In the Beginning Again
Ralf William Barker, wine aficionado and mean spirited jerk, just now fell down an elevator shaft after drinking far too much wine, thus eliminating the possibility that this story will be about him. Well, it could be about him, but it won’t. However, I reserve the right to write about him later on.
We need a protagonist, someone we will love and take great interest in, someone unique, with great talent and intelligence. Well, maybe not. Why does the protagonist always (generally) have to be some larger than life character?
Meet Ralf (not the Ralf from above.) Ralf is a thirty-five year old, unemployed bachelor who lives in a small apartment in a small town in a small state where nothing important ever happens. He has done nothing in his life that anyone with any modicum of intelligence would find interesting or relevant. Let’s have him do something, something typical for him.
Ralf stared off into space.
Ralf isn’t terribly bright, as you might have guessed. He is socially awkward, and often quite forgetful, as well as dull and listless, spending most of his time watching taped episodes of The Happy Clown Hour with Sparkles the Clown, a show targeted to individuals with Ralf’s limited intellectual capacity and dull listlessness.
There should be some other characters that interact with Ralf.
Sheila Southern is a thirty-year-old dispatch operator who takes great pride in making life as difficult as possible for the poor souls who call in to report emergencies. She is thoroughly evil and is in love with Brian Porter, a hyper-attractive mega-star who has absolutely no clue she exists. She lives next door to Ralf, and generally ignores him, given that he is an unemployed and quite unintelligent individual who will never further her goals.
Terry Pritchard is a thirty-eight-year-old former child star, who lives with his mother (she is also his agent.) He has done nothing in his life that anyone with any modicum of intelligence would find interesting or relevant. Further, he is dumb as a stump. He and Ralf often watch taped episodes of The Happy Clown Hour with Sparkles the Clown, a show that Terry had been on until the show was canceled due to Sparkles’ severe drinking problem and proclivity for telling the child actors on the show rather dirty jokes.
Sparkles the Clown, also known as Bert Wellingford, a fifty-seven-year-old, unemployed alcoholic who lives in an alley behind a bar in Ralf and Terry’s town, spends most of his time with Ralf and Terry, telling dirty jokes and reminiscing. He has a bum leg and says “wicked” quite a bit, often following that word with “awesome.” Bert is a nihilist and a North American Canadian. He secretly wants to destroy all creation.
Terry and Bert both have terrible crushes on Sheila, a quite attractive woman who often wears skimpy clothes. Sheila thinks they are a bunch of leering perverts, and she is right for the most part. Ralf is not a pervert. He just likes Sheila’s sense of style.
I think we have enough characters for now. Let’s get moving.
Terry, sitting between Ralf and Bert on Ralf’s battered sofa, heard Sheila leave her apartment and got up to look out the blinds and leer at her. Bert also got up and did much the same, while Ralf looked at his two friends, wondering what they were doing.
“What are you guys looking at?” said Ralf.
“I think you should ask her out on a date, Terry,” said Bert.
“I don’t think she likes me.”
“Who are you guys talking about?” said Ralf.
“Sheila, you moron,” said Bert.
“Oh,” said Ralf. “I want pancakes.” Ralf wondered if Sheila ate pancakes and then wondered what she was wearing and if she had matching earrings and shoes. He then wondered about her purse and her lipstick, wondering if those matched her outfit, hoping they did.
“Well, if you’re not going to ask her out, I am,” said Bert.
“She doesn’t like you either, Bert. Don’t you remember when she kicked you and called you a pervert?”
“A simple misunderstanding, my boy. I’m sure she has forgotten that. Let’s go out and talk to her,” said Bert.
“What are we going to say to her?” said Terry.
“Who are you guys talking about?” said Ralf, wondering how Sheila organized her closet and wondering if she had a pair of black pumps that would fit him.
“Sheila, Ralf. She’s outside,” said Terry.
“Oh,” said Ralf, wondering if Sheila was wearing perfume.
“Come on,” said Bert, dragging Terry out of Ralf’s apartment to go talk to Sheila, who was right then getting into her car.
Ralf wondered where his friends had gone and then forgot they had ever been there and turned his attention to the TV, wondering if Sheila liked maple syrup on her bacon.
Outside, Bert and Terry approached Sheila, Bert presenting himself with a warm smile.
“What do you idiots want?” said Sheila. Sheila had on her favorite leather miniskirt and a low-cut orange blouse. Her high heels, also orange, were a close enough match for her blouse, although anyone with any sense of style could tell that Sheila did not truly have a well-developed sense of style herself, or for that matter, much in the way of grace.
At that moment, an invisible alien (the alien is a pretty pale blue when visible, stands five feet tall, has a lipless mouth, and two beautiful, orange eyes) killed, ate, and then disintegrated the remains of Bert, Terry and Sheila (so much for them.) It then entered Ralf’s apartment, hoping to find another tasty human to feast upon.
The alien, Chot, upon entering Ralf’s apartment, took one look at Ralf and decided not to eat him, thinking Ralf looked familiar, perhaps an old friend, although Chot could not be sure about that, his memories somewhat vague (Chot has been struggling with amnesia for some time.)
Chot turned off his invisibility field and said, “Hey, do I know you?”
Ralf, seeing a pretty, pale blue alien standing in his apartment, and wondering what the alien would look like wearing purple, said, “Uh.”
“You look familiar. Have we met before?” said Chot.
“I don’t think so,” said Ralf. “What are you?”
“I’m a Canadian, and not a North American Canadian,” said Chot.
“What is a North American Canadian?”
Chot knew he had seen Ralf before, although in what circumstances he did not know (Chot had seen Ralf before, although they had not spoken, given that they were in a meeting with God, God laying out the rules for the game they would soon play, and that one did not have conversations with others when God was talking.) “What’s your name?” said Chot.
“Ralf. Are you an alien?”
“Yeah. So, have you been to Gamma War recently? Did we meet there?”
“Where is Gamma War?”
“Maybe it was on Fork Teet. Were you there recently?”
“Is that in Asia?”
“No, dummy. It’s about two thousand light-years from here. Do you remember me?”
“No. Who are you?”
“I’m Chot. Whatever. Do you want to go get a bite to eat?”
“Where are Bert and Terry?” said Ralf, now remembering his friends.
“I think I just ate them.”
“Oh. Hey, are you an alien?”
“Yeah, I’m an alien. Look, do you want to get a bite to eat or not?”
Ralf wondered what would happen if he and an alien went out and got a bite to eat. What would people think? Would the government swoop in and abduct the alien? In that moment, Ralf remembered something. He remembered seeing God. He also remembered hearing God say a few things about some rules, although he couldn’t remember the rules and hoped that God wouldn’t be mad at him for forgetting.
Chot wondered if Ralf had been taking drugs, thinking it quite possible, given that Ralf appeared quite dull and listless. “Come on,” said Chot.
“Where are we going?” said Ralf.
“Just follow me.”
Chot turned on his invisibility shield, changing the settings so only Ralf could see him. This nifty device came from Dota Resperon, a far away world inhabited by a rather shy species of thieves (well, most of them are thieves. The ones that aren’t thieves are retired thieves.) He then led Ralf out of the apartment and down the street, heading toward the center of town, a perfect place to find another meal.
Chot has an insatiable appetite, his favorite meal a nice, tasty human. On any given day, Chot will kill, eat and then disintegrate over a dozen humans, usually choosing victims who have done nothing anyone with any modicum of intelligence would find interesting or relevant. He usually leaves more productive and interesting people alone, thinking it best to give humanity, a species with some small amount of potential, a fighting chance, if ever they enter into the mainstream of the universe.
“Where are we going?” said Ralf, noticing that it was nighttime and thinking it was probably past his bedtime.
Chot scanned the area, ignoring Ralf’s question. Not far ahead, he noticed two teenagers trying to break into a car.
“Wait here,” said Chot.
“I thought we were going to go get something to eat,” said Ralf.
“Don’t worry, I’ll share with you, but I don’t want them to see you or they might run away.”
“Who might run away?”
“Do you see those two kids breaking into that car?”
“Just stay here and let me kill them, and then you can come eat with me.”
“Where are we going to eat?”
Chot faced Ralf and paused a moment before saying, “What exactly are you on, Ralf?”
“I don’t know.”
“Right. Okay, wait here.”
Chot rushed over to the two boys, killed them and then dragged them to a dark spot off the street. He then called out to Ralf.
Ralf, having seen Chot murder the two boys, ran screaming back to his apartment, where he locked the door behind him and turned off all of the lights. Chot sighed, ate his victims, and then disintegrated their remains with his nifty disintegrator (a device implanted in the tip of one of Chot’s pretty, pale blue fingers, a device he had implanted while on Beta Canadia, his home world.) He then teleported into Ralf’s now dark apartment and turned on the lights, seeing Ralf quivering on the couch, his eyes wide with fear.
“You killed them,” cried Ralf.
“Look, a guy’s got to eat. Anyway, they were going to set off the alarm on that car and the owner was going to come out and shoot them. I made their deaths a lot less painful.”
“The car they were breaking into.”
“Who was breaking into a car?”
“The two kids I just ate.”
“You ate two kids?” said Ralf, having completely forgotten about Chot murdering two kids who were breaking into a car.
Chot stared at Ralf, wondering if he should kill him and eat him, thus eliminating a complete moron from the human gene pool. He quickly dismissed that idea, concluding he should befriend Ralf, thinking Ralf could use an intelligent friend, someone who could help him wise up and maybe become less dull and listless. Chot sat on the couch next to Ralf, noticed a lottery ticket on the coffee table, and picked it up. “Looks like you have a winner, Ralf.”
“You won the lottery. Didn’t you check the numbers on this ticket?”
“What do you mean?”
“You check the numbers to see if you’ve won, you imbecile.”
“Oh, I thought they called you if you won.”
Chot noticed another ticket on the table and examined it, surprised to find that it was another winner (Chot follows the lottery quite closely, memorizing all of the winning numbers. He knows that Ralf has won over two hundred million dollars, and also realizes that if he had not entered into Ralf’s life, Ralf would have likely discarded the tickets, thinking he didn’t win because nobody called him.) “Ralf, you’re worth over two hundred million dollars now.”
“No. I only have thirty-seven dollars in my savings account,” said Ralf, wondering why Chot thought he was worth over two hundred million dollars and also wondering if Sheila liked ponies.
“You know, I’m going to have to take you to Surth Beta and get that head of yours fixed.”
“Something is wrong with my head?” said Ralf.
“Yeah. Look, you have to claim your prize. Do you know how to do that?”
“Wow. I mean, wow. You know, you’re lucky I like you. I’m pretty hungry right now.”
“Do you want some pancakes?” said Ralf.
Anyway, Ralf wins over two hundred million dollars and contemplates buying a ranch in a remote area of Montana, so he can have ponies, ponies only living in Montana in Ralf’s mind. However, Chot doesn’t like this idea so much, and there is a bit of a struggle. Ultimately, Chot wins and Ralf ends up buying a beautiful, furnished, modern house on Mulholland Drive in Los Angeles. The house’s previous owner, Ralf William Barker, now deceased, had put considerable effort into decorating and maintaining this property.