Plugs

Read Rudi’s story “Detail from a Painting by Hieronymus Bosch” at Behind the Wainscot.

Jason Erik Lundberg‘s fiction is forthcoming from Subterranean Magazine and Polyphony 7.

Edd Vick’s latest story, “The Corsair and the Lady” may be found in Talebones #37.

Jason Fischer has a story appearing in Jack Dann’s new anthology Dreaming Again.

Going Home

by Kat Beyer

We took Tamara and Niall to their first punk show the other day. We ran into Andy Peace-Earring-Andy, and he reminded me about the spaceship. I’d actually forgotten.

Palo Alto 1987: Converse All-Stars, dyed hair, dreaming of moving to London; high school without end, which didn’t matter since we were all going to die in a nuclear war. We doodled on our AIDS notes. A cop warned us about a drug called crack.

Bob the Drunk said he saw a UFO come down behind Lytton Plaza. He said you could see burn marks from their engines, up on the roof of the Burger King.

Marcus Not-My-Boyfriend climbed up there, helping me up the hard part. We lit candles and pretended to call them back.

We thought the burn marks were spray paint; it was hard to tell in the dark.

The next night I missed the bus, so I had to go back downtown to see if Andy Peace-Earring-Andy was still there, because he gave me rides hoping Marcus wasn’t my boyfriend. Anyway I didn’t want to get in trouble with my parents for missing curfew and waking them up for a ride.

No Andy. I sat down on one of the benches for a minute, trying not to cry.

That’s when the light came, settling over me. Weirdly, for a minute, I thought I was in the diner across the street: the same warm light and smell of frying oil.

I felt more disoriented than scared, first. Then I thought, it’s like high school. I’m totally trapped, there’s nothing I can do—that scared me. The light got eye-hurtingly bright. A voice spoke. Except it made no sound, just appeared in my thoughts.

Do you.

Need.

Transport?

“Uh, yeah,” I ventured.

Show.

I didn’t know what they meant, so I pictured our house where my mom still lives, an olive green Eichler with two birch trees in front and a square pond with water lilies that Dad put in to make her happy (it worked, actually).

Then I was home. I even made it into bed without them hearing me.

That’s all.

The thing is, it makes a difference: in a world where Tamara and Niall still face nukes and weird diseases and new drugs, I know they’re out there, quietly helping out in little dorky ways. Even if nobody believes me except Marcus Not-My-Husband.

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