By Chic Hollis – Philosophical Musings
Part 1. The Extraordinary Encounter
That night I went to bed searching my mind for a narrative or something to write about for English class. Ideas usually come to me early in the morning after I awake from some bizarre dream. On that occasion I awoke at 4 a.m. having dreamt that some aliens from outer space had landed in our town and mixed in with my friends. It wasn’t clear to me why they had come so secretly as they had.
In that dream I was attending a new high school with classmates I didn’t know very well. I can’t remember where it was located, in some strange city I couldn’t identify. But that didn’t matter. Somehow one of my classmates had acquired a notebook that belonged to the aliens. Some of them who had taken human forms were quietly pursuing him in an effort to recover the book.
Suddenly, that mysterious book was passed along to me like a hot potato by a buddy of mine after football practice as he ran by to escape the threatening menace I never saw. Since it was a dark autumn evening, a few of us quickly decided to get lost and examine the book together later. In the street the visiting “presence” seemed to have vanished. Everything was calm. I walked along the poorly lit sidewalk without peering inside the book wondering what might happen next.
Someone pointed up into the black, cloudless sky where I saw a sign being written by some flying object. The words spelled out by the flickering white lights brighter than the stars were in English. The sky seemed like a theater marque announcing: “We’ll be bac…” The last word wasn’t complete, but the message was pretty clear to me.
Frightened by the sky-writer, I hurried in the direction of the elevated train station still possessing the book. On my way I met a friendly young girl I had never seen before. She approached me saying that I shouldn’t be afraid of the visitors. They weren’t here to harm us, only study us. She suggested I give her the book, and she would take care of everything.
But I was confused and disturbed. I thought I mustn’t give up such important proof of an alien visitation. I wasn’t in complete control of myself or my thoughts, so I dashed away with the notebook clutched tightly without knowing how I was going to evade the pursuit of these mysterious people who could take a variety of human forms.
I ran to the elevated train station and climbed the steps to the platform, only to spot some suspicious characters eying me. I watched them as they drew closer trying to isolate me under a light post. It was obvious that they knew I was their pigeon. I tried to hide the book from their sight. All of a sudden I felt the urge to run down the platform and jump over the fence to the ground below in order to escape. Surprisingly I landed 20 feet below without injuring myself.
The strangers ran after me, but didn’t jump. I was safe for a moment, and ran to a nearby building that had a lighted entry way. The door was open so I ducked inside to catch my breath. When I turned around, after checking to see if my pursuers had discovered where I had gone, I saw her again, that alien girl. She was standing nearby smiling at me. “We can follow you wherever you go, you know.” she said calmly.
Then it dawned on me that the book must have buried in it some tracking bug for them to focus on with their higher technology. I was stupid to resist her demand, I could never escape them. They were here to learn something, and a puny human like me with no assistance would not be able to deny them what they wanted.
So, I asked her what they were really looking for during their visit. She wouldn’t tell me, but promised that nothing would happen to me if I gave her the book. I was strangely attracted to her and curious about how this exciting experience would end. I didn’t want to succumb to her charm, but I could feel that I was losing control of myself. Obviously, her hypnotic powers of suggestion were weakening my resolve.
I offered to take her with me to introduce her to my “leaders,” who I was sure would be very interested in reading this strange book. She seemed agreeable to that plan and ready to go with me immediately. At no time did she appear desirous of creating a scene by fighting with me for possession of the book.
Just then I woke up thinking, where I was going to take her at that time of night? Who were my leaders? How could I explain that I was bluffing. I had no leaders for friends. I didn’t even know one important person. I hadn’t ever considered whose leadership I might be following. I was a young school boy who went to school because that’s where kids went each day. We obeyed the instructions of our parents and our teachers. We never thought much about the absent authority figures who were actually leading us. We just assumed that there were real, knowledgeable people officially designated to be “leaders.”
Yes, I knew about the President, the Governor, the Mayor, and the boss who ran my father’s factory. But I didn’t know any of them personally, and I certainly wouldn’t have recognized them at 4 o’clock in the morning when I woke up. What a sham, what a way to treat intelligent beings from who-knows-where!
I couldn’t help wondering why I had this weird dream. Was there a message in it for me? Was it just a hodge-podge of flaky images culled from a science fiction book of short stories I owned? Was my imagination “working overtime?” I have been interested in stories reported about alien sightings and UFOs, but always very doubtful about their veracity.
What could have triggered this dream? Where did I derive the details to concoct this fable about my involvement with extra-terrestrials? Too much TV, too much reading, too many suggestions about life “out there?” But this “life” wasn’t out there, it was inside my head projected as sentient reality. It seemed as “real” as consciously observed events.
When I awoke the whole dream became nothing more than a stream of empty, worthless impressions to be easily forgotten like the wrong answers to simple geometry problems.
Still, I can’t forget what I dreamed. Maybe, after the recent judicial process of sorting out who was elected president of our country, I became aware that I wasn’t sure who should be elected, who should be our next “leader.” Maybe my subconscious thoughts were influenced by the book I am reading about Ben Franklin’s complicated leadership role in helping give birth to our nation. About the doubts he originally had about throwing out the Crown’s leadership and launching a new republic with unstable, poorly organized mob rule.
Maybe it was just time for me to realize that I hadn’t thought enough about what actually constitutes leadership? Who or what is leading us, our country, our supposedly civilized, bipedal animal species? Why are leaders necessary at all, I wondered, especially if evolution is the result of random permutations? I’ll never know what triggered the subconscious part of my mind to construct that dream and what troubled me afterwards about our stereotyped leaders when I awoke. Maybe I ate too many sweets before retiring.
To be continued…