Bewildering Stories



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"The Confinement Structure"

Tom Smith

Civilian's log Stardate 314 647 2443

The creatures walking down the hall are Talosians. They are short and skinny with very big heads. They look human. They look human except for the big heads. Sometimes their heads pulse on the outsides. I've had migraine, I know what that feels like.

The Talosians are wearing clothing made from spun metal. Silvery clothing, soft and shimmering. Not too many people know this, but when you are making alterations to a garment made of spun metal you actually use a needle made of cotton. These particular Talosians are worried and upset, so they are walking fast; each step bringing them closer to my cell.

My name is Tom. My cell is one big room with a glass wall in the front. The Talosians stop at the thick glass wall and look inside.

Inside my cell I'm talking... and saying the same thing over and over. "I'm filling my head..." I announce in a loud voice, "...I'm filling my head with emotions so strong you wouldn't understand. I'm filling my head with feelings no moral person would ever advocate... I'm filling my head with images of indecent sex."

The fat Talosian turns to the skinny Talosian. Telepathically the fat one says to the skinny one... he says, "Sheeeesh, not again."

They tap on the glass to get my attention. I hurriedly adjust my clothes and then throw off the blankets and then stand up. My face is bright red. "I'm Sorry, I - I, didn't hear you approaching." I say.

The skinny one starts talking, beaming his thoughts directly into my mind. "Mr. Smith, yesterday you told us you came to Talos by accident, and yesterday we believed you. But since then we have searched your ship and found numerous star charts with our planet circled, and we also found a magazine article entitled... Good restaurants to imagine yourself entering, while actually still imprisoned behind a glass wall on Talos... and last but not least, we found this." He holds up a big book. The title reads.... THE VOCAL TELEPATH: A NEW APPROACH.

Faced with the overwhelming evidence I confess. "I may have been exaggerating when I said I was lost in space."

"We also know what you were doing last night. We have monitors in the hallways."

"I don't know what you're talking about." I answer, crossing my arms and turning my back to them.

"Mr. Smith you know what we're talking about. You broke out of your cell last night and broke into the cell down the hall, the one with the big blue bird inside. You tried to mate with the big blue bird. For some reason you tried to mate with the big blue bird. At one point you were actually holding it upside down and standing on its outstretched wings."

"I never did any such thing." I answer him.

"Well, we have the whole thing on tape. And there are footprints on the poor animal's wings and there's the fact that the bird is undergoing therapy. And if that's not enough, there are feathers adhering to your shoes right now, heaven forbid I mention the substance supplying the adhesion. Also you forget we can read minds, and we see you have plans to try the same thing tonight, only this time, you're thinking about bothering the big gorilla creature. You can save yourself some trouble, Mr. Smith, that creature is male.

Right after he says the word male both Talosians wince and take a step back from the glass wall. "Oh jeez, Mr. Smith. Please don't have thoughts like that one again. And please that particular creature is only nine years old. That's better... Good... At least you have some sense of decency."

"The bird cawed at me."

"I'm sure it did. Would it be ok if we asked you why you traveled all this distance?"

"It's about Anne Francis, the actress..."

"Go on." one of them says.

"Well I wanted to meet her."

"What makes you think she's here?"

"Well I saw it in the pilot episode, the episode with Jeff Chandler."

"Mr. Smith I think you have the names wrong. That was TV, make believe... and if I remember right Miss Francis was in the movie with Leslie Nielson. The story with the robot named Gort."

The skinny Talosian, in his mind, puts his hand on the shoulder of the fat Talosian, "I think we're getting off track." he says with his mind to his mind in his ear.

The fat Talosian has his head bulges pumping furiously. He puts his hands to the sides of his head trying to keep his arteries from busting loose. "I've got a planet to run Mr. Smith. Was there something I could do for you today..?"

"In the TV pilot Anne Francis..."

"I think it was Evette Mimeau..." the skinny Talosian says interrupting.

"whoever..." says the fat Talosian.

"Well whoever it was... in the pilot she's seen going underground with a fake Jeff Chandler."

"And..?"

"Well I thought she could use a real man."

For the first time in four thousand years a Talosian, in fact both Talosians, For the first time it four thousand years actual laughter is heard on Talos. Even the bird, back down the hall in his cage, caws in amusement.

"Really Mr. Smith this is unprecedented. You've come all this way to steal our premise...?"

"Well I was told, even the execs at the studio, thought this particular premise was too 'stealable'."

"Too 'cerebral'. They thought it was too 'cerebral'."

"I want Anne Francis. I want her now. I do remember she's really salvaged from the wreck, bent a little, and older than I usually prefer... but after you do that mind hockey stuff, then I'll have the giant dead on the end of my sword, she'll be a green dancer worth a man's soul, and then later I'll have lump sugar in my pocket for the horse."

Suddenly, in an attempt to frighten me, the skinny Talosian changes his appearance. He now looks like Linda Blaire spewing soup. His head starts to move in a circle.

"Stop that illusion right now... or you'll twist your head off!" I shout.

The Talosians look at each other. One says to the other, "His sexual history is complex... are you ready to assimilate it?"

The one to do the learning nods his head. His eyes grow wider and wider. He stumbles over to a corner and throws up. "I had no idea." he says while wiping his mouth on his metal sleeve.

The fat Talosian tries a different approach. "You're forgetting the slavery thing. All your descendants will be slaves."

"I've got an answer for that too. We'll call it a service economy and offer them minimum wage."

The Talosians think it over. We all shake hands telepathically.

"Done." they say.

In my head I sign on the dotted line. I wait in my cell for Anne Francis or Bridget Bardot... or any approximation there-of.

I start wondering if I'm limited to this episode... 'cause I sure would like to meet Lt. Uhura, or even Nurse Chapel. And Mudd's women would be good too, but I can't remember... were there three or four..? I look around. "Hey I'm gonna need a bigger place! Maybe some mood lighting!" I call out. While waiting for Bardot I look down the hall at the big blue bird. It sees me looking back... shakes it's head no... and backs into the shadows of its room.

"Caw..?" I say, wondering if it remembers me.

"Caw." it answers meekly. Remembering me, all too well.

finis

Copyright 2002 by Tom Smith & Bewildering Stories.