I’m Coy. I crash-landed my spaceship on this Pacific island hundreds of years ago. Captain Plucky and her friend Lmao became stranded trying to rescue me, and Deadpan came later. Deadpan and Lmao are comedians.
We eventually got the internet and landed a gig helping writer David Davis make Alien Resort comics for newspapers. A group called the Beacons of Night said we were taking jobs from Earthlings. Mr. Davis went to prison for hiring us, and now we’re in charge of writing the comics.
I write regular posts to keep readers up to date. This introduction will always be at the top of the Developing Story (home) page. The most recent post update immediately follows. And if I tell a joke at the end of a post, it’s not part of the story; it’s just something the comedians want me to say.
Be sure to visit the Alien Resort Museum page, which has clippings of our comics from Earth newspapers.
And if you want to catch up on the current episode or learn about previous episodes, including how I met and married Susan of Alpha Pegasi, or the birth of Princess, the daughter of Plucky and Deadpan, you can go to the Read a Single Episode page.
“Did you really need to paint these walls lilac?” Susan’s mother arrived this morning and Susan showed her to the guest room. Susan said to me: “Just wait until Deadpan gets here; he’s bringing me a load of steel. Mother doesn’t think a wife should work.” When Deadpan brought the boxes into the living room, Susan said: “This is steel for my machetes, Mom.” “Oh really, Susan,” her mother replied. “Must you?” I asked Lmao if the bug spoiled his paint job; he says that was just a drop in the bucket.
The king’s supply ship brought sheets of steel, lengths of wood, and modern cutting tools. “When I made my original machete,” Susan said, “I used metal remnants from our spaceship and worked day after day forming it with rocks.” Susan and I received some news today. Her father stopped by and said he was putting a new roof on their house. He asked if Susan’s mother could stay with us for a few days. “Of course,” I replied. I didn’t notice that Susan remained silent the whole time we spoke. To observe a moment of silence is a solemn event; Lmao says it’s nothing to sneeze at.
Susan reached down beside her chair and brought up her machete. “I’m glad you love me,” I joked. She smiled, then said: “See how nice this is?” She slid her finger along the blade. “I spent a year making this machete. I used it to carve my bower from the thicket. Now I want to make more, a lot more. And I want to sell them over the internet. Will you help me get started?” Aware of the pitfalls of mansplaining, I replied: “Just tell me what I need to do.” I told Lmao that his new knife is very nice. He said thank you but it’s a double-edged sword.
Our spaceship is possibly the nicest spaceship in the universe. Susan has been decorating ever since she became my wife, adding home improvement items with every visit of the king’s supply ship. Today she said: “Now that everything’s the way I want it to be, there’s something I want to do that I’ve been thinking about for a long time. I want to start a business.” Deadpan began a new career making airlocks. He says one door shuts and another one opens.
When Susan tells me that I remind her of her father it makes me feel proud. This feeling precedes what I learned from Plucky and Princess, and exists independently of what I’ve learned from actually meeting my father-in-law. Instead, my feeling arises from knowing that Susan feels protected and loved. And I’ll also admit that Susan’s feelings add to my own sense of worthiness, which has faced considerable challenges in the past. Deadpan’s robot likes to cuddle cats; he says it has a soft spot for them.
After Princess went out to play, Plucky analyzed what the child had said: “Princess has learned that a girl’s relationship with her father is the source of her self esteem. The way a father acts toward his daughter demonstrates to her just what she does or doesn’t deserve. But it’s not like a magic spell that can’t be broken. If the child is smart like Princess, and if her mother or a therapist can make her aware of the dynamic, then the child can use her power of will to set her own path.” Lmao got lost once and forest rescue couldn’t find him. He says he was up a creek.
Princess pointed to herself. “And this is where the cycle ends.” She looked at Plucky. “You’re the smartest mother in the world. If you didn’t know psychology, I would be walking around in the dark. Dad’s emotional distance feels like rejection but I’m going to avoid the trap that you fell into. Someday I’ll look for a husband who’s capable of loving me, in spite of the risk that I’ll be rejected again.” I told Lmao to imagine if we recycled everything. He said it would be dog eat dog.
When Plucky joined us in the living room, Princess said to her: “I think I’m starting to see the difference between you and Dad versus Aunt Susan and Uncle Coy. It has to do with that post you wrote last year.” Plucky turned to Susan and me and said: “She’s referring to a post I wrote about Deadpan when I was subbing for you on the Alien Resort website. I explained that my father, like Deadpan, was emotionally distant. As a child I interpreted this as rejection. Determined not to be rejected again, I chose men where closeness, and therefore rejection, was unlikely. Ironically my life became one of rejection. And I ended up with men just like my father.” I asked Lmao if he ever thinks about the past and he replied: “Do you mean up until now?”
I couldn’t help but wonder what Princess was thinking when she asked her question. “Aunt Susan and I are kind to each other,” I answered, “because that’s how you act when you’re in love.” Susan added: “I learned about getting along by watching my mother and father. While they didn’t always agree, my father listened to my mother, shared what he was doing, and asked for her opinion. My mother admired my father, asked him for advice, and took an interest in his work. This is the example I learned from, and this is why I’m good to Uncle Coy.” Princess thought for a minute, then replied: “When my father comes over, he doesn’t stay very long.” When I asked Lmao about his new scuba partner, he said he seems nice on the surface.
While everyone here contributes to the operation and maintenance of Alien Resort, nobody works harder than Plucky. Nearly every day, Susan and I visit Plucky’s spaceship and sit with Princess while Plucky works on various projects. For us this isn’t a chore but rather a delight: Princess is the smartest child there ever was, and she asks us an endless barrage of questions that we’re glad to try to answer. Today she asked: “Why are you and Aunt Susan so good to each other?” Lmao used to like sitting around in the back yard; he says it was right up his alley.
We watched on radar as Susan’s brother Lucas sailed away from the island. Plucky activated the GoFundMe force field behind him about the time that Susan’s father knocked at the door. “I’m not blaming my son for the problems of the human race,” he said. “But his genes sure didn’t help matters.” About a week later I got an email from the king. He said some men showed up at his office with a phony title deed. They insisted they were now the owners of Alien Resort island. They said they bought the island from a Baron von der Clere. When I asked Deadpan if he still goes back in time, he said: “That’s history.”
“Right about now,” Deadpan said to Susan, “Your father is escorting your brother to his ship. If he ever returns, the king will send men and they’ll put him on trial.” Susan protested: “But what if you made a mistake?” Deadpan replied: “He entered through the thatched roof. He used this to cut a hole.” He reached into the cloth bag. Susan gasped: “That’s my machete. How did he get that?” She gazed at the machete, then dropped to the couch: “He was in our closet.” Lmao says that when they told him the price of the cookie, he coughed up some dough.
I let police chief Deadpan in and Susan joined us in the living room. “I was making the rounds,” Deadpan said, “and I observed Lucas exiting the gift shop at a time when the gift shop was closed. I called out and he started to run. I demobilized him with my mini static electric generator and then I cuffed him. I secured the items he had dropped, including this cash box.” Susan began to cry, and I put my arm around her. But at that moment, Deadpan was the one I really wanted to hug. Lmao says a robber once gave him some advice; the robber said to reach for the sky.
This is where things stand: Susan’s brother Lucas is living in an outbuilding near the edge of our property. On most days, he does nothing but play video games. He tells Susan that the whole world is against him, and she hangs on his every word. Needless to say, our marriage is strained. Yesterday she showed him around the gift shop, and today I don’t know where he is. As I’m recording this, somebody’s knocking at the door: it’s police chief Deadpan. In one hand he’s carrying a cloth bag and in the other he’s holding what looks like the cash box from the gift shop. When Lmao was asked what a policeman does, he replied: “Search me.”
Susan’s brother Lucas told her that he has dedicated his life to helping people. She says he travels from island to island bringing people things that stores aren’t allowed to sell. “That’s called smuggling,” I told her. “And taking your father’s komodo dragon–that’s called stealing.” According to Susan’s father, Lucas steals because he feels entitled to have whatever he wants: “His mother let him do as he pleased, and stood in the way of my efforts to raise him into a responsible adult.” When I told Lmao I wanted to play cops and robbers, he said: “Don’t let me stop you.”
A rift has developed between Susan and me, and I don’t know how to fix it. Her father and I would like nothing more than to escort Lucas to his boat and see him off forever. Susan says he’s her long lost brother and that regardless of his faults, he doesn’t have anyone to love him and he deserves a chance. I could easily tell Susan that I’m the one in charge here and Lucas has to go, but I understand the world well enough to know that my life would become unbearable. I therefore consented to a short-term arrangement where Lucas would set up quarters in the outbuilding. When the enemy attacked during lunch, Deadpan said they ordered it to go.
Susan looked at her father, then at the stranger: “Are you Lucas?” “My dear sister,” he replied. “You were beautiful as a baby. And 60,000 years hasn’t changed that.” He looked at me. “And you must be the man of the house.” He laughed. This is going to be a problem, I said to myself. “My name’s Coy,” I told him. “Don’t man of the house me.” He blinked, then quickly regained his composure. “Okay, all right. No hard feelings there.” He turned to Susan’s father and grinned: “Why don’t you have a seat, old man. We’re going to be here awhile.” Deadpan doesn’t know if his new toy will sell; he says it’s a cat and mouse game.
Susan’s father stood in front of our table, his eyes fixed on his son. “I caught him stealing one of my komodo dragons. There’s nothing wrong with his boat. Which is where he’s headed right now, and then he’s leaving the island.” My father-in-law thumped his stick. “Are you coming with me or do I have to drag you?” Lucas smirked, folded his arms, and leaned back in his chair. “Not so fast old man,” he said. “Let’s find out what my sister here has to say about that.” When a thief asked Lmao for his date of birth, Lmao said he wasn’t born yesterday.
“My name is Baron von der Clere.” I had regained my composure and led the stranger to a chair on the patio. Susan brought masks along with a basin and towels to attend to numerous scratches on his face and arms. “I lost both engines and arrived adrift on the windward side of your island.” He said he owned a shipping company and had been attending to his fleet. Just then I heard a sound behind me: Susan’s father, stick in hand, walked up to us and said: “Don’t believe anything he tells you. My son is nothing but a crook.” When Deadpan said he used to own a tennis court, Lmao asked: “What was your net worth?”
Alien Resort island has eight residents: the four of us, Princess, my wife Susan, and her parents. In our wildest dreams Susan and I could never have imagined that a surprise visitor would come knocking on our door. When someone knocked this morning, my thought was that Lmao had returned from fishing and was bringing back my poles. When I opened the door and saw a muddied and disheveled stranger standing on the patio, my mind went into crisis mode. When I told Lmao that he spends a lot of time in the woods, he said: “Bear with me.”
We live on the leeward side of Alien Resort island, and the weather here is beautiful. The opposite side of the island, on the contrary, faces a stiff and unrelenting wind. Due to the weather there, and a shore lined with jagged rocks, the area is charted as unnavigable. Nevertheless, a review of last week’s radar history has led Plucky to believe that a boat may have come ashore. Deadpan will dispatch a drone to confirm what we believe is probably a derelict ship. When I asked Lmao how his boat ride went, he said he had to bail.
My wife Susan is usually cheerful and upbeat. But this morning I noticed she was teary-eyed and I asked her what was wrong. She replied that ever since her father disclosed that her brother left the island sixty thousand years ago, she hasn’t been able to get her brother off her mind. I put my arm around her and said I can’t imagine what it must be like not knowing what happened to him. I added that I’m intrigued by what Heather the anthropologist said: Lucas made landfall and his genes became part of the human genome. Deadpan says the footprints he discovered won’t make him famous; he’s going to use them as stepping stones.
The child welfare administrator whom Princess had just addressed stood frozen. Another of them said, “She can’t be serious.” “But she’s too little to be sarcastic,” said another. Plucky said to the ladies: “Why don’t you go ahead and set sail and I’ll contact the king.” She did, and later the king sent her a copy of his decision informing the ladies that the case of Princess had been grandfathered, and that she would continue her life and home schooling education on Alien Resort island. Lmao says that if he ever goes back to beauty school, he’ll have to take a makeup exam.
“She must be put in boarding school; home schooling just won’t do.” We were gathered (distancing) at the pier waiting for the ladies to embark. Princess had remained with her father, or so everyone thought. She popped up from behind Plucky’s dress and said to the lady: “I agree. If I stay here, I might trip over a light saber or receive excess quality time. It’s better that I go off somewhere and enjoy the benefit of dumbing down and classroom structure and become the subject of peer group pressure and girl bullying. Then they can give me drugs to make me docile.” Lmao figured graffiti was coming back in style; he said he saw the writing on the wall.
“This just won’t do.” The other ladies in the child welfare group nodded in agreement. We were taking them on a tour of our non-restricted areas and we were standing in front of Deadpan’s shack. One of them shrieked and pointed to the side yard. Deadpan had built a virtual reality headset, a metal box with flashing lights that he wore on his head. He had just come out the side door and begun running around the yard slashing with a metal stick. “That’s my Dad,” Princess said. Lmao thinks lasers are educational; he says that’s how he cut his teeth.
I contacted the king about the email Plucky received from the child welfare agency. “They’re just a bunch of busybodies,” he wrote me back. “They can’t do much except get everyone riled up.” When I asked what we should do next, he wrote: “Why don’t you let them see for themselves?” I brought the news to Plucky and Princess that a contingent of administrators wanted to visit Alien Resort. Princess listened thoughtfully, then said: “My next post on Living in a Spaceship will be called: The Invasion of the Busybodies.” Deadpan once thought about staying at an underwater hotel but he decided it was too much of a dive.
Plucky called Princess into the living room: “Somebody sent me an email about your blog.” Princess jumped up and down and clapped her hands. “Goody goody hooray,” she said. “They’re going to buy a souvenir from my store.” Plucky sighed. “Sit down,” she said. “This message came from a welfare agency.” Princess turned serious, then brightened again and asked: “Is this the part where the mean old witch comes and takes me away?” Deadpan asked a witch for cooking lessons; he says he stirred up a hornet’s nest.
Somebody on the king’s main island looked at Blog by Princess and became concerned. Plucky received an email from a welfare agency stating that they have a number of questions concerning the “environment in which the child is situated”. No child, they said, should be living in a spaceship. They added that they were especially concerned about education, since their records showed no enrollment by a child who lives in a spaceship. When Deadpan’s robot complained about being obsolete, Deadpan said it was just letting off steam.
I’m looking at the internet’s newest website; it’s called Blog by Princess–Living In a Spaceship. The About page says: “I’m a real princess and I live in a spaceship with my mother and my uncle Lmao. My father was a prince in an alternate universe and now he lives in a shack by the lagoon.” Plucky is supervising the effort, and the account and email are in her name. I just got a text from Plucky wanting to see me right away. Lmao still hasn’t written his autobiography; he says that’s the story of his life.
“There’s no stopping her.” Plucky dropped by the next day and told us that ever since they left here, all Princess has talked about is starting a blog. “She didn’t even know what she was going to write about so I asked her what she was interested in. She said she knew she needed a subject that would keep her motivated but it also had to be one that would interest her readers. ‘Mom,’ she said finally, ‘I’m going to write about living in a spaceship’.” When I asked Lmao if he had any ideas for his spare time, he replied: “I could write a book.”
I was thinking about what I was going to post when Plucky and Princess dropped by to visit. While Susan and Plucky were talking, Princess came over to my desk and asked me what I was doing. When I told her I made regular posts on the internet, her eyes got big and she said: “I want to do that too. Can I Mommy?” Plucky replied that there are certain responsibilities with having a blog, and certain hazards, but she would think about it. Princess jumped up and down and clapped her hands. “I only said I would think about it.” When Deadpan worked for 23 hours straight, he said he was calling it a day.
When I first heard that Susan’s family’s genes had become part of the human genome, I thought it sounded like something out of science fiction. Then I realized that this was one of those plotlines that was just too unbelievable to become a subject of fiction. The Beacons of Night, finding it difficult to explain to their followers just who should be considered Earthlings, are calling it junk science. And Heather has an interesting topic to submit to the Journal of Anthropology. I asked Lmao if he ever uses an ellipsis and he replied: “To make a long story short, yes.”
My wife’s family landed on Alien Resort island sixty thousand years ago: a father, mother, adult son, and the infant Susan. Because of animosity between father and son, and thanks to a spaceship whose design for water landings rendered it a seaworthy craft, the son set sail out over an unknown ocean. “He made landfall,” the anthropologist Heather told Susan and me. “And his genes became part of the human genome.” Deadpan once invented a heat shield; he says it never caught fire.
“This might not make any difference,” Susan’s father said to the anthropologist Heather. “But I‘m going to give you some family history.” He looked at Susan. “You were too young to remember your brother. And it was easier for us to tell you that you had a brother that died. But the truth is that he and I had a quarrel, and he set sail across the ocean. We never heard from him again.” Susan gripped my hand. Then finally, Heather broke the silence: “I have work to do,” she said quietly. Lmao says that if he ever goes on an ocean cruise, he would like to play bridge.
“We never had any contact with humans,” Susan’s mother said to Heather. We were inside the grass hut where Susan grew up. Heather looked all about, wide-eyed. The room contained nothing more than handmade household items, but I imagine that as an anthropologist, she must have been fascinated to be looking at a decor that no one on Earth had ever envisioned. “There’s one thing I should probably mention,” Susan’s father added quietly. Lmao says he learned how to make furniture so he would have something to fall back on.
The anthropologist Heather stopped by our spaceship this morning, doffed her pith helmet, then stood just inside the door taking notes. She commented on a plant we had in the window sill, stating that it looked South American. Susan replied that the seeds for the plant came from Alpha Pegasi: “My parents have grown these plants in this island’s mountains for as long as I can remember.” Heather added some notes, and without looking up, said: “Next will be a trip to the mountains.” Deadpan knows how to bind pages together; he says he learned it from a book.
Susan and I met her father at the barrier and told him about the results of the DNA test. “It sounds like somebody made a mistake,” he said. “We’re not Earthlings in any sense of the word. Your mother and I never saw an Earthling until the day of your wedding.” I emailed the king and he recommended we meet with an anthropologist. Susan’s family agreed, and a few days later, we went down to the pier to welcome Heather. Lmao once hid from a rescue party because he heard they were out to get him.
“Your DNA is about what I expected,” Deadpan told me as he flipped through a ream or so of paper he referred to as the summary. “A mish-mash of ancient galactic civilizations.” Then he turned to Susan. “I don’t know what to think about yours. Some similarities to Coy’s, but…” He looked at me. “Go on,” I said. He turned to a page nearly covered with highlights, then said to Susan: “Your DNA is part human.” When I thanked Lmao for testing my new suntan lotion, he said it was no skin off his back.
Deadpan’s shack is largely impassable because the rooms are crowded with junk and trash. In the back is a laboratory where he spends most of his time, working in secret. We never know the nature of his projects until he finishes them, is forced to reveal them (like the Alien Search computer game), or requires our help or participation. Today he dropped by and told us that he wants to construct a model of our genome in case we get sick. Susan and I gave him DNA samples. When Lmao asked what DNA is, Deadpan said it’s one of those little things in life that makes a difference.
Plucky was shocked when Deadpan texted her to bring Princess to his shack to play chess. Her first thought was that no baby should go to a dump like that. That thought lasted about a second; she gathered Princess and carried her to the shack, almost running. On their return trip, she asked Princess what she was going to do when her father got tired of getting beat at chess and Princess replied: “That’s why I’m going to have you buy me some video games.” I asked Deadpan how far you can see with a good telescope; he said the sky’s the limit.
Plucky, holding Princess, led Deadpan into the control room. “The master control’s emitting a warning,” Plucky said. “I’ve tried everything.” Princess raised a finger. “Check the secondary thermistor.” Deadpan grunted. “It sounds like the secondary thermistor,” he told Plucky. Princess sat and watched as he made the repair, handing him tools that he reflexively accepted. As he was leaving, she said: “Daddy, I’ll bet I can beat you at chess.” When I told Lmao that I liked how he fixed my roof, he said he nailed it.
Plucky told me she gave up trying to make Deadpan love her a long time ago. However, she’s determined he isn’t going to ignore their child. She texted him that a system on her spaceship had gone into overload and he needed to come right away. She was holding Princess when she answered the door. “Is that my Daddy?” the baby asked, and Plucky nearly dropped her. Deadpan shrugged. “On my planet,” he said, “Baby talk means the baby talks.” Lmao didn’t want to visit the baby chicks because he didn’t want to have to walk on eggshells.
Susan and I headed toward the lagoon to tell Deadpan about his daughter’s birth. When we knocked on the door of his shack, a siren went off. He opened the door then pulled down on an iron lever and the siren stopped. He invited us in but we were only able to stand just inside the door, as the floor was strewn with pizza boxes, empty bottles and electronic parts. When we gave him the news, he asked if we wanted to go to the bar and grill and get something to eat. When I told Deadpan that his house was messy, he said: “That’s rubbish.”
At 3:10 a.m. PDT the baby girl called Princess arrived into the world. The name Princess was suggested by the father Deadpan because he was a prince in his alternate universe. Plucky told him that a name should identify who a baby is rather than what she is, but assented anyway because the idea for the name came from Deadpan and because she likes the name too. As she held the baby, her question to Susan and the queen’s midwife was: “Where’s Deadpan?” I asked Lmao if he ever gave a baby a pacifier and he replied: “Yes, for crying out loud.”
“You’re fortunate,” Plucky says to Susan. “Your father was strict but he was able to relate to you on a personal level. And Coy loves you. When I was on my home planet, I spent my time trying to make guys love me. And they, like Deadpan and my father, were the type that never could. Our daughter, born an Earthling, will someday go out on her own, and I’m worried that the cycle is going to continue.” Lmao’s family was in the cement business but he didn’t want to follow in his father’s footsteps.
For as long as I’ve known Deadpan, I can’t say that we’ve ever become friends. We’ll engage in long, friendly conversations but they’re always about some project he’s working on and never about any of us. For me this is okay because I’m open to different forms of engagement. But a father needs to be able to relate to his children, especially a daughter, because this is the bond that becomes the source of her self-image. Deadpan says we need to look for new ways to entertain ourselves but we keep kicking the can down the road.
“My baby’s gestation period will be short, a matter of weeks,” Plucky said. “And I already know that it’s going to be a girl.” She sighed. “I’m not worried for myself; I can figure out what I need to know about raising a child. I’m thinking more about the girl’s future.” She closed her eyes. “Deadpan, you mean,” I replied. A tear ran down her cheek. “He’s just like my father.” When Plucky asked Lmao for tips on raising a newborn, he said maybe there’s a secret formula.
“Thanks for coming by,” Plucky said as she let me in. “I haven’t been doing so well lately.” Gloomy is a word I have never associated with Plucky, but I can’t think of a better way to describe her as she motioned for me to have a seat. “What’s wrong?” She sighed then replied sardonically: “What could possibly go wrong when I have Deadpan as a lover?” She paused, as if looking for words; then she wiped a tear and stated: “I’m pregnant.” When Lmao witnessed a birth, he said it was a once in a lifetime.
Plucky and I are managers. Not in any formal sense of course, but over the years we’ve assumed a division of duties that works to maintain Alien Resort on an even keel. In a nutshell, she takes care of the technological and interpersonal issues and I manage the business matters and outside communications. Sometimes I don’t see her for a few days but we nonetheless maintain contact in one way or another throughout the course of the day. Recently I became concerned because she hadn’t responded to my emails; I decided to pay her a visit. I asked Lmao what his first day on the job was like. He says they showed him who’s the boss.
Marco and I are natural friends. Everyone who reads my posts knows that my father used to tell me that I would never amount to anything. Marco’s father on the other hand pushed him to become an astronaut. If Marco got a 98 on a math test, his father would ask him what happened to the other two percent. Marco says he’s going to force himself to change the trajectory (but not the vocabulary) of his life once he returns to the mainland. Plucky suggested taking an interest test to find out his true passion, and to seek behavioral therapy to keep moving toward his new goal. I asked Lmao what’s the longest word he knows; he said it’s hard to say.
Marco agreed to allow me to hypnotize him and gave me permission to make the results public. As we suspected, he isn’t from another dimension. He remembers entering Earth astronaut training but he didn’t make the cut. He then set off sailing around the world in a catamaran. He was caught in a storm and got tossed about the deck. His next memory was that of Lmao pulling him from the water. Coy wondered how Deadpan beat him on a test; Deadpan says he took a page out of Coy’s book.
Deadpan and I visited Marco in the jail beneath the pier. Marco admitted he was making gunpowder, and told us he intended to use it for fuel to power my spaceship. I replied that if he could get that to work, then he must be some kind of rocket scientist, because I’ve been stranded here for three hundred years. He said he was desperate; he states that if we sent him to the mainland, they would lock him up for being delusional, and he would never get back to his own dimension. He agreed to allow Plucky to conduct a psychological exam. I told Deadpan about my idea for a miniature flying saucer; he said it sounds like a pie in the sky.
“Marco’s in jail,” Deadpan said. “I arrested him.” I invited Police Chief Deadpan in and he told me how he had discovered Marco at the beach campsite stirring a large kettle. Beside the kettle were piles of ground match heads, charcoal, and cat poop, which Deadpan recognized as ingredients for making gunpowder. He then arrested Marco on suspicion of threat to public safety. I told Lmao that I can’t ever win at violent video games. He said stop beating yourself up.
The king emailed me to say that he was unable to come up with a missing persons report that might shed light on the identity of our guest. Marco didn’t seem bothered about not knowing his own name but instead he was interested in finding out exactly when the king’s ship would arrive to pick him up. The mystery deepened this morning when Deadpan knocked at my door, early and out of breath. Lmao says they once had a new guy who never said anything; they wondered if he might be a plant.
Because Marco had become such good friends with Lmao, Plucky invited him to stay with her and Lmao. I emailed the king and received a disappointing response: the naval fleet was tied up in a mission and wouldn’t be able to pick up the delusional human for another week or two. In the meantime we were forced to listen to how he had always wanted to be an astronaut and how he volunteered for the secret mission to visit another dimension. When I asked Lmao what it was like being cloned, he said at first he was just a bundle of nerves.
“I’m an astronaut,” Marco began. “I was part of a secret mission. I blasted off from Earth but that was in another dimension. I splashed down, and ended up here, in this dimension.” I looked around at the others; they appeared to be hanging on his every word. My thoughts were: “Come on everyone, he’s either a nut job or a con man.” I couldn’t wait to notify our landlord the king and have him picked up. When I told Deadpan that my carrier promises unlimited voice calls, he said talk is cheap.
Marco stood up as we approached his campsite: Plucky, Lmao, Susan and me. He had the look of a sailor: muscular, tanned, and coarse. He didn’t seem at all surprised and motioned toward some rocks for us to have a seat. “Lmao told me there were others.” He looked at Susan. “Are you human?” I thought the question sounded personal, and my response, for me, was curt: “We’re the ones asking the questions.” I asked Deadpan what he would do if he were rich and he replied: “That’s the million dollar question.”
“Tell us about the Earthling.” It was around noon and Lmao had just gotten up and stepped out onto the patio. Looking a little surprised, he glanced at Plucky, then nodded to Susan and me. “We’re such good friends,” he began dreamily. “He’s from another dimension. I named him Marco, because he doesn’t remember his name. I found him bobbing in the ocean. He was in a life jacket.” Lmao used to wear an expensive suit; he says he had it made.
Plucky asked Lmao about his nightly disappearances and he told her that he was out getting exercise. “I’ve known Lmao for two thousand years,” she said to Susan and me. “Getting exercise is at the bottom of his list.” We decided to follow him, just to make sure nothing was wrong. He headed for the dunes, and just beyond the dunes we spotted a campfire. He stopped, and I rubbed my eyes. In the light of the campfire an Earthling was waving for him to approach. I asked Deadpan how the exercise class was going; he said he hasn’t learned squat.
Every evening Susan asks me if we can go for a walk. First, we stop at the pier to sit and watch the sunset. Then we drop by the gift shop. With the tourists gone, we’ve turned the gift shop into a clubhouse called Lmao’s Bar and Grill. But the past few nights, the door has been locked. We decided to walk up the hill to Plucky’s ship where Lmao lives and make sure everything’s okay. Plucky looked surprised to see us: “I thought he was at the gift shop.” Deadpan found dust mites on Mars; he says he’s still scratching his head.
Susan and I had the most wonderful honeymoon. We boarded a ship to the archipelago’s main island, stayed at a luxury hotel, and spent some time sightseeing. Susan insisted that I plan our activities and said she would be happy no matter what we did. She has adapted well to living in the modern world, and I’m indebted to Plucky and Lmao for the immersion they provided while she lived with them. And last night, I carried her over the threshold of what is now, our spaceship. Lmao’s new travel bag is his all time favorite; he says it’s an open and shut case.
Today’s wedding, with social distancing in effect, is being officiated by Plucky of Alien Resort. Plucky is a spaceship captain in whom I have vested the authority to join Coy of Alien Resort and Susan of Alpha Pegasi in the bonds of holy matrimony. They have just now taken their vows “to love, honor, and obey”. The rings are exchanged, Plucky looks at the bride and groom in turn, then states: “By the power vested in me by his majesty the king of the archipelago, I now pronounce you man and wife.” After everyone left the altar, I told best man Deadpan that it was a lovely wedding for a happy couple. Deadpan replied: “They go hand in hand.”
We’re gathered backstage at the pavilion. Susan, flanked by ladies-in-waiting sent by the queen, is talking to her father, and Lmao is giving me honeymoon advice. Best man Deadpan, accompanied by canines Jett and Toby, pulls out his police chief handcuffs and offers them to Susan. “In case he tries to flee,” he joked. Susan laughs, then looks inquisitively at me, and then everyone laughs. The music begins.
Today’s joyous event is taking place in the open-air pavilion we used for cruise excursion tours. Lmao has done a beautiful job with decorations, using floral arrangements supplied by bluejayblog. Deadpan will be Coy’s best man, Susan’s father is giving her away, and Coy will be assisted by groomsman Dan Rosandich of Dans Cartoons. I asked Deadpan if he would like to escort a bride down the aisle someday; he said he would give his right arm.
My groomsman’s name is Dan Rosandich, the owner of Dans Cartoons. You may remember last year when Dan helped Alien Resort out of a tough jam. The Beacons of Night had intimidated our newspaper editors into withdrawing our comics, and Dan stepped forward to offer us a spot in his extraterrestrial cartoon section. The editors followed his lead and we became prosperous again. Dan says he’s honored to be in the wedding, and everyone at Alien Resort is humbled by the visit of a legendary figure. When I asked Lmao how his art class was going, he said: “I won’t paint you a pretty picture.”
Queen Ramona, the revered queen of the archipelago, is hosting a wedding reception for Coy and Susan, and everyone on Earth is invited. The reception will take place via Zoom on Wednesday, July 15 from 6:00-8:00 p.m. GMT (1:00-3:00 p.m. CDT). No password or sign-in is required; just click on this link: Zoom Reception. The reception is a costume (optional) party. Bring your favorite party food and beverage, use whatever screen name you like, and choose whether or not you want to appear on video. Lmao says that anyone who wants party favors will have to toot their own horn.
Tonight Susan and I are sitting on the patio of Plucky’s spaceship where we just finished a great dinner that Susan cooked. Yesterday I proposed to her on bended knee. I began by saying I loved her at first sight but that I’m no prize. I told her how I negligently crashed my spaceship, an event that sometimes still leaves me with feelings of unworthiness. She replied that Plucky already told her about the crash; then she hugged me and said she wants nothing more than to love, honor, and obey me. I asked Deadpan if he ever thinks about the stars at the edge of the universe. He said they’re the furthest things from his mind.
I’m Plucky, a spaceship captain and the ranking officer at Alien Resort island. I’m proud to be a friend of both Coy, the founder of Alien Resort, and my roommate Susan, who lived with her parents in the island’s mountains for thousands of years. We hope you’ll join in their good fortune by adding your link to the wedding guest book. And watch for details about the costume (optional) Zoom reception–everyone’s invited. I asked Deadpan if he was going to pick out a goose; he said he might take a gander.
I met Susan’s father at the barrier and asked for his daughter’s hand in marriage. He looked me in the eye and said that Susan’s well-being was a great concern of his. I replied that in this marriage, Susan’s concerns are the only ones that matter to me. He blinked; then he sighed and extended his hand, which I shook. He confided that he may have been overprotective through the years, and added that he’s thankful that his daughter’s happiness has fallen into the hands of someone so capable and loving. I asked Deadpan why he wasn’t at the solstice party; he said it had been a long day.
The secret is out: Coy and Susan are getting married. I’m writing this post to let you know that all you kings and queens are invited to share in the big event. We’ve added a guest book page to the Alien Resort website and we want to include your blog name (or other preferred name) and a link to your url. All you need to do is simply like this post, and we’ll get your site info from there, or use our contact page to provide your site name or preferred name/profile name/fake name, and url. I told Deadpan that I’m even going to invite the ghost; Deadpan said that’s the spirit.
“Am I beautiful?” Susan asks me. That’s a strange question I said to myself, coming from the most beautiful woman on the planet Earth. I thought well duh, but instead I said: “You’re the most beautiful woman on the planet Earth.” What she did next came as a total surprise: she kissed me. Then she kissed me again. Then I kissed her. When at last I looked around, everyone else was gone. Once when I asked Deadpan to tell me what electricity felt like, he said to go fly a kite.
A thousand thoughts cross my mind. Is Plucky going to shoot Susan out of jealousy over Deadpan? Why is Lmao looking at me? I, the inveterate peacemaker, blurt out the first thought that comes into my head: “Deadpan isn’t attracted to Susan because Deadpan doesn’t respond to beauty.” Now everyone’s staring at me; Plucky lowers her ray gun, and Susan walks over and looks into my eyes. Lmao never jumped off a cliff; he says it was just a bluff.
This is the scene as it unfolds in my yard: Susan is standing frozen next to Deadpan who has just dropped his antenna. Plucky, too angry to even speak, is pointing a ray gun at Susan. Lmao, who heard the racket and ran over here, is crouched behind a bush. Plucky approaches Susan. “Stay away from Deadpan, he’s mine,” Plucky says fiercely. Lmao jumps up. “Plucky,” he says softly. “She doesn’t want Deadpan.” Then, for some reason, Lmao looks at me. After Plucky made it through a sandstorm, Lmao said she must have a lot of grit.
Deadpan has built a quantum transceiver to attempt to communicate with life on exoplanets. He likes to set up in my yard at night, and lately with a loosening of social distancing restrictions, Susan has been dropping by to help. Shy around the rest of us, she seems at ease with Deadpan, possibly due to his lack of affectation. Last night as Deadpan was holding the antenna and Susan was steadying him, Plucky showed up from between the bushes and pointed a ray gun at Susan. With a look in her eyes such as I have never seen, Plucky shouted: “Let go of him you wretch.” When I told Lmao that I was double jointed, he told me to pat myself on the back.
Even as our newly discovered island resident Susan is living with Plucky, she has made regular visits to the edge of the barrier to communicate with her parents. Today her father paid us a visit. Although he set down his stick before entering Plucky’s yard, he gazed upon us with suspicion and barely grunted acquiescence when his daughter pointed out her new arrangements. I might be imagining things but I thought he looked at me longer than he looked at the others. I asked Lmao how many musicians were in his orchestra and he replied: “more than you could shake a stick at”.
“Papa forbade me to go beyond the barrier,” Susan began. She was referring to the mass of thorns and thickets that separates us from the isolated center of the island. “Using a machete, I carved out a bower in the thicket, enlarging it gradually to the outer edge of the barrier.” She looked at Deadpan and me. “One day, I witnessed the two of you chasing your intruder. The sight of intelligent life outside of my family aroused my curiosity in an overwhelming way.” I asked Lmao how he hurt his forehead and he said that he, a Martian and an Earthling walked into a bar.
Plucky whispered to the woman, then glanced around the room. “This is Susan,” she began, “at least according to the translation software.” She looked at her notes, then continued: “Susan lives with her mother and father in a cavern in the mountains of Alien Resort island. Her family, like us, arrived here from another part of the universe, attracted to the island by the same magnetic circumstance that brought down Coy’s ship. Susan, I’ll let you piggyback on that.” Deadpan says that if he keeps going to all these meetings, the chair will begin to recognize him.
I entered the conference room for our spur-of-the-moment meeting, and my jaw dropped. Sitting between Plucky and Lmao and talking back and forth with them was the most beautiful woman I have ever seen. I knew but couldn’t believe that this was the same woman whom, screaming and disheveled, I had assisted in securing to a chair just over 24 hours earlier. She glanced at me; I regained my composure and took a seat. I asked Deadpan how fast light travels, and he replied: “faster than you think.”
Plucky stopped by this morning and brought me the most astonishing news: The woman who is now a guest in Plucky’s spaceship is an extraterrestrial who has lived in a remote area of Alien Resort island for thousands of years. The woman told Plucky she wants to meet with all of us and share her story. I sent the king an email update, then went to Deadpan’s shack to inform him about our meeting to take place this afternoon in Plucky’s conference room. When I asked Deadpan if I could borrow his suspended animation chamber, he said: ”Knock yourself out”.
We knew we couldn’t just leave the woman tied to a chair so Plucky had me help her carry the chair into the spaceship’s parlor, a secure room; then I left. Plucky stopped by my ship later that night and reported that the woman was now untied and asleep in the parlor. Guessing that the woman was the one who had taken the lipstick, Plucky calmed her down by appealing to her vanity, helping her bathe and dress, and summoning roommate Lmao to don a mask, do her hair and assist with makeup. Lmao couldn’t get the lid off the ointment jar. He said: “therein lies the rub.”
As we observe the woman struggling in her restraints and muttering unfamiliar syllables, Plucky explains that she caught her breaking into a shed. She told her to stop, and when the woman charged, Plucky demobilized her with a mini static electricity generator. Plucky’s translation software is finally booting up, and the first words we hear are: “Let me go, outsiders, or we will hurt you.” When I asked Deadpan to use a cuss word in a sentence, he said: “Right now my mind is a blank.”
I was walking along the beach this morning when I heard a shriek, followed by a commotion originating from the direction of Plucky’s ship. When I arrived, Plucky was struggling to restrain a young female, all covered with mud and extremely disheveled in appearance. Plucky shouted for me to bring a chair, and together she and I sat the woman down and secured her to the chair. Lmao once knew a cave woman; he says he carried a torch for her.
Lmao, who is Plucky’s roommate, invited me to the patio of their spaceship for a tropical drink. Plucky leaned out the window and asked Lmao if he had her lipstick. He replied that it wasn’t his color and joked that maybe Ronald Wayne Devers took it when he took her cat. “Mr. Devers didn’t take it,” Plucky replied. “The lipstick went missing after he left the island. I know where I put it, and I don’t see how it could possibly be gone.” I’ve never taken inventory; Deadpan says I don’t know what I’m missing.
I’m talking to Ronald Wayne Devers as he finishes painting our pier before the king’s ship picks him up tomorrow. Painting the pier is the sentence I gave him when he admitted stealing Plucky’s cat. He says he feels better than he has in a long time because he’s doing something useful. He thinks he might start a painting business when he goes back home. He knows he doesn’t want anything more to do with the Beacons of Night. “You wanna know what I think?” he says. “When a Beacon leader tells people that being born on another planet makes someone bad, it makes those people feel important because they were born on Earth. And when you make people feel important, they’ll do things for you.” Deadpan said he examined the paint job until he was blue in the face.
Police Chief Deadpan booked the prisoner into a large space under the pier and stood guard as Plucky conducted a psychological exam. Mr. Devers told her that while growing up he used to skip school and barely made it through. He agrees with Plucky that skipping school was a way to get back at his alcoholic parents for ignoring him. He says he joined the Beacons of Night because they made him feel important. He says they treated him like an equal, and made him forget how stupid he felt whenever he was in the company of educated people. The leaders told him he’d be a hero if he joined the mission to steal our comics. Lmao used to drop a lot of classes; he says he had it down to a science.
Anyone reading my posts knows that I was raised by a father who told me I would never amount to anything. I learned to deal with my feelings of inadequacy by avoiding difficult tasks, and thereby avoiding failure. Plucky, our resident psychologist, told me to plow ahead anyway with difficult tasks (such as giving speeches) in spite of my feelings, and with time, those feelings would subside. Although I’m much more convinced of my ability than I used to be, I was nevertheless surprised and humbled when the others knocked on my door this morning and said they wanted me to act as a judge in making a decision about the fate of our prisoner. Lmao handed me a black robe that the king had sent over, and ranking officer Plucky swore me in. My first order was for Plucky to conduct a psychological exam of Mr. Devers. At first Lmao didn’t want to become an explorer; he says now he’s starting to cave.
The cat licked its paw while Deadpan handcuffed the prisoner. We made our way back to the cave entrance and set the captive down on a rock. He said his name was Ronald Wayne Devers. His orders were to come ashore with the others and act as a lookout. Then the others left him behind because he stumbled and fell. After they deserted him, he hid in the cave. He says he stole Plucky’s cat because he was lonely. Lmao once asked some prisoners for help but they told him their hands were tied.
Police Chief Deadpan and I put on camo gear and face masks and headed through the woods. Just as we were about to enter the cave, the cat emerged from the dark. “Stay,” Deadpan told it, and the cat ran back into the cave. Deadpan shrugged, then we followed. We pointed our flashlights as the cat led us through a labyrinth of paths and passages, finally stopping at the entrance to a chamber. Deadpan shone his light inside, and we spotted the fugitive lying down fast asleep. Lmao says his cat waits for him with bells on.
“Play that footage back one more time,” Deadpan demanded. In all these years I had never heard him speak with so much emotion. We’re standing (apart) in Plucky’s control room watching some unbelievable security camera footage. Last night the fugitive Beacon walked into Plucky’s yard and stole her cat. “Let’s go get that guy,” Deadpan said to me. He exchanged a glance with Plucky; then we left. When a thief tried to steal Lmao’s sand, Lmao said: “That’s where I draw the line.”
Last night’s footage from a security camera shows the fugitive breaking into my supply shed. The only things missing are a gallon of vanilla ice cream, a bottle of chocolate syrup, and a bowl and spoon. The fugitive was apparently very hungry, as it appears he mixed the ingredients while still here, and left a trail leading away from my shed. Deadpan tracked the drips through the woods to the entrance of a cave in a remote area of the island. Lmao once dropped his ice cream into a volcano; he says he totally lost it.
The Beacons of Night wasted no time in claiming responsibility for the theft of our comics. But missing from their blog post is any mention of the cohort they left behind on Alien Resort island. We’re speculating whether leaving him was accidental and they’re planning to return to rescue him, or if they meant to leave him to create additional mischief. We’re engaging in these discussions at the same time that Deadpan, now the island police chief, is coordinating a hunt. Ground control once told Lmao that his spaceship was overloaded; he says they were talking trash.
We’re watching as Plucky plays back the footage from the island’s security cameras. A small boat comes ashore in a remote area and three humans set foot onto the beach, then disappear into the dunes. A few hours later, the camera reveals two humans reboarding, our comics in hand, and the boat setting sail. The look on everyone’s face turns to one of deep concern: An intruder is lurking on the island. I asked Deadpan if a one-inch footprint could be human, and he replied: “That’s one small step for a man.”
Our meeting to discuss the lost comics was scheduled for tonight but Plucky moved it up to noon. We logged into video conference, and Plucky began to speak immediately. She says that while reviewing security footage for clues on locating the missing comics, she made a stunning discovery: Two nights ago, a boat came ashore in a remote area of the island, and three humans disappeared through the dunes. As bad as that is, some of the follow-up footage is even scarier. Deadpan told me that he recently bought an acre of land that turned out to be quicksand. Then he added: “But the plot thickens.”
“Deadpan and I have an understanding,” Plucky began, as she put on a pot of water. “It’s not the world’s greatest romance, I’ll admit. We both give what we can.” I replied that I understood, and I really do. Deadpan has limited capacity for emotion, and Plucky has already explained how her father’s emotional distance left her in a vain quest for attachment. “We do what we can,” was all I could think to reply. Lmao went on a dating site; he says it crashed just as they were beginning to click.
I needed some distraction before the meeting so I got up early this morning to go fishing with Lmao. I headed over to Plucky’s spaceship where Lmao lives, and was surprised to see Deadpan coming out a side door. He seemed surprised to see me too; he murmured something about configuring modules then hurried away. A light came on from inside and Plucky opened the door. “Come on in,” she said. “You might as well know everything.” When I told Lmao that I would be at his door bright and early, he said, “Knock on wood.”
I can’t believe I misplaced a pile of comics. I know where I put them but now they’re gone. I feel like I let everyone down. This was a batch that we’ve been working on for the last two weeks. We were about to put them into final form and send them to editors. We’re going to have a meeting to figure out what to do next. Deadpan said that a black hole can even consume brain waves. Lmao replied: “Perish the thought.”
[this event was recorded prior to coronavirus–Coy] I just finished my introductory speech to our inaugural group of tourists. They sat in folding chairs at the pavilion as I recited the history of our landing here. Then we proceeded to the viewing area where Deadpan engaged their interest with an explanation of harmonic progression. The tourists appear entranced by whatever we say or do. They don’t even seem to mind as I type this post; instead they’re watching me with utter fascination.
A tourist asked Deadpan if he could calculate pi. Deadpan replied, “Do you want the short answer?”
[this event was recorded prior to coronavirus–Coy] I’m writing this post as the cruise tender boat approaches the pier. I wish you could see this place. We stayed up most of the night putting up banners (a big one in the center and one at each side), hanging paper lanterns, and blowing up balloons. We can hear the tourists’ voices as the boat draws near. Some of them are waving at us and a few are shouting to attract our attention. I’m busy rehearsing my speech while the others prepare to secure the tender. Lmao once had his spaceship painted; he says they did a number on it too.
The cruise line that docks at the king’s port has approved our application to host an excursion at Alien Resort island. A tour boat will dock at our pier three times a month and a group of tourists will walk onto the beach. From there I’ll lead them to the pavilion and give my introductory speech. Afterwards, we’ll proceed to the viewing area, where we’ll mingle and answer questions. Then they can visit the gift shop before reboarding their boat. Deadpan once got approval for a clinical trial; he says it was a shot in the arm.