Thursday, May 19, 2005


      Douglas was a human with a lot on his mind. It comes, therefore, as no surprise that he was in a bit of a haze as he reemerged in the travelling bubble. It is also clear how the descent into his first alien atmosphere might have been missed. He can even be forgiven for ignoring the foamy velvet crests of the electric gray ocean as they soared above it. Beyond that, however, one might properly call him silly.
      And so he was. For he was snacking on his own thoughts past serpentine shores of midnight blue. The glistening dawn, over tiered violet cliffs, found him face-down in a breakfast platter of confusion. And when the bubble finally alighted in a pointy, pale pink field, Douglas was, indeed, completely out-to-lunch.
      Nonetheless, he stepped out onto what were, lucky for Douglas, not what they appeared to be: shards of broken glass. He stretched pensively. Though jagged in appearance, the shards were a fairly soft form of plant life he had entirely failed to notice. Also unnoticed went a flock of silky white triangles who suddenly billowed and spiraled off around him when he screamed.
      The speeding comet of his thoughts had finally run out of gravity and had stopped to look around. He felt tiny bits of ice collide with his spine.
      "We're here!" Douglas jumped around.
      "Careful," cautioned Josef.
      "We're really here!"
      "Ah, there it goes;" frowned Josef, "you've killed my Babel fish. Poor thing starved to death."
      "Really?" asked Douglas, a bit shaken.
      "A mouse can dream..."
      "So what's this planet called?"
      "Are you joking?" Josef sighed. "No, of course you're not. This planet is as far from the center of the galaxy as your own. The only reason Earth got a name at all is because you obsessive monkeys live on it."
      "So this planet is nameless?"
      What few older white triangles had carelessly resettled in the same field were sent sailing again with another happy shout. Douglas thought for a moment and then held out his arms.
      "I dub thee... Fallen Stone!"
      "It's a planet, not a knight."
      "What's the difference?"
      "Apparently planets get dumb names. Now come on." Josef headed toward a jungle of winding black trees with rectangular, brick-colored leaves. "There are transmissions originating about a mile in this direction."
      "Josef, if you always leave a planet before you burpel," Douglas snickered, "Burpel. Burpel. Burpel... What was I saying?"
      "In case we need to leave in a hurry," answered Josef, and disappeared into the grayscale undergrowth.