Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing, and Publishing ~

Tag Archives: Short Tales

Friday Story Bazaar ~ Tale Thirty-Six

A Higher Calling

Alexander M Zoltai


He couldn’t understand…

His usual methods weren’t working…

She acted nicely enough in his presence; but, remained icy at her core.

Every time he asked her for a date, she accepted; yet, the signals were extremely clear—Be proper or I’m out of here

He recalled articles from years ago saying that women craved sex as much as men; but, with that off the menu, what did she want from him…?


He finally decided he just had to ask her…

He did and she said he should wait for her written answer in his mailbox…


It arrived and it said:

You have remarkable abilities and a captivating personality.

I go out with you because I keep hoping you’ll see beyond your body’s demands and notice me…

Oh, I know you’ve noticed my body; but, I keep expecting you to peek into my soul…

I fear this letter will sever our relationship; yet, I hope you want more than fun and social games.

Think about it…

I give in to your desire for sex—you and I enjoy it—it does what it usually does—creates the urge for a deeper connection—you back away and have to find another woman that won’t make you think about commitment…

Can you do that for the rest of your life?

Your penis will more than likely keep working; but, what about your heart?

I care, deeply, for you…

But, I care about the real you, not the you that so strongly identifies with your very mortal body…

Will you see me soon to talk about this; or, will you run………?


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Friday Story Bazaar ~ Tale Thirty-Five

Such a Lovely Revolution

Alexander M Zoltai


The planet was close to its rather small, red star—“tidally locked”, with one side always facing the light.

People took vacations, mostly, by going to the night side; and, of course, all the astronomers lived there.

Those who never went to the darkness were apt to contract some strange mental alterations…

One of those who never vacationed in the darkness happened to become the ruler of the strongest country on the day-lit side.

He’d been mostly concerned with seeking ways to lessen the financial woes of his fellow citizens—not many people thought he’d be elected the ruler…

Folks went around feeling like the darkness had begun to infiltrate their side of the planet.

There were new bills that encouraged people to resettle in the hemisphere they weren’t born in.

There were enactments of rules for the sharing of wealth.

People were becoming so confused, and acting so strange, it almost became necessary to enforce rather strict curfews…

Luckily, the ruler of the strongest country convinced all the other countries to institute a world-wide, light/dark unification treaty—to become, truly, one world.

Many folks thought he should just, finally, visit the dark side—stop such deranged behavior…

But, just about five years after the treaty took hold—after things had fully calmed down—the planet began to spin…


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Friday Story Bazaar ~ Tale Thirty-Four

Blinded by the Light

Alexander M Zoltai


His views were unwelcome.

He wasn’t like other people.

Jim avoided him—but, Jim’s subconscious was intrigued…

This person was named Adolph; and, some Hitler jokes had been heard…

Adolph was from the south—state of Florida.

Jim had lived in Florida for awhile; but, that didn’t endear him to Adolph—though, his subconscious was alert for similarities of experience…

Jim’s friends were extremely unkind to Adolph—they vied with each other to create new slurs to hurl at him.

Jim couldn’t admit it to himself; but, his better nature (buried) was wishing his friends (friends?) would lay off…

Jim walked into the cafe and scanned it—no one he knew except Adolph…

He ordered his coffee, avoided looking at Adolph, and sat on the other side of the cafe.

In a few minutes, Adolph was standing there saying, “Jim, why do your friends speak so unkindly to me?”

Jim sat there, speechless, beginning to sweat, staring at Adolph; and, eventually, said (very unexpectedly), “Have a seat…”

“Thank you.”

“My friends are jerks…” (He couldn’t believe he’d just said that...)

“Why have jerks for friends?”

“None of your business!”

Adolph stood, bowed (slightly), and returned to his original seat.


Jim avoided the cafe for a week…

He didn’t understand why he’d said what he did to Adolph—his friends were jerks?

Well, yeah, sometimes…

Still, why did he say that to Adolph—of all people?

He vowed to never speak to the man again.


Jim began a new daily habit—lingering outside the cafe and scanning it for Adolph (if friends are present, enter, in spite of any presence of Adolph…).

He’d not entered for the last two days; but, today he saw friends, and Adolph…

He entered—sat down with his friends, four tables away from Adolph, and began to sweat…

He listened to his friends’ slurs and smears for a few minutes; then, stood up and walked to Adolph’s table.

Jim was astounded at himself; but, he said, “May I sit?”

“Please do…”

“How are you?”


“About what?”

“About what your friends may do to you…”

“Do to me?”

“They aren’t happy with you being at this table—one of them is on his way over here…”

Jim turned around and saw Hank approaching…

He said to himself, Oh, God, not Hank

Hank reached them and said, “Jim, why you sittin’ with this shitbag?”

Jim didn’t answer.

Adolph addressed Hank with, “Excuse me, sir, why do you demean yourself by attributing such a term to a fellow human being?”

Hank was temporarily speechless…

Jim jumped into the breach with, “Hank, I agree with Adolph, you shouldn’t act so low to someone you don’t even know…” (he was mystified with himself and especially his mouth...)

Hank was stunned—returned to his seat with his fists clenched…

Adolph said, “I think we should take a walk…”

They walked to the park; however, they were being tracked by the pack of Jim’s former friends; and, Jim and Adolph ended up in the hospital—condition not critical but definitely needing treatment and a few days in a ward to stabilize their healing gashes and punctures…


In the afternoon of the second day in the hospital, Jim painfully turned his body toward Adolph’s bed and said, “Why?”

“They are afraid of me.”


“The same reason you, in spite of yourself, want to be my friend…”

“So, why?”

“You sense what I believe in…”


“Jim, are you spiritual?”

“Hmmm… Sure, a bit, I guess…”

“How about religious?”


“I am.”


“That’s what those men are afraid of, my religion; well, actually, the way my religion shines out from my heart…”

“And, that’s why, ‘in spite of myself’, I talked to you and asked you to sit down?”

“I do believe it is…”

“They wouldn’t understand, would they?”

“Not the way they think and feel… No.”

“So, am I supposed to ask about your religion?”

“Not necessarily…”

“Why not?”

“Do you want to ask?”


“Well, wait until you really want to ask, O.K.?”



They eventually did talk about Adolph’s religion, once they’d left the hospital.

They talked every day for months (never at the cafe…)—Jim’s former friends never entered his mind.

Jim couldn’t understand how any religion could be so sane, non-dogmatic, unifying, and rational; but, he was working hard to find out…

And, he became a member of Adolph’s Faith the day after he realized he’d never told the police about what Hank and the gang had done…


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Friday Story Bazaar ~ Tale Thirty-Three

The Curse of Morality

Alexander M Zoltai


“The world of humanity is in need of great improvement, for it is a material jungle wherein trees without fruit flourish and useless weeds abound.”  ~ ‘Abdu’l-Bahá


She felt damned. She was sure there was a curse on her.

Others had work, others had families, others did things together…

She was poor, homeless, friendless—had been for as long as she could remember.

Mother was a vague sweet memory—father? No memory. Siblings? No memory.

Yesterday? No memories…

She got up from the crate that was her chair, walked out from under the bridge, struggled up the hill, and surveyed the traffic on the walkways in the park.

She shuffled to her usual place under the large elm and began her shift of begging…

When certain folks sneered at her, she smiled back. When they shouted at her as they passed, she said, “Thank you.” When they approached and dishonored her and shoved her about, she said, “Bless you.”

She usually received enough cash to have her one meal of the day—a hot dog from the street vendor—some days she received just bit more, her “savings”…

The other poor folks couldn’t understand why she didn’t make up stories, didn’t fathom how she could think that just standing there with her hand out would move anyone to put money in it.

They rarely spoke to her—felt it would be bad luck—felt she was beneath them…

There was one other poor woman, though, who would appear about once a month and chat with her. This other woman did make up stories to get money, even cut herself to make certain stories believable.

They never asked each other’s names; but, it was easy to tell who followed the normally accepted routines for begging—the once a month visitor had almost normal clothes, she was almost always bathed, she had a bit of perfume smell…

The woman who didn’t follow the normal methods of begging thought of her visitor as Ruth, the name of her long-dead mother…

Ruth always began with, “So, how’s the needlessly poor little lady?”

“Oh… Getting along; and, how are you?”

“I’m still better off than you, dear—started to make up a few tales?”


“I know, you always say that; but, you can—you really should, too—you’re looking worse and worse…”

“I’m just not interested in pretending to be someone I’m not…”

“Yes, yes… Same old story… You have scruples…”

“You could say that…”

“I’ve said that every time you’ve told me you can’t make up tales to give folks a reason to give you money.”

“I just can’t…”

“Then, you’re bound to suffer.”

“We’re all bound to suffer…”

“Oh, no. Not that philosophy again—Buddhist or something right?”

“I don’t follow any certain religion…”

“Well, I gotta go and make a few more bucks before dusk—best you join the poor folks’ religion and start telling people sad tales so they give you some of the money they suffered to get…”

“I’m me, that’s all—can’t change.”

“Sure seems so—you’re looking real sickly—think you’ll make it through winter?”

“We’ll see…”

“Right—gotta go.”

And, she left.


Then, there was the day one-eyed Rick came by and told her Ruth was in jail. Seems she’d been in a fight with another of the poor folk and knocked them out; then, they died…

Rick didn’t know if Ruth would be sent to the penitentiary but it wasn’t looking good.

After Rick left, she said her own kind of little prayer for Ruth.


A few months later, Ruth showed up under the large elm.

“So, how’s the needlessly poor little lady?”

“Fine… How are you? Done with the law?”

“Yes. The officials care less for the poor than regular folk…. I think I probably did kill her with that punch…”

“Perhaps… Did she attack you?”

“Grabbed me and started digging for my money stash; but, I can’t blame her; not if I killed her over some money…”

“Well, her soul probably just heard you say that and I’m sure she’s happy about it.”

“You think…?”

“I think I know, yes.”


She still felt damned and cursed; but, ever since Ruth was let out of jail there was a change in how damned and cursed she felt. Each meeting with Ruth made the damnation and accursedness seem to fade a bit more…

Each get-together had Ruth revealing a new facet of a new view on life. Ruth was definitely on to something—something that was rubbing off—some new attitude about the world…


Around mid-winter, Ruth came by and told her she had an apartment and wanted her to come live there.


“I have a small apartment—got me a small job, apartment came with it.”

“You want me to live there?”



“Because you’re the nicest other person I know.”

“Aren’t there some other people with jobs who could pay you a little to move in?”

“There aren’t any other people in this jungle of a city that I would trust living with me; besides, you helped me change my views—helped me get that job.”

“I did?”

“It’s just who you are—you stay nice no matter what—made me think on a few things after I killed that woman. It ain’t just this city’s a jungle—world’s a jungle and you’re the only other real human being I’ve known.”

“My, my…”

“Your, your…”

They shared a rare laugh.

Then, Ruth said, “So, let’s get under that bridge and grab whatever doesn’t smell too much and get over to my apartment.”

“I can’t believe this…”

“Why, you don’t deserve me helping you?”

“I have felt damned—cursed ’cause I couldn’t be like others—stuck in being sick-poor…”

“You had the Curse of Morality!”

All the way to the bridge and on to the apartment, they laughed, and they snickered, and they tittered…


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Friday Story Bazaar ~ Tale Thirty-Two

My Worldly Education

Alexander M Zoltai


“…to indulge their appetites they have done away with their own selves.”   *


I was raised in the bosom of wealth and privilege.

It gave me a cushioning—a buffer between me and the nastiness of the world.

I think I learned a few “higher” ideas because I wasn’t wallowing in the muck…

I wasn’t planning on breaking with my family; but, some of my views were radically opposed by my father—I fought back—I was disinherited…


I found a job with a Movement that needed constant funding—I appreciated what they were doing (helping folks…)—I knew people—I found them their money (and, made quite a bit for myself in commissions).

I wasn’t planning on being issued an injunction; but, my overzealousness raised alarms—people who knew my father made complaints…

I was forced to find less productive work…


I became a salesman—selling whatever promised high commissions.

Taste and ethics didn’t matter—high commissions did.

My small group of friends disappeared—well, I wasn’t able to be there to entertain them, which made them reconstruct their social patterns….


I became richer than my father.

I paid to obtain new friends.

I formed many Movements—“Foundations” that earned me more than what all the beneficiaries of the Foundations got.

I only worked for “certain”, very private people…

I eventually became a recluse…

I, eventually, lost all hope…

My worldly education is over.

My next act will be to erase my existence…



* quote from ‘Abdu’l-Bahá


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