it began with a closed deserted diner, and a man too long without sleep
It had been a long day. The client meeting at a multi occupier office complex on a business park in the North East had been the usual bloodbath, but his ruse of putting the reallocation of car parking spaces onto the agenda had ensured that all of the big guns turned up instead of sending a minion. As a result he had managed to get his budget plans agreed, but it had been well after 5pm before he got away and the drive home was a six hour run if he could make it non-stop.
The early stages had gone well; just some heavy rain as he crossed into Leicestershire, but then warnings of overnight lane closures on the motorway had seen him switch to an old favourite cross country route that followed the approximate line of an ancient Roman road.
Midnight was coming up and he knew he would have to stop. He was still just over an hour from home and the coffee he had stopped for at Tibshelf was long through his system. He saw the sign for the diner and, knowing it would be closed, it would be somewhere off the road to park up for a short while. He swung in to the car park, stopped the engine, put his glasses on the passenger seat and closed his eyes.
He could feel himself drifting almost instantly, but then a light bathed the car. It was so bright that he could not see any of his Warwickshire surroundings and yet so soft that it didn’t hurt his eyes. A voice echoed all around him; “Stay still exalted one. You cannot move and you will not be harmed”. He realised that he was no longer in the car, but was sat in a very comfortable chair that seemed to be slightly off the floor. The light that had awakened him danced and pulsed all around and he could see nothing.
The voice came again. “You need not know who we are or where we come from, but our home planet is much troubled. We have no space, our various tribes cannot agree on sharing what we have and much of our infrastructure is failing us. You are a successful facilities manager and the skills of your kind are known across many galaxies. You will not be harmed for we need your help”.
He was awake again. He knew that he had been asleep, but for how long? He was still in the chair and the light still danced around him, and yet he felt nourished and alert. The voice came again. “We thank you, we now have a world with space that we can share and live and work in in peace and safety. Everything now works and our tribal disputes have been resolved. We are grateful to have shared your mind and skills”.
His glasses were on the passenger seat of the car. He put them on and looked out at the diner car park. “I must leave that Northern ale alone” he thought, reminded of the pint he had had at lunchtime, and he resumed his journey home.
Two months later he answered his ‘phone and found himself talking to the service manager at the garage where he had left his car that morning. “Have you had the car looked at by someone else sir?” the man asked. “No. You did the last service”
“Well, I don’t understand, because you have a 10 year old car that has done 120,000 miles and yet we’re looking at one that mechanically just needs the first 500 mile check round…”
(With thanks to The Invaders for the inspiration)