There were two peepholes inside the airlock--with yellow eyes pressed to them. There was a speaker on the wall. The Tralfamadorians had no voice boxes. They communicated telepathically. They were able to talk to Billy by means of a computer and a sort of electric organ which made every Earthling speech sound.
"Welcome aboard, Mr. Pilgrim," said the loudspeaker. "Any questions?"
Billy licked his lips, thought a while, inquired at last: "Why me?"
"That is a very Earthling question to ask, Mr. Pilgrim. Why you? Why us for that matter? Why anything? Because the moment simply is. Have you ever seen bugs, trapped in amber?"
"Yes." Billy, in fact, had a paperweight in his office which was a blob of polished amber with three ladybugs embedded in it.
"Well, here we are, Mr. Pilgrim, trapped in the amber of this moment. There is no why."
Billy has just been abducted by aliens. He knew it was going to happen. He's been unstuck in time for quite a few pages already. He's simply a ladybug trapped in some Tralfamadorian amber. Of course, Billy wants to know why he was chosen. I would want to know why, too. Of course, the Tralfamadorian answer to that question is frustratingly unhelpful: there really is no answer. No purpose. Billy just happened to be in the moment.
I just spent a couple hours responding to e-mails, creating publicity for my poetry reading on Thursday evening. It will be my first solo event as Poet Laureate of the U. P. I have no idea how many people are going to show up. It could be anywhere from five to 25 or 30. (I'm getting closer to five.) I'm going to be reading from the manuscript of a chapbook I just put together. Depending on how the reading goes, I may be ready to send it out to some publishers or contests.
So, here I sit in my university office. I can hear people talking in the hallway, doors opening and closing. I have my door closed and lights off. I don't really want anybody to know that I am here. I want to stay in this little amber moment. It's peaceful. I feel like I've accomplished quite a bit. Not feeling guilty about anything--ungraded papers, unfinished lesson plans. I'm content. That doesn't happen very often in my life.
My night is not going to stay this tranquil. In about twenty minutes, I have to pick my daughter up from her dance class. Then, drive home. Schoolwork. Grading. Reading. More grading. Sleep. It doesn't sound very exciting, and I can guarantee that I will not go to bed fulfilled and content. Don't see that in my future amber.
However, I am happy in my current amber. A little tired, but happy. I'll take that.
Saint Marty is thankful for finished work.