Hello, friends and neighbors! Welcome to the first NEW story of 2012! I’ve been thinking all week about what approach I might take for this momentous occasion: something silly just to kick things off? Something grandiose, because I haven’t written anything new for you in months and months? Something scary, because I have been reading old horror comic reprints voraciously lately (so what else is new)? What would it be? What would happen? These things did I wonder.
So, I was telling my co-worker, Wes, this morning that I had to write a story for my blog today. He thought for a moment and then said, “a man walks out of a bar, and a piano falls on his head. The end.” I said, “well, now you took that; I can’t use it now.” He suggested that I simply change whatever it was that fell on the man’s head. I said I’d think about it. Then he said I should have an alien fall on the man’s head.
Inspiration comes from the weirdest places.
THE DEFENESTRATED GORKON
"What's Defenestrated Mean?" Art by Libby Barringer
Once upon a time there was a man named Tristan O’Tristanton who lived in a small town called Snottypepper, Indiana. He lived with his parents in a little house right next to an abandoned rock quarry. Why was it abandoned, you ask? Because they love to quarry limestone in Indiana, and this silly old quarry only had lemonstone. Anyway, Tristan was a generally happy man, despite never having gotten married or having a family or a good job or any friends. His parents would often ask him, “Tristan, dear boy, how can you possibly be happy without a wife or children or a good job or any friends?”
Tristan invariably would reply, “shut up.”
Don’t misunderstand, Tristan would have loved to have a wife and children and a good job and friends. And it’s not like he didn’t try. He would go out every morning and look for a good job, and he would go out every evening and look for friends and, you know, women and stuff. The problem with looking for a job all day long was that he already had a job, it just wasn’t a very good one. He was a mouse counter at the local rubber band factory, where there were no mice. You’d think it wouldn’t be so bad, seeing as how it couldn’t be too demanding to count something that wasn’t there, except that they gave him a monthly quota. So, he used to go in at the end of every month and the boss would ask him how many mice he had counted in the past month and he would say, “well, none,” and the boss would say “no raise for you.” That’s why he started going out every morning looking for a better job. Needless to say, the boss at his current job was more than a little perplexed and unhappy that Tristan spent his work hours out looking for another job. The boss had tried putting Tristan on the night shift, but that would have interfered with his friend finding time. Besides, the boss straight told him that there were probably less mice to count at night, which of course made Tristan laugh.
Now, the problem with looking for friends all night is that Tristan was kind of socially retarded. In order to look for friends, he would literally walk around all night and ask anyone he ran into, “are you my friend?” Needless to say, most people said, “huh?” which Tristan invariably took as a bad sign and walked away. Even when he ran into people he actually knew, like his parents, they would say “huh?” when he asked his question and then he would walk away. He couldn’t understand why he couldn’t find any friends. He figured they had to be out there somewhere. He’d find them someday.
So, one morning after Tristan had been out late looking for friends, the boss called Tristan into his office. It took him 35 minutes to get there because he was filling out paperwork at yet another temp agency across town, but finally he walked into the boss’s office and said, “what is it, Mr. Porkandbeans?”
“Tristan, my boy,” said Mr. Porkandbeans, “this has got to stop.”
“What’s that, Mr. Porkandbeans?” Tristan asked wearily.
“This looking for other jobs while I pay you to count mice,” Mr. Porkandbeans replied. “I pay you a good wage and I expect you to earn your keep around the factory.”
“You pay two dollars an hour plus commission,” Tristan said, “and there’s no mice to count, so there’s no commission.”
“You just have the wrong attitude,” said Mr. Porkandbeans.
“Can I go finish my paperwork at the temp agency?” Tristan asked.
Mr. Porkandbeans sulked for a moment and then said, “fine. But be back in time to clock out for lunch.”
Tristan left the boss’s office and walked through the factory. Everywhere he looked, he saw happy people who enjoyed their work and probably had lots of friends and family and all sorts of things he had never known. But, as I already said, he was a generally happy man. He tried not to let these things bother him too much. He let this awareness be a challenge to him to do better, to be better, to find those friends he knew were out there somewhere. He walked out into the streets of Snottypepper with a simple little smile on his face.
And that was when an alien from outer space landed on his head, knocking him completely unconscious.
When Tristan awoke, he saw a strange being with blue skin and an enormous head with big black eyes staring down at him. “Hey, buddy,” the thing said when it saw him waking up. “You okay?”
Tristan stared at the weird little man for a moment and finally said, “are you my friend?”
“Am I your friend?” the little dude said, and then burst out laughing. “I was just gonna ask you the same thing, my man!”
“You were?” said Tristan, getting to his feet and looking down at the alien, who was only about four feet tall.
“Well, sure!” the little blue guy bellowed. “Not only am I a Gorkon from outer space, but I just landed on your head! Earthlings aren’t known for being particularly welcoming to extra-terrestrials, you know. Especially when they’ve been knocked unconscious by one!”
“Say,” said Tristan, “why did you fall on my head, anyway?”
“Well, it’s a funny story,” said the Gorkon, crossing his arms and tapping his almost non-existent chin. “My partner, Rexpound, and I have been orbiting earth for a few years now, trying to learn your language and customs. Problem is, you dudes seem to have different languages and customs every few hundred miles around here! So, it takes a while, you know?”
“Makes sense,” said Tristan.
“So, it’s been a long time, and Rexpound and I started getting on each other’s nerves after a while. We started fighting a couple months ago and today he got so fed up with me that he picked me up and threw me out the window. I broke gravity almost immediately and plummeted to earth. I probably would have died if you hadn’t broken my fall!”
“That doesn’t make any sense,” said Tristan. “How can you fall all the way from outer space and the only thing between you and impact is me, and we both lived?”
“Gorkons have a mysterious biology, kid,” the Gorkon said while nonchalantly hanging a lampshade.
“So, that’s it?” Tristan said.
“What’s what?” said the Gorkon, who surely, by rules of sensible storytelling, should have been given a name by now.
“That’s the whole story?” Tristan said. “You got thrown out a window and here you are?”
“Yep,” said the Gorkon.
“But, you said it was a funny story,” Tristan said.
“You don’t think defenestration is funny?” asked the Gorkon.
“Defene-what?” said Tristan.
“Don’t worry about it,” said the Gorkon. “Now, listen here, my friend. I got a problem and I wonder if you might be able to help me with it.”
“Friend?” said Tristan, bending down to look the Gorkon in the eye.
“Say what?” was the response.
“You called me ‘friend.’” Said Tristan. “So, you are my friend?”
“I’d like to be,” said the little blue Gorkon with a little blue smile. “But here’s the deal. We Gorkons have been looking for a new place to live for years now. Our world is dying due to several well-known science fiction clichés, and we need to move to earth, which is perfectly suited to us for a number of other science fiction clichés. The biggest hitch is that we like rocks and caves and lemonstone. Hard to find on earth.”
“I have a lemonstone quarry in my backyard,” Tristan offered.
“Whoa, what a convenient and inexplicable coincidence,” said the Gorkon.
“I don’t know if there’s room for a whole race of aliens there, though,” said Tristan. “How many of you are there?”
“Oh, about a hundred and thirty seven,” the Gorkon replied.
“Oh, well, that should be fine, then,” Tristan said.
“Swell!” said the Gorkon. “I’ll let the others know asap. By the way, kid, what’s your name?”
“My name is Tristan,” said Tristan.
“No faking?” said the Gorkon. “That’s my name, too! Wouldn’t it be funny if someone wrote a story about us? They’d have to call us both Tristan and people would get confused as to who was saying what!”
“Well, they could just refer to you as ‘The Gorkon,’ I suppose,” said Tristan.
“Gee, that would be kind of impersonal, huh?” said the Gorkon.
So, the two new friends shook hands and decided that Tristan the Gorkon’s friends would all live in Tristan the Human’s backyard lemonstone quarry. Just before he called for an interstellar taxi to take him back to his ship (where he planned to punch Rexpound in they eye and then tell him the good news), the Gorkon turned to Tristan. “Say, now,” he said. “This is twice now you’ve saved my life. Is there anything I can do for you, kid?”
Tristan thought a moment and then said, “as a matter of fact there is.”
So the next morning, Tristan went into Mr. Porkandbeans’s office and demanded that his job title be changed from “Mouse Counter” to “Gorkon Counter,” and just before the end of every month, Tristan the Gorkon and all his friends would break into the rubber band factory and run around while Tristan the Human counted them. He always exceeded his monthly quota and his commission was huge. Everyone in town agreed he was the best Gorkon Counter that Snottypepper had ever seen and they all wanted be his friend. He even met a girl and got married and had kids because he was so darn popular.
Good thing no one noticed that his count was always 137.
Well, huzzah and good cheer all around, we actually got a new story published for the first time this year. Come back next week for another look into the archives as we explore the last stage (story) in the inception of the club!
See you in seven,