This is a small radio piece I produced for issue five of ZineOS, which you will need Google Chrome for.
Script, unedited from the Notes.app document I had lying around and, thus, deviates wildly from the finished product:
The sun, our Sun, had almost reached middle age when the beings who lived on the opposite arm of the Milky Way spiral arrived on Earth. That year, I was a citizen on Earth in one of its most populous, most industrious cities. I was 27, and my friends Misha and Albert were also 27. We were high, in the park, watching cirrus clouds pass by us as if time was nothing when Gleep-Glorp’s ship swirled down to kiss the dust. Gleep-Glorp got out of the ship, surveyed the crowd around her dented ship, and made words.
“I am one of the galaxians. I am my own person. You do not know me and I do not know you,” she said, “but I will work at both those problems.” Something about her resonated with us. She was effortlessly cool – we were freshmen and she already had a tattoo.
From then on, the three of us would run into Gleep-Glorp at parties until we were the sort of acquaintances who would hug hello. We would always plan to make plans but they never came to fruition. All those words we spilled saying goodbye, meant nothing.
We were all sitting on Misha’s couch, watching content. “I wonder what her deal is,” I said.
Albert, with his red stoned eyes, said, “Whose?”
I said, “Does any one of us have her cell phone number?”
Misha threw her phone at me and pressed her grayed and fading baseball cap back to her shock of blond hair. “We’re in the same book club,” Misha said.
I asked, “You’re in a book club?”
“It’s not really a book club. The book club is just an excuse to get together and drink wine.”
“We drink wine,” Albert said. “Whose phone number are we talking about? How do you guys watch TV and talk at the same time?”
“It’s not the same,” Misha said.
As I peed into Misha’s toilet, I wondered what the difference was.
That was the month we began including Gleep-Glorp more.
We saw movies together. It turned out that Gleep-Glorp’s planet had build repeaters to carry Earth’s electromagnetic signals long before we had invented radio and television. Gleep-Glorp, or Gorp as we called her, had an auteur’s taste in film. Her recommendations were always good for something.
We went to concerts. Gleep-Glorp would let us listen to the extendable ears that protruded from her glistening aquamarine body. Through them, the music made onstage became intimate no matter where we sat or how irritable we were that day.
Several other examples, too numerous to describe, all with the poetry of newfound friendship and intragalactic connection.
Those seven years the four of us knew each other seemed to fly by. My rhythm seemed to finally beat in time with the city’s. Springs seemed crisper; summers seemed calmer. On this particular day I decided to walk back rather than take the subway. I picked a path through the commercial district. Because when I walked down Fifth Avenue I imagined myself to be the character in a short story who stopped and whispered to every pumpkin-colored leaf and, on the last day in the city, found a leaf that whispered back.
My phone shuddered. Incoming text: “we’re at the park,” from Misha. “meet us there?”
“this weather is terrible,” I texted. “not a puddle in sight”
“are you coming or not?”
“sometimes i think that puddles are doors between us and another dimension but they close as soon as we step on them”
“gorp said their scientists say we only have the dimensions we already have”
“i’ll be there,” i texted back.
At the park Misha and Albert were loading boxes of their belongings onto Gleep-Glorp’s ship. She had painted the ship forest green and turned down its opacity and hidden it in the brambles of the park. Today, for the first time, I saw it with its doors open. The interior were wooden-paneled, and I wondered whether Gleep-Glorp had trees back on her planet. I thought about all the questions I had for the people around me but never had the opportunity to ask.
Albert spotted me and then tapped Misha on the shoulder.
Misha broke away.
I said, “Hey you you old so-and-so.”
“I have bad news.”
My eyes widened for effect.
“We’re taking off with Gleep-Glorp. She said we should come with her. Turns out she’s been on vacation this whole time; she has a job and she explained it to me but I didn’t understand.”
Misha bit her lip and looked at me.
“I’m not sure I understand much of anything,” she said, “any more. The thing is that Gorp said she could only take two people.”
“She said she’s sorry. I didn’t want to go without you but I … I have to, right? It will seem as if the great expanse of the universe will have passed me by, if it hasn’t already.”
I said nothing. Albert ran up.
“Did you tell him yet?” Albert said, looking from one twisted face to the other. Misha and I hugged and then Albert and I hugged and then Misha and Albert were gone, as if they had never been here at all and what was all the commotion about anyway.
In the coming days, Gleep-Glorp would use her powers of light and sound projection to say sorry and to talk to me and to answer all my questions. What was her planet like? I asked; what did the people call it, and what did the people call themselves? We spent hours together this way until I one day confessed I had run out of questions. For some reason I found myself embarrassed. And quiet; quiet for the first time since I pieced everything back together.
To my surprise Gleep-Glorp beamed.
“I thought,” she said, “I would never get the chance.”
I asked her what she meant.
She said, “You had many questions for me, sure, but I have so many more questions for you.”
I had no idea. I paused. I said, “I want to answer them. I had no idea.”
“When,” she said, “humans teach a parrot to say that everything is OK, do they realize that the day they did that is the last day that they can trust the parrot to say that everything is OK? Because, when the parrot says that everything is OK, it might be mechanically repeating the thing it learned. Or it might be telling the truth, but can only remember those three words.”
“Why,” Gleep-Glorp said, “would anybody ever do that to themselves?”
I looked around the room for an answer. I had a legal pad in front of me where I would take notes and doodle and write down odd bits of poetry that struck me from outer space. There was one note in the margin, and I read it as the answer.
“Because we can.”
Gleep-Glorp’s forest-looking ship sailed onward, the color of nothing else in the universe.
The radio piece uses music from Sturgill Simpson at the beginning and Octopus Project at the end.