my favorite Martian

(Illustration by Brendon C. Thompson,

People keep asking where I've been lately.
Well...that's a funny story.

It was a Tuesday, if I recall. Though it felt like a Thursday, like Thursdays nearly always feel. I was driving to a friend’s house near Tulsa University, intent on my destination though somewhat distracted by a need to scan every radio station.
I turned into the first housing addition after the second light on the left side past the last entry, looking for house number 7810.
Then, as if rebelling against my repetitive station scanning, all the electronics in my vehicle went dead. A moment of complete and utter silence followed. Nothing sounded, not the breeze, not the trees, not a hive of bees.
Time had stopped.
I can't explain to you how I knew. I just knew. I didn't check my watch or listen for my internal clock or feel my aging stop. Time didn't exist because time no longer mattered.
Night turned white. A bright light overpowered even the deepest crevice in my vehicle, illuminating the interior of a Jeep I'd known for eight years, yet seemed like a stranger. I stared at my fingernails, seeking a site of comfort, of familiarity. Instead, they were glowing from the intense scrutiny of the ghastly strobe.
This couldn't be. This shouldn't be. But it was.

Yep, you guessed it. I was abducted by aliens.

That didn’t take that long though.

They took me to dinner at Charlestons. Me and my motley crew took an entire circular booth near the back.
I ordered the chicken with steamed vegetables, a mix of crunchy peas and too much broccoli.
They refused any earthly meat, opting for a side salad with a croissant and the chef’s soup special.
Then we went to Starbucks, had a decaf coffee, no crème, no sugar. And they left.

In all honesty, it was the best date I’ve ever had.

They dropped me off at my vehicle and scooted on back to their galaxy. They said it was a pretty long journey, being a few thousand light years away and all, and they still needed to run by the store to buy some cheetos and aluminum tubes of paint.
Reaching that awkward moment in the evening when it's time to say goodbye, but you don't want to create any miscommunication, I reached out my right hand for a shake. They opted to flip me the Vulcan sign while chanting, "Nannu, nannu."

Like a streak of lightning there as fast as it's gone, my little friends had vanished from the sky.

I got back into my jeep, determined to visit my friends. I was heading east, or so I thought, when I must have hit a rip in the space-time continuum. Instantly I was transported to Tulsa, Oklahoma, but back in the year 10,015 BC.
The earth was dusty and red with nothing but rocks and hills. I attempted to stop and figure out where I'd made a wrong turn when my tire collided with a nasty Neanderthal bolder.

Wouldn't you know it. I had a flat.

I can change a flat. But when you are a single female in a world some thousands of years before your time, it's a little frightening getting out of the car. Besides, other dimension or not, I couldn't use my cell phone because I was out of minutes.

It was up to me. I gathered a little courage, and climbed out, breathing air without a scent. There wasn't a whiff of anything anywhere. It was pure. I took a few deep breaths, sending that oxygen straight to my brain. It either reinforced my courage or gave me a zing of an air high because I felt just groovy.

In the process of unhitching my spare, two cavemen came along, lifting their dragging knuckles to motion that they'd like to help. I considered the options of allowing their chivalry or being dragged by my hair and graciously accepted.
Without a pause or scratch of their thickened head, they used the lug nut wrench and tire iron to finish the job and had me back on the road in no time. Again, it was that awkward moment of goodbyes. I tried the Vulcan greeting, feeling it a better option than shaking hands. They grunted something. We seemed to understand each other.

I decided I’d just reverse myself back into the present time. If I could drive forward into the past, I could drive back into the future. With a little directional guidance from my Cro-Magnon friends, I paralleled my Jeep through the dimensional rip and back to Tulsa, realizing I’d only lost about 17 seconds. I'd always been a good parallel parker.

It was then I decided to just head on home. I had oil smudges on my clothes from the tire and a few of my space friends during dinner had splashed soup on my shirt. I really wasn't presentable.

So I headed for the residential exit but got confused in all those cul-de-sacs and dead ends. I’ve been lost for six weeks.
Tara Lynn Thompson