The Purple Light District
Well, I have discovered what the alien globe is for (pardon yet another dangling participle).
I had been using it as a night-light, the imbedded spiral blinking purpley to give me safe passage during nighttime journeys for relief. Then one night, the spiral stopped flashing. Instead, its glow became constant. At first, I was thrilled. (Truthfully, Diary, the flashing occasionally made me feel as though I lived in the purple-light district of Amsterdam.) But my happiness, I found, was inversely related to the strength of the light, which, over a few days, changed from a peaceful glow into a glare that kept me tossing and turning in bed.
Intending to banish it to the kitchen, I carried it downstairs. That, Diary, is when I saw the bright lights descending over my garden and heard the drone of approaching engines.
I sighed, for this could only mean one thing: more aliens.
Will these new arrivals appreciate that I slew their comrades justifiably, in the defense of art? Or will they be as inconsiderate and boorish as their predecessors?
I sincerely hope it's not the latter, Diary, for the authorities confiscated my spade and I do not have another.
Fantastic news! Really, I can think of none better!
Unlike their predecessors, the aliens that landed yesterday did not crash in the garden in a flurry of uprooted dogwoods and peonies, but rather, glided their craft craftily and placed it daintily in the side yard. Not a blade of grass harmed.
Equally fantastic was my realization that these latest visitors had no idea of the fate of their brethren. And, as they seemed so happy to have arrived safely, it seemed to me that I would be a poor hostess indeed to choose that moment to inform them. Therefore, I merely showed them the one artifact that the authorities had missed: the purple-glowing sphere, which now clearly revealed itself to be a beacon. I explained that I found it in the distant fields that surrounded our fair hamlet. (Yes, Diary, it was a little white lie, but it was all to spare my guests' feelings. Surely that's excusable?)
Well, these aliens seem to be of a totally different sort than my first batch. These, for example, were far more sociable and so we were able to make passing conversation on the back porch. As it happens, they were quite famished and their favored sustenance is a liquid akin to lemonade. Thankfully, I happened to have lemonade in quite abundance, having stocked up on cans of powder in anticipation of the Y2K apocalypse that, like so many predicted apocalypses before it, failed to materialize. Luckily, I had plenty of napkins as well.
Like their comrades, they were looking for leaders of the world. I marvel, however, at how ill informed they were. How could they not know our hamlet’s last brush with a world leader was when, rumor had it, President Tyler's wagon lost a wheel? And so, because they seemed so interested in finding a world leader and, as their hostess, I felt it my duty to insure they were not disappointed, we discussed my impressions of world politics.
Who could know that from our conversation they would come to believe that I was among those they sought? Although if I am to be completely forthright with you, Diary, I must admit that some of my phrasing might have suggested this very notion to them. Yet I'm sure you will agree that, upon seeing their slobbering faces light up believing their mission a complete success, I could hardly dash their dreams. I would rather tell a toddler that Santa Claus is a fabricated fraud, even as her chubby little fingers reached for her over-stuffed Christmas stocking! (I won't make that mistake again!) So I did the only decent thing I could: I graciously accepted their admiration.
Now, Diary, I shall have the last laugh upon my ever-envious neighbors for, after decades of being called a "space cadet," I shall now become one!
© 2007 SC Bryce, Reprinted With Permission
This story originally appeared in Kaleidotrope, No. 2.
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SC Bryce is a long-time reader and writer of speculative fiction and has been published in Flashing Swords, Lorelei Signal, Byzarium, and AfterburnSF to name a few. Born in Washington, DC, the author currently resides outside Manhattan. Read more at SCBryce.com.