Aphelion Issue 256, Volume 24
November 2020
 
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Yesterday’s Tomorrow

by George T. Philibin


A bright-piercing white light that oozed into a Kaleidoscope of colors, very beautiful and restful when looking over the low hills that surrounded Bedford Farms, rained down for about thirty seconds that day. What it was, no scientist could give more than an opinion, and those opinions varied. Offbeat religious leaders broadcasted the end of the world, while homeland security jumped into the kayos reminding us about new and strange weapons in the hands of terrorists today. Whatever that light was changed the world, but the world kept spinning on and on and didn’t die.

When I got up the next morning expecting a good day with my girl at the beach–Kayla had apparently got up before me–I realized that I needed a shower. Sand or some other abrasive material seems to be clinging to me, and it felt itchy. I never experience a condition like this one except during the measles when I was a kid. And I was warm, warmer than I should have been since the air conditioner was still running.

I decided to get up. I rolled out of bed — not intending to do that — and landed on four legs! My hands were paws, my feet— paws and my body just a shaggy-hairy fur coat! I tried to shake the sleep out of my eye, thinking I’m in some dream, and when fully awake I looked into the full-body dressing mirror on the back of the closet door.

The reflection in the mirror couldn’t possibly be—, yet when I moved my head, the head in the mirror moved. The eyes in the mirror moved when I moved mine. I had become a dog! Somehow, someway—a dog! Impossible! Did Kayla tie some old fur coat around me as joke, I thought.

I ran from the room but tumbled over my paws. I got up and ran again only this time I realized that my arms were dog legs. Out the bedroom door I sped but abruptly stopped not more than three feet from Kayla’s cat, Livingston.

We locked eyes together and Livingston arched his back in a defensive posture, hissed and then growled in a low tone as he shifted his weight more toward his back legs. I stopped and stared with no real thoughts strolling over me, yet I couldn’t fathom the new situation that had washed over me. How the hell could I?

Livingston sat up on his hind legs with his front legs wide apart, his claws projecting out from his paws and his eyes stating: Just mess with me! The look about him suggested extreme fright. I backed away slowly hoping he would take my departure as a good faith sign. Livingston didn’t stand down, just kept watching me like his eyes were twin-laser beams tracking an enemy target. I backed away some more.

I heard something behind me and looked around. Kayla had a broom really to swat me!

“Who the hell let you in!” she screamed. “Roy, Roy where the hell are you?”

That’s my name and I tried to answer, yet the only sound that I could muster sounded like TRRRR—TRRRRR-ITSSSSSS—Meeeeeeeeeee! Kayla took that sound as a threatening overture and started swinging the boom at me. It missed me on the first swing but connected with me on the second. The broom really didn’t hurt much, but I know that Kayla would try harder on the next swing.

I ran into the kitchen and thank God the back door was open and only the screen door closed. With Kayla in hot pursuit and the only chance I had was to jump though the screen if I could. Fortunately, we had rented an old house and the screen in the door was loose around the edges. I jump through it easily.

“Roy! Roy! Where the hell are you? A dog got in. Where are you!” Kayla screamed.

I ran down the steps and almost tumbled again but caught myself. Once in the middle of the back yard and far enough away that Kayla couldn’t get me, I looked around. Her eyes glared at me as she held the broom in a ready-to-strike position while she stood on the back porch.

“If I ever see you around here again, I’ll call the dog pound. Understand?” Kayla screamed.

“Roy… Roy where the hell are you!” Kayla screamed.

Kayla kept watching me and I knew her enough to know that she would not go back inside until I was long gone.

I strolled down the alley and turn onto the sidewalk beside Ardmore Avenue a heavily traveled through way, usually. But today only about half the cars were on it. I stopped and sat down.

As I watched the cars, I realized that there were no men driving. All women. Impossible! Yet after watching for a few minutes I still didn’t see any men.

Another dog came up and sat beside me. I looked over at him and he looked at me. We seemed to understand each other. The dog tried to say what the hell is going on by the semi grunts and half barking sounds he made. I was sure about that.

So many more dogs were out this morning, yet none were on leashes. I heard a voice behind me say, “Were have all the guys went! I can’t find my husband anywhere!” The dog next to me got up and slowly walked toward the women. It sounded like he was saying, “Here I am. Here I am.”

Since that then I stayed in my neighborhood. Kayla never accepted me. How could she? I still can’t believe it. Yet, when I look up at the stars at night, I understand more and more that we the people of Earth don’t know anything as to the workings of the universe!


2020 George T. Philibin

George Philibin has been writing for about twenty years, occasionally, and enjoys every strike on his keyboard. He's not sure why he writes — it's fun, he's sure about that — and he intends to continue and learn. He served in Viet-Nam and during his last two years in the army played French Horn with the army band at Ft. Monmouth, NJ. He attended the University of Pittsburgh for Mechanical Engineering, but had to quit after the Johnstown Flood of 1977. He worked in a coal mine, a steel mill, and a dairy once. After about thirty-years service at the Conemaugh Generating Station, he retired. His favorite authors were Charles Dickens, Theodore Dreiser, and Kurt Vonnegut. Lately, he's become interested in Ambrose Bierce.

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