeling the cold glass of the screen, there was a sinuous feel to the words, as if I were touching a thread of some sort. It was too small to get a hold of, and the line dropped away like the rest.
Frantically, I grabbed at the screen to pull at the words. They were too thin. Quickly, I selected the entire document, and sized the letters up to the highest size I could see. The anchored letters seemed to get heavier, but fallen letters had also become larger, and it didnâ€™t slow. I tried again to grab a word, a sentence, a fragment. But they fell away.
The final sentence came by, and I made a desperate grab for the final â€œDâ€ in â€œTHE END.â€ I got my pinkie hooked in the curve of the letter, and it yanked against my skin, cutting me, creating a crimson line of blood around the first joint of my little finger. I winced with pain, but still grabbed at the sentence behind â€œENDâ€ and pulled, slowly extracting my story from the white depths, letter by letter, phrase by phrase.
When I was done, there was a messy pile of words on the floor.
Later, I checked the wordprocessorâ€™s website. It turned out there was a bug.
“Hey, I’ve had a great time, but I’ve got to go now. I’m late for an appointment. But it was really great meeting you guys.”
I went the wrong direction for the closet, but found it on the other side of the door and got my coat. I had only met Janie, Kyle, and Ellen two days ago, but we found that we had similar interests. I was happy to meet friendly people, especially since I had just moved to this city. This was the first time I visited them at their place.
After putting on my coat, I instinctively reached into the pocket where I kept my keysâ€”and found nothing inside.
“My keys. Where did they go?” I scrabbled around in the pocket in case it had fallen into a fold.
“Aw hell. Not again.” Kyle said, exasperated.
“What are you talking about? I’ve never lost my keys with you guys before.” I said, as some annoyance crept into my voice. I actually rarely lost anything, I was always careful with my possessions. I tried looking in back pocket of my pants, and then realized that I was wearing a skirt without any pockets in them.
“It’s not what you’re thinking Shel,” Ellen said, “and Kyle, don’t jump to conclusions either. You can’t be sure that it happened again.”
“That what happened again?” I asked, as I continued to rifle through every pocket I had. I never carried a purse, so at least I didn’t have to search that. I looked at my cellphone to check the time, and shook my head. I was getting more late every moment.
“Can you think of where you might have put it? Are you sure that you left them in your coat? I want you to think back.” Janie said, as she pushed her long brown hair from in front of her face, with a look of concern. There continued to be a sense of exasperation coming from Kyle, who was a solid, chunky guy in his late 20’s with short cropped blond hair, and a loose-fitting football jersey on with a baseball cap turned backwards on his head.
“I never keep it anywhere else so I won’t lose it. I do the same thing with the keys every time.â€
“I know it’s happening again. It’s been a while since the last one. You know we’ll have to go on another quest.” Kyle said.
I sneered at Kyle. “Cute. A quest to find my keys.”
“I wish I was being funny.” Kyle said, and he brought something out from under the coffee table which looked just like a crystal ball. He shoved a game controller onto the floor, as well as a big coffee table book with optical illusions in it.
â€œDo you have to make such a big mess, Kyle.â€ Janie said.
â€œI have no idea why we live with a guy,â€ Ellen said.
â€œYes you do,â€ said, as he dumped a stack of textbooks off the table. â€œI’m the one stupid enough to face an entire horde of goblins as you struggle to finish your spells.â€
â€œDo you guys play Warcraft?â€
â€œWe don’t even have a computer. I mean, we did, but we didn’t bother to get it back.â€ Janie said. â€œI never liked computers anyway.â€
â€œYeah, well, it wasn’t your computer, Janie.â€ Kyle said. â€œWe could have…â€
â€œYou saw what we were going to have to face to get it back.â€ Janie said.
â€œSo, then, you guys play D&D?â€ I asked, hoping against hope that I’d finally found some gamers.
â€œUm, no. I mean, not exactly.â€ Kyle said.
â€œOh, maybe you play Fantasy Hero then, or GURPS?â€
â€œGURPS? Sounds like a disease,â€ Janie said.
â€œIsn’t that the game you play in steam tunnels?â€ Ellen asked.
â€œNo!â€ I said, feeling as if my geek nature was a bit exposed. â€œIt’s with dice and books. Anyway, what did you mean about facing a goblin horde? Aw hell, I’m really late now. None of this is helping me get my keys back.â€
â€œShe’s right, El. You are the seer. Check out if it’s there.â€
â€œYeah yeah. I’m more like Cassandra. No one listens to me.â€ Ellen sat down on the floor in front of the crystal ball, and concentrated. I blinked as it got smoky, and then started to clear.
â€œIs that like a special TV or something from Sharper Image?â€ I asked.
â€œIt’s actually a crystal ball,â€ Kyle said, â€œjust like it looks like. So keep watching.â€
The image resolved into my keys, hanging from a hook. â€œYou found it!â€ I said. â€œWhere is it?â€
The image pulled back, and fell back along what looked like an impossibly tall tower, and pulled backwards along the ground, a lake, villages, a waiting army of…strange creatures. And then, Ellen’s voice rose, but it sounded both distant, and incredibly present all at the same time. â€œThe object of your desire hangs from the tallest tower in the land of Vene Be’er, past the army of Throrgar, through the lands of the Dreamsenders, and guarded by the grand Vene’er himself.â€ Ellen stood up, and her eyes rolled up so that only the whites were visible. â€œHEAR ME, SHELLEY REGINA DAWSON, YOU MUST RECOVER THE OBJECT OF YOUR DESIRE, FOR IT DOES GREAT EVIL IN THESE LANDS. WITH THIS I CHARGE YOU.â€
Ellen’s eyes went back to normal, and she didn’t even stagger. Instead, she said in a very normal voice, â€œAs long as I’m up, anyone want a beer?â€
â€œWha?â€ I said.
â€œI’ll have one,â€ Kyle said. â€œAnd I told you it was a quest.â€
â€œYeah yeah,â€ Ellen said, â€œWant one too, Shel? Looks like you need one.â€
â€œYou guys playing a joke?â€
“Nope.” Janie said. “I’ll have one too, and I hate to admit it, but Kyle was right.”
“You should admit things like that more often,” Kyle said, crossing his arms.
“Yeah, I’ll get right to work on that as soon as you start being right more often.”
Ellen walked in with some beers, and handed one to each of us. I started to take a draw, and she grabbed my hand, and held it back from my mouth. She held her can out in front of her, and we all toasted at the same timeâ€¦and then found ourselves in a windblown field, in another land.
Our clothes had changed. I was wearing black leather, had rings on nearly every finger, and a sudden mastery of thievery. Kyle was in a full set of armor, with a large sword hanging behind his back. Janie’s long hair was bound in a bun, and she had a staff in one hand, and her eyes glowed with strange power. Ellen seemed to be wearing a cloak. Incongruously, we were still holding the cans of Bud Light in our hands.
Kyle downed the beer in one swig, crushed the can against his helmet, belched, and tossed the can. “Like I said, a questâ€¦.”
Two months later, we were back in the apartment, and I was holding my keys. “â€¦that the metal in these keys held magical properties in their world?” I finished the sentence in my own land. “Aw crap. We’re back, and I’ve probably lost my job after being gone two months.”
“I doubt it.” Kyle said. “Time moves funny there. We usually get back just a few minutes after we left. You’re probably still late though.”
“Damn. You’re probably right, let me check my cellphone for the time…oh no.”
“Missing your cellphone?” Janie said, raising her eyebrow. Ellen started to lean down in front of the crystal ball.
“Screw it.” I said. “It was time for a new one anyway.”
Voice 1: â€œIs the subject ready?â€
Voice 2: â€œNearly so.â€
Voice 1: â€œDo not speak during the interrogation such as the last one. Not unless something goes wrong. You are not trained in this.â€
Voice 2: â€œYes, yes I understand.â€
Voice 1: â€œI mean this. You ruined a particularly fascinating–.â€
Voice 2: â€œI said that I understood.â€
Voice 1: â€œVery well. Is the subject ready now?â€
Voice 2: â€œYes. I can activate at your request.â€
Voice 1: â€œOkay, please activate now.â€
Voice 1: â€œNow, what was the form of address for this culture? Oh yes. SIR.â€
Voice 1: â€œSir. Sir. Thereâ€™s been an accident, sir. Can you hear me?â€
Voice 1: â€œYes, an accident.â€
Subject: â€œOh my god! I canâ€™t feel my legs! I canâ€™t feel my arms either! I canâ€™t see!â€
Voice 1: â€œSir! Sir! Itâ€™s OK. Weâ€™ve had to put you on aâ€¦medications.â€
Subject: â€œI canâ€™t feel anything!â€
Voice 1: â€œSir! Sir!â€
Voice 2: â€œI had to shut him down, and am going through a reset cycle. He panicked so much, he overloaded the interfaces.â€
Voice 1: â€œCanâ€™t you do anything to help? Heâ€™ll just go through the same thing again if you reset.â€
Voice 2: â€œI can give the illusion of limited senses, except for sight. I donâ€™t know if that will work.â€
Voice 1: â€œLet us try. You told me that this one had a better profile than the others. It seems to be worth it.â€
Voice 2: â€œOk. Iâ€™m ready.â€
Voice 1: â€œActivate.â€
Voice 1: â€œSir? Sir?â€
Voice 1: â€œThereâ€™s been an accident sir.â€
Voice 1: â€œYes, you are inâ€¦a place of healing.â€
Subject: â€œA hospital.â€
Voice 1: â€œYes! A hospital. That is the term.â€
Subject: â€œIâ€¦Iâ€¦I canâ€™t see.â€
Voice 1: â€œWe had toâ€¦bandage your head, do not try to open your ocular appendages.â€
Subject: â€œThereâ€™s something wrong with my eyes!?â€
Voice 1: â€œSir, sir! Donâ€™t panic. This is only temporary while they heal.â€
Subject: â€œWhatâ€¦what happened. I canâ€™t remember. Was it a car accident?â€
Voice 1: â€œCar. Yes. Car accident.â€
Subject: â€œHow long will I be here? Whereâ€™s my wife?â€
Voice 1: â€œâ€¦we donâ€™t know your identity yet sir. What is your name?â€
Subject: â€œWasnâ€™t it on my ID?â€
Voice 1: â€œWe were not able to recover your…eye dee.â€
Subject: â€œThat must have been a bad accident. At least I canâ€™t feel pain. The drugs are working well.â€
Voice 1: â€œYes, drugs. They are working. May I ask you some questions?â€
Subject: â€œâ€¦yes. Sorry. I am Francis Gedner.â€
Voice 1: â€œFrancis Gedner. Ok. Iâ€¦wrote that down.â€
Subject: â€œI live at 555 Sugarbottom Lane, in Delavan. You can call my wife at, 424-555-2425. Itâ€™s marked ICE on my cell phone. If it survived the accident.â€
Voice 1: â€œYour cellâ€¦phone.â€
Subject: â€œYes, cell phone.â€
Voice 1: â€œWhat isâ€¦Iâ€™m sorry. May I ask you some questions?â€
Subject: â€œYes of course.â€
Voice 1: â€œThey may seem strange, but they will help us immensely.â€
Subject: â€œâ€¦go ahead I suppose.â€
Voice 1: â€œWhat is aâ€¦cell phone?â€
Subject: â€œâ€¦youâ€™re kidding, right?â€
Voice 1: â€œPardon me, I need to speak to yourâ€¦doctor. How is the…patient.â€
Voice 2: â€œVery stable.â€
Voice 1: â€œSir. Francis. I need to be clear with you. Things arenâ€™t as they seem.â€
Subject: â€œIâ€™ve been more badly hurt than youâ€™re saying, havenâ€™t I?â€
Voice 1: â€œYes. Iâ€™m afraid so. Youâ€¦died. But we were able to bring you back.â€
Subject: â€œI can tell. Something doesnâ€™t feel right about this. I canâ€™t really move around the right way. I donâ€™t feelâ€¦right.â€
Voice 1: â€œItâ€™s more than that. You are the last link to your civilization.â€
Subject: â€œExcuse me?â€
Voice 1: â€œDoctor, Is the patient still stable?â€
Voice 2: â€œYes. I think that he can take it.â€
Voice 1: â€œYour planet. All sentient life on your planet was destroyed. We are investigating how.â€
Subject: â€œYou must be joking.â€
Voice 1: â€œSir, I am not.â€
Subject: â€œBut how could you bring me back?â€
Voice 1: â€œWe are not from your earth. We are from elsewhere, and we were able to recover you, andâ€¦activate you to ask you questions. There is much about your civilization that we do not understand.â€
Subject: â€œâ€¦I donâ€™t believe you.â€
Voice 1: â€œIt is true. I cannot say it in a way you can verify. But I wish to ask you very basic questions about your civilization.â€
Subject: â€œIf thatâ€™s true, how did it end?â€
Voice 1: â€œWe donâ€™t know. Weâ€™re trying to find out. That is part of our purpose.â€
Subject: â€œPart of your purpose? Whatâ€™s the other parts?â€
Voice 1: â€œTo understand your lost civilization. We are, as your language approximates, archeological anthropologists.â€
Subject: â€œYouâ€™re lucky that I like science fiction, because otherwise, I would question this until the end of time. As it is, there are too many factors here that make sense. The fact that I donâ€™t feel the same. The fact that your speech is so odd. Well, anyway, even if itâ€™s a dream, it would make a great story. So, shoot.â€
Voice 1: â€œShoot?â€
Subject: â€œStart asking me questions. And remind me to teach you idioms and clichÃ©s.â€
Voice 1: â€œVery well. I will note that. We are fortunate that you are so amenable to answering questions. What is a cell phone?â€
Subject: â€œItâ€™s a communications device.â€
Voice 1: â€œAh. I see. So noted. I cannot tell you how excited I am that we have found such a willing individual as you.â€
Subject: â€œSure. This is fun. Go ahead with more questions.â€
Voice 1: â€œI have had one question more than any. I am filled with overjoy that I will have it explained. We found an object amongst the rubble and devastation. It was aâ€¦shrine we think. A religious device. It was made of metal, with a platform that your bipedal forms could stand on, and a square in the middle facing the front filled with objects.â€
Subject: â€œThat could be a shrine. Can you describe it some more?â€
Voice 1: â€œIt had some arrows on the platform to this shrine, and metal pipes at the level of where your hands would be if you were upright.â€
Subject: â€œâ€¦wait a minute. Arrows on the floor of thisâ€¦shrine?â€
Voice 1: â€œYes! Arrows in the four cardinal directions. It is this that caused us to think that it was of religious significance.â€
Subject: mumbling, â€œâ€¦I suppose it could have had a broken screen, so thatâ€™s why the box was filled with objects.â€
Voice 1: â€œDo you know what this is?â€
Subject: â€œWere the arrowsâ€¦letâ€™s see if I can remember. Were they blue and light purple?â€
Voice 1: â€œWe didâ€¦let me check my guide of what your language called each color frequency. Butâ€¦yes I think that those are your representations of the color frequencies that are on the platform.â€
Voice 1: â€œDo you know what this is?â€
Voice 1: â€œYou must tell me if you know! It is a great mystery. Is it because it has great religious significance that you cannot speak of this?â€
Subject: â€œI donâ€™t know how to tell you thisâ€¦â€
Voice 1: â€œKnow that your answer is the only way that others will understand your civilization. Without your explanation, your rich culture will perish into the darkness. Share it, and keep it alive!â€
Subject: â€œOk, how the hell do I explain Dance Dance Revolution to a bunch of aliens?â€
There’s an infinity of worlds that are as close to you as your breath, and they are all born from “What if?” Do you remember being a child, where you would travel to these places as if they were real, and play inside them?
I saw no reason to stop doing this as an adult. But of course, drifting away into a daydream isn’t the same thing when you’re in a business meeting. So, I wrote them down instead.
The stories I will share here are the result.