“Rosewater Foundation: How can we help you?” said the goofy, happy voice on the telephone. Eliot, a man with the joy of an Irishman on the best day of his life, spun in his spanking-new leather chair and got the telephone cord tangled in the back of that chair. That jerked the telephone off his desk and the cord sprang around his throat. It was May 20, 1963. Eliot Rosewater was forty years old.
He fell off the chair and landed hard on his right knee. The chair was on wheels and it sped away from him. Eliot was still panting when he put the phone up to his head.
“Are you there? Are you still there?” called out a tiny voice from the earpiece of the phone.
Eliot said, “Give me a second, please.”
After he collected himself, he spoke into the mouthpiece. “I’m back. What can I do for you?”
“I need to speak with Eliot Rosewater, himself,” said the disembodied voice.
“You are speaking with Eliot Rosewater,” said the forty-year old. “I am Eliot Rosewater.”
“You answer your own phone, eh? That’s an odd one,” said the caller.
“I handle my business the way I want to,” said the exasperated Rosewater. “Now, why are you calling?”
“You have been chosen. Your positive thoughts and good works have been noted by the Overseers of Humanity. Today, if you are willing to drive thirty minutes, you will have all your questions answered.”
“No. This can’t be. How can you answer all of my questions? You think I’m crazy?”
“Mr. Rosewater,” breathed the tired-sounding voice, “will you come or won’t you?”
“Can I think about it?”
“Tell me now or you will never hear from me again.”
“Who are the Overseers of Humanity?”
“This will be explained to you. You will be perfectly safe. Bring a gun, if you feel a need for one.”
“Gosh,” said Eliot. “This sounds scary.”
“It is what it is, Mr. Rosewater. Tell me, now: Are you ready for adventure? Would you enjoy spiritual enlightenment? Would you like to have the wisdom of the ages? Take this opportunity. A rainbow of living thoughts will flow over you when we meet and this will continue for you for the rest of your life. Say ‘yes’ to me and I will give you the directions. I know you have a car and I know you have no appointments this afternoon.”
“How is it that you didn’t know I answered my own telephone, and yet you know so much about me?” asked Eliot.
“Suspend reality, Rosewater. Let it go. Consider the possibilities,” instructed his caller.
“Who is this?” asked Eliot.
“I am from a galaxy far from the Milky Way. There is no way you could pronounce my name. Call me Doctor Memory.”
“Call me whatever you want. Will you come and meet with me?”
Eliot Rosewater made a momentous decision. He agreed to drive to a remote trail-head in theSunfishCreekStateForestand to meet Dr. Memory.
Eliot stared at the now-silent telephone in his hand. He wondered if he was dreaming. He pulled the .357 magnum pistol out of his desk’s belly drawer.
He put the revolver in a pocket of a light jacket that he, then, put on. He turned his office lights off and walked out into the hallway. He locked the door and headed to the parking garage where he kept his car.
Thirty minutes later, he arrived at the designated spot and he pulled his car into one of the dozen-or-so empty parking spaces. Bird were singing, “Poot-eet-tweet,” and the sun was shining. Eliot wandered around, kicking up dried leaves and wondering whether he was the victim of a practical joke. Then, he heard the sound.
It was a humming sound, with a sort of high-pitched scream behind it. Eliot pounded the side of his head, hoping to get rid of it. It just got louder. As it reached the threshold of pain, the sound stopped completely. The silence was intense. There were no crickets, no birds, no frogs, and no rustling sounds in the woods. Something touched Eliot’s shoulder.
Anal probes, specifically those inserted by space-aliens, have long been a topic of discussion among Earthlings. Allow me to clear the air and to shed some light on this subject that has lingered in the dark crevasse of ignorance. The machines used by all known alien life-forms, are almost identical in design to those mining machines used to carve into mountains. The front end of the machine is a cylinder that spins at an incredible speed. Embedded in that cylinder are bits of diamond dust, capable of taking bites out of just about anything. Happily, the probes are microscopic. Their excavations cause less irritation than mosquito bites. Using one of these gizmos, Dr. Memory would soon be taking a sample of cells from Eliot Rosewater. But, before that, the creature introduced himself. The space-alien was not human, but he was civilized.
“Mr. Rosewater,” said the thing, “I am Doctor Memory.”
Eliot turned around and looked down at a purple-colored humanoid, four feet tall, with a triangular head, a pointed chin, weak shoulders, long, thin arms with large, three-fingered hands, and stubby little legs.
“Bduh,” said Eliot. “Um,” said Eliot.
Following these niceties, Dr. Memory exhaled a mighty thought-wave that nearly dropped Rosewater to his knees. The data that was shared in five seconds was roughly equivalent to all the thoughts considered by all the humans on Earth since the beginning of recorded time. The alien had promised a rainbow of cognitive bliss. It felt to Eliot Rosewater like he was getting clobbered by torrents of water at the base ofAngelFallsinVenezuela.
Eliot was stunned. He knew he had been exposed to some great secrets, possibly even the meaning to life; but it had come so fast and with such force that he wasn’t able to assimilate it or to make sense of it. He felt like he’d been hit in the head with a hammer. He even saw stars.
It was at that moment, when he was disoriented and vulnerable, that Dr. Memory whipped out his probe and snagged some of Eliot Rosewater’s D.N.A.. It would be used to make a clone that would be sent to the future in a Tralfamadorian time machine to go toe-to-toe in battle with the cruelest dictatorship the Earth would ever know. That clone would later be known as Eliot number two.
The purple creature wiped Eliot Rosewater’s memory clean of every trace of the encounter and the creature shot off in his space ship. When Eliot came to his senses, he assumed he had been tricked, that he had driven way out in the boondocks for no reason whatsoever. Screwed again, he thought, as he drove back to his office.
Back on Doctor Memory’s home planet, Zqnbld, in the Omega Centauri galaxy, genetic scientists were wild with excitement. The essence of the ultimate cosmic warrior, Eliot Rosewater, had been obtained. In just a few short years, the flying saucer would return home with his genetic material and cloning would take place. Once Eliot number two was grown and given life, he’d be sent into the future to fight evil.
He would be the new messiah.