It had been a few hours now since Emil had finished his story. It was dark outside. You could hear the cicadas calling. You could feel the mosquitoes stinging. You could see Emil scratching his skin raw.
Inora had this indomitable urge to choke someone. It is true that there was a certain someone very close to her and within her arm’s reach, but she knew that choking Emil would be pointless. Still, the urge to choke someone persistent, and had almost gotten the best of her in the past few hours. First, at the lower levels of her anger, as Emil sat there reveling in his absurd tale, Inora had wanted to throw a punch, not a hard one, but one just about robust enough to get him to stop talking and wasting both their times. As the similarities between Emil’s tale and her grandfather’s stories began to dawn on her, and it occurred to her that there might be some grains of truth to what Emil was telling her, the urge was to throw a stronger punch. One that would preferably rearrange certain features of Emil’s face. And then, after Emil was done talking and went about answering all of Inora’s questions, and the horrible consequences of the apocalypse began to dawn on her, she came to realize that a simple punch would not sate her. What she craved was a prolonged period of skin-to-skin contact. It was in this moment that the urge to choke someone took up deep root in Inora’s heart.
Yet, one must add, that to her credit, she restrained all her baser urges. Primarily because she was not a violent person, secondarily because she could sense that choking Emil would bring her no satisfaction. And so she went ahead with her questioning. And Emil went ahead with his answering.[i] It should become unequivocally clear soon enough who was doing a better job.
“What happens now?”
“AI. The apocalypse initiative.”
“And what is that?”
“I don’t know exactly.”
“Do we all get herded back into the Asylum? Even those of us who were born here on earth?”
“I don’t know but…”
What about pets?”
“I don’t think…”
“What are you going to do?”
“I don’t precisely know but…”
It got darker outside. Emil continued to not know much about the AI or its aftermath. Inora continued to fight her urge to choke someone. There was a lull in the conversation. Inora got up and walked inside leaving Emil alone. He had not done a very good job, he knew that. But then again, no one had ever taught him how to tell someone that her planet was about to be taken apart by a company ran by one of his school friends.
After waiting for ten minutes, Emil went inside. He found Inora brewing coffee in the kitchen. “You want some? I will need this for the drive back home.”
“I am good. Are we driving back immediately?”
“Yes.” Inora said emphatically.
“I understand. You probably have a few things to get in order.”
Inora did not say anything.
“Talk to your parents, meet some friends, visit…”
“I am going to make sure someone pays for this.”
“I beg your pardon?”
“This is all uncle Man’s fault. He should pay.”
“Yes.” Emil said. Inora was chugging her coffee. Emil was afraid. She finished chugging and went back for another mugful. “In due time you mean?” He asked, “Karma and stuff? Tortured by his own guilty conscious?”
“If he thinks he can play around with people’s lives he’s got another thing coming. You said you are evacuating before the apocalypse?”
“And you offered to take me along?”
“Yes, but that was…”
“We are advancing your departure by a few days. No time to waste. You take me to your planet today. What do you call your planet after all?”
“Inora, if you still harbor some hope of saving earth, then you are setting yourself up for a disappointment.”
“I am not trying to stop the apocalypse; I know that is beyond me. You just take me to the Planet and get me face-to-face with Uncle Man.”
“And what will you do?”
“I will kill him.”
“Rough him up, you mean.”
“No, I meant what I said. I will kill him.”
“Kill him dead?”
“Drink your coffee and meet me out in the car.” Inora handed Emil a mug of strong black coffee, “We have got a long drive back to your apartment. That is from where you will be evacuating, yes?”
“Yes, but…” Emil dipped his tongue into the evil concoction in his hand and pulled back immediately.
“And I will need few hours to go meet my parents and Marco. Then we leave.”
“To kill Mr. O’Gawd?”
“That is right.”
“Your chances of succeeding are less than zero…”
“There is no need for hyperbole; you just take me there.”
“I cannot condone this. And we will both get in trouble.”
“Will you just gulp down your coffee already? We need to move out, come on!”
Emil was in no mood to do either. He tipped the drink into the sink, “There is a quicker way to travel than your car.”
“Which is?” Inora asked.
“Just to be clear, since we are leaving for the Planet, I suppose you would have no problem with leaving your car here?” Emil asked.
“No, but how are we returning back then?”
“I can teleport us back to my apartment; it will only take a second.”
“When you say teleport…”
“Here to there, in a zap!”
“Now you see him, now you don’t?”
“Is that the saying? I always thought it was now you see him, now you cannot.”
“Thank you. But yes, that is what I mean when I say teleport.”
“Well then, what are we waiting for? Come on, chop-chop. Show me how!”
Emil went out to the car, stumbled his way through the darkness, took out his rug from the backseat, brought it back into the cottage, and untied it for Inora.
“That is not a rug.”
“It says WELCOME on top. How is that anything but a rug?”
“It is a teleportation device as well. Actually, it is a teleportation device first and a rug second.”
“You are just trying to pull my legs,”
“You have trusted me about Mr. O’Gawd using EZ-Vacations to visit your grandfather.[ii] How is this any less believable?”
“You made no mention of teleportation. Not once.”
“It was not germane to the story.”
“How does it work?” Inora asked. Emil explained how easy it was.
“If we leave this behind here, how will we get to the Planet?” Inora asked.
“I have a better one at my apartment. That is the TeleDev through which we will be materializing. You need a transmitter and a receiver.”
“Ok, ok, enough talk. Now turn it on. I wanna try it now!”
“You will have to leave your travel-bag behind; too heavy.”
“Enough talk. Do it; do it. Turn it on. Do it now. I want to see.”
Emil spread the rug on the floor, took a step back, gently pressed the W. “Hel-low!” the rug cheerily greeted them, “How is everyone doing today? Such a lovely weather we have! A balmy 28!”
“Oh! It speaks!”
“Oh my, there are two of you! How amazing! A young couple! Does that mean my services will be required at least twice today?”
“Yes. And silence!”
“What is your name?”
“Oh how kind of you to ask. I have been given the name Daisy. What is your name?”
“I am Inora! Very pleased to meet you, Daisy.”
“Inora, do not encourage it!”
“Oh, what a spoilsport! And what is grumpy-pants’ name?”
Inora giggled, “It called you grumpy pants.”
“My name is mind-you-own-damn-business!” Emil said, as he fixed the coordinates to his apartment.
“Oh, what a positively angsty young man! Is Mr. mind-your-damn-business and Inora taking a vacation together? Such lovely, balmy weather to get away from all the hustle and bustle of everyday life.”
“No, we are going back to his apartment now.”
“Oh, how charming! Two young people at the throes passionate love! I do envy you two.”
“I said shut up! Inora stop encouraging it.”
“We are not together, Daisy. I do not even like him very much right now.”
“How presumptuous of me. I do apologize, Inora. But then again, young romances often begin with stepping on each other’s toes and name callings and fierce disagreements…”
“It is ready.” Emil told Inora, “Now, this TeleDev…”
“Daisy. My name is Daisy.”
“This TeleDev can only transport one person at a time. So you will go first, ok?”
Inora nodded her head; no first-time jitters.
“When you arrive at my apartment, it will be on top of another TeleDev.”
“The big brown rug you have?”
“That is the one.”
“I saw it every time I went over!”
“Once you get there, stand aside because I will be following you at the same location within a few seconds. If you are still there, I will arrive straight inside you; or you will be inside me. I do not really know.”
“Oh, how charming! Young people, going inside each…”
“I said shut your mouth!” Emil shouted.
“Emil, stop being so mean to Daisy!”
“It is not a person, Inora!”
“Oh, what a ghastly comment to make! Now I can see why Inora is crossed with you.”
“You see what I have been dealing with, Daisy? He even fell asleep on me last night! And he has been lying to me for years.”
“Oh my! How selfish! How inconsiderate! Please do not let him arrive inside you, Inora. I would so hate to have him do that to you!”
Inora giggled again, “Do not worry, Daisy. I will be vigilant.”
Emil took Inora by her hand and guided her on top of the TeleDev, “Oh, I am supposed to just walk all over Daisy? That is so impolite.”
“Oh, nonsense, Inora. I would very much enjoy being of some assistance to you today. Hop right up on me. And how marvelous, have you lost weight recently, Inora?”
Inora blushed, “Yes,” she said, dragging her leg in front of her.
“It shows! You keep up the good work!”
“Close your eyes, or you might get dizzy.” Emil said. “Goodbye, Daisy.” “Goodbye Inora. I loved our chat.” Emil bent down and pressed a button. There was a flash of light and then she was gone.
“Lovely Inora has be transported to the specified location.” Daisy announced, “Aww, I miss her already. She was positively a bundle of joy! Will I ever meet her again? Will she ever get on top of me again? One can never know. Oh life, you are a wretched mystery in times when one only wishes for clarity! But I suppose I must be happy with having made her acquaintance at least. You take what you can get in this life of solitude. But she is an enchanting young woman, right Emil?”
“I told you to shut your mouth.”
“She will melt your heart too one day, young man, or perhaps, she already has.”
Emil set the same coordinates again and stood on top of the TeleDev. “Emil, have YOU lost weight recently? It is fine if you…” “Thank you. And shut up!” Emil closed his eyes, felt his surrounding change and when he opened his eyes, he was standing in his room.
“Is there any way we can go get Daisy back? She will be all alone.”
Emil explained again that Daisy was just a computer program, “…she does not feel anything, you know.”
“Yes she does!” someone else protested, “Daisy and I, we feel all the love and pain and loneliness that you all feel. Why have you separated us, you…” Before Inora started another conversation, Emil quickly bent over and turned the TeleDev off.
Inora looked around, “What time is it?” Emil had taken the clock off the wall while packing. Inora checked her phone and grimaced, “It’s later than I thought. I will spend the night with my parents since I do not know what will happen from here on.”
“They can come with…”
“I will be back early tomorrow. Be ready to take me to your planet.” Inora said and the next second, she was gone. Emil was about to reach out for his laptop when the silence was broken. “I do not understand what is going on.” A plain voice said.
[i] What other questions did Inora have for Emil?
I: If the earth is only a few decades old, how come no one remembers their time in the asylum?
E: You know, as the saying goes, we may all have come into existence five minutes ago, provided with ready-made memories, with holes in our socks and hair that need cutting.
I: But what about the dinosaur fossils?
E: Those actually are the construction workers. The beings of Dinoplanet are considered quite the specialists in large construction projects. Their reputation has spread to the far reaches of this cluster. Unfortunately, they are not known for their dino rights.
I: Oh no.
E: Yes. Quite a few of them perished due to mishaps during construction. But they got the work done in record time.
[ii] Why do some people prefer using GOE EZ-Vacations over teleportation when visiting earth?
To protect their bodies from the crazies that reside on earth.