Jamie: They told me you’re the one to see.
Rory: They did?
Rory: (looks at finger nails, furrows eyebrows) Um, okay then. It’s nice to see you…. Again.
Jamie: If you don’t want to.
Rory: No, no. I’m sorry, I must be coming across as terribly rude. Pease come in. Have a seat. Sorry about the mess. Let me clear the nice chaise for you. I haven’t had a guest in 4 months you know. I’ve been taking this quaranting pretty seriously. It’s definitely weird to see my neighbors and what seems like the rest of the world resuming their normal lives, while here I am. Alone in this humble townhouse.
Jamie: Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t bring a mask. I should go. How insensitive of me, visiting you unexpectedly, without a mask.
Rory: It’s really okay. Come on in. I’ll sit over here on the other side of the room. We’ll be fine. Can I get you something to drink? I don’t have much—the grocery store is out of everything you know. I have filtered water. Lactose-free milk. You know, I think I saw a couple beers in the back of the fridge.
Jamie: Oh, I don’t want to impose.
Rory: Beers. I’ve been saving them for a special occasion. My first guest in four months? I would say this is it! I can’t drink alone you know. That’s frowned upon in my family. Sit down, sit down. I’ll be right back.
(Rory leaves the room while Jamie sits on the chaise. Rory comes back with two beers, and hands one to Jamie then sits on the other side of the room.)
Rory: So, Jamie, tell me, why exactly Sue sent you here?
(Jamie laughs nervously.)
Jamie: I’m embarrassed to say, honestly.
(Jamie takes a gulp of beer.)
Rory: Oh, don’t be shy. We’ve known each other since we were in kindergarten…. Sue and I. She knows me better than anyone, so if she told you to see me, there must be a very good reason.
(Jamie takes another large gulp of beer and sighs deeply, brushing his hands through his hair.)
Jamie: It’s just, well.
Rory: It’s okay, Jamie, you can tell me anything.
Jamie: I think I saw an alien.
(Rory gulps her beer silently.)
Rory: A what?
Jamie: An alien.
Rory: I see.
(Rory looks out the window nervously, and then walks to her door to lock it. She leans forward, inquisitively.)
Jamie: I was asleep and awoke to a strange noise. I don’t know if a noise is even a way to describe it. It was more of like a frequency in my ears… like a dog whistle or something, that somehow I was attuned to. It was a harsh yet subtle simultaneous. An instant feeling of doom initially overtook me, followed quickly by curiosity.
(Jamie takes a sip of beer.)
Jamie: Of course, I thought it was a dream at first. Of course it was. I know it’s likely we aren’t alone in this universe as there are so many planets similar to earth, but I also know how completely impossible it would be for any living being to travel so far as to end up here. Obviously it was a dream. And so I let the fear run its course through me and waited to wake up.
(Jamie takes another sip of beer.)
Jamie: But then I didn’t wake up. I was up all night. And then I heard the same noise-like thing the next day, in the middle of the day, while I was sitting at the computer, working. Then the next night, and day. I concluded it wasn’t a dream, and instead assumed I was just having some sort of issue with my ear. All those years playing in that metal band, you know, probably my tinnitus getting worse or something. So I set up a virtual appointment with my doctor to get it checked out. The soonest appointment they had was a month out.
And the noise kept happening, more and more frequently. I ignored it. But then, one night, accompanying the noise, there was something outside my window. I’ve never been more sure of it in my life. I called Sue right away, expecting her to assume I had lost my mind. But she got very grave. Very scared sounding. And she told me to see you, right away. I got in the car, haven’t showered yet, sorry about that, haven’t shaved.
Rory: It’s okay. I understand. Look, you aren’t safe there. Frankly, you’re not safe here either. I know what you can do though. I know where you can go. I have a place, specifically for this event. I never thought it’d happen in my lifetime. I’ve been sending messages out since I graduated college 30 years ago. Ritually sending transmitters, radio waves, light signals, optimistically waiting for the day we’d get a signal back, from …. Them.
Rory: Yea, the Ginthernians.
Jamie: The Ginthernians?
Rory: Yes, from the planet Ginthertron. It’s just in our neighboring galaxy. I knew there was life there. And I knew they were smart. Look, I’ll explain to you more later about my life’s research. Trust me, we are going to have lots of time together. Follow me… to the basement. I have just the place that will keep you safe.
Jamie: Can we take these with us? (Jamie holds up his beer.)
Rory: Yes, we’re definitely going to need those.
<to be continued…>