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[2009: NOV-DEC] *WINNER* Real Lips


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It's white and cold in here. I wish I had some paper and a pen. But I don't. All I've got are memories and shards and skin and bones. So I'm just going to have to whisper this to myself. No. I can't do that. I have to mouth it to myself using the mouth we all have inside our heads. Lips can't move. My [...]ed teeth feel so sore. They took out my right molar, I think. I can't remember what it's called. I had this dentist once who called it that. Wait. I'm getting off topic here.

I wonder if anyone's out there listening. They say God is dead. Or at least they said that before the spoonheads came. Now nobody says that anymore. Surviving is as good as it gets. You don't have time to philosophize. Not verbally at least. So yeah, I'm in here after a routine checkup, I guess. At least that's how the spoonhead made it sound.

God if I could tell you how friggin horrible it feels to be here now. I used to be a student at a university in Toronto. I can't remember what it's called anymore. Maybe that's for the better. They say that those who can forget are the strongest. We are. We can forget the life we lost. Let's see. What was there? There were cars. We could drive our own cars on our own roads. Now we get transported around on floating hovercars. You used to be able to spend an entire day over at the book store browsing around, reading, sipping lattes. I'd sit there for hours reading the latest books. You'd hear people wandering around nearby [...]ing about their kids, about their husbands, about how fat their wives were. All that's gone now.

Now if you [...] your tongue gets cut out. I guess I can count that for the better now that the spoonheads are here. There's a moment of friggin peace and quiet in a white chamber like this one. Let's see. What else do we have that's good? No more war. I remember the last arms buildup 20 years ago along the Canadian frontier. The Russians had been planning to invade Canada across the Arctic and the Americans had their tripwire force up there, missiles pointed at the invasion force.

They said it was God's hand when the first missiles missed their targets. Hell, they didn't just miss, they didn't even explode. They just...disappeared. I remember the thundering of the ground as wave after wave of the [...]ed things shot up into the air from their silos. I couldn't see a single Russian nuke coming toward us. Where the hell were they? The sky was blue, calm. The sun was a radiant white, less bright than the explosions we'd been told to expect. They never came.

Before we knew it the air raid sirens stopped. What else were they supposed to do? So there I was, my arms wrapped around the legs of my desk in the lecture hall, waiting to be vaporized while I ducked and covered. The other kids started counting. Maybe there would be a retaliatory strike. The experts on the news had said it would be about one minute after the American anticipatory attack before the Russian nukes would get here. But we knew nothing was coming.

“Things are going to be very different after today,” I'd heard a woman earlier that day say to her baby as the two left the local coffee place. She had her latte in her left hand, baby with pacifier pushed along in the carriage by the right. She had a look of calm on her face and I thought I knew why. She'd read the latest book on the law of attraction, a book about a hidden truth that had been suppressed for centuries. But now that she'd read it, uncovered the age-old mystery, and put a smile on her face things would turn out to be okay. The universe would obey her command and she'd have a great life.

I'd love to be able to tell you that I saw her again but I didn't. Before I knew it there was a rumbling. We thought it was the Russian nukes but whenever I looked out the window from under my desk I couldn't see anything aside from the blue sky, a few whispy clouds here and there. Then there was this black thing that flew past the window. It moved faster than any jet I'd ever seen. The F-22s had been up earlier that day and they didn't move anywhere near as fast as this thing did.

The door swung upon and I saw my first spoonhead. We call them spoonheads because they have this spoon like ridge on their foreheads. He had a thick neck, slick black hair, and eyes with orbits that jutted out as though he were a cross between a starving child and Colossus from the X-Men. He had on some kind of suit with black trousers and a dark metallic body armour covering his torso. When he spoke it was with a forceful tone and in a language that sure as hell wasn't Russian. He brandished a big gun.

One of the students stood slowly and backed away. The spoonhead didn't shoot him so that seemed to be the best thing to do. I was on my feet too by now, pacing backward toward the wall. The prof stood, set down his reading glasses, and got up from the lecturer's desk at the front of the room. There was a sound like a loud hiss and I watched as the professor was ripped out of existence. He was screaming the whole time, bright gold light coming from his eyes and mouth as his arms rose in surrender. It was too late and all that remained of him was a puff of smoke and some grey dust on the floor.

The alien yelled something else and brandished the gun at us again. One guy started to walk along the wall toward the door. He didn't get shot. So we followed him. We were all totally freaked. I could see another guy starting to move, and a girl crying and slowly walking. I looked over toward the guy next to me and he nodded. The spoonhead must have seen it and because after a while he started nodding too whenever we got what he wanted us to do. It was pretty scary. You could see puddles of [...] along the wall when you looked back to where we'd all been standing moments before.

We walked out toward the courtyard and holy [...]. There were these big floating black things in lines. I could see other classes being escorted into them and so we walked toward them as well. There were a few guys on the ground, the jocks mostly. Some were dead and others lay there with spoonheads towering over them, yelling at them in their strange language.

We walked in a straight line and our spoonhead nodded to us, still brandishing his gun. Another spoonhead came toward him and yelled something. Before I knew it the guy at the front of our line was dead and the two spoons were laughing. At least I thought it was laughter. I couldn't be sure because...well they were aliens.

Over the months and years I've learned more about them. They laugh like us and they smile like us. I still can't understand most of what they're saying. Sometimes there's the odd one who speaks English but with a bad accent.

Like today for example. Today the guy pulling my molar said, “This … no hurt.”

It always hurt when the spoonheads did something to you. They didn't care as they stared out at you through those steel eyes framed inside those giant sockets. His neck was wide just like all the rest and he smiled. “This help.”

“Who?” I asked.

There was a clink and a ring in my ears. I could taste blood. I moaned and the spoon said, “You. Us.”

Now there's another spoonhead coming my way. He's got a little box in his hands. It looks kind of like a cellphone, not that we have those anymore. I don't even think they'd work anyway.

“You … come.”

The spoon's got a smile on his face and I walk. Now we're in a dark room. “Sit.” I sit. The chair is cold against my bare [...]. “Name.” Kyle McTave. “You do.” I'm sorry I don't understand. “You do!” I shake my head. I can't understand you.

I'm standing now, screaming. My back hurts like hell.

“This help.”

There's a spoonhead behind me now, shaving the hair off my head. It hurts like hell as he digs the razor into my scalp. I can feel blood trickling down the sides of my now nearly bald head. “You do.”

The spoon behind me yells something and then I'm on the ground. Do? Do? What do I do? Yeah that must be it.

Student.

It was 20 years ago but I guess that's what I did before they came.

Worker.

That's what I do now.

“Student?” The spoon cups his fingers around my chin and pulls gently. I stand up again. “You. Sit.”

I'm on the chair again.

“You. Think.”

The words come out slowly, thick accent making them almost unintelligible. Of course I think. There's a zap and my [...] hurts like hell. I'm standing again. “You Kyle think. Stop now!”

I can't stop. I can't stop thinking or this all stops. There's a weapon pointed at me now. “You stop.” The lips inside me want to tell you everything that's happened over these past twenty years. I'd tell you about the labour camp, about the ringed facility floating in space. You can pretty much see its shape from earth, floating there going past the moon every day or so.

“Stop now!”

There's a thud against the side of my head. My ears are ringing. I want to tell you about the crimes, the crimes against humanity. I want to tell you how peace came to earth through the separation of self from other. Yeah. That's how it all ended. Not with a murmur or a bang but with enslavement. God, I'm proud to be able to be the only man alive who can say, we have peace on earth and good will toward all mankind. Can I do it? Will I do it?

There's a kick at my stomache and a sharp pain. They must have broken a rib. I have to do it.

“Stop now! You die!”

Real lips quivering, breath shaking, I open my mouth to begin.

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