Friend Zone – Day 349 – Thank you Susan

I asked my mentor Susan how I could thank her for all her kind words and advice this year, she told me: “I’d like to read a story about an alien abduction set in Australia.” So here it is, thank you Susan, I really appreciate everything you have done for me this year.

Side note: GAH I just deleted this entire post accidentally and had to rewrite the entire thing. I guess that is one way of editing.

We live in a tiny rural farming town. No one is ever interested in travel, but I’ve always been obsessed with seeing the outside world, especially the pyramids. My nan says she doesn’t want to be shot halfway across the world in a tin can to see a pile of rocks.

One night I decide to steal my dad’s ute. I only get as far as the edge of town when the car stops. It’s as if I’ve hit a forcefield. I get out and touch the barrier, slowly I edge my face nearer. I can hear a tapping noise. But then the sound of my dad’s tractor interrupts me. He must be looking for me. I get in the ute and reverse, then drive as fast as I can toward the barrier. There is a cracking noise and a bright light.

When I wake there is a huge figure standing over me. It looks like every inch of it’s skin is moving, like it’s made from bugs.

“Are you being okay?” it asks.

“Yes,” I reply.

“Don’t worry, I am in the…” it pauses to look at a book. “…friend zone.”

“The friendzone?”

“Yes, I am being in the zone for friends. I being looking after you.”

“What?” is all I can think to say.

“You broke the enclosure. I being thinking you resistant to the anti-travel injections. Don’t being worried, I making it closed again.”

“Enclosure?”

“I being from another planet. We abduct your town for observing 200 hundred human years ago. That being 2 of our years. We making enclosure, so real none of you realising. I being learning your language. You being thinking my talking is awesome?”

“Er, yes your English is… awesome.”

“My colleagues being talking, saying I am too close to humans. Now you being knowing everything I having to keep you like pet. Sorry. Will you still being in my friendzone? I observe you like pyramids, I can take you.”

“Yes I think we can be in the friendzone together,” I say.

Space Invaders – Day 306 – Tom

One of the places that always forces me to reflect is a crowded room full of strangers. Earlier this month I found myself at the Opening Night do for the Brisbane Writers Festival. It was very intimidating- the room was buzzing with experienced writers who all knew each other.

I stood at the side willing myself to go and talk to someone. Hadn’t I learnt my lesson by now? This project had been all about interacting with strangers- yet I was terrified of just walking up to one in real life and introducing myself. Thankfully, after a few minutes that seemed to stretch forever, a man (who also stretched forever) came and stood next to me. I looked up at his tall figure and suddenly we were having a conversation. His name was Tom and he didn’t know anyone either. He was from Melbourne and making video games was his thing- but he’d written a book just recently (read here). It was a lovely chat and we bonded talking about games. He recommended I play Journey, which I did just the other day and now I never want the game to stop. In Journey- almost everything is your friend- but it’s a very quiet game.

This has confirmed something in my mind: That I’ll never be a loud person who is the centre of the party, but if I can continue push myself to talk to strangers and befriend people in my own quiet way- I will get so much more out of things. 

The other day I emailed Tom to ask for a story idea- he said:

“an introvert is playing a Space Invaders arcade cabinet by herself at a fish and chip shop, extrovert comes over and talks to her and they make a connection over aliens, fish and/or chips”

Everyday

At the chip shop

Aliens descend

She mashes the button

Eliminates them

“Can I play?”

He mashes the button

Misses

Her eyes roll

“You’re supposed to stop the aliens.”

“Why are you always here?’

“Because people are aliens.”

“Am I?”

“Yes”

“What happens if you let them in?”

A shrug

“Can I play again?”

A nod

He smiles

Mashes the button

Misses again

She smiles

“I guess a few aliens are okay”