Author: Mikki Aronoff
“But oh, beamish nephew, beware of the day,/If your Snark be a Boojum! For then/ You will softly and suddenly vanish away,/And never be met with again!” (Lewis Carroll, The Hunting of the Snark)
“If aliens visit us, the outcome would be much as when Columbus landed in America, which didn’t turn out well for the Native Americans” (Stephen Hawking)
They’re rumored to come tonight. We feel safe in our ragtag group, scrape lawn chairs across the parking lot onto the weedy patch opposite Our Lady of Sorrows, set up evening watch. We — the cook, the courtesan, the clerk, the cuckold. All recently made redundant, joined by grief and depletion and beer.
“Wish in one hand, piss in the other,” sneers the cuckold. “See which fills up first.”
Then, in slow descent from a starless sky, shimmers like fingernail tracings across the firmament skirt the periphery, slippery as elms, shiny and paperless as our future demands. The steeple now sports a corona, and damp rises like yeast.
“Pulp fiction!” clucks the cook, our snarky skeptic, trembling.
“Come to momma,” I cry, my once-coveted bosom heaving.
A flotilla of flashing orbs like midges starts its swarm around our heads. Harmonics thrum low, then shrill, pierce our eardrums like shattered glass. Cook wets his pants.
“Now I lay me down to sleep,” whimpers the clerk, our cosmic pluralist, making the sign of the cross.
Startled lurchers commence a howling, the tallest trees surrender their crowns. Grackles flex wings over fledglings as water seeps up from the ground. Wormy sludge creeps up to our knees, feet and chairs sucked snug into mud.
Tiny spaceships circle and dive. Vibrations taunt our retinas, peel away thoughts like Escher’s Bond of Union unwrapped. Earth burps the smell of sulfur and roses. Our tongues wrap around citrus and salt. A shudder below shakes us from sleep into heed.
Then: another spin of Earth. Soil wicks the wet from our trousers and tops, soaked with sweat and squirming nematodes. Our breathing slows, shoulders sink, arm hairs flatten again. All but one of us walks towards home, unclear as to where we have been.