“An Open Window” An Else World Story
Part One: Arrival.
Meteors were striking all about the truck and Jon was having a hard time avoiding them all. Then a metallic object flew over the hood and plowed into the nearby field. Jon turned sharply and the truck rolled over. The couple managed to free themselves. Together they cautiously approached the egg-shaped capsule. When the top of the object split into longitudinal bands and collapsed upon itself to let its passenger out, Martha quickly turned and buried her head in Jon’s shoulder in fear of what she might see. When she heard (and felt) Jon chuckle she knew that there must be nothing to fear. She slowly turned and looked. Her jaw dropped in surprise and she said, “Oh my God! How cute! Who could have been cruel enough to put him in that thing?”
Jon answered, “From the look of things, he’s not from around here.” Martha looked puzzled so Jon took a finger and pointed up in the air. He said, “That’s no vehicle from any Earth government’s space program. The metal was seamless until it decided to open up.”
Martha said, “Really? Well it doesn’t look like he’s going back where he came from, so can we keep him Jonathan? Since we can’t have a child, he could help fill that empty place in my heart.”
Jon said, “He looks innocent enough, but he’s alien and looks can be deceiving. He might be a menace. Remember that movie we rented – “Species.” He could be dangerous to us and to all mankind. Even if he isn’t, he could be carrying a disease that could cause a major epidemic. We just don’t know what we’re dealing with here. We’re out of our depth.”
Martha said, “Jonathan Kent, I’m not going to let you rent that kind of movie any more if you are going to take those stories seriously. That "Species" movie was nothing more than an excuse to show that woman's chest, which is probably why you picked it in the first place -- even though she doesn't hold a candle to me and you know it. But, this is real life -- not some wild flight of someone’s over-active imagination. How can you look into those big, beautiful eyes and think that he’s a menace. And I think he understands what you are saying about him. You’re getting him upset. I think he’s frightened and he’s been through a lot today. I’m going to pick him up and comfort him then we’ll take him home and get some food in him.”
Jon said, “DON’T he might ….” But before he could say more, the visitor from another world was resting comfortably in Martha’s arms. Jon said, “I’ll have to admit that he is adorable.”
Martha said, “Just think about it. If we keep him, you’ll have someone to take on your hunting and fishing trips. I can tell from the way you look at him, you want to keep him too. Can we Jon? Please can we keep him?”
Jon smiled and answered, “You know I can’t deny you anything.” He reached over and mussed the hair on Kal-El’s head and gave Martha a hug.”
Part Two: More Than Jon Bargained For.
Days passed and Lionel Luthor showed up to visit Jon. Jon thought that Lionel was doing him a small favor in return for how he had helped with Lionel’s son on the day of the meteor shower. He had no idea that Lionel would barter for Jon’s integrity as well.
Lionel entered the barn door and said, “Here are the papers I promised you. I don’t know why it was important for you to get fake vaccination papers when getting a real vaccination is the easiest thing in the world.”
Jon said, “I thought you were doing this for me no questions asked, but I don't mind telling you my reasons. Martha has read about complications due to vaccinations and she didn’t want to risk it. He’ll be out here on the farm with us so I don’t see why we should be required to vaccinate him anyway. Still, we wanted the papers so that no one would have the slightest reason to ever take him from us. Chances are he was already vaccinated where he came from. I wouldn’t want him to go through that twice. He certainly is healthy enough. There’s no question of that. I refuse to have him vaccinated on principle."
Lionel said, “Oh, "principle." I’ve forgotten what that word means but there’s another word that sounds just like it that I am VERY familiar with -- it’s the amount remaining to be paid on a debt which is part of the reason I’m here today. I wanted to let you know that you are not out of the woods yet. There are other papers required that you failed to ask me to procure for you. I could get you the rest of what you need, but I’d like you to do me a small favor in exchange for what you still need from me … as well as for what I have already done on your behalf. I understand that you are good friends with the Ross family ….”
Part Three: One of a Kind
Kal-El liked to wander the roads and forests near the Kent farm. He loved his adopted parents. He was basically a happy soul. Normally all it took to make him happy was an open window and the feel of a strong, fresh country breeze blowing in his face and through his short hair. But occasionally, he was troubled by how unique he was and how alone it made him. This day was one of those times he felt alone and isolated. He wished his birth parents had come with him, but they chose to die in the only home that they had ever known. Before they put him in the capsule, they explained to him that it’s hard to teach elders a new way of life. Krypton was their world. As primitive as Earth was, it was the place where Kal-El had the best hope for survival. They told him that most Kryptonians did not believe their world would end. Those that did had decided to Stay out of habit and preferred to have their family Stay with them rather than be abandoned in a remote location to fend for themselves. His father Jor-El had said that he hoped that his brother Zor-El would send his daughter Kara to join Kal-El as his mate so that they could have a long and happy life together -- and have Krypton continue through their offspring. Kal-El would have to wait to find out if Kara did survive. He remembered playing with her when they were both young. He could still remember her delicate scent. If only he knew for sure that she too had left Krypton. He wanted desperately to know that he would not live out his days without another like himself -- someone to run with during the day and curl up with at night. He might look like others that lived here, but that similarity was only skin deep. Correction, not even skin deep -- his skin was impenetrable since the day he set foot on this world and theirs seemed as fragile to him as tissue paper. He hated being alone, but any females that took an interest in him and came sniffing around were as dumb as a brick. He especially hated the ones that whined all the time. And he never could understand why they were all so fascinated with his butt. Kal-El understood advanced physics and could do complex equations in his head but the females that he encountered on Earth were lucky if they could even figure out how to open a screen door. Kal-El hated feeling this way and felt guilty about being depressed. He knew that he was well-taken care of by his adopted parents and so loved and respected by everyone he met. But somehow he couldn’t help feeling this way. He was so lost in his thoughts as he looked down into the river running far below that he didn’t notice the car skidding towards him.
Part Four: There’s No Place Like Home
Before he knew it, the sleek racing car had hit him. He was pushed through the bridge’s guard rail and the car was coming down above him. He had never tested the limits of his vulnerability so he braced himself for the worse. He landed in the river and the car pinned him to the river bed. He evaluated the situation and realized that the experience was not the least bit painful and might be fun to repeat if a human life was not hanging in the balance. He quickly dug himself free and pried the top off the small car. He quickly fetched the driver by the collar and pulled him to the shore. He looked the man over and realized that something about the situation smelled familiar. This was the boy he had met on the day he arrived on Earth, but now he was all grown up. He pushed on Lex’s chest until Lex vomited the water that he had swallowed.
Soon, Lex’s eyes fluttered open. He sat up and saw Kal-El looking at him. He looked around to see if anyone else was there. Then he looked directly at Kal-El and asked, “You did this? You pulled me out of my car? I’m sure I hit you on the bridge, but you look OK. I can’t believe it. I’ve heard stories like this on melodramatic TV shows. I always thought that there was no element of truth to those stories – that they were just dreamed up just to get a bunch of sappy, gullible people together to view advertising for cheaply made products. But maybe those stories were true. I’ve never met anyone as brave as you are. I’ve certainly never met anyone who would be willing to risk their life for a total stranger – especially a stranger that almost turned them into road kill! I’ve never had a friend like you before – never wanted one. I keep my life nice and tidy and I never imagined complicating it by including someone like you. I promise you this: from this day forward, you will be my best friend. You will be by my side all your days. And if you have children who are as noble as you, I will take care of them for the rest of their lives as well. I will provide you with a life that you could never imagine. Our friendship will be the stuff of legends! Are you blushing? Ha! I can’t believe it! No. Come back. I’m sorry I laughed at you. Please, come back here."
Kal-El just walked off. Kal-El thought, “What a jerk! The roads are littered with the bodies of those killed by reckless drivers like him. It’s best to just walk away.” Kal-El was also mindful that Jon always cautioned him to stay out of the spotlight as much as possible. Otherwise, he might end up as a lab specimen. Kal-El rounded the corner and turned on the speed as he headed home. “Home!” he thought, “Even if Lex’s house is as fine of a place as my Uncle Ken’s travel lodge back on Krypton, a house isn’t home unless there is family waiting there.” He was happy for a the reminder that he had a home -- that he had a family that loved him -- that he wasn’t alone. He thought, “If I ever feel self-pity again, I hope someone swats me on the nose and reminds me just how great my life is!” In the blink of an eye he was through the front door and relaxing in front of the fireplace.”
Part Five: Not At Any Price
Kal-El and Jon were sitting on the porch enjoying the evening air when Lex Luthor drove up the driveway. He saw Kal-El sitting at Jon’s side and smiled from ear to ear. Lex bounded up to Jonathan and said, “Mr. Kent, you might not remember me. I'm Lex Luthor.”
Jon said, “If I didn’t remember you, all I would have to do is read your personalized license plate.”
Lex said, “I’ve been looking for two days and some people were kind enough to point me in your direction. Two days ago, I almost died and he rescued me.” Lex pointed at Kal-El.
Jonathan said, “That doesn’t surprise me at all. He tends to be where he’s needed and he’s not particular about who he helps.” Jon tried to give Lex a stare that would convey his meaning but Lex was too excited about finding Kal-El to notice.
Lex said, “I’ve heard a lot of stories in the past couple of days. He always seems to leave the scene quickly … so a lot of people know of him but very few know where he comes from.”
Jonathan said, “Well, he's a modest fella and we like having where he comes from a secret … just so we can keep the number of uninvited guests down to a manageable number.”
Lex said, “Well I met your neighbors, the Wilsons. They told me to tell them if my search was successful so they could come and thank you personally. Their son Tim fell down a well. Nobody had a clue where he was. But you know who came along, grabbed the rope attached to the well’s bucket and pulled the boy out without any .assistance – then ran off too fast for anyone to follow him. I wouldn’t have believed the Wilson's account of what happened if he hadn’t rescued me from my submerged car.”
Jonathan said, “My supper is almost ready so if this is leading to something – and because you’re a Luthor, it IS leading to something, please just get to the point so you can be on your way.”
Lex said, “I’m sure that once you’ve heard me out you will agree that what I have to offer is more significant that your supper.”
Jon said, “You only say that because you’ve never had any of my wife’s cooking.”
Lex said, “OK. What I’m telling you is this, two days ago was the luckiest day of your life and you didn’t even know it. When he pulled me from the river, your ship came in. If you will allow me to take him home with me to serve as my companion, I will pay you any price you ask. He will live like a King, I –assure you.”
Jonathan looked at Lex in disgust and said, “You most certainly are a Luthor! You think there is a price tag on everything! Just go away.”
Lex said, “I don’t think you realize what I'm offering. I’m talking a blank check here. I’ll pay off your farm if you want. I’ve done a little checking. I know you’re in a financial bind. Your grocery bill alone is astronomical. All your worries would be gone as soon I sign my name to a check. Look, I don’t live far from here. You could visit him whenever you wanted to.”
Jonathan said, “I guess I should have said it plainer. NO! What you are talking about would break my wife’s heart, not to mention mine. There is no price tag on that! Now get off my property -- NOW!”
Lex shook his head in disbelief as he slowly walked away. John turned to Kal-El and said, “Don’t worry, Boy, there’s no way I’m letting him or anyone else take you away. Hey, it’s dinner time. Let’s see what Martha’s got cooking!” They went inside and into the kitchen.
Martha said, “Great timing, I was just about to call you. Who were you talking to out on the porch?”
Jon answered, “Nobody -- a real nobody. So what’s for supper?”
Martha answered, “Well for you and me, it’s soy burgers on a bed of lettuce – good for the heart.” Jon looked disappointed. She continued, “And for our special boy, I have a fat, juicy steak!”
Kal-El shouted, “I ruv roo Ma Ma!" He stood up on his hind legs and licked her face. She laughed. To Kal-El's ears, her laughter was the sweetest sound in the entire world. He was so happy that the Kents had found and adopted him that he couldn’t stop his tail from wagging.
Kal-El was watching the sky one night thinking about his birth parents and the home he once had. His thoughts were interrupted when a streak of light passed by on the horizon. Anyone else would have mistaken this for a comet, but Kal's keen senses told him that this was a spaceship -- of Kryptonian design. He also knew that, without a meteor shower to cover its arrival, this ship would be detected by radar. He had to get to the landing site before anyone else. With his speed, that should be no problem. He tried to suppress his hopes, but he couldn't help himself. Had his Kara, his mate, come at last?!
In a blur he raced the miles across farm land and through small towns until he got to the landing site. He had to fetch this thing home quickly, but it was even bigger than the ship he had arrived in. He dug under it. An indentation in the bottom of the craft conformed to his back helping him to easily balance it. Its streamlined shape gave little resistance as he began to run home. Before long, Kal was placing the ship next to his own in a secret room he had excavated under the barn. Kal touched the upper section of the ship and an opening appeared. Slowly a form rose up from inside and shook itself. The passenger stepped out of the ship. Kal recognized the scent immediately. He had hoped for something different, but a miracle had brought him a companion from his dead past. His childhood friend had come to live with him. A humanoid with short dark hair, big, beautiful eyes and puffy lips stood naked in front of him with a puzzled expression on his face. He looked at Kal and slowly a glimmer of recognition crossed his face. He smiled in his joy and kneeled at Kal's feet. Kal put his paw on the man's head and telepathically spoke to him, "Joy and greeting my childhood friend! I can hardly believe that you are here after being lost to me for all these years. I still remember my sadness when you faithfully followed orders and stepped into that prototype spaceship -- only to have it go off course when it stuck a meteor. But all that matters is that you are here with me again, my beloved Krypto."
Jon saw Krypto sitting on the living room couch looking at the floor. He walked around to see what Krypto was looking at and noticed how sad he looked. Usually Krypto was only unhappy when Kal-el was, so Jon was not at all surprised to find Kal-El lying on the floor in front of the fireplace with his paws over his face. Jon sat down on the hearth and asked, "Son, what's the matter?"
Kal-El retrieved his voice synthesizer and typed out his message on its keypad. The electronic voice answered Jon's question, "I think I'm in love."
Jon asked, "Why is that a problem? When you've found the right partner, love can be a wonderful thing."
Kal-El typed at a blinding speed and his response was almost immediate, "Think about it Dad. Who on this world could be my partner? Earth canines are imbeciles. Earth humans are physically incompatible. I have fallen in love with someone who could never truly be my life partner. The situation is impossible. She's human. We met in a chat room on the internet. We hit it off immediately. Before I knew what was happening, I fell head over tail in love with her!”
Jon said, “Heel.”
Kal-El stared at him blankly for a minute then typed, “Heel? That’s not nice. I’m your son not your pet!”
Jon said, “No, Son. I wasn’t telling you to heel. The expression is “head over heel” not “head over tail.”
Kal answered, “OK. What ever. Dad, I never would have chatted with her if I thought it could happen. As soon as I realized how I felt, I told her that we were spending too much time chatting and that it was best if we stopped altogether. She totally agreed with me ... but it didn't last. I felt so lonely that I went into the chat room just to observe and she was there waiting for me. She understands me so well. We can communicate as if we are reading each other's mind. We are so alike on every level: ethically, philosophically, favorite foods, favorite TV shows, ... and she thinks I'm funny. I don’t know what to do. I wish I had blown up with Krypton!"
Jon said, "I wish I could say something to help. True love can overcome a lot, but what if she wants children someday? I can't see a happy ending to this one."
Kal-El answered by typing, “I know but I can't stop the way I feel. I want to meet her but I'm scared of how she'll react. I think she's frightened too. If she only knew what she'll see when we meet, she would know that her reluctance is justified."
Jon said, "It sounds like a bad idea to meet her. The odds of it working out between you are incredible. If she finds out that you are an intelligent alien canine, she might want to capture and exhibit you -- and she might be able to track you back here through the internet! Having said that, let me add this: I totally trust your judgment, Son. This is all beyond me and I am so sorry that I don't have an answer to your problem."
Kal-El responded, "I know I can trust her. And Dad, it's OK that you don’t have all the answers. I always known that I can get through anything if I know you and Mom ... and Krypto, are in my corner."
That evening, "SpaceDog" IMed "Goldie" that he wanted to meet her, but that he didn't know if that was a good idea. Both of them wanted to meet in person but both were really scared to do so. Finally they arranged a place and time to meet. Goldie said that SpaceDog would recognize her by her hair. She said her it was orangish-red with a streaks of gold highlights. SpaceDog typed that he had to tell her something very personal before they met. He typed that he would understand if she called if off when she knew what he had to say. She responded that he could tell her anything and it wouldn't affect how she felt about him. SpaceDog typed back, "I am mute. I can barely speak at all. I have a voice synthesizer that I use to communicate, but I can't bring it with me to our meeting -- so all I can do is sit or walk with you and hold your hand ... if you'll let me. You can talk up a storm and I will be your admiring audience."
Goldie typed back, "That is SO bizarre!"
SpaceDog answered, "I'm sorry. I should have told you sooner. I understand if you want to call off our get together."
Goldie responded, "NO! That's not what I meant. I'm mute too. Maybe that's why we were drawn to each other. Having ideas and dreams and being unable to converse with people makes me feel incredibly isolated. Since I've been talking with you, I don't feel so alone anymore. We are so alike. We're both orphans, we're both adopted, we're both home schooled, we both love trucks and we both have the same ... disability. I hope you aren't too put off by my disability because I have some amazing abilities in other areas that might thrill you! OH! But we won't be able to talk at all tomorrow. I can't bring my voice synthesizer with me either. And YES! You'd better hold my hand!"
SpaceDog answered, "I'll see you tomorrow then. I'd better sign off now and try to get some sleep, but I don't think I'll be able to."
Goldie answered, "I don't think I will be able to either. But if I do, I hope I have dreams of you!"
Kal-El logged off his computer and turned to Krypto. Telepathically, he told him, "You've got a date tomorrow with a remarkable lady. I am counting on you to be on your best behavior!"
One sleepless night later, Kal-El and Krypto crossed the state so fast that no one could have seen them. Kal-El had to hold back a little because Krypto couldn't move quite as fast due to his 2 leg limitation. He didn't pity Krypto. Kryptonian humans had wonderfully articulated hands and the most loving hearts imaginable. It was a shame that their life spans were so limited compared to canines, but maybe under a yellow sun he would live longer. Kal-El had Krypto looking like someone out of GQ. Kal-El was torn because he wanted Goldie to like Krypto but was afraid that she would like him too much. He hated deceiving Goldie and hoped that meeting Krypto wouldn't make the inevitable break-up too hard on her. After all, Krypto was considered incredibly good looking by human standards. Kal-El had to cut his thoughts short because they were a mile away from the rendezvous point. As planned, he stayed behind at a spot where he could watch and listen from a distance. Krypto went on to the spot that SpaceDog and Goldie had agreed to meet.
Soon a woman with orangish red hair with golden highlights cautiously crept up to where Krypto was standing and smiled at him -- like a cat who was about to swallow a canary. Krypto smiled back. Soon they sat on a park bench together holding hands and looking intently at each other. Krypto could hear their heartbeats racing. Merciful God, it hurt so much to watch them together! He hoped that Krypto could control his instincts because this woman had everything required to drive a human male totally irrational -- and the way she was pushing her body up against him had to be tempting Krypto to disobedience. Kal-El stood ready to intervene if Krypto lost control. He cursed himself for taking such a risk. With his strength, Krypto could hurt her. The entire idea of meeting was pointless anyway. At best, this was going to end with everyone being miserable.
Suddenly, the woman grabbed Krypto's head and began kissing him passionately. Kal-El felt heartbroken. Then he heard a female voice shouting in his head, "STREAKY! STOP THAT! That's bad! BAD!!! Stop it! STOP IT NOW!!!" Kal-El's head was a blur of motion as he looked all around. He sniffed the air and caught wind of what he was looking for. A mile beyond the park bench -- two miles from where he was standing, was a female canine with long golden hair intently watching the two humans on the park bench and walking around in an agitated fashion. In an instant, Kal-El was standing next to her. Startled, the female jumped back. Kal-El heard the voice inside his head again saying, "Oh, no! Not now. What a pain! Stay back mutt. Go home. You're barking up the wrong tree and I have no time to have you sticking your cold nose up my butt right now! Go away! Shoo! I'm busy. You have no idea who you're messing with!"
Kal-El answered telepathically with a hurt tone to his thoughts, "Do you really think I look like a mutt?"
The female canine replied in thought, "You can talk? That's not possible!"
Kal-El responded, "Obviously, it is possible. You didn't answer my question. Do you think I look like a mutt?"
The female dog answered, "Well, I'm not in the habit of encouraging Earth males. I didn't mean to offend you. I just don't have the time to be fighting off unwanted advances at the moment. If you were my type, I could probably go for someone with your looks in a big way."
Kal-El asked, "What's your type?"
The female replied, "Kind, sensitive, patient, civilized and born of a culture not of this world."
Kal-El said, "That fits me to a T-bone! I'm SpaceDog. Are you Goldie?"
Goldie answered, "If you're SpaceDog, who is that over there with Streaky?"
Kal-El answered, "My companion Krypto."
Goldie said, "You dog gone liar! Why didn't you just tell me the truth?"
Kal-El answered, "The same reason you didn't. But I’ll sit up and beg you to forgive me if you want me to."
Goldie said, "You’ve been among these humans too long. Who are you really? You smell familiar."
Kal-El answered, "I am Kal-El, son of Jor-El. I am AKC [Authentic Kryptonian Citizen] certified, born and bred. And if my nose serves me right, you are Kara Zor-El, my cousin and my one true love since I was a pup."
Kara said, "Can it be true? Thank God! THANK GOD! I didn’t think you survived. It’s a miracle! I’m overwhelmed! What should we do now?"
Kal-El answered, "I think the first order of business would be to find some way to separate Krypto and Streaky."
Kara looked back towards the park and shouted, "Oh my God! I certainly hope you had him fixed!"