Convenient Incidents

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Fricker Drive
Unacknowledged and Ignored

The Genius’s Handbook

Owen Wolfgang Johnson is that guy in town that everybody knows of, but nobody really knows. He’s a brilliant writer, a resilient worker, and the smartest human being to ever be born, among other things. As far as the consciousness spectrum goes, he’s about as far up as anyone can imagine; farther, even, for his imagination is superior to that of all the other humans in his backwoods little village; that’s why the others never make any attempt to get to know him. They all suffer from the mental plague of culty groupthink, and like cultists, they’ll never know how backwards they have it; not until someone like Owen wakes them up – not Owen himself, because he prefers not to waste his time on the lesser beings, but someone like Owen. Someone superior compared to the sheep, someone who gets it.

Owen’s days are spent slinging carcinogenic chemicals into pails and moving metal barrels around a concrete warehouse, and when he’s not working ten hours of overtime per week, he busies himself coming up with ideas for nonfiction books to write. He’s published one so far, a self-help book titled Writing: Formulating Your Genius for the Rest of the Idiots to Understand in which the longest chapter – the longest chapter by far – is his life’s story. However, nobody bought any copies of Owen’s book, because the others don’t understand him, because they don’t want to understand him, and that’s just fine. Let his talent go unacknowledged and ignored, it’s just as well. It’s not like the others would be capable of leveling with Owen anyway. Not even if they tried.

The idea of writing a book about writing originally came from Owen’s journal, or rather his ongoing series of journals. They’re titled The Genius’s Handbook, and each fresh notebook he fills up becomes a new volume. He started this grand project when he was only ten years old, specifically on the day he got beat up for calling the school’s top jock (an overall friendly guy named Bradly “Big B” Bertowitz), and I quote,“a rat-faced hooligan whose mother has a big butt.” That first entry was no less than eighteen full pages long, and they’ve only gotten longer since then. Owen fills at least nine pages every single day of his life, so it’s safe to say he’s qualified to teach the others how to write. When his nonfiction books take off – which they surely will, just as soon as he writes them, because why would God inspire Owen to write if nobody’s going to read his incredible nonfiction? – Owen plans to publish his private journals in their raw, uncensored form, so anybody else who wants to be a genius can read his work and learn the ropes. Not the literal ropes, as in the noose Owen tried to hang himself by – that experience got a whole page in the writing book, the header of which was Why I Deserve Greatness, and rightly so – but the figurative ropes. Owen Wolfgang Johnson has a kind, loving heart; he’s a good human being on the inside, and all he really wants to do is teach the world how to be like him. The world doesn’t want Owen because it doesn’t understand him, but I’ll make it understand me. Even if I have to burn it to the ground in the process.

These thoughts, especially those of world domination at the cost of scorched Earth, are nothing new, Genius’s Handbook; I’ve had them for a long many years now. It’s all I think about these days, when I allow myself to think at all. In addition to being a brilliant writer, a resilient worker, and the smartest being to ever be born – not just on Earth, but across the entire Milky Way Galaxy – I am a meditation master. I sit and shut my brain off for ten minutes each day (five in the mornings and five in the evenings, as I’ve told you before), and I have to imagine I’m getting close to opening my third eye. I’ve been practicing for almost two full weeks now, after all; for the lesser beings it takes years, even full lifetimes to awaken the pineal gland, but I’m not like them. I’m better than them, so much so that, for me, opening the third eye is more of a formality than anything else. A due which must be paid in full, in other words. I’m expecting it to happen any day now.

Neither new is my writing about myself as though I was someone else. Some may call it pretentious, but I am a subject of great wonder and intellectual fascination; and yet, for some awful reason, nobody else writes about me. If not I scribe these beautiful symbols dedicated to Owen Wolfgang Johnson, then who will? Bradley Bertowitz? Please, he’s wasting his life playing pathetic football in college. He wasn’t even smart enough to get an academic scholarship, he had to rely on his physical abilities like some ape, like a literal metaphorical baboon with a fat blue ass, just like his mother. I was joking when I called him an overall friendly guy earlier in this entry, if you could not tell, Genius’s Handbook, but how could you? I may carve words into you like I do slits on my upper thighs, but you are not as smart as me. You are not even conscious. You are a notebook, the 42nd volume of my journal, a never-ending log of the thoughts which cruise through my brain like a snail from a dimension in which snails crawl faster than cheetahs can sprint. Do not worry, my unconscious journal, I forgive you for not being conscious. Even if you were perceptive, you wouldn’t understand me. Nobody does. Nobody can. It’s lonely to be sat at the top, Genius’s Handbook Volume 42, but somebody’s got to be here.

I believe that’s enough for now. A short entry, I know, but I really must get going – I’m expecting a package in the mail today, and I must get home from work to receive it. During the day I shall speed up the flow of time simply by thinking about it as I work, because I dare to believe my mind is powerful enough to do so, and so it shall be. Now, I never took any French classes in high school, but I’m smart, nay, enlightened enough to not only be able to write in italics, but also to intuitively know how to speak French, and so I say, adew~

Owen sets his mechanical pencil down in the long groove he carved into his desktop with a rusty old hatchet on the day Bradley Bertowitz kicked the crap out of him for reasons that needn’t be stated again. He bends low to his notebook so his eyes can focus on what he’s written, then takes a long inhale, the fumes from the freshly laid ink bringing an uncontrollable and pleasant twitch to his left eyelid. With a slight buzz on – the only buzz Owen allows himself, for what better drug is there than the work of The Genius? – Owen puts on his glasses and rises from his desk to fetch some clothes to wear. Journaling naked is how Owen Wolfgang Johnson always starts his day; after, that is, he stares at his nude form in the mirror for no less than twenty-two full minutes following his five-minute meditation session.

Draped in blue jeans splattered with globs of white paint and a blue tee-shirt flecked with bleach stains from all the times his boss had him clean and paint the warehouse walls, Owen doubles back to his desk with wildfire in his eyes. He grabs his journal and passionately kisses it in the style of the French, tongue and all, and then throws it to the carpeted floor of his bedroom, the floor which he refuses to vacuum because such remedial chores are not worthy of his higher, godly energy. The dust settles long after Owen has shut and locked his bedroom door, which, similarly to the surface of his desk, is gouged with hatchet marks.

The Warehouse

“Good morrow, mother!” Owen shouts as he tromps loudly down the rickety stairs into his living room, getting his spine nice and compressed so he can complain about his back pain when he gets home later. “I need to go to work now, have you packed my lunch yet?”

No answer; she must have left for her day job already. Owen forgives his mother for her solecism and walks over to the kitchen to find that nobody has packed his lunch for him this morning – he considers this to be wholly, gravely, and grossly unacceptable. Today, Owen will perform a hunger strike and tell his mother all about how starved and emaciated he feels when he gets home from his difficult manual labor warehouse job so she’s forced to endure another sleepless night spent worrying about the number one man in her life. That will set things right, yes, indubitably so. He slams the front door of his parents’ house, not giving the wooden slab a chance to hit him on the hairless ass on the way out like his father so jovially, so juvenilely jests when Owen goes off on one of his rants about how living in this dreadful house where everything is provided for him free of charge makes him feel trapped like a rat in a cage, hops into his car, and drives angrily down Fricker Drive.

The roadways are clear, saving Owen from being held up by the abysmal daily doings of the bumbling townsfolk. He pulls into his spot in the parking lot of the warehouse, the same spot he parks in every day, and kills the engine. Nobody else is here yet, as per usual. Owen is the first one to work every single day; he knows the sooner he gets there the sooner it will be over, especially when he gets there before his shift starts and extra especially when he gets there before the plant is even open. It’s actually a function of quantum mechanics, a hidden quirk embedded into the Universe which Owen single-handedly discovered himself. You see, when Owen works, his brain goes into overdrive mode and time speeds up around him – the more he loses himself in his daily duties, the less aware he is of his performing said duties, and therefore, time flows faster. You can check The Genius’s Handbook Volume 28 if you don’t believe me, it’s filled from cover to cardboard cover with Owen’s assertions on the subject.

By the time his manager shows up, it’s twenty minutes before opening and Owen’s already raked all the dead leaves which blew into the loading dock overnight. At the present moment, Owen is cleaning the windows of the office half of the building with the cleaner and paper towels he keeps in his car at all times.

Owen’s already exhausted boss puts him at ease and unlocks the warehouse door, allowing Owen to finally start working. The other employees start showing up about ten minutes before their shifts start like the unprofessional slobs they allow themselves to be. Owen doesn’t grant them so much as a moment of eye contact.

The first half of the day is spent humping barrels off of pallets and slinging chemicals like a drug dealer: one kilo after another. One time a few weeks back, a co-worker of Owen’s named Smitty P (who’s been working in the warehouse since before Owen was born) made the mistake of openly referring to kilos as keys as a joke – Owen proceeded to chew Smitty P out for six uninterrupted minutes. They sell fragrance products here, this firm is not a drug-smuggling business. Clearly the man has no respect for his job, nor for the company which provides him with it. In the words of Owen Johnson, “Why do you even bother working here?”

After reattaching his gnawed-off ear, Smitty P asked himself the very same thing.

The lunch hour comes. After waiting for everyone else to take their breaks before he takes his, Owen sits alone in the break room, the hum of the minifridge providing a perfect soundtrack for his hunger strike: monotonous and droning. Owen hates to take lunch breaks, he’d rather work straight through the day like a real man instead of taking a break in the middle of the action, a break which only serves to interrupt his flow, but the assistant manager won’t allow it. The assistant manager thinks he has actual pull here in Owen’s domain, and he relishes in giving Owen a hard time about everything he can, especially when Owen tries to tell him about the extraterrestrials. Humanity is not the lone higher species living on this planet, it never has been and it never will be, but nobody wants to listen when Owen brings it up. Nobody wants to believe the moon was pulled here from a different star system, nobody wants to hear the truth of the manipulated evolution of mankind, nobody wants to accept that Owen is so much smarter and superior to everyone else because he is the living incarnation of an actual extraterrestrial sent here to judge the human world, but that’s fine. Let them be ignorant, let them clamp their eyes shut to the brilliant light that is the truth. When Owen’s wretched, disgusting human form finally passes away and his pristine true form wakes on a spaceship and the other extraterrestrials – the only ones who could ever hope to understand Owen – ask him if Earth is worth saving, Owen shall tell them it is not. And the Earth shall be destroyed. And all shall finally be set right.

Owen’s lunchless lunch break comes to an end. He storms out of the break room, steam fuming out of his ears. ‘Let them mock me, let them ignore me. They shall all pay for it one day.’

None of Owen’s co-workers try to make conversation with him for the rest of the day, which is actually what he prefers, thank you very much. How is he supposed to consciously speed up the flow of time with all the idiots distracting him?! He’s not, that’s how, and they should break off their conversations when he walks past them. He’s very proud that his mere presence dissuades their lollygagging, that his aura stifles airflow like insulation shoved in a heating vent. They’re all just immature children anyway, and so they should act like it. Yes, very good. They’ll all be sorry, so very sorry one day. Every last one of them.

Unacknowledged

As with every day he works, Owen is the last employee to leave the warehouse. At the hour approaches five, he meanders into the back to dust the dirty shelves and sweep the floors like a good little boy until the head compounder shuts off the radio and closes the overhead door, signaling his leave. A few minutes of clutching his sunken, empty stomach later, Owen hobbles up to the front and pokes his head into the office, wishing his manager a wordy good evening and blatantly ignoring the assistant manager’s presence. Then, he hops in his car and cruises home.

Owen parks in the mouth of his parents’ driveway and throws on the emergency break, blocking in everyone else’s cars until he decides to move out of their way. It’s not that anybody’s going anywhere, Owen just likes to wield this power, even if it’s only for a few moments. As he climbs out of his car, Owen catches his foot on the lip and falls down to the pavement, scraping his elbows upon landing. He then gets up too fast and not enough blood flows to his head, sending Owen spinning through heavy storm clouds of darkness and down to the pavement once more. When he comes to, he starts screaming expletives at the top of his lungs, rousing his father from the couch in the living room.

“Owen!” shouts Owen’s father with one foot planted on the front steps, his tired face expressing nothing but concern. “Are you okay, son? What happened?”

Grinding his teeth, Owen screams, “Shut up, father! My name is Owen Wolfgang and you will address me as such!”

“You don’t have a middle name, son, I’m not calling you that! Are you okay?”

“I’m fucking fine, father!” As Owen continues to scream, his voice rises in pitch and only gets more nasally. “Just go inside and watch your political news like the sheeple you are, you capitalist pig!”

Owen’s father exhales slowly through his nose as he shakes his head and closes the front door. He debates locking it, but that would just cause more trouble, so he simply returns to the couch and continues going through the tall stack of essays he has to have graded before next week rolls around.

When his circulatory system finally rebalances itself, Owen opens the mailbox. His eyes light up at the sight of the package. It came, it finally came, the Unacknowledged DVD and companion hardcover book bundle, the ultimate exposé on the extraterrestrial presence on Earth and how the terrible, tyrannical United States government has covered it up for the past seven decades. Owen’s already seen the film – when he saw the shipping process would take a whole three days, he promptly purchased a digital copy on the internet so he wouldn’t have to wait to see it – but he paid a whole paycheck’s worth of money for the DVD/book bundle and the obligatory expedited shipping. He’ll be damned if he doesn’t watch it again. Maybe he’ll even read the book as he watches the film and get twice the immersion. Yes, that sounds very good… but Owen can’t watch it yet. He’s just too angry, his father has enraged him past the point of being able to focus, he can’t possibly be expected to concentrate on the truth of the Universe now.

After closing the mailbox with the rest of his family’s mail left inside, Owen gets back in his car and rips open his package. He gives the hardcover book a lick hello and places it, along with the unopened DVD, into the glovebox, which he then locks up so nobody can steal his valuable treasures while he’s not home. After parking his car in his designated spot in the driveway, Owen gets out and sprints as hard as he can into his backyard.

Behind the Johnson household, like all the houses on Fricker Drive, is an expansive forest through which Owen has carved an impressive system of trails. There are two entrances to this trail system, one by the pond up at the end of the road and one behind Owen’s house, because if anybody deserves immediate access to the one piece of work Owen Johnson has done in his life that can actually be considered genius, it’s The Genius Himself. From the couch, Owen’s dad watches Owen dash through the mouth of the trail system and disappear into the forest, shaking his head all the while. This isn’t the first time Owen’s ran off, and it surely won’t be the last. At least he comes back every time, right?

Right?

Indubitably so; as far as Owen sees it, he’s the only reason his family exists. Were he to vanish in these woods, their lives would effectively be over – they’re basically meaningless as it is. While disappearing would be the best-case scenario for Owen, he knows it would ruin the lives of his parents and brother, so he does plan on coming back to them, just not right away. On days like today when everyone else in the world is a total asshole to Owen for no reason other than the fact that he is existentially better than all of them, our genius likes to venture into the woods and smash dead branches against trees while screaming expletives at the top of his lungs for his whole neighborhood to hear until his hands are numb and oozing blood from the splinters. Owen travels deeper into the forest than he normally does today, he even leaves the confines of his trailway, and he doesn’t stop running until his vision cuts out completely from the exertion, leading him to run face-first into a tree. Owen falls to the leafy ground, knocked out cold.

The two beings watching all this from the cloaked spacecraft which happens to be hovering over the canopy of the forest around Fricker Drive today share a thankful look. Then, they activate the tractor beam and lift the unconscious Owen into their spaceship.

The Chosen One

Owen gasps artificial Earth air when he wakes back up. He’s laid out on a cold metal table in the middle of a dark room. All he can see is a blaring white spotlight above him; he can even see it when he closes his eyes, the shape of the elliptical bulb is burned into his corneas like the pattern of a branding iron in a cow’s hide.

“Hello?!” Owen calls out into the darkness.

No reply.

“What is this, where am I?”

A hiss erupts from behind. Owen tries to sit up and turn so he can see what made the noise, but he seems to be strapped to the table by metal restraints wrapped tightly around both of his ankles, both of his wrists, and his neck. No matter how much he struggles the bindings do not budge, and the hunger pangs in his stomach only get worse as the anxiety firmly sets in.

“Somebody answer me, I demand it! What the fuck have you done to me?!”

‘Calm now, child of Earth. All is as it should be.’

The voice came from inside of Owen’s head, but it wasn’t his voice. Human beings are not capable of telepathy – well, Owen is, obviously, although usually it’s different than this. Usually it’s just a knowing, usually he can tell that other humans are thinking terrible things about him, that they’re plotting his downfall just by looking at them, but this time it’s a foreign voice in his head. A wise, calm voice… a voice which couldn’t possibly belong to a human being.

The gears click: Owen died in the forest, he hit his head on a rock when he fell down after colliding with the tree, and he’s now waking up in the spacecraft. The extraterrestrials will unstrap him from this device (which obviously throws his consciousness into a human’s body) and they’ll ask him to pass his highest judgment on the planet Earth. And he’ll tell them that humankind isn’t worth saving, and he’ll get to watch as the lasers decimate the planet and all the sniveling little rodents living on–

‘Wait, something’s not right here. Why am I still in my human body?’ Owen thinks privately to himself. Beads of sweat form on his brow, and it is at this point that he realizes he’s been stripped naked.

‘Everything is as it should be, young human. You’ve no reason to fret.’

Two beings come into view on either side of Owen. They’re fat, plaster white, and completely hairless. Humungous black eyes take up the majority of their heads. No noses, no mouths, no ears, just swollen craniums perched atop long, bulbous bodies which extend down below Owen’s field of vision. From the fat rolled up under what appears to be their chins leaks a viscous slimy material which reeks of spoiled fruit. The fumes are potent, plenty more intoxicating than the ink in his notebook. He tries to shout, but the beings just stare down at him with their cold, soulless eyes, either unable to hear his pleas or just plain ignoring them.

Then he tries speaking in his mind again. ‘That was a private thought, you had no business reading it!’

The replying voice is cool and serene. ‘All is as it should be, star child. You have been chosen.’

‘I’ve been… chosen?’ Owen thinks as his anxiety suddenly begins to subside.

‘Yes, you have been chosen to represent your species in our ever-expanding compendium of biological lifeforms. It will all be over soon.’

Owen is taken aback – he was right, he’s the chosen one after all! His parents are going to eat their words in a double serving when he gets out of all of this, they’re going to… they’re… it will all be over soon?

‘What do you mean it will all be over soon?’

A girthy tentacle rises from below the far end of the table. It bears a small device sporting more blades than a pair of scissors, and the blades are moving, seemingly with an intelligence of their own. The beings stare down at Owen like he’s nothing but a piece of meat, their eyes unblinking, their necks dribbling their viscous slime, neither of them making a single sound.

‘All is as it should be. It will all be over soon, young one. All is as it should be.’

‘No, NO, NNNOOOO!” Owen thinks, then begins to scream when the surgical device makes its first cut, the blade entering his stomach just below the protruding belly button. The alien beings slice Owen clean up the middle, stopping at the neck to peel back his skin like moss off a rock, and then they start on his arms. Then, his legs. Then, his junk, and that’s when Owen blacks out.

Further Research

The vivisection is complete when all of the human’s innards are placed into jars and stored away in the freezer unit in the ship’s underbelly. The beings saved a small section of the human’s skin for cataloging purposes and consumed the rest by slathering it in their digestive slime to liquify it so it could be absorbed through their dermis like all the spilled blood, as it’s rich in nutrients their cyberbiological spacefaring bodies require to function. With the job done – well, done well enough for government work, anyway – they leave the operating room.

Inside the transit room, much smaller than the operating room which takes up the majority of the ship’s interior, one of the beings primes the ship’s self-cleaning mechanism by pressing a sole red button sticking out of the wall, then joins the other in its stasis chamber, a deep coffin-like device standing from floor to ceiling with a thick convex glass lid. As they fall into a deep hibernation, the spacecraft autonomously rises up through the clouds and exits Earth’s atmosphere, leaving only a thin streak of distorted space behind it.

Back in a laboratory on their home planet, two blue-skinned humanoid beings wake up simultaneously. They climb out of their link beds and stand, keeping still for a moment as their minds get used to inhabiting their real bodies again.

“So… humans,” one says groggily to the other as he wipes the crust out of his eyes. Linking up always makes his eyes crusty. It only happens to him, too; never to his partner, and never when he sleeps. Only when he links. So aggravating.

“Yeap. Oh well. I guess not every planet in the Universe can be a winner. Did you catch that one bit about that was a private thought, you had no business reading it?”

“Yeah, that was…” He shakes his head. “That was just sad.”

“Forreal. I will never understand why the serprolisks like the place so much. Sure, the majority of the planet is covered in water, but it’s also inhabited by the single most unlikable lifeform to ever evolve, if that one is any indication of the rest of them. Total deal breaker, as far as I’m concerned.”

“I feel you. Thank goodness we have the cybos, imagine if we had to go there ourselves?” He imagines it himself, then shudders at the thought. “They couldn’t pay me enough.”

“As if they pay us enough for this.” The beings share a laugh. “All right, well, at least it’s over. You wanna do the writeup? I did the last one.”

“Sure.”

One being approaches the starmap as the other breaks out the logbook and writes the following into the inch’s worth of blank space at the bottom of the current page:

Planet: Earth
Dominant Lifeform: Hairless ape – “Human”
Observations: Further research unnecessary for now. Planet best left ignored, not worth contacting at the present time.

The being turns over a new page and slides the pen into the spiral binding, then sets the logbook back down on the little table between the link beds. “So, where are we headed next?”

The being browsing the starmap smiles to herself. She pinches the screen, zooming out until the Milky Way Galaxy is nothing but a pale white dot, a speck of dust lost among the greater cosmos of the infinite Universe.

“Anywhere but there.”