Challenge 579 Response
The Abductee Returns
with Tantra Bensko
“Alien Abduction Abduction” appears in issue 579.
Why is the repetition of “abduction” in the title correct?
In what ways is Charlie’s father depicted as a sympathetic and endearing?
Imagine what Charlie will say to the kindly people at Highland Variety when he calls back to tell them about his father.
I really enjoyed Charles C. Cole’s “Alien Abduction Abduction,” fascinated to read about a true event. Great twist ending I didn’t see coming at all.
Why is the repetition of “abduction” in the title correct? Because he his mind was abducted by being engrossed in the radio show.
In what ways is Charlie’s father depicted as a sympathetic and endearing character? His embarrassment, enthusiasm, confusion.
Imagine what Charlie will say to the kindly people at Highland Variety when he calls back to tell them about his father: “He’s back home now, inside the milk from your store. Ted bought that carton from you and brought it over just now to show us. Dad’s picture is on the carton advertised as a missing person. Are you telling me you didn’t you notice?
“Now the whole neighborhood will be going to your store to try pick up a milk carton with Dad’s picture on it. Yes, you’ll make a lot of money that way. That’s quite the scam you’ve got going.
“I know what will happen. The vulnerable ones will get sucked into milk cartons you’ve got there, their faces frozen onto them, trapped, waiting. Why, it’s almost like cannibalism. Mom says it’s extra good on cereal, though.”
Copyright © 2014 by Tantra Bensko
Thank you, Tantra, that may well be the first Challenge Response we’ve ever had that’s a story in itself. The milk-carton picture scenario is not exactly far-fetched. One goes to buy a carton of milk only to wonder, “What is my picture doing on this milk carton?” The problem is, of course, that the scenario does not have enough time to play out: after one day, disappearances seldom end well.
Charles Cole’s story depicts a “senior moment” caused first by a distraction — the radio show — and then by forgetfulness. Most seniors, I think, experience it the other way around: “Why did I come out to the car? Oh well, let’s hear what’s on the radio.”
Charlie’s father is sympathetic because I, for one, can imagine myself in a similar situation. I can just hear it now: “I sent you to the store for fresh fruit and vegetables and you bring home seed packets and a potted plant. Have you been listening to the gardening show on the car radio again?”
Charlie’s father is also endearing, because he doesn’t take himself too seriously; he gives a reason but not an excuse for forgetting the carton of milk. Both he and his family view life for what it is: a truly Bewildering Story, one that may be happy or sad or anything in between. It is one that good humor and good will bring to a happy ending.
Copyright © 2014 by Don Webb