This scene opens, the way 94 percent of all scenes do, with a person doing something or other. 47 percent of the time it’s a male doing something; you know, playing pool in leather pants, knifing someone, loading secrets onto a computer disk, that kind of thing. 47 percent of the time a scene opens with a female rather than a male, usually blow drying her hair in scanty under-things, wailing, or loading secrets onto a computer disk. 6 percent of the time it’s a moody but essentially empty interior or landscape. I’m guessing in terms of the numbers, of course, but the specific percentages make little difference, as a person almost always enters the scene in short order, sometimes even accompanied by a catchy tune. To be honest I’m not entirely sure a scene has properly begun until that entrance is made…
So here we are.
The scene opens on what would appear to be a man. In this case the man in question is walking. Nothing dramatic. Just one foot after the other along the side of a road. There is no catchy tune synching perfectly with his steps (though you are more than welcome to imagine one). It’s dark and the air is cool. Judging by the temperature it’s almost certainly Autumn, at perhaps… 8:27 p.m. if I had to make a guess.
“Almost, perhaps, if I had to make a guess.” A good title for a relativist poem but a lot of hedging for one sentence, I know. Especially when that sentence is located smack in the center of scene-setting exposition. But really who can be sure about these things?
It’s a quiet night and there’s a definite chill in the air. That’s all I’m saying.
He’s slightly pigeon-toed, our walking man. His black lace-up shoes are nondescript but the toes scuff one another occasionally as he trudges along. So that’s something. A bit of “quirky” specific detail which we narrators are supposed to use in order to spice up the proceedings. Here’s another- he’s not a Black man. Not that you said he was. Neither does he appear to be Asian, Hispanic, American Indian, or of Middle Eastern descent. I suppose it’s possible that if you traced his ancestors back far enough you might find one or all of these races perched on limbs of his family tree. For our purposes let’s just say he’s a white guy. At least he looks kind of white… or ashen? More of a pallor possibly…
Put it this way- if you saw him passing by and wanted to get his attention, say to warn him of an oncoming truck, you might yell out “Hey cracker, watch out! ...Damned fool.” You could replace cracker with gringo or infidel… Your perogative really, but you get the picture. If you saw him and wanted to reach into your slur-bag you’d most likely pull from the “whitey” pile.
So our pigeon-toed cracker is wearing blue jeans and a grey sweatshirt, if your interested in that kind of thing, though it’s about as average an outfit as you’re likely to see. Which is to say it doesn’t tell you much about him, or more accurately it doesn’t offer you anything substantial to fuel your dependable ol’ assumption engine with. He’s of medium height and medium build, does not seem to have a limp, or club foot, nor does he appear to have any talent for swagger. He’s just kind of trudging along. All told there’s nothing much to distinguish him from from any other average looking whitish guy out for an evening stroll, except of course for the space helmet he’s wearing.
Did I neglect to mention that?
Yup. He’s wearing an out-of-date looking space helmet. Could be one of those helmets developed for “tomato worm” pressure suits back in the 1940’s. Or it could be a more modern lexan model without the visor assembly and silver coating. Maybe it’s some newfangled model which requires none of the additional do-daddery we’ve come to expect… Truth be told, more than anything, it looks like a giant, upside down, goldfish bowl.
I suppose your assumption engine jolted to life on the power of that little nugget huh?
“He’s a crashed astronaut wandering in an amnesiac haze trying desperately to put the pieces together and reveal his own identity!” OR “He’s a time traveller from the year 3014 returning to our time in order to find a genetically perfect bride, free of the Toe-Chewer virus so devastating in his own era!”
Yeah, maybe, but you know the old chestnut about making assumptions. It could be halloween and the guy’s got no flair for costumes. Or maybe he’s a prop comic on his way to a gig. Possibly he’s just a nut.
I can’t tell you much more about his looks. The helmet is a bit fogged up you see. All that warm breath inside and cool air outside. Only natural, science and all. He looks to have big dreamy dark eyes, though it might just be a shadow. What I can tell you with absolute certainty, however, is that he does not have the faintest idea where he is going. I know this because, being narrator, I’m privy to certain of his thoughts. For instance at this very moment he’s thinking:
...For both of them to say that… not one uncle but both, from both sides. The same exact thing… “Don’t think there’s much hope for you Bucky.” One while packing his pipe, the other gutting a fish… What a dick thing to say… I’d like to know the odds on them both saying that same exact thing! Had they spoken to one another? Group consensus? Towing the “uncle” party line? Bucky?! Who says Bucky? Bucko. Buckaroo maybe… Just bugs me… They are family so they’re not apt to just throw out thoughtless damning pronouncements for no reason are they? On the other hand they’re just uncles, not fathers, not so close that they would be blinded or compelled to bite their tongue for niceties sake…
See? Not even paying attention to where he’s going. More interested it seems in this perceived synchronicity of uncle-judgement. Had I tuned you in earlier you’d have heard the part about his aunts. Both of whom evidently told him he’d be a “heartbreaker.” Some folks might take that as a compliment but not our space-helmeted, pigeon-toed, ashen-faced infidel here. He figured it was a prettied-up way of saying he’d be a disappointment to the women in his life; That he seemed to them either cruel and uncaring or fundamentally lacking something somehow. I’m paraphrasing. Point is he didn’t take it to mean he was handsome.
As is the peculiar ability of the living, his feet continue to come down one in front of the other propelling him onward, though his mind is elsewhere entirely.
A multitude of wobbly stars are winking above him. Below his auto-piloted feet dirt and gravel crunch. He’s walking beside a road. Not a very well-travelled road admittedly. Not a single vehicle has passed by. There are street lights every three hundred feet or so. When he passes below one his helmet glints, bouncing light across his brow. In the space of a few steps his shadow is born, grows, moves away, and dies out. He might have found it poetic in a certain way if he’d noticed, but he didn’t. Totally oblivious.
For instance if he were paying any attention at all he’d most certainly notice the orange glow up ahead of him, surrounding the gas station sign, and the smoke plumes billowing up into the darkness.
...If I’d been a gardener or a banker or anything else it’d all be different. Harriet would have stuck around. Or at least she’d have to be more imaginative about her excuse for leaving… Ridiculous… What did she expect this kind of life would be like? If I’d been something else, a mechanic, a grocer, anything, I wouldn’t be out here in…
A light goes on in that distracted mind of his and some curiosity about his surroundings finally dawns. It’s only coincidence that he stops right there under a street lamp, his helmet glinting. As I surmised he can’t help but notice the tell tale signs of catastrophe-by-fire up around the bend. All else is darkness so there’s not much else to notice.
What the hell’s going on up there? Fire? Geez does my head hurt… No more nights like this one. Can’t be. Can’t go on this way. What was I thinking?! I didn’t even use any protection. Stupid stupid… God that cloud is thick! A tire fire or something? I really out to be getting back… But where is everyone? Wonder what happened? Crap… Could be a crash…
Snapped out of his dazed, trudging revery, he sets off at a trot toward that glowing and crackling and billowing, mysterious only in its particulars. The street lamps pass over his head quickly. Generations of shadows are born and die out below his footfalls. He doesn’t get far. Turning the bend he almost tackles two guys standing dumbly in the middle of the road, their backs turned to him. He manages to put the breaks on before contact but the two are startled and wheel around to face him. Their clothes are singed and blackened and torn. One of them is missing a shoe. He also happens to have a gun which is pointed straight at our gringo. They both look freaked.
...Shit! They look freaked.
Luckily they each have inverted goldfish bowls on their heads as well. Recognition dawns on all three at the same instant.
They know one another. Judging by the names called out it’s safe to say our guy is Joe, while the disheveled and singed two are Bill and Bob. The gun is dropped, the gap between them disappears, and the questions begin in earnest.
“What the hell happened to you two?” asks Joe.
“Bob here fucked with the wrong bad-ass that’s what! Started asking him questions. Tried the ol’ ‘Take me to your leader bit.’ Gave him a little ray-gun action and the guy just blew the fuck up. Knocked us clear across the street into the woods. I told him not to fuck with the guy. He was built like a refrigerator and had a dick like 8 feet long! And I’m serious. That’s not a metaphor. “ Says Bill.
“Yeah, bad move as it turns out. I lost a shoe,” adds Bob. “What are you doing here? I thought you left last week.”
...Crap, here we go. thinks Joe, saying nothing.
“Let me guess. That letter from Harriet last week… Could you be out carousing? Screwing the natives? You’ve got a boot print on your crotch so I’ll assume you didn’t shoot over to New Mexico for your jollies like the rest of us do. Were you out probing primates in the middle of Minnesota Joe?! You sicko.”
Joe squirmed in place and Bob looked pleased. “I hope you were safe Joe, you know how filthy these earthlings are…”
“Leave him alone Bob,” offers Bill sympathetically.
“No. It’s fine. He’s right. I was bar-hopping. Stupid I know… Just didn’t want to go home.” concedes Joe, slouching a bit, the tips of his toes touching.
“But I bet you want to go home now huh? I sure do,” says Bill. “It’s always the same story, a night out to let off steam, some light probing, a little abduction… in the end you always feel… dirty; Always regret it.”
Joe stood there looking at his feet. The glow from the fire was dying down a bit. Their shadows, merged as they were into conjoined triplets, swayed back and forth across the blacktop. He didn’t regret it. He hated this damned planet and it’s ugly primates, but he was tired.
“Yeah, I’m gonna go I think. You guys probably should too, the fuzz will be along soon I’m sure.”
Bill nods. “We’re parked a little ways off, up there past the gas station, in a wheat field. We already layed down the circles. Wanna ride with us? Might as well. Harriet’s got your saucer right?”
Joe nods back.
Bob slides the ray-gun into his charred ray-gun holster, taking a last quick look around for his lost shoe. “Screw it,” he mumbles.
And with that the scene ends the way 59 percent of all scenes do, with a person, or a group of people, walking off into the sunset. Only in this case the people aren’t exactly people and the sunset isn’t really a sunset. Aliens walking off into the glow of a gas station fire is close enough though I think, and will do just fine.
Part 2- Comedy
An alien walks into a bar and sits down next to big guy in combat boots. After about ten minutes and two drinks the alien licks his finger and puts it into the guy’s ear. The guy gets pissed but sees the alien’s space helmet, figures he’s a nut, and holds his tongue.
Ten minutes and two drinks later the alien does it again. This time the guy shoves the alien away saying “If you do that again I will kick the shit out of you.”
Ten minutes and a ciggarette later the alien does it again. The guy jumps off his bar seat grabs the alien and sinks his combat boot deep into the alien’s crotch.
The alien is totally unfazed. He gets back up on his barstool and orders another drink.
The guy is freaked out and says “Dude! What the fuck? I just kicked you in the nuts and you didn’t flinch!”
The alien says “That’s because I don’t have any nuts.” and drops trou just long enough to prove it.
Now the guy’s really freaked. He says, “Jesus christ. You’ve got no nuts! How do you fuck?”
The alien licks his finger and puts it into the guy’s ear.
Meanwhile across town…
Two aliens, one who thinks he’s tough and one who thinks he’s smart, land their space ship and walk over to a nearby gas station. They both walk up to the gas pump.
The tough-guy alien looks at the pump and says, “Take me to your leader!”
Of course the gas pump says nothing.
The smart alien says “I dont think that is a good idea.”
The tough-guy alien looks at the pump again and demands to be taken to the leader.
The gas pump says nothing.
The smart alien says, “That’s really not a good idea man.”
Losing his patience, the bad-ass alien pulls his out his ray-gun.
The smart alien shouts, “No, you don’t want to make him mad!”
But before the sentence is finished the tough guy alien zaps the pump with his ray-gun.
There is a huge explosion that blows both of them clear across the street, where they land in a charred heap.
When they finally regain consciousness, the tough guy alien turns to the smart one and says, “What a mean motherfucker! He damn near killed us! How did you know he was so dangerous?”
The smart alien answers, “If there’s one thing I’ve learned during my travels through the galaxy, it’s that when a guy has a dick he can wrap around himself twice and then stick it in his own ear, you don’t fuck with him.”
Note: This post was one in a series of reworkings of old posts which date from before the redesign of The Nonist. The text has been edited slightly, and the images are new. I will be periodically adding these reworkings into the flow of new content in an effort to eventually remove all the old pages from circulation.
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