Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing, and Publishing ~

Tag Archives: Short story

Friday Story Bazaar ~ Tale Thirty-One


All The Tough Questions

by
Alexander M Zoltai

~~~~~~~~~

[ This occurred today—perhaps in your town… ]

It was a very happening cafe—great coffee and superb teas; plus, sandwiches and desserts to die for.

Judy, the writer, was at her usual table near the wall plug, focused on her laptop.

Frank, the astrophysicist, was at the counter, getting his lunch.

Sophie, the ageless hippy, had just come in the door.

Bruce, the quiet one, was sitting near Judy reading a book.

Sophie sat down at Judy’s table and stared at her, a beaming smile on her face.

Frank brought his lunch to the table next to Judy, scraping the chair on the tile floor as he sat, which made Judy look up. She nodded to Bruce, saw Sophie, said, “Hi…”, went back to typing.

Sophie cleared her throat and said, “Judy?”

“Hmmm…?”

“I had a most magnificent spiritual experience this morning!”

Judy kept typing…

Frank said, “So, Sophie, how spiritual was it?”

“Oh, Frank, we all know you don’t care about the spiritual realm.”

“Oh, Sophie, you are so wrong. If only you could use my criteria for making judgements and stop believing every strong emotional experience you have is spiritual—“

“I don’t think you have any emotions, Frank.”

Judy kept up her typing while she said, “Sophie, Frank’s very emotional when he discusses his latest scientific hypotheses…”

Frank blinked twice, then said, “I am, Judy… Forming hypotheses is a spiritual and emotional activity.”

Bruce looked up from his book and quietly said, “Can you define spiritual…?”

Sophie: “Anything that let’s you feel at one with the universe.”

Frank: “The ephemeral, the meta-physical…”

Judy stopped typing and stared at Bruce.

Bruce returned her look with the addition of an ever so slight smile.

Judy nearly shouted: “Religion is an opiate. It’s all lies.”

Bruce rejoined with, “Would you define what you mean by “religion”…?”

Sophie: “We’re not talking about religion, just spirituality.”

Frank was silent…

Judy was still staring at Bruce as he said, “What I’ve been learning is that religion and spirituality shouldn’t be separate things—spirituality without religion is emotional fancy and religion without spirituality is fundamentalism.”

This was stoking up to be more than just a cafe conversation—even the participants were starting to register some astonishment…

Sophie: “How can you say that, Bruce! I have true and deep spiritual experiences, not emotional fancies…”

Frank: “You sure about that, Sophie?”

Before Sophie could respond, Judy said, “Religion without spirituality? Now you’re talking, Bruce. All religions are pits of ignorance, how could they have any spirituality?”

Frank rose up and said, “I need a brownie and more coffee. Anyone else? I’m buying.”

Judy shook her head no, Sophie said, “Coffee, dark.”, Bruce just smiled…

Sophie asked Judy what she was writing.

“I’m working on my second novel.”

“Oh! You have a book published?!”

“No.”

“But… second…”

“Right. First one’s in a drawer at home.”

“Can I read it?”

“No.”

Judy looked back at Bruce and said, “You must believe in God, right?”

“I do…”

“Why?”

“Seems the most logical hypothesis for where everything came from.”

“What about evolution?”

“That’s the particular way God decided to generate all us creatures.”

Sophie said, “God and evolution… You’re weird, Bruce.”

“Why thank you, Sophie!”

Frank chuckled as he set Sophie’s coffee down.

Judy went back to typing.

All was quiet in the group for about three minutes when Frank said, “Ya know, Bruce, I’ve never thought about evolution being a method that a supposed Creator would use…”

Bruce looked up from his reading and said, “Seems natural to me—the whole shebang is to help us learn—discovering evolution was concurrent with the collapse of the Spanish, Napoleonic, and Holy Roman empires—great time for individuals to ponder the earthly half of their existence…”

“What’s the other half?”

“When the soul associates with the beginning of a body, at conception.”

Sophie chimed in: “Weird stuff…”

“Well, Sophie, you said I was weird so shouldn’t I talk about weird stuff?”

Judy stopped typing and said, “Weird comes from roots that mean fateful and destiny oriented.”

Bruce: “I rest my case…”

Frank: “Yes, weird…”

Sophie stood up and said, “I gotta go…”

Judy: “Sophie, I appreciate your spiritual experiences.”

Sophie sat back down.

Bruce said, “Judy, why do you think religion is all lies?”

“Bruce, why do you think it isn’t?”

“Well, I think there are folks out there who claim things about religion that stack up as, essentially, lies; but, would someone who said all writers are liars suddenly make all writers liars?”

“No…”

“And, would a writer who did lie all the time make all writers liars?”

“No; but, religion is different than writing…”

“I agree—writing is what humans do and religion is what God does—true religion, that is.”

“Which God is the real one?”

“Aha! Now we get to the tricky part—“

Sophie said, “Judy, don’t let him trick you…”

“Wouldn’t think of it, Sophie—so, what’s tricky, Bruce?”

“Well, I’m starting to believe that all the Founders of the great religions were from the One and Only God—had the same Message. The tricky part is when you start comparing the words They each said—each One was talking to folks at different stages of human evolution—essentially, different kinds of human beings…”

“You mean the Bible and the Quran are saying the same thing?”

“Very much the same thing; but, written to be understood by very different kinds of humans. Thing is, too many followers of Jesus and Muhammad appear to be clinging to limited, materialistic interpretations…”

Frank said, “Bruce, where do you get these ideas?”

“It’s all, really, right in front of everyone’s face—try the Internet—search for ‘bab persia’, as a start…”

Sophie: “What’s bab persia mean?”

“Well, Sophie, please forgive me for not giving it all away—I’ve spent years searching and only began to find answers in the last few months. And, since I appreciate not only what I’m finding but the search itself, I don’t want to deny the search to others; but, what I’ve told you is, truly, one huge clue…”

Sophie: “What’s that book you’re reading?”

“It’s called The Book of Certitude—another huge clue…”

Judy: “You believe everything you read, Bruce?”

“No… God gave us minds to investigate and find the truth—kind of implies there’s a lot of crap floating around…”

Frank:  “So, how are you learning where to put science?”

“Science is the other half of learning—the material version of spiritual science.”

Judy: “Spiritual science!?”

“Exactly. I’m starting to realize that religion and spirituality should use reason, just as much as material science.”

Sophie: “Totally weird…”

Bruce: “Yes, weird like Judy said…”

Judy: “I think science is more pure than religion—less chaotic.”

Frank: “Science can be very chaotic…”

Bruce: “And, science can be too beholden to materialism.”

Frank: “Didn’t you call it, ‘the material version of spiritual science’?

“Yes; but, a material version of something is very different from something that worships materialism…”

Judy: “The material world is all we’ve got—period!”

Bruce: “Is love material? How about honor? Better yet, what about magnetism?”

Frank: “Yep, plenty of abstract entities science tries to grapple with…”

Judy: “It all comes from matter! Religion is just cheating with all its emotional shortcuts.”

Sophie: “I’m with Judy, different religions are so different they must all be lying.”

Judy: “Sophie, that’s not quite what I was saying…”

Frank: “I agree that the interpretation of scripture is the trickiest part…”

Bruce: “Takes a relatively pure heart…”

Judy: “You have a pure heart, Bruce?”

Bruce: “Relatively…”

Sophie: “Bruce, the Mumbo Jumboist…”

Judy: “Frank, you still buying?”

“Sure.”

“Mocha Latte, then…”

Sophie stood up and said, “I gotta go…”

Bruce went back to his reading.

Judy stood up, walked to Bruce’s table, grabbed his book, walked it to the trash receptacle, and tossed it in…

[The world kept turning; but, four folks in a cafe had brushed up against the Ineffable…]

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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Friday Story Bazaar ~ Tale Thirty


You Must Think I’m Going Crazy

by
Alexander M Zoltai

~~~~~~~~~

It started out very slyly—the thoughts felt like they were his.

The first clue something was not normal was when he started to wonder why he was having these ideas.

Yes, he’d had an interest in astronomy in his youth (and, on into his middle years); but, that ended a decade ago when he’d firmly decided his wife was more important than his all-night vigils at the telescope.

So, why was he thinking about aliens—why was he wondering which stars harbored intelligent life—why was he doing calculations in his head to estimate the scientific odds of other advanced societies?

Before he’d abandoned astronomy, he thought a lot about stars and often wondered about aliens; but, this new set of thoughts was more detailed, more ordered, more important in its implications…

Like that thought last night—Are there aliens listening in on our thoughts…?

Not sitting in their spaceships over the Earth and listening; but, in their homes or offices on their own worlds—sitting many light-years away—listening in on…

His thoughts…?

No.

Impossible.

Crazy…

Franklin?

“What?”—Wait!—That wasn’t just a thought; that was a female voice…

Franklin, talk to me…

Right, talk to his own little hallucination…

I’m not an hallucination, Franklin; I’m real and I’ve established communication with you through the Plasma environment of space.

“Pretty strange that an alien would speak English so well…”—he didn’t even notice he was looking around the room for… what…? A hidden speaker…?

I admit it is rather strange… My mother learned some of your language from an author she consulted, oh, my, quite a few years ago now; but, I’ve been doing some major study of your language.

Franklin decided he’d trick himself out of this mad train of thinking and said, “Author—your mother—what?—did they write a book together?”

Yes.

This is truly insane, he thought; then said: “Can I find a copy of this book?”

The voice gave him a Web address—he typed it into his browser—there was a book, claiming to have been written by a man from Earth and an alien named…”

“Sena Quaren…?”

Yes—my mother.

Franklin’s mind was blurring and he decided a lay-down on the couch would be nice…

He sat and, as soon as his back hit the cushions, he passed out.

~~~

He hadn’t heard the voice for a full twenty-four hours when he decided he’d read the book—it was being offered as a free download…

It wasn’t all that long—he finished it in sixteen straight hours—didn’t eat, didn’t move, just read…

Then, the voice returned.

So, what do you think, Franklin?

“Your name is Ararura?”

Yes, I wrote that last chapter…

“And, you can actually do what that book talked about, communicate across twelve light-years—mind to mind…?

Yes, that’s what we’re doing; but, you keep thinking you have to talk out loud…

“I must be going crazy…”

Oh, no, Franklin, you’re beginning to reach a higher level of thinking than most people on Earth.

“Why? Because I’m starting to want to believe you’re real?”

But, I am real.

“Let’s say you are, for a moment—why would you want to talk to me? I can understand your mother and that author—she wanted folks on Earth to read about your struggles to attain a lasting peace; but, me? I’m a retired banker—did a bit of astronomy years ago; but—“

You were a fine amateur astronomer—my mother almost spoke to you; but, her mission was quite focused—I’m interested in broader communications, deeper exchanges with the minds of Earthlings…

“So how long were you invading my mind before you decided to spook me out and speak?”

Oh, about a year, along with eight other people…”

He still reserved the right to believe he’d gone blasted crazy; but, he still asked:

“Why me?”

It’s the way your mind works—it’s what drew my mind to yours—we’re rather alike…

“Do we look alike?”

Oh, my, no! My form would look hideous to you...”

“Hideous?”

Well, maybe frightful, or shocking, or outrageous...”

“Hmmm…

The outer form is really negligible when you get down to what’s important in life, Franklin, right?”

“I do agree; but, how could two bodies that are so radically different have minds that are alike?”

Minds are not in the body, Franklin. What you call a brain is just a way to have the mind and body communicate with each other.

“I’ve wondered about that…”

I know...”

“What else do you already know about me?”

You love your wife but don’t truly understand her—you secretly wish you could spend your clear nights observing the wonders of space—and, you wish you were younger so you could be assigned to the International Space Station as their chief astronomer and never sleep again...”

“Damned invasive of you…”

Well, Franklin, I hope you’ll let me teach you how to invade my mind...”

“I could do that?”

If you worked hard and trusted me

“How long would it take?”

Hard to determine; but, perhaps, a few months of dedicated practice…

~~~

{A few months later…}

So, how was that?

“I did it, right?”

Oh, yes you did.

“Damn!”

Damn straight!

“You’re starting to sound like an Earthling…”

And, you, dear Sir, are starting to act like an Angian.

“Why, thank you, Ararura!”

~~~

His respect for his new friend kept him from ever speaking to others about her; though, there were those embarrassing moments when his wife would ask him what he’d just mumbled.

He always said, “Oh, nothing…”

She always said, “Sounded like you were talking to someone.”

He always said, “You must think I’m going crazy.”

She always thought, “You aren’t going, you’ve been there for years; but, I still love you...”

He always thought, “I do wish I could tell you I can hear your thoughts, my Dear...”

Ararura always laughed…

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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Friday Story Bazaar ~ Tale Twenty-Nine


Can I Give Up Now?

by
Alexander M Zoltai

~~~~~~~~~

He’d found the poem on some blog—written by an unknown—full of meaning for him…

He began, slowly, to read it yet again, out loud:

“Creeping up a
Hill of life from a
Valley too well-known;
This time, this
Time reach some
Height not leading
Back to have-to;
This time, this
Time free enough to
See beyond these
Patterns locked in
Self so locked in
Dust.”

 

He took note, yet again, of the “Back to have-to“—rolled it around in his mind—knowing what it meant for him—things he kept “having” to do, no matter how much some other part of him desperately didn’t want to do them…

And, “reach some Height not leading Back to have-to“?

He’d explored so many “Heights” over the years—philosophy, psychology, occultism, spirituality, religion…

Each did elevate his thinking and, eventually, his actions—some ever so slightly, some quite substantially; but, never enough to not fall back down to “have-to”…

He’d learned about how powerful his ego was—some religions going so far as to call it the Evil One or Satan…

Ego…

So resistant to going beyond itself—so powerfully keeping him in its Cage…

He’d read, somewhere, that the Will (Ego) had to be turned into a “Door”; then, Release from the Cage could enter his life…

So, his life-long quest (with it’s interminable ups and downs) continued…

“How”, he pondered (at some new depth he’d just recently reached), “can I turn my ego into a door…?”.

All he really wanted to do was scream, “Can I Give Up Now!?”; which he finally realized would happen when he opened that Door…

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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Friday Story Bazaar ~ Tale Twenty-Eight


The Creator and The Destroyer

by
Alexander M Zoltai

~~~~~~~~~

The boy moved closer to the fire and said, “Grandfather, tell me again of the Great War.”

The Grandfather said, “It seems as if the Battle has raged Forever… The Creator building up—The Destroyer tearing down.”

“This is what makes a pain in my heart, Grandfather. Our Great Creator seems unable to ever win the Great War—we will always suffer…”

“Dearest Grandson, if you were to carefully consult all the records, you would see that The Creator merely permits The Destroyer a temporary victory, which, when viewed from a timeless perspective is actually a significant loss…”

“Timeless perspective?”

“You and I live in this very mundane world, circling a Source of light that defines what we call Time. In the World Beyond, there are no such things as stars and suns, so there is no time. The Final Truth is that, in spite of Ages of destruction and suffering, humanity has slowly climbed the hill of evolution—learned and grown more luxuriantly intelligent.”

“I trust you, Grandfather, but this is a hard Truth to understand…”

“You are fifteen years now?”

“Yes, Grandfather…”

“You must copy down what I’ve said (I will repeat whatever you need to hear again), keep it safe, and consult it periodically until you reach twenty years. If you still don’t understand, and if I am still in this body and on this Earth, I will help you again.”

~~~

“I reached twenty years—my Grandfather was no longer on this Earth…

“I was beginning to understand but decided to attempt a Sacred Walk to the top of Boudonere Peak—I would stay and pray until I understood completely…”

~~~

The boy stayed on the Peak for twenty-seven days and nights…

His body died from the exposure…

His soul ascended to the Timeless Realm…

He joined his Grandfather in helping other souls understand the Truth of the Great War, by visiting them in their dreams………

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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Friday Story Bazaar ~ Tale Twenty-Seven


Desperado

a short “memoir”

by
Alexander M Zoltai

~~~~~~~~~

He asked himself, “Why”?

It had been way too many years—sure, a bit of progression had been made; but, he felt he was lagging in the moral department…

If he could put the need he felt into a photo, he’d imagine a blank sky with a hill in the foreground—a hill populated by one twisted tree and rabid tufts of grass—something that would help him remember/not remember—bring to mind/forget…

His life history was a jumble on the move, only attaining some semblance of trajectory in the last decade.

He was nearly 71 years of age and realized, so clearly, that the learning he’d attained filled, perhaps, a large bucket…

Knowing by inquiry (endless inquiry…) and translation into narrative (writing stories…) were the only talents that could possibly make him a learned (but not a wise) man…

His emotions had their own wisdom and their own insanity…

The Government had given him a “life extension” by granting him a small pension for his time in the Navy and as a compensation for a deadly disease they’d given him (which they’d never admit; but, which they did “cure”…)—yet, during the last three years of that life extension, he’d had to have an artery in his neck repaired and was now taking two nasty drugs to, perhaps, keep him from having another stroke (he’d suffered seven “small” strokes, could still talk and walk {unsteadily}; but, he did have certain “neurological” issues…)…

If he had more money, he’d commission a song—one he could memorize and sing all day long—let it fill him with hope and benevolence…

But…

The mending he was going through (emotional, psychological, and physical) was beginning to rip him up…

His “world” in the past was fairly circumscribed by the mundane materialistic madness called “society”; yet, there was a pocket of “culture” he’d created that could, sometimes, mesh with certain sets of folks…

What he hoped for (prayed for…) was a rising above the world that most others thought was reality to a World that was Reality…

Was he desperate?

Yes.

To the point of recklessness?

Not since the strokes and his tendency to fall if he turned too swiftly (a physical manifestation of a necessary psychological modus operandi…).

Was he prone to depression?

He was “mature” enough (perhaps, just a certain brand of “mental street smarts”) that he was certain he had to hang on—push ahead—aim for that World that was True Reality…

Did he have enough time left?

Well…

There are some folks who believe the soul lives forever………

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Read More Story Bazaar Tales

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If you don’t see a way to comment (or, “reply”) after this post, try up there at the top right…
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com