Shooting Stars, with Alien Glossary

Alan P. Scott - Fictions

one by one
without any fuss

I step out of the observatory where I work, light up a smoke and lean on the balcony rail, looking up at the night sky. It's a clear, cold night, the wind whispering like voices through the trees.

(the word for leafy dry autumn tang: krish)

Just right for stargazing, though of course they'd never let me look through the big scope. And it comes to me. It's justaposition - just a position, you know, one thing laid on top of another. Give me a lever to stand on and I can move the world.

I take aim at the first one. It's Achernar - see, I know the names - one with a little more twinkle than the rest. I raise my hand, cock my thumb just so, and


It goes out.

(the word for the way cats fall: strilai)

"Huh. Never did that before."

I raise my hand to another one, do the thing with the thumb again.


This star goes out too. Voices whisper through the trees.

I figure, what the hell, and let go with both hands...

"Pop. Pop. Popopopoppp..."

Both Dippers gone now, and my initials across the Milky Way.

(the word for window glow: murr)

There's a rumble from the observatory behind me. That didn't take long. The initials might have been a bad idea.

I turn to go but the eggheads come out and catch me before I get to the end of the balcony. It takes a bunch of 'em to do it, but they take me inside and lock me in a closet while they try to decide what to do with me. It's not the kind of thing you can call the cops about, what I did.

I think they're overreacting, anyway... I mean, who cares if a few stars go missing? Nobody looks at 'em except these crazy scientists. Everybody else is inside, watching TV.

These guys are really upset, though. I don't think they know I can hear them. They're talking about maybe just killing me, to make sure I can't shoot any more stars. They're working themselves up to it.

(the word for fire inside the flesh: you)

They'd better be careful how they treat me, though. It's not too long till morning, and I remember another thing they told me. The sun is just another star.


- 10/2-11/2002

©2002 Alan P. Scott. All rights reserved.

Last updated October 11, 2002.

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