by The Inmate
My friends, I’ve never mentioned it, but the Universe is inhabited principally by beings like us.
There are not many perks being a delivery guy. I do have my own office. It’s small and I have yet to close any huge business deals there, but it does have air-conditioning, several windows and a radio. It could be worse: it’s not a cubicle next to the coffee machine.
Being The Inmate, however, is like being in perk paradise which is one reason I created the position. There’s the limo, the private jet, the penthouse office, the power–lots of power, and the money–gobs of it. But these pale before my two favorite perks kept in a huge maximum security warehouse in a secret location in my backyard: The Corporate Asylum time machine and spaceship, Adam One and Sisyphus
The Corporate Asylum’s board of directors was reluctant to okay the purchase of these, but when I explained that they could also use them from time-to-time the votes accumulated quickly. Adam One is a shiny, red, small, oblong capsule outfitted with a dozen seats and a computer. No frills because it takes no time to time travel. Sisyphus, however, is a hundred times the size of Adam One and fully equipped with a swimming pool, entertainment center, library, gourmet kitchen, ping pong table, cell phone, gym, 4 bedrooms, plenty of towels and good can-opener. It also has a special cargo bay for Adam One. To research this thing we call “work” requires a lot of specialized equipment and these two devices have been invaluable.
Adam One has taken me to many different centuries, both past and future. Aside from the obvious advantages this has created for my stock portfolio, sports betting and dinner reservations I have not only been able to experience and predict history but I am also a part of it. I read about myself regularly in my encyclopedia set under the many different names I assumed during my travels. The future is tricky because there is no way to know what or who will be there. Usually what I do is go to a point in the future beyond the future point I really want to visit so I can read about it in their history books and then go to the earlier future date fully prepared. It takes a little longer, costs a little more, but when the product gets to you, my faithful readers, it has a real feeling of authenticity difficult to counterfeit.
My favorite thing, however, is space travel. Humans, Earthlings if you will permit me the terminology, are, regardless of the year, far too predictable. Greed, lust, power, wars–it’s the same old shit. I’ve seen the nightly local news in 4867 A.D. and although the holograms were impressive the reporting was still trivial and banal. Aliens are also trivial and banal, but I never stay long enough to find out, so at least they don’t appear that way.
On the planet Uggieikdiekdieleigieihgikdnmzxldle, for example, wars are no longer fought in the tops of trees with lissermisses and jekerderans, two very sharp instruments nearly thirty feet long that break easily and frequently. These instruments were far too expensive to replace. The labor to build them or to earn the money to buy them wasted creativity and talent. What the Uggies (pronounced “yougeeze”) do now is hold a poetry contest. The best poem submitted wins and the losing country’s inhabitants drown themselves in nearby oceans and lakes where they are quickly eaten by yuglushes and kinjukersnogs–very ugly creatures, though not nearly as ugly as the Uggies. No devastation, no pollution, no stench–it’s a very civilized war.
Like war, work is present in every solar system with intelligent life. On Pagotha, a mere 1500 light years away, they work 30 hours a day which sounds both horrible and impossible until you realize that their days are 200 hours long. Pagothans love to work. Most would work all day and all night (Pagothans do not need sleep), but Pagothan law forbids it which is why Pagothans hate their government. Most of them spend their non-working hours fantasizing about being at work.
The twin planets, Hid and Sega, are located on the outer edge of the Andromeda galaxy (M 31). All the Hids travel to Sega to work and all the Segans travel to Hid. It’s a two-hour flight. Their economies depend on the two companies that build the thousands and thousands of passenger rockets needed for this interplanetary commuting. If even a small percentage of the population decided to work on their own planet it would depress their economies, cause the stock-market to crash and then Hids and Segans would have nothing else to do but read and converse. Unfortunately, since little writing and little conversing has been done for the last 200 years (everyone is commuting or sleeping or working), it is doubtful that the books available or the conversations would be the least bit interesting.
I am planning another trip in Sisyphus, this time to the planet Nebonox in the Whirlpool galaxy (M 51). It’s a substantial 37 million light-years away so I’m taking two books and several videos. The Corporate Asylum team decided to take Adam One so that when we arrive on Bebonox (it’s not a typo, this planet changes governments constantly and each new government wants to invent its own image by changing the planet’s name) we can time travel throughout Rebonox’s (they’re not a creative bunch) past and future. This will speed up the research, save The Corporate Asylum millions of dollars and it sounds incredibly impressive which is important because we plan to go public next year.
Hishejesoosnsis uso! That’s a Nishoz farewell. Literally it means “Stay home you sonofabitch!” but it loses something in translation. The nearest probable meaning in English is, “Have a good weekend.” Please do.
The Corporate Asylum is selling seats for our trip to the Whirlpool Galaxy. Prices start at 2.5 million and space is limited. Our deluxe trip which includes all meals, your own private room, a gravity toilet, free calls to earth, free accommodations and tours on Zebonox, and a question and answer session with The Inmate is an affordable 9.75 million. No pets please.
- Lem, Stanislaw, Memoirs of a Space Traveler: Further Reminiscences of Ijon Tichy, translated by Joel Stern and Maria Swiecicka-Ziemianek, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Publishers, San Diego, California, 1983, pg. 35.