“Dad’s changing and you’re not ready for that,” Princess continued. “Dad isn’t rejecting you like he used to, and this is unfamiliar to you. Now you’re the one who’s required to make a change. And it isn’t a small change either. You’re going to have to be a lot more giving. You’re going to need to be vulnerable, lovable, attentive, and compromising. The question now is whether you’ll be able to do that.” When I told Deadpan I needed to find my missing shoe, he told me to hop to it.
I wrote the agent and told her I was working on a treatment for an Alien Resort screenplay. The possibility that my effort might fail will no longer get in my way. Plucky told me that I had been thinking like a child. I realize now that failure isn’t something to take personally. It isn’t a statement about you; it’s just a fact of life. And most importantly for me, with a fear of failure instilled by my father, it isn’t a statement that you aren’t lovable. Lmao’s almost finished cleaning his shirt; he says the rest is gravy.
“You’re not bad; you’re just little,” Princess told the boy. By now his anger was gone, his eyes were fixed on Princess and his mouth was agape. She continued: “As you get older you’ll more and more learn to control yourself and work things out.” I turned to Plucky: “She sounds just like you.” When I asked Deadpan how he beat me on the test, he said he took a page out of my book.
I’m sitting with Plucky and Susan on the patio of the pavilion, where the tourists are beginning to emerge from the very first time travel and comedy act. They’re gathering around a digital clock that Deadpan has set up in a kiosk just outside the pavilion door. Excitement would be an understatement as they run all around, taking pictures of the clock, selfies, and even pictures of us. “Actual time travel; I can’t believe it,” one of the tourists exclaims. “It didn’t hurt a bit,” another one jokes. Another one says: “My wife has been texting me for three hours asking where I am.” When I told Lmao that I’m double jointed, he said I should pat myself on the back.
I’m trying to decide who benefited the most from last night’s conversation. Princess gets to keep her phone: Deadpan will install an app that gives Plucky a notification and copy every time her daughter sends a message. Deadpan’s therapy is working: he’s making a conscious effort to improve his social skills. Plucky says her life is changing before her eyes: The cycle of father-daughter disinterest is showing its first signs of wear. And as for me, I’m getting a free lesson in Psych 101. When I told Deadpan that we ran out of DNA samples, he said there’s always a fly in the ointment.
“Your father has a psychosis,” Plucky told Princess. “And now he’s getting help.” Plucky arranged for Deadpan to engage in daily telemedicine sessions with a mainland psychologist. “Hopefully at some point,” she said to Susan and me, “We’ll help him go through and sort his belongings. For now we’re going to treat him like we always do. The psychologist will help him work on his social skills to overcome his loneliness. Then he’ll no longer require a secondary attachment to physical objects. This is a process that will take some time.” Lmao couldn’t wait to eat his hamburger; he said it was dead meat.
Before Susan’s mother left, we gave her a phone to stay in touch with us. She called once to thank us for letting her stay here then added she couldn’t talk for long. After that we didn’t hear anything. We were about to pay them a visit when Susan’s father knocked on the door, looking worried. “One of my komodo dragons is sick,” he said. “Mary said we might be able to look up on the internet what to do.” Deadpan and I had fun learning about neurons; he says that’s what memories are made of.
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.
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.”
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
“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.
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.
[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?”
Plucky, holding a small box in her hand, walked over to where Deadpan was sitting. “Prince Deadpan and I discussed this earlier,” she told the others. Deadpan stood up as Plucky continued: “As the ranking officer of Alien Resort, I’m presenting you this badge and bestowing upon you the title of police chief of this island. I‘m confident that you will rule with strength and compassion just as you did in your previous universe.” She pinned on the badge as the others applauded warmly. Somebody once asked Lmao what a policeman does and he replied, “Search me.”
Our writer Mr. Davis sent us this text message this morning by surprise:
”I gave the guy in the cell next to me half of my soyburger to send this text. I don’t get any news from the outside but I’m sure it wouldn’t be good. I wish I had left you some scripts. I’m okay but do you want to know something strange? The Beacons of Night prison gang has always caused a lot of trouble here but suddenly they’ve become very quiet.”
I asked Lmao if he still eats vegetables; he said they’re on the chopping block.
When you sit on the beach at Alien Resort island, you hear the eons-old rush of the waves meeting the shore. But tonight we’re in the middle of the island, gathered in front of Plucky’s spaceship, and that sound is very distant. The view of the sky here is as good as anywhere on Earth. Long ago we gave up hope of a quick rescue, and have made peace with living on this planet. All of us agree that there are worse places to be stranded. Lmao got lost on his planet and forest rescue couldn’t find him. He says he was up a creek.
Plucky says the boat we intercepted showed up clearly on her radar screen. The Beacons’ claim of stealth technology wasn’t true. And there wasn’t any navy; they only had one boat. But this is far from over; the Beacons want us to know. Lmao hopes we can get some towels delivered now; he’s been wringing his hands.
The editor of the Mountain Ear newspaper says he won’t be intimidated. He received a warning letter from the Beacons of Night about a month ago but continued to publish Alien Resort comics anyway. Now that someone has painted the Beacons’ slogan “Earthlings Unite” on his newspaper’s building, he says he plans to increase publication from one comic a week to two, maybe even three. According to Deadpan, the newspaper building maintenance crew is still on break and the editor is waiting for them to resurface.