On the completely made-up world formerly known as Xender 9, a strange child met a not-so-strange child and became best friends for life.
Opposites attract, I’m told, although I’ve only ever been attracted to myself.
So maybe don’t trust all you read—.
However, the completely made-up world formerly known as Xender 9 was completely made-up by the colorful imagination of a pure-blood Homo sapien on Earth, so descriptors are ultimately relative. On Xender 9, it’s normal for fellow humans to treat each other favorably in public, or forego monetary gain in order to live humbly and ethically, or even to keep everything clean.
So for Earthlings—such as myself—Kyp would be quite normal, while Jade would be quite abnormal. Please look past any biases you might have for abnormal Homo sapiens, because most Xenderians would prove to be abnormal Homo sapiens.
It will make the proceeding story all the more enjoyable—.
(Trust me, because I’m like you…)
I am a pure-blood Homo sapien and I’m proud of it. But how could I be so sure of my pure-blood? How could anyone not be sure! Life is what you make it, and that’s what makes Homo sapiens adorable collections of tissues and bones.
I might have came into existence the moment I was born—.
(Or maybe I was always there…)
Kyp and Jade came into existence the moment they were born, and they were born the moment I thought of them. Because that’s how this works.
When the rules are gone we can have so much more fun.
Don’t claim that’s nihilism because I’m not Nietsche and this isn’t the Big Lebowski and I’m not German—only formerly. This is quite the meaningful story, actually, and I’m trying to be quite pleasant, but sometimes it’s difficult to understand what I’m saying without hearing me say it.
But back on Xender 9, it was a remarkably beautiful day and everyone was off from work, because at the end of the Xenderian work-week it’s technically illegal to do any sort of work—and that includes any and all physical, emotional, or mental labor.
Wouldn’t you want to live there?
I would, because right now I’m stuck in Wild Oaks Sanitarium—.
(But let me explain—please…)
Kyp and Jade were of age to work. They both worked at an automobile factory, and loved to take their lunch break at the same time. Xenderian lunch breaks were required to be an hour long.
No more, no less.
Xenderian automobiles were not called “automobiles”, but closely resembled Earthling automobiles. So that’s what I’ll call them. They didn’t have any windows, because various sensors did all the work.
But I’m no engineer so I can’t explain it much further without lying—.
(I’m trying my best not to lie anymore…)
And I was able to listen to their lunch-break conversation, acting as a fly on the wall of sorts, even though I lack the appropriate number of eyes. I’m actually lacking eyes for Homo sapien standards, as I only have the one.
I don’t wear a silly eye-patch.
But Kyp asked, “Did you hear what Petrid said to Lovana?”
“No,” said Jade, chewing her food carefully. “What did he say?”
“He claimed that there’s a way out—a way out of all of this,” said Kyp, waving his arms as if to encompass the room, and the world that lay beyond. “He told her, before he was sent home for the day, that we’re all stuck, and that the factory was just a facade. Petrid said that there’s better things that most Xenderians know nothing about.”
Jade put down her food that closely resembled an Earthling sandwich and wiped her mouth.
“Petrid told Lovana all of this?” asked Jade.
“I can’t remember the last time anyone was ever sent home.”
“Neither can I, Jade. And nobody’s seen him since. He’s not at his home. I tried calling him! Over and over and over—”
“—you can’t be my Petrid, Kyp. Not now, not after we’ve gotten so far so fast.”
Actually, they’ve climbed up the Xenderian ladder no faster than any other Xenderian. Ambition, ambition, ambition. Without it, how could one possibly survive on the completely made-up world formerly known as Xender 9? Not me—.
But Kyp looked in her hazel eyes and took her hand, and held it lightly, yet with confidence.
“We’re best friends for life, Jade. And we’ll be more than best friends soon.”
But since I was a fly on the wall I was able to see a passing glance. Jade couldn’t notice it, because she wasn’t a fly on the wall like me and she was primed to recognize all that was good in him. But I saw his glance—his hesitation. A slight doubt that maybe even Kyp himself couldn’t recognize. Opposites attract, and Kyp and Jade were best friends for life, and destined for more, but this fly saw trouble coming from yards away—.
(A fly with only one eye can still see a lot…)
I toss and turn in my cot at this wonderful resort, because I can’t get Kyp and Jade out of my big brain. All Homo sapiens have big brains, after all.
We share this wonderful feature with one another—.
(I’m not wont to share…)
But Kyp and Jade occupy an unreasonably large section of my big brain. They are bigger than Xender 9 themselves, if you’re willing to believe it. I’m fascinated by their choices, and the consequences, and all they were desperately hoping to build together.
Kyp was strange, and was able to think a little different, and see something that couldn’t be seen by others, even his most significant other. And Jade was a perfect complement, because of her doubt, and her desire for simplicity. They offset each other in a way that seemed to push them further, to take a leap forward without them ever thinking they were risking anything at all.
If Kyp and Jade didn’t live on the completely made-up world formerly known as Xender 9, I think we could all be friends—.
(I can be difficult, I’ve been told…)
But it wakes me up in the middle of the night, and the nurse often hears me, and he’ll barge into my room and strap me to the bed and if I’m disorderly he’ll inject something into my ass that makes its way to my big brain and causes me to stop thinking and—.
(I sleep, but it never stops…)
Because I’m a Xenderian, too, if only I could prove it.
Kyp still wasn’t satisfied. Petrid had not shown up for work after being sent home, and it had been over a week.
On the completely made-up world formerly known as Xender 9, if a worker failed to show up for his shift for a week straight, a psychoanalytical investigation would be ordered and performed by representatives from the Xenderian government. The worker would undoubtedly be in some sort of trouble, as no one ever missed a week of work without stating a reason a month in advance.
It was the government’s responsibility to provide a service to assess and nurture the troubled worker back into the natural system of work and reward.
Kyp decided to bring the issue to the attention of his shift leader, Sheila.
One of his shift members would be undergoing a psychoanalytical investigation, after all, which always seemed more legend than reality. Sheila was stern and fair, everything a shift leader should be. She would provide a satisfying answer—.
(Satisfaction, I’ll take a double scoop…)
As Kyp entered her office that overlooked the factory floor, he remembered to remove his slightly-dirty cap, and to lightly slap the upper portion of the doorframe as he entered. He respected his superiors, after all, like every Xenderian. His blood and tissues and Xenderian brain virtually required him to flaunt his respect every moment it was applicable.
The only time I get respect at Wild Oaks is when they let me put my pants on before my shirt—.
(Let a man have some dignity, please…)
But on Xender 9, superiors were always made aware they were superior—it was easier that way.
“Sheila,” said Kyp, “I was wondering if I could ask you a couple questions?”
“Kyp, welcome. Sit down, please,” answered Sheila, and Kyp took a seat in front of her perfectly organized desk.
Kyp noticed she had her picture frames turned at a near-perfect forty-five degree angle. Inside those picture frames, were near-perfect smiles of her near-perfect family. They loved to vacation to the southern regions of the near-perfect, yet completely made-up, world formerly known as Xender 9.
“It’s about Petrid. Is there really going to be a psychoanalytical investigation?”
“I can’t particularly speak on these matters, Kyp.”
“So there will be an investigation? Has there ever been an investigation before? I can’t remember anyone from my line ever missing a week straight.”
“Well, you’ve only been here for a little over a year. It’s truly not as rare as you’re making it out to be. As a matter of fact, I believe the reason you were able to get on my line was the result of a psychoanalytical investigation. We were in need of someone fresh after that. Someone who wanted to prove themselves.”
Kyp was not aware he had been a replacement. He always thought he go the job because of merit, not necessity. He climbed the ladder fast, after all.
“I never knew this, pal,” said Kyp.
“Pal” was a common title of seniority on the completely made-up world formerly known as Xender 9. If Kyp and Sheila were Earthlings, they would’ve never called each other pals.
In fact, Kyp’s opinion of Sheila was declining and declining—.
(Along with my bladder…)
“There’s a lot of things you don’t know, Kyp. You’re still young, and you have a promising career ahead of you if you stick to work. Let Petrid deal with his own problems. They’re his problems. Not yours,” said Sheila rising from her seat to leave.
“Yes, pal. I will,” responded Kyp.
But I knew he would not, because Kyp is strange—.
“Now, I have a meeting to catch. Are we done here?”
Kyp nodded and walked out of her office, but this one-eyed fly could tell he wasn’t satisfied. He still wanted answers. So he would go to Petrid’s home to search for those answers, never anticipating what would befall him.
And, as Sheila’s office door slowly closed, I saw him look back over his shoulder, taking one last look at his shift leader.
“We’re done here, pal,” he mumbled to himself.
The door shut completely, and Sheila swatted this one-eyed fly off the wall.
For some reason the nurses are showing me the same late-twentieth century American film over and over. It’s called The Big Lebowski—.
But I don’t remember. A long time ago, perhaps in a galaxy far, far away, I remembered most everything. Back when I had two eyes!
But then, on that fateful night, a night that would send me right off on a one way trip to Wild Oaks Sanatorium, I forgot a lot of things I remembered and must’ve replaced it with memories I had forgotten.
I didn’t even have a chance to pack a change of underwear. The sanatorium would provide underwear for me, they said, but I told them I never trust underwear that I hadn’t inspected first on account of the particular shape and size and thread count because if it’s not perfect I’ll know and if I know I won’t be comfortable and if…
And that’s when the tranquilizer entered my ass and everything went black—and not for the last time. No one seems to care what I got to say anymore.
But they should care, because I know what really ties the room together.
As Kyp walked underneath the doorframe leading into Petrid’s one-bedroom apartment, he forgot to slightly slap the upper portion. He forgot because he was entirely fixated on the nothing that lay beyond. The room was empty—completely and eerily empty.
And even though I was still that same tiny fly, perched against the off-white wall, I suddenly realized I was utterly naked. I should’ve known—.
(Relativity and arrogance don’t mix…)
But I basked in my abilities back then, too much so, as Kyp readily proved.
I had gone too far.
Without any other object to draw Kyp’s gaze, other than the thin strands of tan carpet at his feet, he began to slowly shuffle toward me. And my arrogance, my goddamn arrogance, convinced me that he wasn’t staring directly into one of my numerous eyes.
No, no, no—he had to have been shocked about the emptiness, of a room recently cluttered, and had to be walking aimlessly, attempting to gather his thoughts, because his Xenderian brain was working harder than it ever had before!
But he came to a rest in front of me, and I didn’t dare fly away in case he would notice my only flaw. Kyp called my bluff, though. That damn kid and his damn curiosity.
I don’t blame him—.
(Not anymore, at least…)
He picked this little fly up off the wall, holding me between his thumb and index finger. He then ripped my small head off my small body, as he watched the smaller wires and circuits fall softly to the carpet—resting atop the thin, tan strands.
I believe I have nothing else to live for anymore.
At least that’s the way I remember it. I lost my favorite fly that day, along with much, much more. I lost my memories—or so I suppose.
Kyp would scoop that fly up off the carpet and carefully put it in his pocket. He would save that fly, in a small wooden box beneath his floorboard. He never told a soul about it.
Not even to his best friend, and soon to be much more, Jade.
But that day supplanted his undying skepticism once and for all. He would live a long, reasonably content life, now. He knew the completely made-up world formerly known as Xender 9 was not as it seemed, and that made him happy.
He was strange, after all.
And I live on in the box underneath the floorboard.
Xender 9 might be in a galaxy far, far away, but I am not. I am here and there, both large and small. Because I have to be, in order to get myself through the long, all-too-sunny day. Losing a job on Xender 9 was a social death-sentence, especially when the job was as important as mine: surveillance and security for high-risk individuals for the Xenderian Intelligence Agency.
I got into drugs, both soft and hard. When I got more into the hard ones, I remembered it could be useful if I had a job. And when you’re zooted out of your mind, as many Earthlings can relate, there’s no telling where you could end up.
I failed to ever appeal that social death-sentence—.
(Court’s in session…)
But Wild Oaks Sanitarium is what you make it.
Trust me, because I’m like you,
Or maybe I was always there.
But let me explain—please,
I’m trying my best not to lie anymore,
A fly with one eye can still see a lot.
I’m not wont to share,
It can be difficult, I’ve been told,
I sleep, but it never stops.
Satisfaction, I’ll take a double scoop,
Let a man have some dignity, please,
Along with my bladder.
Relativity and arrogance don’t mix,
Not anymore at least.
Court’s in session.