A Discourse on the Aliens
by A. T. Sayre
So I decided to go insane.
It seemed like the right thing to do at the time. And no, before you start jumping to any conclusions of your own, it was not a rash decision. I carefully decided, after much thought and reflection, that I wasn’t at all pleased with the way the world was going. And I couldn’t see anything that I, a minor character, could do to improve it.
It was a problem, as I saw it, with reality itself. I simply could not deal with the absolute boredom and uncertainty of it. Uncertainty because of the strict natural laws of reality which nullify any perceivable absolutes, therefore making a real purpose to life impossible. And boredom because of the inherent pointlessness of a reality lacking absolute meaning or purpose. Simply put, there just wasn’t any goddamned point to anything.
So I would make up my own reality instead. Well, not exactly. As much as I might credit myself for superior thinking capacity, I cannot fabricate an entire universe to exist in. I mean it’s possible I could, but it occurred to me that to do so would take great effort and focus. Too much, I realized. No, I would require a delusion that was low-maintenance enough for me to stop realizing that I was manufacturing it, something that I could put on auto-pilot and get blissfully lost inside of.
I concluded that all I could really do, at least at first, was alter the reality that I perceived in subtle ways. I’d start with a few made-up memories to warp my perceptions of the present in such a way as to make my interpretation of empirical data heavily biased toward my particular delusion.
Then, perhaps, a slight case of paranoia, which could be built on and grown over time. I decided to leave hallucinations out at the start as too much. Possibly, in a few years, I could try working them in, use them to build more layers after the foundation was solid. But at the beginning, it seemed like it would be unnecessary flashiness.
Now that I had made the decision and had an idea as to how to proceed, what I needed was a theme to base my insanity on. Some kind of alternate reality foundation for my lunacy to grow inside of, a pot for my crazy plant, if you will. I decided that if I simply let it run loose willy-nilly, it wouldn’t have enough semblance to trick my logical mind into believing in it wholeheartedly. No, what I needed was a particular subject to grow crazy with.
I knew right away that it had to be a notion that appealed to my personality, something that I might have imagined or daydreamed about. Something that grooved with my inner self in a way that would smooth the rough edges enough to make any slight discrepancies that I might notice easily rationalized.
I thought about a proper subject very carefully, not wanting to make the mistake of picking something perhaps too ambitious. After all, there would be no point in picking a reality that was no better or even worse than the common one. I joked with myself, as I picked through the various scenarios and ran them through my head, that it was rather like shopping around for a new car. Or, more appropriately a new house.
I scrutinized the candidates for my delusion much the same way, metaphorically running the faucets to check the plumbing, sniffing the air very attentively for any odd odor, making sure there were no cracks in the foundation. Checking the chimneys, the roof, looking for black mold in the corners. All in an attempt to make certain that I would be comfortable in my new home, my new reality.
In the end, after exploring all the various avenues for madness that I could conceive, I decided to believe that aliens from outer space were spying on me, part of their master plan to take over the Earth. This fantasy seemed to be the very best for me. I was always kind of attracted to the notion of other intelligent life out there, although I never had much of a strong opinion about UFOs either way. I usually left the subject at the belief that while, yes, it was most likely that other life existed out in the universe somewhere, I had some reservations as to what interest a civilization advanced enough for interstellar flight would have in studying a primitive world such as ours. Something sinister, probably. Maybe they would want to strip the planet bare of resources. Or enslave us all. Yes, this suited me nicely.
Having made my decision, I started out just as I had planned with memories. I kept it simple at first, not wanting to overdo it, wanting to just let my mind slowly ease in. I started to think back on some odd memories that I had when I was a child, no older than four. Those vague glimpses from an underdeveloped brain that do not quite make sense to the mature mind. Little snippets of images or sounds, that I think all of us have in some form or other.
When I was a child, I was intensely afraid of the shadows in my room in the middle of the night. My childhood imagination would turn them into monsters that moved around the room and growled very quietly as I lay there too petrified to turn on the light just above my head. Sometimes I was so scared that I didn’t get to sleep until long after the sun was up and I felt safe again, out of the darkness of night. I saw that this was a perfect foundation to work with.
Slowly, over a long period of looking back at these memories, I was able to change the images around slightly, in order to give them what I told myself was “clarification,” to see what was hidden in those shadows. And naturally, the more and more I looked into them, the more I saw those strange-looking creatures standing over me and staring quietly.
I was able to ascertain many other things from my vague notions from that age as I worked at it. I was able to convince myself that these aliens had been following me around, as I estimated, since the age of two, quietly lurking in the shadows in my bedroom on dark nights as I slept, around corners, in dark alleys, hiding behind trees in the woods, or in the blurry windows of distant buildings. Always just on the edge of my peripheral view. And the more I thought about it, the more I worked at it, the more I was able to build up this new world of mine with impressive speed. In only a few short months, I had just about completely convinced myself that the aliens were following me.
I started to become shifty in my posture. My eyes darted around constantly. I’d repeatedly snap my head around quickly as I walked along at night, looking for anything moving, for I constantly felt eyes on my back. I was also becoming more suspicious of my friends, wondering and distrusting many of their actions that did not seem to have clear and obvious motives. I became guarded and hesitated to discuss the aliens with them or anything really personal, for that matter, because of my uncertainty as to how they fit into these discoveries of mine. I was definitely changing.
After a year of diligent work, I was very pleased with my progress. I estimated that I was ahead of schedule by about two months. Already I would hesitate to go out at night, unless absolutely necessary. When I did, I saw the aliens hiding everywhere, or at least the disappearance of their shadows from under streetlights. And I constantly heard strange noises that I was certain were them.
Probably the biggest surprise of this whole project was how advanced my paranoia had become in such a short time, far beyond what I had expected. I had drifted very far away from everyone. I was certain that some of my more casual friends, whom I had not known for too long, were part of the great alien conspiracy, working for them as spies. So I started to avoid them completely.
Copyright © 2018 by A.T. Sayre