by Doug Hawley
Joe took his
newspaper out to read on a fine spring day.
As usual he sat on what he thinks of as his
park bench by a stream in the forest. He
was mildly upset to see a stranger on one end of
the bench. Because he didnt want to
cede his place, he sat down and greeted the
The front page of his paper has a headline Army
suggests flying saucers may be real.
Without thinking he said to no one How can
anybody believe in alien spaceships?
The man at the other end of the bench replied
I know what you mean. Little green
men, disk shaped flying machines. What
Despite himself, because he believed he has
encountered a rare rational soul, Joe said Right.
Nothing inhabited could be close enough to earth
to travel here.
That only works in what we call the
tachispace where speeds are faster than the speed
of light. There we can travel between
galaxies in seconds.
Joe stared at the stranger for a few seconds and
after blinking for a while appropriately asked
You see, we can easily get from the
universe to tachispace.
You mean a place where women wear big
shoulder pads and the floors are linoleum?
Joe laughed at what he thought was a clever joke.
After mumbling something under this breath about
stupid humans Its tachi
like fast. In this sense we mean fast, not
tacky as in bad taste.
Now Joe is irritated I took you for a
reasonable man. Now I see Ive run
into another crazy. Who are you?
Just a guy from planet Umlaut in another
galaxy hanging out for a while on this bench.
You can call me Duke. We dont usually
use names where Im from.
But earlier you said flying saucers were
nonsense. Now you say they are real.
True, I said there are no flying saucers.
We travel in displacement ovals. Theres
a little jolt going from universe to tachispace
and back, but its not too bad. As you
can see, Im brown not green. We come
in all colors, but only send out people who match
the place they go.
OK, is there any way you can prove all this.
Can I see a displacement oval?
Sorry, you cannot sense one of our machines.
Your senses dont work that way. I
could walk into it and you would just think that
I had disappeared without seeing the machine.
Duke looks around and doesnt see anyone.
I can do something that might make you
You can try.
Duke grabbed his forehead just below his hairline
and pulls back. Inside Dukes head
where a brain would be expected there appeared a
spaghetti-like mess of translucent tubes carrying
fluids in a multitude of colors.
Did you hypnotize me? Did someone
slip me some drugs? Thats not real.
Joe, I cant think of anything that
will convince you if this doesnt. I
will give you some advice if you tell
anyone, youll be called mad, so you
probably shouldnt tell this to the news or
anyone you know.
How did you know Im Joe?
Hey, you didnt believe anything else
Ive said, I dont think you would
follow how I know about your birthday, marital
status, and occupation.
Then you must know Im a writer.
Indeed. You could turn this into a
Before you go, why are you here?
We visit different planets for vacations
and science. Im studying primitive
Joe you must want to know what humans
always want to know. Ill show you
mine if you show me yours. Duke
started to unbuckle his belt.
Uhh, no Im good.
I see. You would be shamed by the
With that Duke walked about fifty meters away
while projecting a multi-color aura and
Joe stared at the spot where Duke disappeared for
about five minutes and then said to no one Maybe
I will write this story. Id better
call it science fiction instead of memoir.