#49: Another girl, another planet.
On falling in love with extraterrestrials.
Writing these short stories on Twitter has been such a joy.
So far, I’ve written two installments of “The Principle of Least Astonishment,” a story about a Bitcoin centi-millionaire’s love affair with an East Bay barista, a now deleted thread about a Russian software engineer obsessed with Bruce Lee, a glimpse into what I think life might be like in small-town Ireland, and now this—a snapshot of a Coast to Coast AM-loving Texan who fell in love with an alien.
You live in Texas. Your days are simple: Go to work. Go to HEB, go to Dollar General. Get parts for the car you're fixing up. Maybe get a drink.
Each night at 11:50 PM, you begin your ritual.
You drive to Bread Basket where you buy a bottle of Big Red. You park your car by the now long abandoned Kingdom Hall and you turn on conspiracy talk radio, on 99.7.
Every night, the host greets you the same way: Live from the high desert and the great American southwest, I bid you good evening, good afternoon, good morning, wherever you may be on this great planet of ours…
You drink your Big Red, and settle in to your stories.
Sometimes when you're listening, you start driving north. No destination in mind, you just drive. Where you’ve been listening to the show for as long as you can remember, these aimless drives are new.
You often imagine the host is in the car with you. He's the only place you get your news from, and though you’d never admit this, part of you even sees him as a friend.
Tonight, after the first hour, you pull out of the Kingdom Hall and start driving.
At the top of the third hour, the lines open—each caller's energy more frenetic than the last.
“This is the Losing My Mind line, right?” they ask. All of the calls unfold the same way. At first they’re shy, and then they explode into their stories.
There’s a vampire and a time traveler from a parallel universe where the confederates won the Civil War. Nothing too unusual for a conspiracy talk radio host.
And then you call in. There’s no performance—you’re eager to talk.
"I'm in love," you confess, "With an alien. You know Waylon Cassidy down here, right? Wrote all those books about Lemurians. He says my alien's a Nephilim. Not a real alien. An angel. Or maybe angels are aliens."
You pass exit after exit.
The host is compassionate to you, just like he was compassionate to all of his other callers, “And why is this alien causing you to lose your mind? Is she asking you to do something you don't want to do? Is it the culture clash?”
He takes you seriously in a way you know nobody else has, and the relief you feel from just being able to tell your story is immense.
“The simple fact that she doesn't love me back is making me lose my mind. I don't care that she's an alien,” you tell him.
“How do you know she doesn't love you back? Well, let's clear something up first: is she back home or here on earth?”
“Here on earth, sir. And I know because... You just know these things, I think. I just want to forget about her.”
“Are you regularly in contact with alien races?”
You tell him everything. How you met her, why she's in Texas, how you’d heard about Pleiadian downloads but never received one yourself.
How you knew you loved her from the minute you met her.
And how maybe her being an alien is tangential to the whole mess, but it sure complicates things when you try to tell your church-going, god-fearing friends and family about it.
After a series of questions— how you know she's an alien, how you're so certain she'll never love you back—he agrees with you, and suggests you focus on healing your broken heart.
You hang up and you notice the bumper song is REO Speedwagon's Keep On Loving You.
You finally get off on Exit 415, Georgetown.
There are other calls throughout the night. A retired federal agent, something about remote viewing.
As the show wraps up the host says: “To the young man out there in Texas, remember, time heals all wounds. Even ones inflicted by extraterrestrials.”
You feel different.
Chapter 2: Phaedra
You first meet her at a little bookstore on The Drag, near the University of Texas. She was reading Alien Agenda by Jim Marrs.
What does it feel like to meet an extraterrestrial in the flesh? You had seen the face of God himself…well, maybe not God (and God forgive the analogy).
But you could not understate what this moment, that very first moment you saw her, did to you.
Colors suddenly were sharper.
When you got back in your car, you felt the music on the radio, you didn't just hear it. When you ate lunch, you could taste every ingredient. And you hadn't even introduced yourself.
You started looking for her everywhere, and you started seeing her everywhere, too. But it was never her. Just her shadow.
The hope that you might run into her again one day is enough to keep you going. It propels you to wake up in the morning. You know it's ridiculous, but you're giddy at the prospect. Everything you do seems to be directed towards this goal.
You even ask the Kratom-addled cashier at the bookstore about her.
He doesn't know her name, only that she comes in a lot. Somehow, she’s never there when you drop in. He suggests trying to manifesting her back. He says he'll ask his girlfriend to light a candle for you. You leave before he tries to pitch you on her New Age magic.
You're a Christian, and while you’ve got an open mind, you suspect they’re up to some Satanic stuff.
One Tuesday morning, you're craving pancakes.
Right as you order, you see her. Your heart flutters, your stomach drops. The 10 seconds it takes for your server to write down gingerbread pancakes feels like an eternity.
You're overcome with... with something. You feel sick. You want to cry. Is it an overreaction? You don't know. You just know that feel something you haven't felt before.
Finally, you look up, and say something, from across the booth.
"Hi, how are you?"
She smiles, and responds to you, like she's been waiting for you to say hello for as long as you've been wanting to say it.
You two start talking. You can barely eat, in fact, you don't. You put down a $20 and move to her booth. She doesn't eat either. You'll realize later that you've never seen her eat.
You two leave together, and find yourselves in another bookstore, Half Price Books on South Lamar.
She comments that she likes your accent; you tell her you like her hair.
You talk about the Pleaides, about the Gurdjieff work (you appreciate the irony here), about how Austin is changing. About how people miss the Austin from 2013, 2008, 2005, but you miss the Austin from 1996.
You two keep walking. You're walking for hours. Up Lamar, through downtown, up around the university. Just north, no destination in mind. The weather doesn't bother you. Nothing does.
Suddenly, it's 6 and you don't even remember where you parked your car. As you're watching the sun set together, you take a risk.
You ask her a question that you know is a little out there.
“Do you know anything about starseeds?”
“No, what's that?”
You pull something up a checklist on your phone, and hand it to her.
“I know it's weird, but I think this is you.”
She's quiet for a moment. She hands your phone back. Until, finally, “I think you're right. That seems like me.”
Phaedra becomes a regular fixture in your life.
You've been waking up for her since the moment you saw her, but now she propels everything you do. Even when you're not with her, anything, everything feels fun—buoyant—worth seeing the beauty in. The two of you decide to see a silent screening of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, that is a screening where people aren't allowed to sing along.
Somehow this experience proves worse than one that invites audience participation. The two of you laugh. This is so not your scene.
As the credits roll you lean over and kiss her.
The lights are up now, and people start shuffling out.
She whispers in your ear that she wants to eat your psychic energy. You don’t know what that means, exactly, but you’re game. After weeks of beating around the bush of courtship you spend the night together.
You’ve been with women before, but not like this. It’s not that she’s showing off any crazy or spectacular moves. It’s just that you feel the night more viscerally. You can feel it in your your heart. It hasn’t been this way before. You’re simultaneously having an in-body and out of body experience.
It takes everything in you not to confess your love, and around 1 AM you do.
She looks at you and smiles and just goes to sleep. You stay up all night. And you notice her leave around 4 AM. She doesn’t say anything.
After a day of uncharacteristic silence you receive a long text from her. She’s very honest with you. She feels a mix of regret and shame over what happened. She needs space. It goes against all the conventional wisdom you know about women. But then again, she’s not a woman, she’s an alien.
An alien who scooped the “you” part of you out.
Music becomes noise again. You abandon work on the Charger you’ve been restoring. Food doesn’t taste good. Everything makes you sad.
You’ve gone back to seeing her in everything. But every time you see a shade of her in something, it’s like a jump scare.
Eventually this feeling stops.
You start doing things again.
Your days are simple: Go to work. Go to HEB, go to Dollar General. Get parts for the car you're fixing up. Maybe get a drink.