By: Steve Bolin

They say hindsight is 20/20. Perhaps, this is true. Even so, there’s no way I could’ve guessed that I’d end up like this. Truth is, I wouldn’t have believed it if Nostradamus himself walked up and told me what was going to happen.

I believe now. Not that it helps much, but I do believe.

If someone had suggested that I’d be abducted by aliens, I’d laugh in their face and call the funny farm. I’d have their delusion-filled carcass hauled off to some nice, quiet, padded cell. Compared to where the aliens are holding me now, a padded cell sounds like paradise.

I know what they want – some of it anyway. They want to teach me a lesson. They want to punish me for my crimes. From what they’ve shown me, those crimes are many. The funny, yet sad, part of it is this: I don’t remember committing most of them.

The aliens keep me immobilized, floating upright in some sort of pressurized chamber. This tubular area probably maintains a controlled environment. Perhaps there’s too much difference between our two atmospheres. It reminds me of suspended animation, except I’m completely awake. Apparently they intend to keep me alive long enough to witness the completion of their judgment.

Through the transparent walls of the cylindrical cell I see a wall sized screen a few feet before me. It’s been playing a familiar movie ever since I’ve regained consciousness in this imprisoned state. It’s a documentary that I have no choice but to watch – a recording of my crimes.

So, what were my crimes? I need only to look on that wall screen and see for myself. It’s my life – or the important parts anyway. The main character is me, performing horrible actions I don’t remember. I suppose that’s understandable, considering I was drunk when I committed them.

Did I forget to mention that I’m an alcoholic? Correction: I was an alcoholic. I’ve been stone cold sober ever since being abducted. The aliens have made sure of that.

Believe me, I’d rather be drunk. The mind numbing effects of the alcohol would be a welcome relief to the torment I must endure by watching that cursed wall screen as it displays my sins and failures.

Back when I had a life of my own, I used to be a construction worker. I laid brick and did other assorted masonry jobs. There was a lot of travel, and the hours could be long. But the pay was exceptional.

I bought a lot of liquor with those checks. I always had a few beers for breakfast and then went to work. When noontime came around, some of my drinking buddies and I would hit the closest taverns for what we called a “hydraulic lunch.” Later, after a hard day of work, I deserved to unwind; so, I’d bar hop from place to place sampling the local beverages.

Being on the road a lot, weekends are about the only time to see family. But unlike the other guys, I didn’t look forward to seeing my old lady and the newborn twins. Every time she saw me, she’d whine that I was drinking all of our money. She complained that she had to work two jobs, find sitters, and being the only one who was responsible.

As an RN, she made good money at the hospital. Why did she need a second job? In the end, it didn’t matter. Somehow it was my fault that we never had enough money to pay the bills.

All that nagging was enough to make a man want to drink. So, I did.

Who was she to complain that I drank up “our money?” Where’d she get this “our money” stuff at anyway? It’s my money; I was the one who earned it. Why shouldn’t I be able to enjoy the fruits of my labor?

As far as all that other stuff went – paying bills, finding sitters, working two jobs and the like – that was her problem, not mine. I busted my butt 10-12 hours a day, five days a week. Did she appreciate my efforts? No way. All she ever did was complain.

Let me tell you something. No one could complain like that old battle-ax. It was the same old soapbox sermon every weekend I went home. When she got going, a slap in the face was only one way to shut her up.

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About the Author

With the exception of a four-year hitch in the U.S. Navy, Steve has been a lifelong resident of Indiana. He has more than 40 publishing credits, including co-authoring Black Rising, an epic fantasy novel. He plans to assemble his short stories of dark fantasy and weird tales into an anthology.
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