Music by Firelight

in #writing24 days ago


The above image was made with stable diffusion using the prompt 'tiny gray alien wearing clothes dancing outside at night.'

Banjo + Harmonica

Firelight played across Jenny's face while she sat listening to Joseph mess around with a banjo. Seeing unexpected movement in nearby shadows, she suddenly grinned. "Lee," she said. "You're back!"

"Hello Jenny," said Lee, waving her tiny alien arms in greeting. "Hello Joseph. I have returned, but not alone. Agent Glenn will be accompanying me wherever I go. That's him pulling into the driveway now."

"Agent Glenn?" asked Joseph.

"I made a deal with your government and they assigned me an agent," said Lee. "He has promised to behave congenially."

"You just walked up to the government and made a deal with them?" asked Joseph. "How does that work?"

"It was very easy," said Lee. "First, I tracked my jar to an Air Force base in Ohio. On this base were vast underground storage facilities and laboratories. My sample was logged and examined, then sent by courier to another building in a town called Centerville. In the computer systems of that building I found the parties concerned with me and interrupted one of their meetings."

A sedan parked and agent Glenn got out. He walked over to the campfire on the edge of the driveway and found Lee. "Some trick, getting away from me like that," he said.

"Everyone, meet my keeper, agent Glenn," said Lee.

"I remember you," said Joseph. "Still think Lee's some kind of prototype?"

"We're past that," said Glenn. "Now Lee is an unidentified anomalous phenomenon. My assignment is to observe and report while protecting the UAP. I can legally compel you to cooperate, but I'm hoping you'll just let me do my job without any trouble."

"Agent Glenn is sincere in desiring no trouble," said Lee. "But he can also summon a swarm of soldiers at any time, if he believes that national security interests are at risk."

"I want to know how many of our friends you've got spying on us," said Jenny. "I want to know their names."

"I don't have that information," said Glenn.

"I know Cheryl but who else?" asked Jenny. "Lee already told me but I want to hear you say it."

"Lee, are we going to have a problem here?" asked Glenn.

"We are if you don't stop spying on us," said Jenny.

"They're going to keep spying on us," said Joseph. "How could they not? But maybe agent Glenn here can promise not to violate our personal boundaries anymore."

"I can do that," said Glenn.

"And tell us some secrets," said Jenny. "You know ours, tell us some of yours. And remember, Lee will know if you're lying."

"You want to know a secret?" asked Glenn. "Here you go. I've been working in government for many years and seen some things that keep me up at night. But I've never seen my superiors as scared as they are now. They don't know what's going to happen and they can't stand that."

"Are you scared?" asked Jenny.

"Yes, but I don't run from my fears," said Glenn. "In a way, I chase them."

Renee and Eliot came out of the house and joined them at the fire. "Lee!" said Renee.

"I have returned," said Lee. "This is agent Glenn."

"Agent Glenn was just about to tell us exactly what he's afraid of," said Jenny.

"In a word, chaos," said Glenn. "There are always forces of chaos threatening to ruin orderly society. Those forces are normally kept at bay by the vigilance of agencies like mine. But since the arrival, we've been paralyzed by infighting, leaving no one to keep those forces at bay."

"I was just online and stuff about Lee keeps getting censored," said Eliot. "You know anything about that?"

"Not my department," said Glenn.

"On the way here I learned that agent Glenn can play the harmonica," said Lee. "Joseph, you carry one of those, do you not?"

Joseph produced the instrument. "Have at it," he said, handing it to the agent. "Make some noise."

Agent Glenn took the harmonica, wiped it down with a handkerchief, and tested its tone. Satisfied, he waited for Joseph to set a rhythm with the banjo before beginning to blow out a tune. Soon Lee joined in with some melodic whistling. They made music for a few minutes next to the fire and afterwards everyone relaxed.

"Hey Lee, there's something we want your help with," said Eliot.

"Oh yeah," said Renee. "There's a music festival next weekend and we were wondering if you would come with us. Come do your crazy dancing and maybe we can get in for free or get backstage or whatever."

"Agent Glenn can ensure that we all get in for free," said Lee. "But I would like to remain hidden during the festival except at times of my choosing."

"That's cool," said Eliot. "So you'll do it?"

"I hope to experience many festivals of music while I'm on your planet," said Lee.

"Great!" said Renee. "People are going to love you."

Agent Glenn sighed. "I'll give you a card," he said. "Email me with the details of the event and I'll see what I can do."

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  • Small Gods of Time Travel is a 41 piece Tezos NFT collection on Objkt that goes with my book by the same name.
  • History and the Machine is a 20 piece Tezos NFT collection on Objkt based on my series of oil paintings of interesting people from history.
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I love how Renee and Glenn and getting along with each other
Nice one!

For sure, thanks!

I love how you portray CIA/covert government agents in your fiction novels. I feel their humanity and practicality, which feels far more authentic and realistic than portraying them as some sort of evil and sinister force. I'm rooting for Agent Glenn's character development!

Glad you're enjoying it. Over the years I've met several people who worked in intelligence, and they were all very human.

Also, I think you should put your Substack link in the footer above your list of novels. It's your most recent work and it's easy to miss after the list of your books :)

Renee actually did a Greta job and play a very crucial role that not many people will have done that

Joseph was really surprised that a deal can be made with the government with ease just like that