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Finish reading the story. Decide how you find the ending — unexpected or quite predictable
Gary was nervous all day. What was there to talk about! Maybe Mr. Smith hated science fiction. One of those traditional English teachers. Didn’t understand that science fiction could be literature. Maybe
When Gary arrived at the English office, Mr. Smith seemed nervous too. He kept folding and unfolding Gary’s composition. “Where do you get such ideas?” he asked in his monotone voice.
Gary shrugged. “They just come to me.”
“Alien teachers. Taking over the minds of schoolchildren.” Mr. Smith’s empty eyes were blinking. “What made you think of that?”
“I’ve always had this vivid imagination.”
“If you’re sure it’s just your imagination.” Mr. Smith looked relieved. “I guess everything will work out.” He handed back Gary’s composition. “No more fantasy, Gary. Reality. That’s your assignment. Write only about what you know.”
Outside school, Gary ran into Jim Baggs, who looked surprised to see him. “Don’t tell me you had to stay after, Dude.”
“I had to see Mr. Smith about my composition. He didn’t like it. Told me to stick to reality.”
“Don’t listen.” Jim Baggs body checked Gary into the schoolyard fence. “Dude, you got to be yourself.”
Gary ran all the way home and locked himself into his room. He felt feverish with creativity. Dude, you got to be yourself, Dude. It doesn’t matter what your so-called friends say, or your English teacher. You’ve got to play your own kind of game, write your own kind of stories.
The words flowed out of Gary’s mind and through his fingers and out of the machine and onto sheets of paper. He wrote and rewrote until he felt the words were exactly right:
With great effort, the alien shut down the electrical panic impulses coursing through its system and turned on Logical Overdrive. There were two possibilities: this high school boy was exactly what he seemed to be, a brilliant, imaginative, apprentice best-selling author and screenwriter, or, he had somehow stumbled onto the secret plan and he would have to be either enlisted into the conspiracy or erased off the face of the planet.
First thing in the morning, Gary turned in his new rewrite to Mr. Smith. A half hour later, Mr. Smith call Gary out of Spanish. There was no expression on his regular features. He said, “I’m going to need some help with you.”
Cold sweat covered Gary’s body as Mr. Smith grab his arm and led him to the new vice-principal. She read the composition while they waited. Gary got a good IOM at her for the first time. Ms. Jones was... just there. She looked as though she’d been manufactured to fit her name. Average. Standard. Typical. The cold sweat turned into goose pimples.
How could he have missed the clues? Smith and Jones were aliens! He had stumbled on their secret and now they’d have to deal with him.
He blurted, “Are you going to enlist me or erase me?”
Ms. Jones ignored him. “In my opinion, Mr. Smith, you are overreacting. This sort of nonsense” — she waved Gary’s composition — “is the typical response of an overstimulated adolescent to the mixture of reality and fantasy in an environment dominated by manipulative music, television, and films. Nothing for us to worry about.”
“If you’re sure, Ms. Jones,” said Mr. Smith. He didn’t sound sure.
The vice-principal looked at Gary for the first time. There was no expression in her eyes. Her voice was flat “You’d better get off this science fiction kick,” she said. “If you know what’s good for you.”
“I’ll never tell another human being, I swear,” he babbled.
“What are you talking about?” asked Ms. Jones.
“Your secret is safe with me,” he lied. He thought, If I can just get away from them. Alert the authorities. Save the planet.
“You see,” said Ms. Jones, “you’re writing yourself into a crazed state.”
“You’re beginning to believe your own fantasies,” said Mr. Smith.
“I’m not going to do anything this time,” said Ms. Jones, “but you must promise to write only about what you know.”
“Or I’ll have to fail you,” said Mr. Smith.
“For your own good,” said Ms. Jones. “Writing can be very dangerous.”
“Especially for writers,” said Mr. Smith, “who write about things they shouldn’t.”
“Absolutely,” said Gary, “positively, no question about it. Only what I know.” He backed out the door, nodding his head, thinking, Just a few more steps and I’m okay. I hope these aliens can’t read minds.
Jim Baggs was practicing head fakes in the hallway. He slammed Gary into the wall with a hip block. “How’s it going, Dude?” he asked, helping Gary up.
“Aliens,” gasped Gary. “Told me no more, science fiction.”
“They can’t treat a star writer like that,” said Jim. “See what the head honcho’s got to say.” He grabbed Gary’s wrist and dragged him to the principal’s office.
“What can I do for you, boys?” boomed Dr. Proctor.
“They’re messing with his moves, Doc,” said Jim Baggs. “You got to let the aces run their races.”
“Thank you, James.” Dr. Proctor popped his forefinger at the door. “I’ll handle this.”
“You’re home free, Dude,” said Jim, whacking Gary across the shoulder blades as he left.
“From the beginning,” ordered Dr. Proctor. He nodded sympathetically as Gary told the entire story, from the opening assembly to the meeting with Mr. Smith and Ms. Jones. When Gary was finished, Dr. Proctor took the papers from Gary’s hand. He shook his head as he read Gary’s latest rewrite.
“You really have a way with words, Gary. I should have sensed you were on to something.”
Gary’s stomach flipped. “You really think there could be aliens trying to take over Earth?”
“Certainly,” said Dr. Proctor, matter-of-factly. “Earth is the ripest plum in the universe.”
Gary wasn’t sure if he should feel relieved that he wasn’t crazy or be scared out of his mind. He took a deep breath to control the quaver in his voice, and said:
“I spotted Smith and Jones right away. They look like they were manufactured to fit their names. Obviously humanoids. Panicked as soon as they knew I was on to them”.
Dr. Proctor chuckledand shook his head. “No self-respecting civilization would send those two stiffs to Earth.”
“They’re not aliens?” He felt relieved and disappointed at the same time.
“I checked them out myself,” said Dr. Proctor. “Just two average, standard, typical human beings, with no imagination, no creativity.”
“So why’d you hire them?”
Dr. Proctor laughed. “Because they’d never spot an alien. No creative imagination. That’s why I got rid ofthe last vice-principal and the last Honors English teacher. They were giving me odd little glances when they thought I wasn’t looking. After ten years on your planet I’ve learned to smell trouble.”
Gary’s spine turned to ice and dripped down the backs of his legs. “You’re an alien!”
“Great composition,” said Dr. Proctor, waving Gary’s papers. “Grammatical, vividly written, and totally accurate.”
“It’s just a composition,” babbled Gary, “made whole thing up, imagination, you know.”
Dr. Proctor removed the face of his wristwatch and began tapping tiny buttons. “Always liked writers. I majored in your planet’s literature. Writers are the keepers of the past and the hope of the future. Too bad they cause so much trouble in the present.”
“I won’t tell anyone,” cried Gary. “Your secret’s safe with me.” He began to back slowly toward the door.
Dr. Proctor shook his head. “How can writers keep secrets, Gary? It’s their natures to share their creations with the world.” He tapped three times and froze Gary in place, one foot raised to step out the door.
“But it was only a composition,” screamed Gary as his body disappeared before his eyes.
“And I can’t wait to hear what the folks back home say when you read it to them,” said Dr. Proctor.
“I made it all up.” Gary had the sensation of rocketing upward. “I made up the whole...”
Ïîèñê ïî ñàéòó:
Âñå ìàòåðèàëû ïðåäñòàâëåííûå íà ñàéòå èñêëþ÷èòåëüíî ñ öåëüþ îçíàêîìëåíèÿ ÷èòàòåëÿìè è íå ïðåñëåäóþò êîììåð÷åñêèõ öåëåé èëè íàðóøåíèå àâòîðñêèõ ïðàâ. Ñòóäàëë.Îðã (0.006 ñåê.)