Jan 2
A delusional soldier, a wet cave for a bed

I feel as though I should have died; I wanted to die; it would have made it easier; to just be done, but no, I’m still alive, and it’s horrible and horribly inconvenient. 

I’m among all kinds of celestial bodies, some stable, others not so stable. It appears to be an asteroid field. I’m in some kind of ship, floating within a bubble suspended just above the deck. I’m repulsed by a giant humanoid lizard relaxed in the corner of the cargo bay. He sits next to a giant man, both of them dressed in what appears to be colorful, thick polymers. The giant has a shaven face, but a mop of hair on his head. Their clothes are nearly blinding I don’t know why. 

The drop ship is heading for one of the denser asteroid clusters, where it enters one of the larger asteroids with a tunnel cleared bored by large machinery, landing on a shallow pad. Then the bubble which has been restraining me moves forward in air, through the port of the ship and then through a lone door on the rock face. A giant room expands before my eyes. 

There’s a purple sheen over all the rocky walls except on the uneven floor, which is filled with water. There are tons of those giants in the cell but also several of the lizards, too. I’m dumped on the ground rudely like a sack of garbage and then the door closes with a resounding click. The room is dark and silent. 

We all flinch as the door opens back up again. Another prisoner is carried in by two lizards. He has on military gear, human military gear — alive but clearly wounded. (Am I human? Maybe not. I'm too entertained by the soldier's humanness.) He’s not trying to stand or move really. He looks wretched. The lizards holding him let him drop to the floor with a shallow splash and then leave. I get him out of the water and sit him up.

“Oh, hello lad, good to see a human. You’re a human, right?” the soldier blubbers. 

“Yeah, I’m a human." (I lie.) "What are you doing here?”

The soldier can barely sit up, but tries saluting.

“Name’s Captain Sam!” he shouts, “No my name’s Jess. General Jess to you!”

I feel as though my life is finally returning to me after a thousand years. Jess. I let it sit in my mind because it seems like an important name. Could it be . . . my name? If I can’t remember a better one, then that is what I will call myself.

“My name’s also Jess.” (I lie again.)

“Really? Sure we’re not cousins?” he fiddles with his uniform, “Cousin Jess I’ll call you.”

“Sure, whatever you want,” I concede.

“Really? You’re a kind’un, genie.”

“What happened to you? How did you get here? Are there more of you?” I ask.

“Hold on cousin Jess, how does one get food in here? Or is that the punishment?” General Jess calms slightly.

“Da wabear as vood in it,” says a giant next to us.

“Good work, Klaatu! You’ll learn English soon enough!” the battered officer cheers.

General Jess drops back into the water and drinks from it. I decide to drink from it too. Then General Jess comes back out with a burp.

“Excuse my French, we’re in jail on an alien planet after all,” he apologizes.

“You still haven’t told me what happened,” I say.

“So I was commissioned to explore the outer reaches of space. We had a big fleet, you know. I was one of the commanding officers. But you know how it is, we were well practiced in war, heck, I had near perfect scores on all the tests. It’s nothin like actual war. Not like real war at all, cousin Jess. You get what I’m saying? Like the difference between artificial and natural food, that’s how different.

“I performed like a champ, I did. I did, I swear,” he trails off as if to go to sleep.

“Where did you fight?” I ask.

He flinches awake and then continues as if he didn’t hear my question. 

“I fell asleep on the way there, you know what happened in my dream? We had, uh, five ships, and they were decimated by flying monkeys. I thought, you know like you sometimes do in dreams, why do they have to be flying monkeys? And they started to turn into hooded creatures that would fly and then plant little bombs that would slowly destroy our ships. Eventually I thought again, what the heck is going on?

“That’s when I decided I didn’t care. I didn’t care what happened! I woke up and there was a planet full of those giant folk looking for a fight. We went down and got ourselves licked. I tried flying away, but got caught instead. I didn’t care if they were going to do experiments on me or torture me, or even kill me. Anything was better than fighting like a fly for survival from a flyswatter.

“They first wanted to take me to their home planet and I thought, bring it on. I’m on the edge of insanity, I know, so why not do something I might regret in any other situation? Take me to your home planet, I’ll blow it up! Somehow, anyhow!

“But then they brought me here instead. They put me in this floating bubble. I couldn’t decide whether it reminded me of bubblegum or zen silence. Either way I couldn’t hear a thing, and I didn’t want to see a thing. I probably need a psychiatrist, but I’ll come to maybe sometime tomorrow, as long as we stay in this cave. Thank goodness for you cousin Jess!” he gasps.

Then he lays down calmly, unconscious. I lift him to take him over to one of the shallower areas and then I too, try to get some sleep.