Tagged: parents

Ryan

Dear Planet Earth,

It was the first day in a while that Perry hasn’t come by to dispense fatherly advice or spread the Good Word about the mole people. He’s been trying to interpret passages for me from A History of the Inheritors, the ancient manifesto of our underground overlords. It’s all bullshit, and I’ve told him as much since he started his temptation to bring me to the dark side and join him so that we may rule the galaxy as father and son.

I did have another awkward conversation with my gruffy gaoler to make up for Perry’s absence. He dropped off my usual gruel at the usual time, and I asked him, “What’s your name?”

He looked through the window suspiciously.

“Why?”

“It seems important,” I said. “You feed me everyday, recharge my laptop, clean my bedpan. But I don’t even know what to call you.”

His gaze eased, perhaps understanding the bigger conflict on my mind.

“Ryan.”

I nodded.

“Well, nice to meet you, Ryan.”

I briefly considered offering him my hand. He was about to go, but I stopped him with another question.

“You have any kids, Ryan?”

“Look, pal, this ain’t the Marriott here. You’re not a guest and I’m not your friend. Any issues you got with The Big Guy are between you and him.”

He stormed off after that, leaving me with a half-full bedpan and dreams of a paternal relationship I never knew I wanted.

Perry

Dear Planet Earth,

“Perry.”

That’s how he greeted me the last time he came to my cell. He was all smiles as he sauntered in, sat at the table and crossed his legs.

“My name is Perry. I guess you could call me that if ‘Dad’ or ‘Father’ feels too weird. It would feel weird to me.”

I laid on my cot, doing my best to hide the old book he gave me, A History of the Inheritors, behind my head. I didn’t want him to know I was reading it, that I’ve been reading it nonstop since I got it in the vain hope of finding some worthwhile reason to abandon family, friends, and species.

I’m tempted to not write anything. He’s watching. He’s reading this blog right now and there’s nothing I can do to stop him from learning about me besides staring at a blank wall all day.

There’s no use in trying to hide anything now. So, if you are reading this, Perry — and I know you are — screw you. Screw you for walking out on your wife and child. Screw you for kidnapping me multiple times. Screw you for selling out humanity to the mole people.

“Is there something you wanna say, little guy?” he asked me last time. His smile was stone, unperturbed by even my most fiery glares.

“I’d hate to have been you in middle school, Perry Panus.”

He laughed — more than I’d like for him to have laughed. He stood up to go with a painful grunt and said, “Well, I guess things don’t get more real than that.”

Screw you.

The Talk

Dear Planet Earth,

He’s been coming to my cell for the past couple mornings. My father. My dad. I don’t know what to call him. He didn’t stick around long enough when I was a kid for me to give him one of those common labels. I don’t even know his first name. Maybe I’ll ask him next time — if I don’t try to punch him in the face.

He told me that they worked on recruiting him even before I was born. The homies — he chuckled over my new nickname for them. He said that they told him about the coming invasion, of the mole people, the true inheritors of the upper crust. He chuckled when he used the word “mole people,” too. To him and his fellow homeless minions, they were and always will be the “Inheritors.”

They ruled over all levels of the Earth for thousands of years until we homo sapiens revolted and drove them underground. This was eventually seen as a truce by the Inheritors. They could tolerate our dominion over the inferior crust so long as we maintained peace and the fragile ecosystem affecting all of the layers. But humans screwed it up. We destroyed our planet beyond repair and the Inheritors saw invasion as their only option to protect the Earth.

He said he’d understand if I couldn’t forgive him for abandoning me and Mom. He said he tried to save us from the same fate as the others, using his considerable pull to keep us away from the fighting before it began.

I sat silent for much of this, turning this new information over and over in my mind, seething. He left me a book to read — the same one that convinced him to leave us all those years ago.

I should have punched him in the face.

The Big Guy

Dear Planet Earth,

“Hey, little guy.”

I awoke this morning to see a strange man sitting on the edge of my bed. He had ragged clothing and dark, greasy hair. He was hunched over and smiling at me.

“But I guess you’re not so little anymore.”

I sat up and pushed myself against the wall.

“They say that you’re starting to talk again. That you’re not so sick.”

The glare of the morning sun and dirty patches of facial hair obscured much of his face, but I could still make out that lupine smile.

“I guess we kept on missing each other, huh? When Martha told me you were with the army, it was too late. My friends tried to keep you at that motel before that, but you ran off before I could get there.”

He seemed to be waiting for me to say something. When I didn’t, he motioned to my laptop sitting on a table and continued.

“I’ve been reading your blog. I’m sorry they shot at you. They weren’t supposed to. And you lost a friend.”

“Diana,” I said. “Her name was Diana.”

“Well, I’m sorry about Diana.” He nodded and it looked like he might have had some tears in his eyes. “It looks like you’ve been through a lot of adventures. I’m just happy you’re safe.”

He stood up and walked to the door.

“We’ll talk tomorrow,” he said. “You don’t look like you want to say anything today.”

I said, “Wait.” And he waited. “Are you really. . . are you. . .”

The words wouldn’t come out of me. My head was pounding, refusing to believe what I saw in front of me.

“Yeah, it’s really me, son.”

And he left.

The Wrong People

Dear Planet Earth,

I’m left with even more questions after my 20 hour debriefing than I had yesterday. I was again taken to my canvas tent cell where General Talpa again gave his one-man rendition of good cop/bad cop.

He said the tech gurus couldn’t find anything in my broken walkie talkie but dead circuit boards and batteries. He was convinced that it must be a symbol for something else, and he made me retell every memory I had about walkie talkies and my father. I told him the same thing I tell everyone about my father.

“He was just another dead beat dad. An aging hippie who couldn’t handle the pressures of a career and family. My mom said he got into drugs and made connections with the wrong people, and that’s all I ever wanted to know about him.”

“And what about The Time Machine?” Talpa asked. “You said he read it to you every night?”

“Yeah, but . . . I’ve gone over these same questions a dozen times already in my head.” I rubbed my eyes, hoping for sleep or wakefulness to finally arrive. “You guys probably know more than I do. You’re the ones with that damn list.”

They let me go a few interrogations later, even gave me the stupid walkie talkie. But I know they’re watching me; some of Talpa’s scouts have been eyeing me in the mess hall, offering to escort me back to my tent. They’re probably reading this blog.

Well, boys, I don’t know shit. As soon as I do remember some tiny clue from my past that could explain every crazy thing that’s happened so far, you’ll be the first ones to know. Whether I want it or not.

Found and Lost

Dear Planet Earth,

I found her — Martha. We were all feeling a little more at ease with the sirens and floodlights finally off, so I was understandably calm last night walking back from the mess hall when I saw something glinting near some plastic containers. I went to check it out and found my naive stupidity embodied in a Beretta M-9 pistol staring me in the face.

“Wait! Don’t kill me! Don’t kill me!” What else was I supposed to say?

I could make out her gaunt, dirty features from the moonlight. She looked like my elementary school librarian if she had been starved and tortured for a week. She studied my face for several seconds and then motioned with her gun for me to come closer.

“Who are you?” she croaked.

“Scott. My name’s Scott. I’m not a soldier.”

She nodded and lowered her gun.

“No. You’re not.” The woman rummaged through a pink fanny pack hanging loosely from her waist. “You’re just a dumb kid mixed up in something bigger than any of us. I don’t give two shits about you, but it’s not really up to me, is it?” She took out an old walkie talkie and made me clasp my fingers around it.

“What –”

“When it happens, when you get the call, do everything they tell you to do.”

She stood up and trained her gun on me again.

“Don’t think, just act. Remember what he taught you, Scott.”

She started walking backwards to the fences, to her freedom.

“‘Strength is the outcome of need,'” she said before disappearing into the darkness.

“‘Security sets a premium on feebleness,'” I completed.

It’s from my favorite book, The Time Machine. My father used to read it to me every night.

Wake Up Call

Dear Planet Earth,

The honeymoon stage is over. Diana and I just had our first fight and it wasn’t pretty. The worst part is, she’s completely right. I haven’t taken any of this seriously, even when our very lives were in danger. I’ve been emotionally numb ever since the tremors stopped, and I probably lost all feeling after I lost Mom.

But these are desperate times. And when an unseen force causes global earthquakes and disrupts the entire flow of media — which in turn causes a homeless armed militia to hold you prisoner for days on end — every sob story is nothing but an excuse, a depressing distraction from the problems you need to conquer now.

I woke up today. I realized the only option I have left is bold action. Tomorrow we make our escape.