They Came Like Hollywood / by Jared DiMaggio

All of this will happen, more or less. Unfortunately, this is the saddest story I have ever heard. I will do my best to recount the events pre-coming and post-coming, but I had the story, bit by bit, from various survivors, and, as generally happens in such cases, each time it was a different story. But a story has no beginning or end; arbitrarily one chooses that moment of experience from which to look back or from which to look ahead. A story, like time, is not a line but a dimension, like the dimensions of space.

I have never begun a novel with more misgiving.

I have never begun a novel. I still have not.

If I am out of my mind, it's all right with me. Granted: I am an inmate of a what might be called a metaphysical hospital; my keeper is watching me, he never lets me out of his sight; there's a peephole in the door, and my keeper's eye is the shade of brown that can never see through a blue-eyed type like me.

Who I am doesn't matter so much anymore, but call me Ishmael, but in a sense, I am Jacob Horner. I am an invisible man. Pre-coming, I was the shadow of the waxwing slain by the false azure in the windowpane. Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show.

I am from earth. I am an American, Chicago born—Chicago, that somber city—and go at things as I have taught myself, free-style, and will make the record in my own way: first to knock, first admitted; sometimes an innocent knock, sometimes a not so innocent. But my history doesn't matter anymore because the past is a foreign country; you do things differently there, on Earth, where you are now.

This is your future history, written in a dimension I can’t even begin to think about how to articulate in any earthly language or equation.

Pre-coming, it was the best of times, it was the worst of times, depending on your respective perspectives, which goes without saying, but it’s too late for that now. It was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the noun of nouns, it was the etcetera of etcetera, etcetera, etcetera, it was the winter of despair.

That day, the winter sun shone, having no alternative, on nothing new. Then: a screaming came across the sky and the sky above the city was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel. It was like so, but wasn’t. The cold passed reluctantly from the earth, and the retiring fogs revealed an army of what you would probably classify as aliens, according to the The History of Earth, stretched out across the sky. It was the day my grandmother exploded. We started dying before the snow, and like the snow, we continued to fall. For some, it was a pleasure to burn. Those of the old belief that taught to be born again first you have to die. For others, it wasn’t. Most were killed, many were taken, eventually.


Jared DiMaggio is a graduate student at the University of South Florida.