The below flash fiction was an experiment in a bullet-style format of fiction writing that I’ve seen published in arenas such as Daily Science Fiction. It is my first attempt at discontinuous story-telling that I personally liked doing. Earth-shattering depth? Nah, not so much. A fun little read? I think so. Please enjoy, “Happy Doppelganger Day, Stranger”.
“Happy Doppelganger Day, Stranger”
February 27, 2000:
Happy Doppelganger Day! I can’t believe it’s been eight years since the quantum tunnel between Earth and Aerth was discovered. It was crazy, but with everything happening in 1992 (Bosnia and Herzegovina, ending apartheid, LA riots, Noriega, and NAFTA for a few) it was lost in the mix until the tunnel opened again exactly one year later. That became the first official Doppelganger Day.
Bad thing is it didn’t appear in the same place, which is why Doppelganger Days are terrifyingly fun, or funnily terrifying(?). The first official Doppelganger Day started for us about 8:00 at night when the news reported a bunch of cars driving through a London suburb disappeared. Mom and Dad yelled for me and Will to come downstairs to watch Cambridge physicists probe the tunnel live.
That’s when everyone saw the first Aerther.
Our blonde Dr. Amelia Kurzner met their red-headed Dr. Kamelia Arzner. Arzner stepped out of nowhere into the quarantine area where the cars vanished. She was wearing like a black raincoat or trenchcoat or something socio like that. Anyway, Dr. Arzner, with a lot of body attitude, looked Dr. Kurzner up and down and punched her right in the mouth! Whap!
That’s the way it’s been with Aerthers. Every year it’s something new from them.
Doppelganger Day 1993:
An Aerther Airtrain 4000 suddenly appeared on a Brazilian control tower’s radar. The air crew spoke Spangerman, a Spanished version of German or something. Using three interpreters, the control tower got them to understand they needed to land. The problem was, Aerthers use light signals, and aircraft marshallers (had to look them up) are used only in emergencies. The pilot, a patriotic Brazelander, read the flag signals as saying hijackers were on the gangway waiting to board the plane. So, what did he do? Rammed the extended gangway! Luckily, no one was seriously injured.
As a happy ending, the first Brazelanisch steakhouse opened here in Lubbock last year. Endless spatzel!
Three Aerthers showed up in Des Moines and took a movie theater hostage. We stayed up all night praying the hostages would be okay. After a three-day standoff, SWAT burst into the theater. That’s when America found out Aerthers were really, really good at holograms. No one was actually tied up in the lobby. The Aerthers spent three days eating candy and nachos and watching movies for free, and they racked up like a $10,000 bill. “Final Destination” was apparently their favorite movie by far.
Cruise missile, right through the chute and into Mount Rushmore. It was a blind shot, but the Aemericans (yes, with two “e”s) showed us what it takes to kill a bull moose. Our President vowed we’d retaliate on their Vengeful States of Aemerica. There were more Army and Marines recruiting commercials, but nothing else changed.
The VSA and WMTO (West Mongolia Treaty Organization) sent a fleet of single seater-submersibles through to attack the Florida coast. Turns out, Aerthers don’t do coastal living. They have shallow water marine cities, where submersibles with .50 caliber machine guns are a real threat and, I guess, good strategy. We watched for six hours as NATO planes flew circles over their submersibles, and WMTO submersibles did maneuvers off Miami. No shots were fired in the stalemate, and they surrendered when they realized they forgot to bring a way to refuel.
Mark “Hud” Hudspeth’s Aerther double arrived with his entourage in Hong Kong. Our Hudspeth is CEO of probably the evilest corporation in this hemisphere. Caught and sued five times for illegally dumping pesticides and heavy metals in salmon river runs, Midwest irrigation ditches, Lake Mead, and elementary playgrounds. When Hudspeth’s anti-twin pledged to make good for all the bad things Aerthers did, it made sense. He challenged our Hudspeth for company control based on his status as also a Mark “Hud” Hudspeth and won. We all wanted our Hud gone. Environmental groups everywhere celebrated, and New Hud paraded his super-charming smile over all the morning talk shows.
Did-they-do-it Day? 1998:
Nothing happened (that we know of). Mom bought a home security system just in case, and dad got Will and me helmets, pepper spray, and made what he called “old timey bayonets” out of discarded iron fence posts he found on trash day.
Doppelganger Day 1999:
A nuclear bomb the size of a Boeing appeared at UN headquarters. That was how we found out New Hud wasn’t a good guy. New Hud started a press conference from his mansion (our Hud’s old mansion) to talk terms of surrender. But! Our Hudspeth jumped out of a bush and knocked him cold with a softball bat! Stepping over other Hud to the mic, he yelled something about getting his company back, a $100 million dollar bonus, and his face replacing Roosevelt’s.
Nobody out evil’s the Hud.
The army took custody of the bomb. I hope it’s safe. God knows water out west isn’t anymore.
We survived Y2K two months ago, and now everyone’s trying to guess what Aerth will do this time. How do you upsize from a nuclear bomb?
Besides them, there’s a lot of things to look forward to. New millennium, new friends when I start college this fall, and new technologies everywhere! My parents finally bought a cellular phone for the family, and soon (I think) we’ll all be able to access GPS – just imagine, no more maps! I mean, even the internet was barely useful five years ago, but now, Gugolplex’s search engine can find anything on the World Wide Web! They started like two years ago and went from nobodies to a household name. Internet browsing, web shopping, Gugolplex made everything easier. Maybe I’ll become a software engineer and work for them when I graduate? I’ll be part of a worldwide movement!
Dad’s calling us downstairs. Time to watch the news and see what the Aerthers have planned this year. I’ve got my helmet and bayonet just in case. As the Brazelanders say, buenen Nacht!