In 2008, Darrel Montgomery Terdenbaxter Jr. II founded IOAT (pronounced “yote”), the Institute of Official Alien Trackers. Well, he called it an institute, though the appellation remains a bit unrealistically ambitious. More of a site, perhaps – a website, that is, and a dodgy one; it was a bit of a dodgy website. Well, not so much a dodgy website as it was a forum on a dodgy site – a dodgy website, that is. IOAT (pronounced “oat” with a “y”) was a forum on a dodgy website.
By 2012, the forum had garnered over forty members worldwide. Darrel was ecstatic with his success and flattered to lead such a conscientious troupe. Darrel, being the founder, appointed seven generals, each of which had two corporals, each of which would have three squad leaders, each of which would have two sub-squad leaders, to each of whom would report three micro-troupe commanders, who would be forced by everyone above them to work with the plebs of the esteemed community. The forty-third member, and the first pleb to report directly to a squad leader, was a young boy who found himself here now in a grand situation.
The boy felt that the truth had led him here. The boy’s name, of course, was Jason, and his title, obviously, was Plebeian UFO Tracker. Where had the truth led him? Here, in pursuit of this UFO, naturally.
“AGGGHHH” Jason cried gutterally and panted violently and staggered staggeringly across a terrain mottled with clumpy grass clumps and sparse forest clumps – trees. Ahead and above him bumped along an amoeba-like UFO- ahem, forgive me, IFO.
“It appears amoeba-like!” Jason squinted as he cried gutterally and panted violently and staggered staggeringly in pursuit of the now identified flying object as it zigged along its cheery path. What was this truth? Aliens.
“I know I shall find these outer-space folk! It is my birthright!” Jason was no Esau, and destiny was no matter of play. However, whatsoever creature steered the helm of that amoeba-like IFO- ahem, forgive me, IFS, was itself guided enough by a mind of play that – in order to keep the distance between the boy and the ship minimal – as the identified flying ship would continually and effortlessly overtake at least thirty-seven or thirty-eight pale green clumps of grass for every one clump traversed by young cardiovascularly-disadvantaged Jason, it would just as quickly slow down or even reverse direction for a moment in brief retrospect of charming nature’s vistas missed due to the ship’s faster speeds.
“I can’t believe they haven’t escaped!” Jason exclaimed to himself – not out loud, no no; to speak a word would be to draw out the enormous barf that welled in the recesses of his will – and his stomach.. really mostly his stomach. Remarkably, Jason gained some ground between them; it was almost as though the IFS- ahem, forgive me, ITS, were trotting backward. Where exactly were these aliens? What possible place could “here” possibly refer to? Earth.
“Where am I?” Jason was affected by that clueless incredulity which affects all people who, consumed by their focus, snap to the land of general reality for but a moment. You’re on Earth, Jason. You’re a young boy, Jason, chasing an identified trotting ship which, in its trots, stops and starts, hovers and takeoffs, sees and stoops and smells and sallies to repeat, with you following behind, seeking your destiny.
“Man, if only arms could reach as far as eyes could,” Jason muttered – internally of course, but miraculously he was nearing the ship more and more! He was now the closest he’d been, and he kept on staggering staggeringly with no shortage of dry-heavery and growling gutterally. He could identify the details of the ship! It was!-
A cloud of bubbles?
Having neared sufficiently close, the boy tried to touch it, but the bubble-clump amalgam scooted forward just out of reach. He tried again – he was teased again. Jason reached out for a third time, to no avail. Hmm, what to do? The boy decided in his heart not to touch the clumpous mass, rather to examine it. Smaller clumped systems of bubbles would wilt off the large ship to waver through the air and plop on the ground, quickly crunching and writhing, decreasing and decomposing beautifully, like human fractals. Inspecting the bubbles at their lowly perch, the boy saw particles spinning along the surface. Sediment? Solution? Reflection? The wind urges their birth, their flight, their revolutions, their death.
Jason turned his eyes back to the ship. It writhed and contorted also, and as a specter rings her planetary anchor, so the ship sources its future self as out from its heart new bubbles emerge to orbit its circumference while aged and worn exterior bubbles frilling in their convulsions become empty space, whatever atomic fragments of them that remain flying to reinforce the solutive walls of another cell. The new was replacing the old, like skin. The old was kissing the new, like earth.
The boy lapsed now into the enthralls of refractive spheres streaming from the top of the ship so numerous that a veteran seaman embarked should have mistaken them for a concentrated unison exhalation of several baleen whales. Dispersing slightly at their peak over the specter of the bubble ship, the traveling orbs fell comfortably into a trail away from their mother, across the clumpy meadow toward the trees. Faced with choosing, Jason pursued this stream of bubbles.
Scrambling across the uneven meadow, the soil squished and scattered under his faltering steps. He had to hop around imprints of divots and dirt protrusions with grassy heads of hair, pivoting his head to and from individual bubbles to the ground to the collective stream of bubbles, a trail composed of interactions which seemed governed by destiny – just as he was, trailing the trail – and chasing the next step, to the ground to the near horizonal trees to the ground to the bubbles. Progressing further trans-meadow, the boy noticed a humble road bordering the edge of the trees, and whether it was the wind or some magnetism in the asphalt or something else, the current of spheres curved along this humble road parallel to the trees.
Young Jason had known very little of this strange world, nor had he been able to grasp why so much of it eluded him, and neither had he understood how those little parts which did not elude him were yet strange. This being the case, he proved an overawed audience, bearing witness to the procession of an ecosystem of life existing in a sort of pure depiction before him. He had jogged out ahead of the parade a bit and, now still in his station at the edge of the meadow, turned to examine the stream runneth by. The boy saw with tender heart and partook of the delicate dance, sacrificing himself to fragility & true life, having learned in that moment of their synonymity. He became as a bubble himself, and around him individual lives streamed o’er the air along the road between the meadow and the trees. Out from the travel & mingling and the vanity float, every bubble eventually tenders farewell and exits the stream, just as a strip of bamboo tugged by a panda might peel away from the ripe body of the stalk. Many bubbles lost to an unjust death wander back onto the muggy meadow and brave death’s dog days to seek again destiny’s UFO; even those most wretched find solace in another life. Rejoining the stream, these bubbles and others might head for the trees, for what they loved most in life was its thrill and the fullness of passion in the world and in themselves – onward to death’s most wonderful adventure! Often two bubbles would collide in venn consummation, to live a simple life ’til death do them together – ascended to join the clouds, one day to rain upon their descendants. Others singly, in pairs or threes or troves would hover slowly down, having born the good of the stream on their shoulders and the weight of their own greatness, and whether just or unjust their death, the pavement receives them with commendation; and the most tragic of those great ones might rest upon the worn embers of the road in hesitation, in fear of losing what vanity they’ve clutched, in love of that strange world for the sake of which they proffered themselves in service, before they augment the ranks of bubbles sunk and death’s final pop fossilizes their glorious stains in the road to be lauded, blessed and passed o’er.
So the boy continued amidst the caravan, a transparent soul. Equipped with circumferent perspective, the entire world resided amidst prismatic colors within his skin. He enveloped his surroundings with utmost internal iridescence which lacked only simultaneity. The bubbles around him had the world within them too. Well, not all, for some wretched souls remained obstinately empty. Others contained a tree or two, a house a crowd or town. A rare and special magnanimous bubble fastened within itself vast kingdoms & majestic terra, scintillating the brilliance of aurora borealis and all the wonders of ancient Earth. Jason’s magnanimity began to swell and bump the atmospheric edges of this planetary bubble. At the core of his soul, the origin of his inner explosion, stood a scene stolen from the woods by a glance. It was a holly tree during autumn which, having labored, sowed & flowered all of spring, was bright green and red with the joy of good health and fertility. And as the pleasure of life had served its own growth and satisfaction, the holly tree now served the next predator. A flock of Cedar Waxwings embraces the arms of the holly tree to conduct a feast, to squander the life that was there and nourish their bodies. This interaction at the origin of Jason’s soul, the origin of the world, boasts marvelous dazzle, for the sparkling hazel feathers and black crests compliment the brown branches hidden by lime green leaves and luscious red berries; there is nothing else so beautiful, and when the birds had done their deed with art complete they streamed away, leaving behind the vestiges of the holly tree rendered vigorless and stripped in her prime.
At Jason’s core appeared destiny manifest. And this is his newfound memory, that he is a child from the cosmos. Knowledge of the self derives from the physical world only to the extent that nature sparks inspiration, and the boy understood now that Earth was one step in a grand journey. Being a nomadic alien, he had spent most of his short life traversing wide galaxies. Being a boy, his spirit carried the great thirsting wonder of youth, and thus what characterized his own eyes and what characterized almost all of what he had seen was the same quality – an expansive spaciousness. Even Earth occupies only a small seat in the void of the universe. Space was without his body and within his eyes as young Jason treated his soul to the strange sights of the meadow, the stream, the road and the trees. Being an alien boy, he possessed that special combination of characteristics which permitted him a gift that no man can enjoy: novelty. Novelty is the gravity that beckons an infant out from the womb; it is the bubble that pops when the little life strains its head between the mother’s thighs and the silver cord is cut. And the new child will grow and touch their navel and pick with wandering twigs of digits at that imprint of perfect freshness, that fossilized residue of divinity’s pleasurable strangeness.