Okay, I know it’s been a while since I promised to tell you what happened after I teleported myself to the transporter platform, something to do, with Tralfamadorians, whipped cream, and a dog-eared copy of A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. I’ll take the Tralfamies, as I like to call them, first. If you’re a fan of Kurt Vonnegut novels, as I know I would be if I could turn physical pages with my hands (I can’t) or hold a digital device (nope, not that either), you would know that the Tralfamies appear in more than one book, that sometimes they are beings that exist in all times, sometimes they are robots, and sometimes they are multi-dimensional creatures who control all aspects of human life.
When I was first beamed up from Key West, I found myself in what appeared to be an over-decorated club populated by human males dressed garishly as human females who danced while moving their lips in sync to human songs and collecting dollar bills from a human audience. My first thought, naturally, was WTF. My second was jealousy from knowing that I’ll never have, or be able to wear, an aqua-hued, three-foot-tall Dolly Parton wig made of foam rubber. While I was taking this all in, I noticed a robot sitting next to me. He looked very much like Elvis and for a moment I thought, hey, he’s not dead after all. But then I could hear that he sort of “whirred” whenever he moved and saw that his eyes did not blink. In fact, it seemed that his makers had forgotten the palpebral superior and inferior all together. He noticed me staring at him, because that’s all I can do is stare, and turned to stare back at me, because ditto. He introduced himself as Salo, a Tralfamidorian explorer, and we then had this conversation.
Me: So, where are we?
Salo: It’s called Lips.
Me: What is?
Salo: This place.
Me: No, I meant, where are we? What planet? What galaxy? Or is this some trippy holodeck on some wacky alien vessel in outer space?
Salo: None of the above.
Me: So, I repeat, where are we?
Me: Get out of here!
Salo: But the show has just started.
Me: No, stupid. That’s an expression, not a command.
Salo: I’m not familiar.
Me: I don’t believe you.
Salo: You’re calling me a liar?
At this moment, I’m wondering if my rubber head can explode. It feels on the verge.
Me: Look, you beamed me up, right? So, we can’t be on earth.
Salo: Well, it’s more like I beamed you over. I’m stuck here on your planet. My spaceship is disabled. I’m waiting for a spare part.
Me: So, I’m still on earth.
Salo: I’m afraid so. I heard your beaming request and thought, gee, it be nice to have the company of another alien.
Me: Wait, what? I’m not an alien.
Salo: Really? My mistake.
Okay, okay. So, I look like a blue Ping-Pong ball stuck on top of a chartreuse cheese grater. What’s alien about that?
Me: Fine. We’re on earth. I am SOOOO disappointed. Would it help if I said take me to your leader?
Salo: No. We can’t go until I have the part I need. My people are working on it.
Me: What’s the hold up?
Salo: Um…you are.
Salo: Humans. To get the part made, we Tralfamadorians had to reengineer your planet so that you evolved from that cute single cell amoeba to beings that can make what I need. [Looking around.] You’re, ah, getting there…I think.
If I had a heart, it would be sinking right now.
Me: Fine. Be brutally honest now. How much longer before we can get off this rock?
Salo: I hope to hear soon. Any millennium now I’m sure.
I’m speechless—really—and feel a sudden, intense need for alcohol.
Me: Salo, be a dude and order me a scotch on the rocks, a double, no, a triple, better yet, a pitcher.
Salo: Of course…wait, can you drink? I mean you don’t have….
Me: I’m aware. Just stick my head in the glass when it comes. That won’t take a fricking millennium, will it?
Salo: I should think not.
[To be continued…again]