It did not break, did not drown us, crush us beneath tons of silicate particles. Instead it smoothed itself out into a graceful blanket and revealed, beyond the now-gentle dunes, a quiet green sea.
And before this sea there were umbrellas, and blankets, and several picnic baskets, and the shapes of people frolicking in the bright summer sun. The air was warm, the breeze balmy, the trucks still scattered joyfully across the glowing beach.
And one of the people approached us, me and Rick and our friend the ninja, and the person was tanned, and did not sport tan lines, and was muscled as if by many days spent frolicking suchly, and his hair was the color of the bright sand, and his eyes the color of the bright sky. And he said to our ninja friend:
"I sent you guys out for beer hours ago. What took so long? And where's the beer?"
And our ninja friend said nothing, and scuffed at the sand with a black-clad toe, and seemed to clear his throat as though nervous. And he said to the tanned man:
"We did not know where to find it. We brought these creatures back instead."
"Well dammit, you're just going to have to go back. And ask directions this time."
"You need beer?" Rick volunteered, looking from one to next.
So the ninja got his directions. And they took us back in time, which was really cool, but too hard to explain.
"And this is your explanation for this?"
I nodded vigorously, exhaustion threatening to send me tumbling to the floor unless I gripped the edge of the desk carefully.
"Sit down, you look exhausted."
"Thanks." There was a moment of silence. My eyes closed slowly, then jerked open once more.
Professor Leslie laid the stapled sheaf of paper on her desk and looked at me as if I was the alien. "Look, Jen. Don't carry a joke too far. This was amusing, perhaps, but not appropriate. If you need more time, I can give you another day, but not much more than that."
"No. I don't want to rewrite it."
She propped her chin on one hand and gazed at me, perplexed. "I don't understand. This is a part of your grade, and this," she tapped the paper, "is not what you're capable of. Why?"
Because it was finals week, and everyone needed all the chuckles they could get, however small. Because when there's so much to be done, something has to give. Because it amused me a little. Because Greg and Susan and Bob weren't doing anything but lie there on the page. Because sometimes stories are delivered by C-section without anesthesia.
Because being kidnapped by alien ninjas can really mess up one's scheduled plans, even when they replace your computer and deposit you at precisely the time they departed with you, with no more than a second's gap, so that you nearly meet yourself going and that freaks you out so badly you can't think about anything else for quite some time.
"I'll do another draft."
She smiled. "That's what I wanted to hear. I'd hate to have you give up on me."
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Except where otherwise noted, all material on this site is © 1999 Rebecca J. Stevenson