Bob And The Alien
Bob created an alien. He made him short and stout with a big nose and sarcastic but loveably so. He made his favorite breakfast food ‘one freshly squeezed cat’, then realized he had just created Alf. He deleted the entire passage, not by highlighting it and hitting ‘Delete’ once but by whamming down on the Delete key one letter at a time over and over like a machine gun, increasing the force and anger with which he struck the keys as he went, thinking about his girlfriend, who was no longer his girlfriend because she had dumped his ass, whom he believed correctly had always loved her cats more than him.
Bob murdered his alien. It didn’t help.
He left the apartment for a coffee shop up the street, had a mocha latté, read his newsfeed, and was depressed by it. Everything he tried to come up with, the conspiracy nuts came up with crap even crazier. He had an impatient publisher and no new ideas. The girlfriend with the cat kept happening, albeit with revolving girlfriends, and it bothered him. Bothered him such that he kept stumbling over it. He had to get away.
An overnight bag, his laptop, his butt behind the wheel of his car and he drove for the next 10 hours, off the Interstate after the first two, mostly with the top down, straight into the boonies. Stayed that night at a cheap motel god knew where, got up at dawn, ate a vending machine Danish, drove for another four hours on two-lane roads, stopped at a café in a tiny little town to go to the bathroom, and decided to have something like lunch there. A BLT. And coffee. Sitting in a booth by the window.
The alien arrived as he nursed his second cup of coffee.
“You’re Bob”, she said and sat down opposite him without waiting for an invitation. “Yeah. I know who you are.” She was slightly portly with shoulder length hair died a weak blue and tipped in purple at the ends. Her face had piercings in one nostril, one eyebrow on the opposite side, and in three places in both ears. Piercings always made Bob feel weird. Vivid, abstract body art on her arms convinced him she had similar all over her body.
He asked, “And you are?”
“I’ve read your novels,” she said, “And seen you on TV. I go by Inev.”
“Short for Inevitable. It’s my artist’s name. You’ve seen my work.”
“Have I, now?”
“You have one in your study. It’s the one with the blue and purple swirling sunset. You bought it at ‘Leann’s’ over on 48th. I saw it hanging in an interview you did there.”
He knew exactly the painting, and indeed he had bought it at Leann’s Gallery on 48th street. Leann seemed to specialize in finding emerging artists. He recalled the scrawl ‘Inevitable’ in the lower right corner. He’d thought it the title. “Okay,” he said.
She asked, “What brings you out here? Can’t be here for a signing or a lecture, there aren’t any bookstores.”
He measured his response. “Just driving around.”
She looked carefully at him. It was the first time he’d gotten past her piercings and body art to notice how large her eyes seemed, and how phenomenally ice blue they were. “You’re blocked aren’t you?”
“C’mon”, she began climbing out of the booth. “You’re not going to get unblocked here.”
He said, “You’re not going to break my legs and hide me in the basement, are you?”
She smirked. “We’re going to my studio. There is no basement.”
It was a converted shed on a derelict farm off a gravel road. It was stuffed to the gills with paintings ranging between just started and finished and had a sink and small stove and a commode and a bathtub on one end and a double-size unmade bed on the other. It smelled of paint and solvent. “Have a look through these,” she waved at the paintings. “I liked your novel about the frigate gone aground best. You create a very complete world in that one.”
“Yes,” he said. “That one reviewed the best.” He browsed the canvases, found himself more and more enthralled by the abstract landscapes and lighting, and found himself fixating on a work with bright orange and yellows and turquoise rectangles, a city spread along a burning ocean.
She moved very close to him, touching him. “Let yourself fall into that one,” she whispered.
Three weeks later he had enough of a completed manuscript on his laptop to submit a first draft to his publisher. He stretched next to her in bed early one morning and said, “I’m going to have to get that back to the city.”
She smiled at him half asleep and said, “You have to return to your planet.”
He embraced her, felt himself drawing contentment off her warm body like a magnetic charge. “I’m glad I found your planet.”
Suddenly awake she grabbed him with her eyes, draped one leg over him, left no doubt who was in command. “No,” she said, and she meant it, “This is just my spaceship. And I found you.”
* * *
BTW: The photo art and prose included in any given post are separate creations and rarely have anything to do with each other. Duality and such …
All my life I have had to learn to do things differently. To see the world differently.