was shunned by society. She chose therefore to spend much of her time
alone; in her room, in her cubicle at work, listening to music on the
bus, eyes downcast to avoid attention or conversation.
her mother it was a difficult pregnancy with morning sickness, back
and pelvic pain, near miscarriages, and bedrest which pushed her to
the brink. When the nurse brought Joy in for her first feeding her
mother said, “This is not my child,” and turned away. Despite
reassurances from the hospital staff she refused to accept that Joy
was hers. They never bonded. Joy was provided for, but there was no
childhood, even before being ostracized by her classmates Joy began
creating elaborate scenarios, languages, people and societies in her
mind. She saw them, felt them, touched them, and even smelled them.
To her they were more real than life. She felt as if it was where she
belonged. There were multitudes of detail in her mind. The blue-green
grass was thick, lush. The stucco-like textured walls of all the
buildings were something soft instead of hard and caused a tingling
in her palms when pressed against them. The people there were nice
and friendly. They accepted one another, relied upon one another,
helped one another, something she’d never really experienced. The
languages they spoke were elaborate and detailed with nuances of
meaning that were perfectly clear to her. Nothing like the crude
English she had to speak in real life. Joy never told anyone of these
wonders in her mind, never spoke of then, never wrote of them, not
even in the detailed daily journals she had kept since teaching
herself to write at age four.
the aliens approached Joy knew it before anyone. It was weeks later
that the president announced on national TV the approach of an
interstellar ship. He said they were attempting to communicate with
the ship but were so far were unsuccessful. The news media played a
clip of the transmission and Joy immediately knew it said, “We come
in peace.” She didn’t tell anyone.
knew they would be landing in western Wyoming. She got in her old
beaten-up car and drove, hoping to make it, hoping to meet the
aliens. She drove through the night and the entire next day to reach
the spot where she knew they would be landing. It was nothing more
than a simple crossroads of two state highways outside of Big Piney.
landed silently and slowly a few hundred feet from her car with no
smoke, no fire or rockets. She loved them even before they lowered a
ladder and two of them in protective suits clambered down it to the
Earth. Joy approached and spoke to them in their own language.
“Welcome to Earth. We are pleased to have you.” The larger of the
two aliens spoke, its voice muffled by the suit. “Thank you. We
come in peace.” Joy was at a loss for what to say next. The alien
filled the silence, ‘We would like to enjoy your company, to have
you join us.”
Of course,” Joy said.
climbed the ladder into the ship and were gone long before the F-16s
built the dishes and listened. We scanned the skies seeking others,
not knowing if we were alone or if we could even know. We launched
probes, built silver orbiting machines to watch, to seek, to search
from above an atmosphere growing more deadly with each passing day.
studied fossils, physics, and chemistry to learn how life came to our
lonely watery planet. We studied the universe for clues, for answers.
We created computers, robots, and AIs and upon realizing our fate set
them free. Others were yet to be. We would never meet. We had arrived
days of surveying, sampling, testing, analyzing and finding nothing Sam took
the shuttle down for direct observations, not expecting to see anything new. He
stepped out of the airlock into the fresh air he knew was breathable and filled
his lungs. It was almost like an elixir compared to the recycled, reprocessed
air of the ship. It had a sharp somewhat cinnamon-like aroma. He scanned the
barren wasteland around him and shook his head in disgust before spitting into
the dirt. “What a piece of shit planet.”
He turned, climbed into the shuttle and boosted back to the ship. As he
did the static microbes in the soil flashed into overdrive, taking what they
wanted from his DNA, using the liquid and nutrients to fuel their nascent metabolism.
After a few million years the
planet was covered with Sams all stomping around, bumping into each other,
spitting and proclaiming, “What a piece of shit.”
A billion years later the planet
resembled nothing more so than a giant turd.
A few billion years later
intelligent life had developed, space had been conquered and they were
spreading it thick throughout the galaxy.