The Night Before Equality

Twas the night before veterans day and all through Mizzou,
Not a minority was stirring, not even a Jew.
We were all snuggled in safe healing places with mace at our sides,
Calling Reverend Jackson on our cell phones to come save our hides.
An oversized pickup had roared right down the street
With their racist flags flapping, we knew we were dead meat.
We had visions of white boys in big pointy hats;
The privileged in shadows shouting “We’ll get you and that’s that!”
“We’ll oppress all your hopes and cut minimum wage.”
“We’ll take your insurance as we burn with white rage.”
It doesn’t matter they were figments of our imagination.
The point is the threat is quite real even if confabulation.
But no one will take away what we deserve.
If they think they’ll get our handouts then they’ve got to have nerve.
So on Sharpton, on Wright, on Obama, on Lynch
On Holder and Hillary, to make a big stench.
We’ll whine and we’ll cry until the rich are all poor
And everything’s free at Big Al’s department store.
We’ll get A’s just for breathing the stifling air.
We won’t rest until everything’s ten thousand times fair.
Until then we’ll lament and tweet all our woes
With a powerful whimper we’ll defeat our white foes.


Banning Humanity

Everywhere you go there’s a call for something to be banned or boycotted. Take Starbucks red cups, for example. As far as I have scoured social media, maybe two people in America are offended by these cups, but we all believe the hype because its just like something Americans would do. We protest things. Mizzou has taught us that we protest having to pay our bills. We protest being afraid. We protest that there are white people. We protest that there are black people. We protest that they are separated. We protest they are together.

We have gotten into the habit of walking around with, not just a chip on our shoulder, but a whole truckload of mulch. Just taking a step will make one fall. “Who put that step there?! I almost tripped!”

Every offense is immediately attacked by an army of hashtags like white blood cells. They don’t always end up destroying the offensive material, but they certainly nag it to shame (nag being a sexist word soon to be protested.) #nagisbad

But what does this mean? Why do we let it bother us so much when someone flies a flag we don’t approve of? I think deep down its because we’re looking for perfection. The problem is that humanity is imperfect. The things we ban and protest are simply part of being human. But somehow we think that if we can just shave off all the rough bits of society we can all live in peace. What we’ve found, though, is that shaving off the rough bits just makes us all weak and fearful and mean.

We aren’t going to change society by banning humanity.

But we can change lives by transforming humans. That doesn’t start with taking the speck out of your neighbor’s eye. It starts with realizing that, under all those chips on your shoulder is someone who’s just as bad as the rest of humanity. Someone who has already been banned from God’s presence because of a diseased, rotten, reprobate heart. Your sin against Him is the most offensive thing in the world. Because he made us and then we rejected Him and His plan for us. The difference is that God isn’t making mean hashtags about you. He doesn’t want you banned. He wants you transformed into His image. #armsopenwide

Lines in the Sand

You cross this line and you are Hitler to me.

That pretty much sums up the picture of American worldviews colliding. Doesn’t matter if its politics, religion, or the style of your hair. If you cross my line for what is right and decent I’m going to inevitably revert to a Hitler comparison. For instance “That haircut is as bad as Hitler’s!” or “Driving your gas guzzling car is as bad as Hitler’s gas chambers.”

Do not doubt me. Someone will find a way to compare you to Hitler if they are enraged enough by what you are doing or saying.

So why do we do this? I think pur view of what is wrong with the world is based on the lines of presumed righteousness we draw in the sand.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz, head of the DNC, believes a baby can be aborted at any time the mother doesn’t feel like being a mother. Line drawn … Sort of. Others would say abortions can’t be performed after the second trimester. Line drawn. Yet others say you should not inhibit even the flow of seed to egg. Line drawn.

In scripture some would say things can be interpreted loosely up to the creation of Adam, but then, baby, you better tow the line and know that Adam was a real actual person or you’re not a Bible believing Christian. Line drawn.

Everyone has a reason for drawing the line where they do. Everyone has a motive. Everyone uses some sort of Evidence. Kill, but only in war. Speed, but only if the cop doesn’t see you. Vote third party, but only if the nominee is Donald Trump.

Many times the rules are based on emotional responses. “I couldn’t believe in a God who could allow so much suffering.” Many times the rules are arbitrary. “I could never love an octopus with less than seven arms, but I would cherish a dog with only one leg.” Awww. Little brudder! (Obscure Homestarrunner reference)

What you end up with is a wide sea of sand crisscrossed every which way imaginable. Hard to follow. Hard to keep because they are constantly being erased and redrawn or smudged. No wonder most people end up saying “I’ll do what I want, you believe what you want, just don’t talk about it or make me feel bad and I will relegate all my negative energy to snarky memes.” I call this the Law of the Meme.

But there’s something deeper we have to get to. Literally and figuratively. Otherwise the world doesn’t make sense. If there is no deeper logic … No firmer truth … then the world fails to be more than an abstract art, interpreted based on “how it makes you feel.”

That’s why you have to blow away the sand. Yep, that’s right. All that sand is just the transient cover atop something far more solid. You thought you were looking at art but lo and behold it was just plain old dirt.The sand is all the puny human philosophy that gets carried all over the place. Messy. But underneath … Ahh … There are lines drawn there too, but those are carved in stone … Permanent. Organized. You peer closely and find that not only are they structured but they are meaningful. They are the distinct truths beneath all the indistinct musings of simplistic human minds. They may not all make sense, but instinctively you feel that that is your problem not theirs.

And so you have caught a glimpse of something greater than you … Deeper than you … Graver than any superficial groove you have been able to come up with on your own. You have tapped into a reasoned, purposeful plan … A map written the Creator we have come to call The Bible.

Don’t go back to the sands of time. Keep the timeless truth clean of your own thoughts on the matter. God’s word is truth. The truth. The way. It doesn’t need you. You need Him. Stand firm on what IS firm. And don’t get sidetracked by little Hitlers dancing in the sand with silly mustaches. Just sweep their sand piles away and show them that you stand on something greater than yourself.

That’s the only way to make a difference. Because there’s one more part to this analogy. There’s the magic part. The part where, looking at the glyphs of truth, you are transformed; the things engraved copied onto the flesh of the heart until you are a living, breathing copy of the eternal.

This is good for you. I promise.

I love (and by that I mean it makes me want to headbutt a unicorn) how our government just adores telling us what’s best for us. Here, come under the shadow of our bald eagle wing and we will give you stuff and make you compliant in our cozy feathers. Well I’m developing a slight allergy to eagle feathers because seriously, when did a government study or program actually know what it was doing or tell us anything that wasn’t politically charged? Like putting gunky corn in our gas. I don’t care if it helps the farmers, I don’t want to put stupid corn in my gasoline and then have to buy anti-corn to clean out all the idiot stuff the corn did to my engine! It’s corn, folks!

But its not just that they want to baby me with consensus science, (not) free health care, hope, and change. No. It’s not just that.

It’s that all these things they want for me are things they don’t want for themselves. It’s like, here, you have to wear this bunny suit to protect you from Easter egg cancer (which our scientists are 1000% sure is real but won’t show signs until you’re dead). Oh, you also have to pay one thousand dollars for it (for every percentage point of realness), and for the awareness videos we will put out on YouTube featuring Matt Damon as Little Bunny Foo Foo.

Oh awesome! (Not) free stuff that will protect me from stuff that studies swear on their computer model’s grave will kill me! But where are your special suits, government? Oh, you exempted yourself from the law because the bunny suits wouldn’t fit over your eagle suits? Makes sense!!!

Meanwhile we should have gun free zones at our schools but the president’s kids should be heavily guarded, we should get stinky imitation health care but Congress should get the Hugo Boss, we should be regulated on carbon emissions by driving around in cardboard boxes but Al Gore should jet around in private planes (powered by polar bear love), we should step up equality but foreign government donors can behead gays, and we should be taxed out of our wealth but Iran should be given billions.

I just want someone who will say, hey, I’m gonna be there right along with you. We’re going to tough it out together. I mean, Hilary Clinton says that, but in a tweet from one of her seven mansions. Hi up there, Hilary! Thanks for caring!

King David brought the Israelites to the height of glory and the people loved him. They loved him because he was a man of the people. He danced with them and fought with them. That’s what I love in a leader. One who can rejoice with you in good times and struggle courageously with you in the hard times. And to the best of my knowledge he never made them wear bunny suits.


Society is careless. Careless with love and sex, careless with the lives of babies, careless with health … Just overall careless.

We don’t want to figure things out. We don’t want to find out what’s true. We just want a narrative to follow and talking points to spout. We want to fit in as well as have something to hashtag against. And what we rail against is anything that keeps us from being careless. Anything with old school conscience. New school conscience is fine. That’s things like buying carbon footprint offsets and free range chickens.

Nothing illustrates this better than the latest Planned Parenthood leaks. First with the fact that they must now be leaked. Because a judge has said they can’t be released. Because, when it comes down to it, people don’t want to have to watch that stuff. It cramps the careless style. It sends pangs into deadened morality and that’s uncomfortable.

But the leak itself is an important announcement to those of us harboring old fashioned beliefs about the sanctity of life. The rest of the world has moved on to a whole other plane of existence. I urge you to watch for yourself.

I used to think the question was when life exists. And I thought that was a pretty easy question to answer. But it turns out we won that argument. They conceded the fact, as evidenced in the video, that abortion is murder. The problem is that doesn’t dampen their bloodlust. I think deep down everyone knows its killing. Time to make that part of the narrative. So the new phase of thinking is …

Yes, its a life, but why is a woman responsible for that life just because it’s inside her? Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I have had this argument used in personal conversation. A baby is a life, but it is wrong for men to enslave women into giving birth to that life. They, evidently, have no more responsibility for the child inside them than they would for a stranger in need. The thought is …

“You want to have the baby? Fine, that’s your choice to make that life your responsibility. But you can’t make every pregnant woman take that responsibility … Unless you are a man trying to dominate women.”

That is the epitome of depravity. I shouldn’t have to write anything else. That is carelessness at its peak.

This isn’t a parasite. It’s a human. And no matter how it got there, it is now there inside a belly … Alive. There is no one that can save that baby except the mother. That’s life. That’s the basic rule that we thought everyone realized. And they used to … back when they cared.

Academia Nuts and Bolts

I’ve been wondering lately what it is about academia which seems to breed liberalism. My roommate in college once asked me “How can you be a Republican? We’re in college! College is supposed to be full of Democrats!”

But it isn’t just Republicans and Democrats. Its a way of thinking which naturally leans toward liberal politics because of … What? What is the permiating pull away from conservative thought?

I think it’s because education in general breeds a wide variety of ideas and interpretation of ideas. In a literature class I took we discussed the many guesses into what an author was trying to say through his or her work, most of which seeming to deal with messianic symbolism or sex. In an anatomy class my professor once discussed the possibility of aliens having created the human race.

Now ideas are great. I’m an idea man, but academia is like a think tank on crack.

In general, academia goes something like the flowing:

The word “the” which I have already used twice in this sentence can be pronounced with a shwa or a long e at the end, depending on its place in the sentence and the speaker’s background. It is known as an article, which reminds me of an article I once read about the word “the” suggesting that such a word is much to definite and would do well to learn from its cousin the “A” in that, for one an a leaves much less of an inky footprint and for another, is much less close-minded. An idea is much more palpable than the idea, which carries connotations of haughtiness. How dare it presume to be THE way when it is actually only one of many ideas. And besides, T and H blending to make a new sound is disturbing in that the T and the H both lose their identity.

I could go on, but you get the idea. By the time the students leave the classroom half have no idea what just happened and the other half consider themselves the authority on the scandalous word called “the” and create a hashtag denouncing any radical right-wing fascist insensitive enough to dare use such a word.

Unfortunately this example is closer to truth than some might think. The point is that literally anything can be expounded upon in a 20 page dissertation and most importantly anything can have a thousand different viewpoints and each one must be given equal respect.

Which means when conservative individuals spouting dogmatic things like “killing unborn babies is wrong” or “the sky is blue” academics will do their very best to dogmatically proclaim how much they have to learn about science and consensus and humility.

Because who is anybody to hold to anything strongly when there are so many possibilities out there?

That’s appealing to me actually. Because it means we can all get along in our not knowing for sure and it means we don’t have to stress over whether we’re right or not. Because hey, believe what you want. I’ll believe what I want and you believe what you want and we’ll all judge conservative wackos for being idiots all our born days.

And therein lies the rub. A mind full of a myriad philosophies and ideas as a mind ungrounded. And a mind without roots is a mind that can easily be manipulated. For instance manipulated into thinking there’s such a thing as consensus science or that a baby isn’t a baby until its been in the womb for a trimester or two.

The Bible says not to be like those who are carried away by every wind of doctrine or cunningly devised fable. That’s because the pressure of the academic mindset infiltrates the church on a daily basis. A preacher I heard recently said it this way. “Maybe we don’t know persecution like in other countries but we sure know compromise.”

It is a simple statement but with resounding, sometimes horrifying, truth.

So learn. Listen to ideas. Be ready to accept something beyond what you know. But also hold fast to your faith and be like a tree planted by streams of living water. Be discerning and be critical of the academic mindset, not letting it keep you from standing firm or from using the word “the” every now and again.

Evidence and the Amazing Contortionists

How do we know what the Bible means? Is extra-biblical information required to correctly understand or does the Bible stand on its own?

Certainly we could agree that context can be helpful. Certainly we can look at the natural world and see how it fits with Biblical principles. But that’s the subtle difference. Are we matching the Bible to other evidences or other evidences to the Bible?

Here’s an example. An atheist recently told me that ALL evidence has rejected a universal flood since the 1700s. But the Bible clearly teaches that the whole earth was covered in water. Which do I conform to? Evidence from scientists or evidence from the creator of science? Yet there are those Christians who would take science and say “You are King. I will now conform scripture to your likeness.” They then describe the flood as seeming like a worldwide event from the author’s limited perspective. It doesn’t matter that the Genesis passage describes in great detail that the highest mountain tops of the whole earth were covered in 15 cubits of water. That’s … maybe … a metaphor?

Here’s another example, but one with which I tread lightly. When Jesus walked on water, one must understand the scientific concept of gravity in order for the action to be miraculous. God is demonstrating, in part, that He is the master of science and can bend it to his will. With changing water into fine old wine He demonstrates His ability to rapidly age a substance when needed in order to produce its finest quality. I do not bring up these two examples to say “Who needs science?” because God loves science. He set things in order and that order is where science comes from. But He also is sometimes in the habit of manipulating things outside the natural course. This is something to keep in mind.

It is also encouraging to look at archeology and see the Biblical account justified. Or look at a natural truth and see it in scripture ahead of its time. Such as elusions to a spherical Earth in the Psalms or reference to the Hittites.

But maybe this is simply a matter of “disputable issues.” Like food offered to idols or holding the Lord’s day in higher esteem than other days. Only this isn’t one of those areas scripture simply doesn’t touch on. These are integral parts of the Bible message. These are also clearly articulated and detailed parts.

What it boils down to is that all of scripture can be explained away. It’s just a matter of necessity. If you need to change it for social reasons such as to accommodate homosexuality or updated gender roles, then you can do that. It’s been done for you already. If you need to accommodate current scientific “consensus” then helpful reinterpretations have been made there for you as well. All you have to do is search the net.

There are scriptural contortionists aplenty. Choose the one that makes you more comfortable with God’s word … or else treat it as just that, God’s word, and listen to what it has to say.

The latter is a challenge. It’s hard work. But rewarding in the end because God’s unadulterated message is always rewarding. And in the end, its not as hard as trying to alter it. Don’t end up with a serious bunch of Christians playing Twister like their life depended on it. You’ll just end up in a knot of human confusion.

This land is my land

Went to Williamsburg recently and they had a good video depicting the first melting pot in the new world. Africans, American Indians, Europeans.

But how does that fit into current PC culture that depict America as racist pigs hating minorities? Isn’t it the way of white people to destroy, run rough shod, and take advantage of other people groups? Sure it is! But it only seems more pronounced because there are more white people around.

If there are ten people from one group and one of them slaps you, and if there are twenty people in another group and two of them slap you then yeah, the larger group seems more ominous and threatening, but a slap is a slap.

Taking advantage of others is a universal human deficit, believe it or not. Africans wiped out fellow African tribes and sold them into slavery. Native Americans warred with other native American tribes and … gasp … stole their land. Not to mention brutally murdering them.

So in the midst of all this, Europeans come in and some of them start doing the same thing. Surprise, surprise.

Fast forward to present where what you’re supposed to think is that “White” people (no longer considered of European descent) are devils who took over America unjustly, enslaving Africans out of pure meanness and bullying Indians for their land and only giving them a bunch of beads. When in actuality they just joined a party of depravation already in progress. They also happened to be bigger and stronger technologically. Unfair advantage? I don’t think so. Although there are those who propose such things as not reading to your kids because not every kid can be read to. So I suppose the Europeans could have strapped on loin cloths and thrown away their armor and guns.

If you are an evolutionist then you believe in survival of the fittest. End of story. If you are a Christian like me then you understand that the whole world lies in wickedness and instead of scoffing at that through memes, you seek to reach individual lives with the truth, with God’s mercy and moral standards, not judging which group of sinful people is worse than another but seeking out all for Christ.

Days, Times, Ages, and Eternity: the creation daze

There is what I would call a craze in Christendom today concerning the reinterpretation of the first chapters of Genesis. I have friends caught up in it. I have heard things like “A literal interpretation of Genesis is killing our testimony as Christians” or “If creation was accomplished in six literal days then God is being deceptive in the geological records.” The essence of most is that the biblical record needs to be updated according to present scientific understanding. There are some, however, who are truly seeking to understand the truth of what the Bible is saying. For whatever the reasons behind them, these reworkings and re-editings vary in degree but even the most mundane fail to admire the simplicity of those chapters. That enrages me somehow. I find myself wanting to become a guardian of major Biblical truths, indignant when I hear of it being muddied.

In my mind it all starts with Yom, because that’s the Hebrew word for DAY which CAN be interpreted as an indefinite period of time. Why, it could mean a whole age even! There is Biblical precedence for such stretching of Yom out of a 24 hr period. But is there precedence in the first chapters of Genesis?

When I first heard about all this reinterpretation I thought “Oh! Maybe I had this creation thing all wrong! Maybe there was nothing but light and dark for a whole age. Maybe there was nothing but animals for a whole age, etc. Maybe that would get those pesky evolutionists off my back about my absurd belief in a literal six day creation.”

That brings up an aside. Because as a friend who believes in an old Earth made by God said recently, no matter how much you try to find common ground, the non Christian scientist is going to reject any sort of Creator God. Oh they will accept every step you take toward their worldview, but they will never be satisfied until they’ve pulled you fully on their foundation or crushed you under it.

But back to business.

Actually, in all honesty it was very difficult for me to accept the possibility that six literal days is wrong. It just didn’t seem right. But I can’t base my beliefs on what seems or feels right or what I’ve been taught by others.

But then I remembered the phrase “evening and morning.” Wait, evening and morning were the first …age? Maybe we misinterpreted that phrase as well. Maybe it just generally means a complete cycle or time frame or something. So I looked it up. It turns out the Hebrew word for evening means … drum roll please … the time of day when night comes. And the meaning of the Hebrew word translated “morning” means the time of day when morning comes. Every time they are used that is their meaning. Interesting. But too simple. So lets convolute it a bit. Let’s say that even though evening and morning are everywhere else translated as evening and morning, HERE they mean beginning and ending of an age. Or if that doesn’t work for you let’s say its all metaphorical. It’s just a flowery way to say that an age has past. Sort of a simplification of language for puny human minds to comprehend. Or let’s jumble it up further and just read over that part real fast, trying not to think about it too hard, and say that it all means “evolution is real, so stop trying to deny it” so long as you read between the lines just right. But let’s not call it evolution, per se. Let’s give it a Christian spin and call it fine-tuning creation. Because that makes sense, right? He speaks and the big bang happens, then he slowly sculpts the world over the course of millions of years.

Wow! We’ve done it! We’ve just turned the Bible on its head to mostly match current secular scientific consensus! Congratulations to us.

But wouldn’t it be more Biblically sound to simply believe the Bible the way it was written by God’s inspired hand? Hmm. That takes the fun out of it, by which I mean it takes the human achievement and skill out of it. Hmm. That’s not a bad thing, is it? We don’t, after all, want to exchange the glory of God for the intelligence of man do we?

But this is all beside the point. For me, interpreting the Bible as literally as possibly is super important. Because every time I explain away the text with logical reasons why It can’t mean what it says I dig away at a little bit of the glory of God and wisdom of God and I pour in my own ideas, trying to make the two mesh.

Well being a Christian is not about meshing any more than it is about conforming. Rather, its about us being transformed by the work of the Holy Spirit, changing our way of thinking to His according to His word.

I could take any portion of scripture and decide to change the meaning of the words. I could decide any portion is not literal. I could match the words of the Bible to whatever view I like. That might be hard. That might be convoluted. But I could do it. The question is whether it’s the Biblically astute thing to do or not.

You might say “Benjamin, is any of this important in light of eternity?” To which I would reply “What do you think the Bible is if not the eternal words of truth?” The two go hand in hand.

The question I want to end with is “Could God have done things the way it is literally written in Genesis?” If so, “Is there sufficient internal scriptural evidence to reinterpret that?” if not, give the reinterpretive dance a rest.

The Lost Chapter

Been doing a lot of fiction writing lately so consequently not much blogging. But in place the following started out as a short story related to my books and then turned into a chapter from my second book which may or may not get chopped to bits but also may or may not be an entertaining read while I busily complete the novel editing process. Enjoy and tell me what you think.

Chapter Zero: Jetson

She was about to say it. I could feel it in her eyes from thousands of miles away, translated into digital images, then transported to my communication viewer in hyper HD. Or was it called UberHDe now.

To be fair, if she really was about to say what I thought she was, it had been a long time coming. Not because we were in the longest distance relationship ever. That was typical these days. Even from beyond the outmost layer of atmosphere such a thing could be managed. But it wasn’t just the distance from Earth to this space station. It was the vacuum between. There was an absence of the oxygen that sustains a living, breathing relationship.

“How are the kids?” I asked, because kids are like spare tanks, filling us up when our own are in the red.

“Spartacus is breezing through his tutorials,” she said. “He’s going to be able to get any guild job he wants. Serenity has a boyfriend. I don’t like him, but every time I mention it she decides she doesn’t like me. The typical story.”

It had been a laborious breath. Get it said. Move on. Tell your husband its over.

I waited. Just get it overwith.

Then there was a spark. A twinkle of the eyes, looking down shyly like she just thought of something that might keep us together forever. Okay, I was being a little melodramatic.

But in an instant all the drama was suctioned into oblivion. The power to my communication feed went dead. She had just been about to look up. Just the hint of movement from her crinkly blue eyes. Her lips parted. She had been making the orbit, that’s all. The orbit of love.

I waited for the signal to come back. I stretched my legs, allowing oxygen back into them. Then a dark thought hit me.

Instant messaging. Stupid, repulsive instant massaging was the alternative hypothesis to my marriage being on the verge of salvation. That dreamy downward gaze. That smile. Had she been texting some other guy during our conversation?

Sometimes it sucked being a scientist. Sometimes it was a big sucky vacuum of scientific damnation. I didn’t want to make all these astute observations and guesses, they just happened! I stared out the portal toward her. Toward the very general vicinity anyway. The right continent at least. Trying not to hypothesize.

I peered closer. Not because I was trying to impossibly find her in a distant blur, but because something was missing. Lights. There were no lights. Not anywhere. It was night on that continent but it was all just … black.

“Lines are doooooown,” came the jarring bellow of our resident bear.

At least he might as well have been a bear as hairy and as uncouth as he was. I guess that’s why we called him Bear, come to think of it.

He floated out of another com cell sporting an open bath robe and nothing else which prompted my renewed gaze out the window.

“No birthday suits if it isn’t your birthday,” I reminded.

This time I looked out the other side, away from Terra Firma. I motioned toward the Earth side though and said, “Looks like more than just com lines down. Check out the dark … ness.”

I slowed down that last word because while staring out into the black of space I was noticing something off. Something different. Like some stars were missing. It seemed to have gone dark on both sides.

I looked at Bear out of the corner of my eye. “What in the stratosphere are you doing in a com room in your bathrobe, by the way? Wait.” I held up my hand and shook my head. “Never mind.”

“Got a doctor to check something out for me,” he said. “Don’t worry. Turns out it’s not maleficent.”

A pause.


“No, no. Definitely benig.”

“Benign? If you need to explain that to anyone else, could I do it for you? Never mind. Just let me be there when you do.”

“Whatever, Jetson,” he said while peering out the window. “That’s some kind of blackout. Looks like Armageddon to me, man.”

“This side is kind of weird too. Look. You notice anything? Like a shadow?”

He did, squinting and then shaking his head. “Where’s Stella?” Without waiting for me to answer he shouted “Stellaaaaaa!” loud enough to rattle the specimen cages and get the monkeys chattering.

A shout back down the corridor, “For the two hundred sixty-first time, this space station has a STATE-OF-THE-ART intercom system!”

“Then why aren’t you using it?” came the retort.

Stella had been working out in the gym section, as evidenced upon her arrival. Her short blond hair clung darkly to the sides of her head, beads of sweat fresh at her temples. Pink cheeks looking flush and lively while dark brown eyes centered deadly darts toward Bear.

“Something weird out the window, Stel. Check it out,” Bear said with his signature brutish nonchalance.

She paused. A long sigh as she looked too closely at Bear. “Something weird in here too. I’ll gladly look out the window if you promise to have your robe tied when I turn back.”

“Don’t worry …” he started.

“It’s not malignant,” I finished.

“Says you,” she muttered, then went as squinty-eyed as the rest of us, staring out the space side view port.

“There some kind of weird gaseous eclipse?” I asked.

Obviously she would be the one to know about such things. She was the astronomer. I was just the resident zoologist. But when she gave me a look usually reserved for Bear level idiocy, I shrugged.

“Okay, okay, just checking. What then, all wise astronomer?”

She tried cleaning the glass. “You two playing another practical joke on me or just fogging up the windows with your hot air? Probably just a weird shadow from some of the outer panels.”

“A pan shad phenom?” Bear asked.

“Why do you always have to shorten words?” I asked. “I barely understand you as it is.”

“Bearly understand,” he repeated. “Funny.”

“He doesn’t know how to pronounce long words so he shortens them to manageable syllables,” Stella suggested.

The shadow idea sounded vaguely plausible, but I already knew that wasn’t going to be the final answer. It was just the typical filler ideas people give as they’re trying to figure out an actual explanation. There were always postulations on the highway to understanding. Most of them are downright stupid. We can get very creative in light of new information that doesn’t compute with our presuppositions. Just like me putting a fairytale ending to my wife’s little smirk. When it comes down to it, we are very good at making evidence support our comfort zone.

But whatever we were seeing out our viewports was far from that zone. More like the Twilight Zone.

“Get Houston on the line,” Stella said, playing bored like this was about to be perfectly explainable in about two seconds.”


“And why not?”

“No signal.”

“Our side or theirs?”

“Theirs. Check out window number two.” I pointed to Earth side.

She turned and pushed off from the wall, floating to the opposite portal. “What the …”

“I don’t know,” Bear shrugged. “Something definitely seems a little malignificent around here, and it ain’t me.”

“Just stick to malig,” Stella said.

But he was right … Sort of. Things had gotten weird. The position of stars was supposed to be reliable, yet some of them were definitely missing. Stella had to admit it was more than just shadows from our space station. And the blackout on the earth’s surface was more than an elaborate ruse by my wife to get out of talking to me. No, something was up. It would be unfair to have expected me to realize what it all meant. Until it was too late, of course.

In the meantime speculations rained down from our opaque and befuddled minds like an unending meteor shower. We were caught in a strata of ignorance. We were sandwiched between a darkened Earth and a splotchy star field.

We fought the urge to add worry and fear to our guesses, because that would be unscientific. That was for pseudo-scientists involved in government grants. We were guild-sponsored, which really wasn’t that much different, come to think of it. But this wasn’t a funded study. This was serious. So we fought the urge to stuff flapping bats of worry into our belfry. Crazy was easy up here under even the best of circumstances. But we were professionals. So we hadn’t completely lost it by the day the dark splotches turned into definite aberrations. They were dark globes, and they were getting larger every day, by which I mean they were getting closer.

Day by day you could find our faces planted against the portal windows, looking to see how many more stars had been blotted out by the giant alien satellites.

But it wasn’t until after a creature from one of them materialized inside our space station that we finally gave up the hope of any of this making sense.

I remember when one of the black orbs was right outside, heading straight for us, and we three occupants had resigned ourselves to immanent, fiery death. In fact we were somewhat looking forward to it considering the alternative of slowly running out of oxygen and food. No contact from Earth meant no supply runs or return transportation.

But then it stopped and a bright fireball shot out like a bullet. But instead of exploding against our hull it materialized inside and it wasn’t an extraterrestrial rock or bullet but a life form, glowing purple, its head scanning the space lab as we scanned back. I’m not sure I can describe it, but it had the look of something humanoid while the feel of something very not humanoid. Beneath that violet glow there might have been something resembling a couple of thick long legs, a sturdy torso, and four long arms. Or else two arms and two folded wings. It’s head was oblong and smooth almost like it was a helmet or shell. But then it spoke and a part of that presumed helmet split into a wide mouth lined with rows of pointy teeth.

“This is not the Terra,” a high pitched voice purred like a monstrous kitten.

We three, of course, did not think to respond for some time. Our jaws had become unhinged, it seemed, and we tried desperately to keep from soiling our space pants.

Finally I shook my head, slowly, comically, answering his query. “Not Earth, no.”

“Space … station,” Bear added helpfully.

Then the thing spat, its saliva sizzling and popping on the floor at its feet. The creature’s glow had cooled a little and the feet could be made out as something not unlike cloven hooves.

“Where is terra water?” It whined like a sputtering small engine. “Point it at me.”

“You … You mean point you toward it?” Bear asked.

It’s head cocked, silently thinking. “Yes.”

Bear tentatively stretched out a hand and pointed out the Earth side portal. He turned to follow his own finger.

“Good,” it said.

Then the thing screeched and we winced, backing away. But it wasn’t anger. It was a scratchy cackle … Almost like a laugh. We joined in with hesitant chuckles. Then it stopped the sound abruptly.

“Your own water supply here is now contaminated. I am leaving now.” It pointed at Bear. “You will lead the way to Terra water.”

And before Bear could get out more than “Say wha–” the creature had lunged toward Bear, grasped him in an ironic bear hug, and vanished with him through the manifold in a phosphorescent explosion of purple mist.

I slammed myself against the portal, staring out after them as they streaked toward Earth’s atmosphere, Bear’s finger, I assume, leading the way.

Stella was beside me. “Maybe it didn’t know we can’t breath out there.”

“Maybe it produced some protective shielding.”

And just like that we were back to endless hypotheses.

Until the next one came in, that is. Creature, not hypothesis.

This one was bigger, brighter, and, we were soon to find out, generally more well mannered. It’s glow was of a bluer hue. I guess that’s called an aura? Only this was like a hyper aura.

“I believe another came through this way. Did he terrorize in any way?”

This voice was deeper, less grating, and able to carry its own harmony like it had two voice boxes.

I shook my head to his question, then Stella hit me.

“Oh. Terrorize. Yes. It abducted our frie … colleague,” I said.

Its head, which looked more like an ice shard, nodded once and then said “Its name is Wormwood.”

That was, evidently, supposed to explain things.

A moment passed of awkward silence.

“I will retrieve your friend and stop Wormwood in his goal, for the time is not yet come.”

The creature began to dematerialize, slipping down beneath the hull. When only its head remained it spoke again.

“Perhaps you would like to come with me, seeing as the water has been poisoned here.”

“There is a safe way for humans to travel with you?” Stella asked.

“Safe. No. The speed of descent is great.” It seemed to think about this. “But there will be others that come and they will not be so careful as to the condition of this precariously oxygenated facility as they fall to the Earth. That would be less safe.”

“We’ll come,” I said.

The head nodded and then two arms stretched up from beneath the floor.

“Hold my hands, each of you.”

I briefly hesitated. But only briefly. Only until another meteoric creatures wooshed by the bulkhead, shaking the paneling and nearly puncturing that precarious oxygen situation we had here.

Stella and I both rushed forward and gripped the ethereal hands. Instantly we were yanked downward, watching the layers of lab rush by while we, as vaporous masses I didn’t even want to begin to hypothesize, slid easily passed.

Then there was a time of brain shaking, gum flapping, screaming descent, the three of us cutting into Earth’s atmosphere like a hot knife through butter.

It felt like the fall would last forever. But when I started spying the definition of things, recognizable things like buildings, roads, trees, and vehicles, I knew the end was near. Just what kind of end was the question.

There had been a glimpse of something not right. Not that any of this was right. But I could have sworn the blurring of the city we passed was only half blur and half annihilation. As in crumbled skyscrapers and ruined roads indicative of something rather cataclysmic in nature.

And that, I believe, was around the time I finally passed out.