“Honey, your phone is ringing…somewhere,” Marge said.
My phone..?” I replied. That’s the problem with cell phones, they’re easily misplaced, and what’s great about them, is that when you call them, they ring, you can find them if you look fast enough.
“I think it’s in the den,” Marge said. The den, or the office as we used to call it because it has our computers, printers, and all the other office stuff in it, is at the other end of the house. Fortunately, it’s a relatively small house.
“Okay, I’m on my way”, I shouted, because she was banging cabinet doors and pots and pans in the kitchen, and might not hear me otherwise. I jumped up from my reading chair as fast as my 70-year-old athletic frame could safely move, and scurried as quickly as my stiff legs and the obstacle course of tables, chairs, floor lamps and bookcases would allow, and reached the dark office, spotted the bright screen of the cell phone, and picked it up within three rings. I thought that was pretty good for a sedentary soldier of seventy. I pressed the button to answer the call. As soon as I placed it to my ear, I remembered that I hadn’t checked the screen before answering to find out whether or not it was another telemarketer. Then I heard my wife shout from the kitchen,”Use your earbuds, please” a second before the caller said, “Harvey? Is that you?”
Immediately I recognized Fred’s voice and felt some regret in hastening to respond to what was likely to be another conspiracy alert.
“Yes, as a matter of fact, it is me, answering my phone,” I replied in a lilting tone, attempting to elicit a laugh or smile from my typically morose and somber old friend. Overly melodramatic or not, he had been of immense help over the years, helping my son and daughter get into the local over solicited college.
“Are you alone?” he asked in a hoarse whisper.
“Yes, except for Marge.” I replied, not sure whether to whisper or not, and hastily added, “ but she’s in the next room.” Hearing myself mention her name, I remembered that she wanted me to put on my ear buds. Just as I reached for them, fortunately still hanging from a hook on the wall, instead of lost in the clutter on my desk. “Are you wearing your earbuds?” she shouted from the kitchen.
“Yes, Almost got them on,” I quickly replied, knowing that she would soon come to check on me if I didn’t let her know that I was working on it.
“Hold on a second, Fred,” then I hastily plugged one end of the cord into the phone, and another into my ear. “Still there,” I asked.
After a moment’s silence, “Yes. You still alone?” his voice was low but not quite as whispery.
“Yeah. What’s up?” I answered in an empathetic low tone. Then I looked around the office, wondering whether to sit for a lengthy “I’m got a lot to tell you” call, or a brief, “I think I’m being followed, and I need to tell you something quickly while I still can” call.
“How much time do we have?” he inquired. Wow, nice of him to ask, I thought. Then I remembered that the last time he called, I was on the phone with him for almost an hour, and then Marge came in wondering was going on. ‘Was I going to bed?’ ‘Didn’t I remember we had an appointment early in the morning?’
“Let’s see,” I hesitated, trying to find a-not-too-long, not-too-short period of time, “a few minutes,” I said. That would give me some flexibility, in case he was long winded, or Marge decided she couldn’t bear to be away from me, any longer.
“Who is it,” I heard her ask. I suppose wondering if I was trying to hide something. Attempting to hide anything from her just complicates life too much for me, so I had decided not to try. Therefore, I don’t, except on rare occasions. This wasn’t one of them.
“It’s Fred, he’s in a hurry, I think,” I shouted back, after muting the call.
“Remember I was talking to you about Stump?” Fred went on. I un-muted the phone.
“Stump? Oh, you mean the president reject, I mean elect.” Funny slip of the tongue, rejected by some and elected by others.
“Yeah, well I think I have some proof that I was right,” he said.
“Oh,” trying to remember our last conversation. We had talked about Stump, the somewhat odd choice for president, who somehow got elected. And I vaguely remembered some weird theory he had.
“Let’s see, you thought…,” I slowly replied, trying to coax the memory back and yet hoping that he would grow impatient, and…
“He’s an alien. Remember we couldn’t understand how someone would be so dumb as to ignore all the signs of global warming and want to continue with oil and coal production, and abolish the alternative energy initiatives, etc. And so on. Do you remember now?”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah, I remember now, yeah, wow, we were wondering about that,” he was wondering, I believed the elect was an idiot.
“Well he is,”
“He is what?” I asked, certain that I hadn’t missed anything, but knowing I must have.
“An alien, aren’t you listening,” he emphasized vehemently. The first alien that came to mind was the kind that came across the border, but that’s stupid. Then I remembered Fred thought Stump was an alien from outer space because that would explain why he wasn’t worried about global warming, and wouldn’t mind the polluted atmosphere, because he obviously had come from a planet with those conditions and he would survive, no matter how warm and toxic it got on earth. It was so obvious, I don’t how I had missed that.
“I’m sorry, you caught me late in the evening, my mind was in a book I’m reading. Never mind that. Now I remember you had a theory that Stump was from another planet. Yeah? And you think you’ve got some evidence to prove it. Wow!” I was having trouble humoring him. Did he lose his mind? He must have. Where, or when? A little each day, until it was irretrievable?
“I know this sounds crazy, but hear me out,” he said.
“Okay, go ahead,” I was curious, to say the least. I could see the headlines now, ‘The president is an Alien. Who knew?’
“I was talking to an old buddy of mine. We did P.I. together, when we were younger. He’s on the president’s secret service protection team. Wait, what was that? I hear something.” There was silence on the line, then the ambient noise, street noise, a siren. I heard footsteps, someone running downstairs. ‘Must be Fred running’, I thought. He has a staircase down to his basement. A door opened and closed, some latch noises, a whirring sound, a shuffling sound, more whirring, a soft thud, then dead silence. “I’m in my safe room,” echoed his voice.
“You have a safe…,” I heard a click like you hear when the phone line goes dead, “…room?” There was dead silence on the line “…… Fred?, are you..,” then the door bell rang, “..there?”
“Honey, the doorbell is ringing. Would you please find out who is visiting at this time of night. I’m in the middle of sewing, “ Marge said, ‘and I’m not in the middle of something?’ I was feeling irritated, trying to humor a crazy old friend and a demanding wife at the same time was taxing the limits of my patience.
I scurried over to the front door and looked out through the fisheye lens. There, barely visible at night, at the curb was a black SUV.
Since I didn’t see anyone through the fisheye lens, I asked through the door “Who’s there?” A man’s head came into view. He had an earbud in one ear, with a white curled cord coming off it, the other end disappeared behind him. He held up a badge, that said clearly FBI.
Oh them, I thought absentmindedly. They’re safe, and as I unlocked the door, I remembered that Fred had an FBI security guard friend. I wondered whether this was the guy.
“How can I help you?,” I asked, as I hastily opened the door, and I looked up into the dark shining eyes of the tall broad shouldered, nearly suited, probably ex-football, ex-navy seal presence looming over me, an uneasiness came over me. But then as I looked up into the calm face in front of me, it broke into a friendly, smile. There didn’t seem to be any cause for alarm. After a moment he said, as I noticed his neatly cut blond hair, “He’s not the first one, you know,” he said.
I felt a little confused, yet part of me seemed to know what he was talking about. “I beg your pardon,” I replied.
I got the sense of a metronome running somewhere, or was it the alternately dimming and brightening light on his vehicle. I felt a heaviness in my body, my eyelids fell closed. I forgot something. I had trouble opening my eyes again.
I heard the FBI guy saying in a voice that sounded far off in a tunnel, “He’s okay, he will adjust, everything is fine.” The words “everything is fine” echoed in my head, slowing growing fainter and fainter, then I seem to come back to normal, and he said “Good night. Everything is fine.” He turned, walked back to his vehicle, got in, and drove away.
“Everything is fine,” I told myself, as I walked back inside and shut the door.
I heard my wife saying something, but it wasn’t clear. She came out of the kitchen to me.
“Who was that?” when I didn’t answer, she said, “are you alright, you look confused.” After a pause, she said, “there’s the phone ringing again.”
“It is?” I asked because I didn’t hear it.
“Are you getting hard of hearing?”
“Ah, oh, I don’t know, just thinking about something else. I suppose, “ I said a little dreamily.
“Will you get the phone? I need to return to my cooking,” she said little petulantly. The thought of losing one’s hearing would make anyone irritable, and that’s another story.
“Yeah, okay, sure,” I responded, as headed back to the den, I wasn’t sure what was going on.
I picked up the phone and said, “hello.”
Fred said, “Did you have a visitor?”
“A visitor, when?”
“You sound like you’ve been hypnotized.” Then Fred muttered some unintelligible gimmerish, in a language, I didn’t recognize. My head cleared, and I remembered the FBI guy at the front door. “He hypnotized me, didn’t he?” I heard myself say. “How did he do that?”
“I’m glad you asked. That guy with the blond hair is a member of the psychic team. They’re got all kinds of tricks. He wanted you to forget that I called. But he’s dealing with a pro, meaning me. He was in diapers when I was doing what he does now.”
“What’s he doing?” he had my attention.
“Never mind, they know I contacted you. They must have tapped our phones. But now I’m calling with DT, and they think I’m your neighbor calling about the fence that needs repair.”
“We don’t have a fence. Wait, what’s DT?” I said.
“Dark Technology. Can’t explain now. Hang on, let me make some adjustments on the psychic side. Okay you don’t have a fence, I’ll change that,..” after a pause, “..now we’re talking about the fence that the neighbor had where he used to live, ah, somewhere in Montana.”
“Ok, he is from Montana. You can make them think what you want them to think, but not exactly. It’s complicated. Remind me next time I see you, and we’ll do a mind-meld thing, you know like in Star Trek.”
“You’re playing with me now, right? That’s so far-fetched, it’s laughable,” I said.
“Doesn’t matter what you believe. People used to believe the world was flat, ” Fred said.
“Some still do, I’ve heard,” I replied.
“Let’s get back to the urgent business? Who’s after me?,” Fred said.
“And now me, it appears,” I stated, I expected Marge to interrupt the call before my curiosity was satisfied.
“Not to worry, I’ve got them sidetracked, maybe permanently. Here it is in a nutshell. The president is an alien, the outer space kind, and he’s not the first president to be an alien. And not to worry, he thinks he’s in control, but he’s just another pawn in a bigger game. That’s pretty clear, isn’t it? Any questions?“
“A bunch,” I replied.
“I only have time for a couple. Go!”
My mind was in a cloud of concern, and I was difficulty deciding what to ask first or how to put it into words.
“Let me help, you’re still in a post trance recovery state. So I think I know what you want to know.
“So why do I have a safe room? Especially since I can psychically confuse people from a distance?”
Yeah, I did wonder about that. “Don’t BS me,” I said.
“Wouldn’t think of it. I have a fair amount of power, even at my age, unfortunately, I can’t move quite as fast as the younger guys, so I use the safe room when they show up unexpectedly, or I just need to disappear for awhile.”
The idea of a safe room brought up so many questions for me, “Oh, and how do you breathe down there? I thought they were air tight.”
“Special technology, I won’t burden you with the details, you don’t need to know, and we don’t have time for it.
“Now for the most important question. Why do I think the president is an alien?”
“Yes, please explain,” I insisted.
“ Have you wondered how anyone in their right mind would want to resurrect the coal industry and was so indifferent to the possibility of global warming and air pollution? Well, so did I?”
Now that he bought it up, that was odd? I always figured he had oil investments, and didn’t have the foresight to invest in solar.
Fred went on, “ One day my buddy, who works on the president elect’s protection team noticed something that made him wonder. He saw Stump standing behind a running diesel truck, near the exhaust, carrying on a conversation with his daughter for about twenty minutes, and those noxious fumes didn’t seem to phase them.”
“Just because he can tolerate diesel exhaust doesn’t mean he must be an alien. And you’re also insinuating that his daughter is an alien too?”
“Well, you can’t have one without the other. Anyway, my buddy, Ted, noticed something else. During the course of protection assignment, Ted needs to almost brush elbows with the elect. One day he noticed that Stump did not have the typical body odor.”
“Maybe he uses an exotic cologne, that’s odorless,” my skepticism was getting the best of me.
“Patience! There’s more. Being a curious, investigative type, he notices that the elect’s body is covered in a rubber fresh colored coating. It shows up especially on his hands and neck, where creases don’t fold naturally. ”
“Isn’t that just a matter of perception. Some people have strange skin. Or maybe he wears gloves or a wig to hide skin blotches.”
“No, that’s not it. Ted reasoned that if the elect were in a rubber suit, he would be very hot most of the time.”
“You could try frying an egg on his head,” I offered.
“Funny dude. He wanted to keep his suspicions a secret, so he used a heat detection camera. Stump’s body showed up excessively hot. If he were a human, he would have passed out.”
“Maybe he has a high tolerance for heat. Or maybe it’s a special vanity weather coating for snow season in New York.”
“Nope, sorry. This was in Arizona. Okay, let’s say hypothetically he’s not human, and he had no problem with the whole planet heating up another 10 – 20 degrees every year. And his army wants a hot planet, with a polluted atmosphere, because they can handle it, “ Fred replied.
“While the rest of us perish?”
“Interesting theory, a little far-fetched. You obviously have an excessively active imaginations, and can’t think of anything better to do. Therefore, since this is not a first-hand experience for me, I hope you don’t mind a little skepticism on my part,” I replied.
“Not at all, it doesn’t matter, though. Usually, I wouldn’t consider sharing this kind of information with anyone else. And I’m not sure why I shared it with you, besides the fact that we have known each other for years.”
“And my gullibility?” I offered.
“That’s an even better reason. And that brings me to the final question. Should you worry about all this? No, and I’ll tell you why. Get ready for more far-fetched razzamatazz.”
“Can’t wait. Lay it on me, but not too thick, my incredulity meter has almost reached its limit, and is migrating into lunacy.”
“Great, I’m glad you have a healthy perspective. Best not to lose yourself in a hypothetical world of hyperbole.”
“So why don’t I have to worry about an alien president taking over the country and then the world with the ultimate weapon— Global Warming!?
“No, let me guess. Because there’s an army of angels looking after us?”
“You could call them angels. They are invisible, light beings, and are very protective of us.”
“Have you mentioned that perhaps they’ve been asleep, and missed all the misery, mayhem, and madness that we wreak on each other.”
“Well, they do everything they can for us. If everyone would stop once in a while and listen, let’s say daily, we would hear cautionary guidance. Mesmerized by the entertaining life spectacle, the sensation-addicted populace takes itself blindly down the path of pain or pleasure, instead learning how to rise above it.”
“Hmm, those angels have their work cut out for them,” I interjected.
“Enough of that for now. We’d better step back into the space-time continuum, before we become disoriented. You’ll hear from me. Your wife is calling you.”
“Where are you? I’m been calling you for five minutes,” I heard Marge shout.
I’m used to her exaggerations and figured it had only been a minute, but on the other hand, it did seem more like at least ten minutes has passed since I answered the phone the second time.