Watch The Door Stewart, Don't Watch Me
“It’s finally quiet. Put down your rifles,” Kelly said. She lowered her gun, looked at me, and smiled. She looked young to be a captain, with strange colored hair dyed like a rainbow and cut in what would have been considered a punk style long ago, in the 80s and 1900s. She was slim in her tight, black battle suit only marked with emblems, pins, and the equivalent of tattoos that attested to how long she had been at battle with the invaders. She looked at me looking at her and frowned, again. I looked away.
“Get it together, Stewart,” she told me with a smile before turning and heading to the back of the cave. "Lock it up, Glen.” Glenda pushed a small button on her wristband. A large steel door hidden from view slowly descended covering the mouth of the cave. She looked at me and her dark countenance began to glow for a moment as she clicked her tongue at me and began to grin. The others began to laugh. Everyone began to move farther back into the cave, except for Bill. He approached me.
We had been friends for years. He had a very short afro, cut close to the scalp. His skin was dark, face chiseled like stone. He had been an athlete before the wars, not really. He had been a desk jockey–an accountant who had been an athlete in college and had decided it was better that he get a real job than have his knees blown out from playing football. He looked at me and grinned. I smiled back. He shook his head.
“When are you going to learn, Man?” he said. “She’s a captain, a commando captain. You can’t keep looking at her like that.”
“God. I just can’t help myself. She’s so…beautiful. She’s so macho…” I said with a grin. We both laughed.
“Yeah, too macho for you and me. Stoic, I would say.” He looked to the rear of the cave to make sure no one was in earshot. “You know she’s not like us. She doesn’t feel what you feel. You know that don’t you?”
“Yeah, but I just can’t help myself. She makes me feel like a school boy or something. It’s so embarrassing.”
“To you. It’s just funny to me.” He punched my shoulder lightly. “But keep up the good work.”
“What good work?”
“The entertainment, of course. You don’t know just what your show is doing to help keep up the morale.”
“You mean that many people are noticing?”
“You’re a star, man. Comic relief.” I shook my head. “Let’s go back and have a cup.” Before we took a step we noticed Kelly walking right up on us. She always did that. How the hell could she sneak up on people so fast? She held a canister of coffee in each hand. She nodded toward me.
“Starman here is with me. You go back.” She turned to me. “We’re on watch, Googly Eyes.” She extended a canister toward me. “You gotta take your coffee here.” I took it out of her hand.
“Oh, it’s nothing. It really isn’t.” She turned to Bill. “You still standing there?”
“Looks like you are to me, Stewart. You better take you’re break. Things may even get hotter out here in a few hours.”
“Yes Captain.” He looked at me and grinned. She narrowed her eyes at him. He looked up, saw it, and quickly headed to the back of the cave. I moved out one of the stools.
“Nice seat for you, Captain.”
“Thank you.” She sat. I sat next to her, trying not to look at her. Something just made her more attractive to me than she should have been. She looked me up and down.
“You having issues, Stewart?” I looked at her.
“I’m sorry,” I simply said.
“Sorry for what?” I looked away, took a deep breath, and then turned back to meet her gaze.
"I keep staring at you. I’m sorry. I’m not trying to do anything. It’s just hard not to look at you.”
“Hard not to look at me.” She laughed. “Really. What am I, a beauty queen or something?” I didn’t answer. “I’m your Captain Stewart.” I lowered my head. She paused. “I’m embarrassing you, I’m very sorry.”
I looked at her again. It was as if I could see something inside of her just below the surface. I don’t know what it was. It was something strange, different, beautiful. I wanted to understand it. I looked at her again. Her countenance changed to a smile and then she began to blush.
“Stop that,” she said, tapping my knee. “That’s very impolite, and yes, I know you’re sorry. You don’t have to keep saying it. Just tone it down. It doesn’t look good to the rest of the soldiers, even though, according to Bill, it may just be something that’s keeping up the morale of the whole group. Maybe it has to continue." She looked to the rear of the cage. "We have to win this war and we’ll be pinned down in this cave for a long time, Stewart," she turned to me, "so you just keep staring, OK?”
“Sure. If you want me to…I guess.”
“Good. But since they aren’t here right now, keep your eyes on that door instead, and I’ll watch the cameras, OK?”
“Sure.” I turned and looked at the door. There was a monitoring tag on it. If anything approached from up to a mile out the tag would light up giving us a previous warning–enough time to prepare for an attack. I glanced over at Kelly and noticed her looking at me. That was interesting. She smiled and slowly turned back to looking at the cameras. I thought about that, turned, and looked at the door again.
“Artificial Life Forms having love affairs is ridiculous wouldn’t you say?" she asked. "Especially with humans.”
“It’s not so ridiculous. I’ve always had a place in my heart for Artificial Life Forms.”
“Maybe that’s why you keep staring at me, but it would be such a shock to the world if a human and an ALF had an affair, or even fell in love.” She looked at me. I looked into her eyes.
“Maybe that has already happened…in many places,” I said.
“Yes. Sex, but I’ve not heard about love, but maybe it has already happened.”
“It is a possibility, maybe,” I said. “Do ALFs love?”
“Everything is possible.” There was a moment of intense silence as we looked into each other’s eyes. “The door, Stewart,” she said. “Watch the door.”
About the author
John (Om Prakash) Gilmore, is a Retired Unitarian Universalist Minister, a Licensed Massage Therapist and Reiki Master Teacher, and a student and teacher of Tai-Chi, Qigong, and Nada Yoga. Om Prakash loves reading sci-fi and fantasy.