Thursday, November 9, 2017

Filled With The Spirit: Part I

On October 3rd, 2017 KTWO: Montana reported the story of Bryant Johnson.  Bryant claimed that aliens had filled his body with alchohol to send him 1 year back in time to warn that the end of the world was near and the aliens would arrive shortly.  Humans should leave the planet as soon as possible.

This is not his story, but he was not the first to be sent.

Andromeda Crab woke up this morning like she woke up many mornings: in an alley, leaning against a dumpster, completely unaware of where or who she was.  Not knowing who she was tended to pass.  With a name like Andromeda Crab your self identity tends to have some sticking power.  But the where, that was always tricky.  She covered her sleep squinty eyes as the alley filled with the blaring red and blue of a passing emergency vehicle before fading back to the dull yellow of an old sulpher lamp reflecting off of the pools and puddles around her.  The buzz of the lamps, the dripping of last night's rain, and the distant noise of the city gave Andrea few clues to her geographical location.  Even with the clear indications of recent rain she was completely dry besides her back and the part of her denims that were touching the ground, those were soaked through.

"Wherever I am, I haven't been here long," was the thought that tried to pry its way out of her mind and mouth.  But the claws of her hungover brain kept the thought from fulling forming while a sound halfway between a mumble and a growl was the only thing that left her lips.  As she staggered to her feet, leaning against the rusty blue dumpster she saw something shiny fall from her pocket and clatter onto the broken asphault.  Staring at it quizickly she tried leaning over to pick it up but only succeeded in vomiting.  Thankfully for her, and for you dear reader, she completely missed the shiny object with her exuberant reminiscence and after a few moments resting her sweat sodden head against the cold dumpster she was able to focus again on the object at her feet. It was silver, almost like a locket you would find at the dollar store, filled with a swirl of peacock green & blue.  The center had a pearlescent shimmer like wet paint.  She was almost afraid to pick it up and even quickly glanced at her jacket pocket to see if it had left a trail of wet pigment where it had fallen.  But her jacket was clean, of paint anyway, and with puffed out cheeks, blowing lips, and bulging eyes she reached down to pick up the shiny trinket.

It is a more strange aspect of the human condition that drives us to pick up whatever we have dropped, even if we don't know what it is.  That one sock from the armfull of laundry which we will sacrifice an entire load of clean clothes for in our naive confidence to be able to maintain the load in our arms and somehow, holding the clothes with our chin, using our feet and one free hand, to try and get the thing which we have dropped.  We will go through a box of junk from an old lady's house.  We will confirm the contents are nothing of value and carry it to the dumpster waiting outside.  If one trinket falls out the bottom we will stop, put down the box of trash, and pick up the thing that got away and, more likely than not, put that one piece of trash into our pocket.  Maybe it was an old screw, the stem from a broken wine glass, or a shredded piece of newspaper but we will keep that piece of litter.  Do we keep it because of its defiant will to live?  Did we like the ring it made when it hit the ground?  Maybe it is a momento of the hard work of cleaning out a dead lady's house.  But I believe that it stems from a deep, ancient, evolutionary drive to pick up anything that fell, because... well... you never know when you might need it.

Many times in the coming days, weeks, years did Andromeda wish that she had not, in a her drunken haze driven by an ancient compulsion, pick up that shiny bob lying on the grimy, rain soaked alley. That moment she wished he could have back.  But instead of just straightening up and shambling out of the alley into the approaching dawn light, she reached down to pick it up.  And the moment her finger touched it, everything changed.

Adrea's mind swirled and raced.  If you have ever seen an old science fiction movie's depiction of hyperspace travel, or watched any old movie where the main character had a trippy flashback of memories, you will know what Andrea saw.  Outside her mind everything was blurry, distorted, and hazy.  But inside her mind, the moment her finger contacted the peacock tricket, there was terrifying clarity.  The images that swirled she new were real memories.  The fear that filled her was measurable, sharp, and the thing she feared almost tangible.  It was like waking up from a dream into a nightmare and Andrea did not like it one bit.  Her body reacted to a mind full of memory and panic by emptying her stomach once again.  The dischordant state between her drunken body and her vibrant mind seemed to want to biforcate the two part of her.  There was a tearing sensation deep inside her brain and her body froze in that alley, all alone, like a hare spotting a child with a slingshot in the snow.  She looked like she was about to run down the alley screaming.  She looked like she was a marble edifice never to move again.  She felt like the fiery boned prophets of old.  Then again, thankfully, everything went dark.

Waking up in the same alley on the same day forces the mind to experience a particularly strong sensation of deja vu.  But the smell of her own vomit and the dumpster's contents warming in the morning sun brought a confirmation of the reality of her memories of the wee hours of that morning.  Worse she saw the peackock colored trinket there by her feet.  That part most of all she wished was a dream.  She strained her mind to convince herself it had never happened, it was false, but her mind held the reality of it close like a child clutching her charred teadybear, standing on the lawn, watching her house burn down. And although Adromeda Crab had lied to herself most of her life she was unable to lie to herself now.

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