“I’m not quivering, I’m bio-scanning.”
These are the words that wake me up but they’re not directed at me, I’m sure. In any case, I’m blind, although I always thought blindness would be dark. This is bright; painfully white and sort of clinical.
“You’re definitely quivering. Is it because she’s still alive?”
“I’m not quivering and whether she’s alive or not – oh, look, she’s awake.”
“Is she? It’s hard to tell with all that squinting. Turn the lights down will you Gazdor?”
It takes me some time to get the sense of where I am. The harsh brightness has been replaced by dull black dots, and I’m resigning myself to a life without sight, my initial concern whether I can still live life as a vegan; I mean, who would feed me? Would they care about my principals?
The dull black dots gradually become two odd looking heads, each with tiny button eyes, a ridiculous little nose and, by contrast, a wide grinning mouth. One of them purses their lips now and considers me.
“Odd looking, aren’t they?”
“Monstrous to be sure,” says the other thing.
“Tell you what though, I’ve never seen one of them wake up on the operating table before. Should we send for Big Pandara?”
“Good Gog no, Gazdor! This is your first boddle. Pandara will only accuse you of doing it wrong. Which you are, by the way, with all that quivering.”
“For the last time – “
I decide to sit up, hoping against hope that I’m not naked. Close; I’m wearing a lycra bodysuit and I’m in a very stereotypical futuristic laboratory. That’s suspicious. Maybe this is someone’s idea of a joke. The two – okay, let’s call them ‘aliens’ – jump backwards and grab onto each other. It’s almost as if they’re afraid of me. Weird. I notice that one of them is wielding a type of scalpel while the other one cowers behind him. Her. Who knows? I swing my legs off the operating table, feeling a little empowered. They whimper.
“Okay, first off,” I say, “is this a joke?”
They look at each other. “You think this is funny?”
“Certainly not,” I say, “It’s not funny at all and it’s clearly gone too far. Who undressed me by the way? Was this Brian’s idea?”
The one with the scalpel tries to get fancy with it, flipping it between fingers that appear to have eyeballs on the tips of them. He drops it and I jump off the table and grab it. Now I’m the one doing the wielding.
“Gazdor, run and get Pandara, quick!”
“But you said not to – “
“Not so fast!” I say, fighting the temptation to flip the scalpel between my fingers. I have always wanted to say “Not so fast!” to anyone other than my kids.
“Obo, I’m frightened!”
“Shush Gazdor, I’m thinking.”
“I’m sorry,” I say, pointing the pointy thing at them both, “you’re frightened? Who was just lying on an operating table about to have my insides pulled out?”
“It’s not like that, it – “
“Enough!” That’s something else I’ve always wanted to say, by the way. If I wasn’t being abducted by aliens, this would almost be fun.
“How about you two shimmy over to the operating table instead?” I wonder how long I can get away with this play at indignant confidence.
“Okay, so…okay…” I begin, trying to formulate a clear thought. The former scalpel wielding one sits up straighter and gives a little cough. He’s the boss of the other one, I reason.
“I am Obo.”
We nod politely to each other.
This is my apprentice, Gazdor.”
“Charmed, I’m sure.” Says Gazdor.
“What are those eyeball things at the ends of your fingertips?” I ask.
They each look at their fingertips, hold them up to each other, hold them up to me, and burst out laughing. What I assume is laughing in any case, they could be singing an aria for all I really know. Then they unnerve me by silently holding their hands up, all eyes on me, like spiders.
“All the better to see you, dear.” Says Obo. It’s clear I don’t know what he means so he continues.
“We once had eyes where you have your…” – a snigger “…two.”
The one called Gazdor snorts and covers his mouth, shoulders shaking.
“Forgive the boy, my dear, you are his first boddle and he can’t get his head around how unevolved you are. No offence.”
“Taken, I assure you.” I say, reminding him I hold the weapon.
“You misunderstand me, I’m sorry.” Says Obo, “We are an evolved version of the human you are, and greatly advanced in many aspects of science, medicine and ethics, amongst other methodologies. We were enhancing you just now.”
“Big Pandara favors those who follow a plant-based diet for upgrading. We can tell by scanning your boddle, see?”
“So, you’re not going to experiment on me? Cut me up into little pieces?”
“Good Gog no!” Obo gently prises the scalpel from my fingers. “I do need this however; it’s a lazer wand. When we finish upgrading you, you’ll be immortal, like us. Won’t that be nice?”
“I’m not sure.” I say.
Gazdor looks at me intently, which makes me somewhat uneasy; I don’t know which of his eyes to look back at, but I get his intention, which is kind.
“All we want to do is save the vegans. We’re the future.”
“Are you from my future?” I ask, and they both nod.
“That’s why you speak English so well.”
Obo holds up one finger.
“Americish.” The finger winks.
“So,” says Gazdor, “are you up for it?”
I hop back up onto the operating table. “I’m up for it boys!”
“Wonderful,” says Obo, checking a screen that appears just above my head. “We’ll enhance you, wipe your memory and return for you when all your loved ones have popped their clugs. Ah, and I see your name is…why, it’s…Pandora. That’s…”
“…why I was quivering.” Says Gazdor.
“This is going to open a box of worms.” Says Obo.
The last thing I remember is the sound of his long, tired sigh.
I hope you enjoyed this short piece of distracted fiction, written when I was actually supposed to be working on the book...Did you get the wibbley-wobbley-timey-wimey suggestion that I'm the future Big Pandara? Or is it too silly? Should I even be letting you peek inside my head? Who knows?