My name is Dava and I recently became friends with a man from outer space.
My roommate, Sula, and I found him hunting for food in a dumpster on campus and took him home to our apartment to clean up and have a proper meal of tortilla chips and beer. He was quiet and polite so we let him crash on our couch.
His told us his name is YʼQhogon NeʼFlav, but we got tired of hearing our tongues trip over themselves so we call him Voyager 1 because that was our first space probe to reach interstellar space, and he is definitely from a place far, far away.
He’s your average alien. Shy, but friendly. Very curious. We quickly became friends despite the fact he likes watching Yankees games on TV and I’m a San Francisco Giants fan.
He doesn’t turn me on, but Sula thinks he’s “super hot.”
The three of us hang out a lot at Grounds for Divorce, where Sula and I like the caramel mocha and Voyager 1 likes the turquoise-haired barista. Sula is cool with his “stupid infatuation.”
Iʼd always thought an alien would be really intense, but “V” mainly liked babes, beer and baseball, like a lot of other guys in our apartment house near MIT.
But that was about to change.
“Dava,” V asked me one lazy Saturday afternoon, “You and the others go to your classes and sit in your chairs and stare at your mentors and your fingers poke at the little TV boxes you carry around. Why do you do that? Is it fun? It sounds boring to me.”
Thatʼs when we snuck V into our class on science writing, and it was like heʼd had a religious conversion. He had found his purpose in life.
He sat in on the lecture on “Elements of Science Writing for the Public,” with the thought that he had much to tell the world due to his unique perspective of being from another galaxy.
But after a while he realized heʼd rather let his imagination soar with fanciful stories about the amazing natural phenomena on his planet and the advanced technologies his kind had developed. So he moved to the “Writing Science Fiction” class.
“I can develop plot elements based on my life experiences and knowledge base,” he told us. (He uses nerdy phrases like “knowledge base” a lot).
Even though he isnʼt a real student, the teacher gave him an honorary A after V turned in his first story, “Fire and ice…orbital and spin dynamics bring qubits to Lilyʼs Goat Farm.”
V soon got a big advance from a science fiction publishing house after he pitched a book idea about space travelers exploring a distant dwarf spheroidal galaxy where a race of frost giants live.
We helped him pick out a computer. Using his enhanced post-ganglionic fibers he learned to type in four minutes. And then he was launched on a journey into a fantasyland that Sula and I could barely follow.
What a wild ride for us and Vʼs readers. And little do they know that most of what he writes about is real – in his world – and not fiction at all.