Alien Sofa

Updated. Earlier version published in Maryland Mensa’s M-anation March 2023

Edgar watched anxiously as the movers navigated the narrow doorway, his voice tinged with urgency, “Watch the arms, please. They’re quite delicate.” The sofa would replace the old chairs from the dining room. This week each member of his philosophy discussion group would have a soft seat. They could sit and discuss his nemesis topic—reality—in comfort. No one would be forced to sit on a hardwood chair.

He bought the mauve sofa at the professor’s estate sale to soothe his dismay that he missed the library auction. He didn’t care for his new furniture’s pale lavender color, only its price and the fit to his back. One hundred dollars for the colorful sofa. A steal.

“There,” he gestured for the movers, pointing at two wooden chairs. “Move them to the dining room table and replace them with the sofa.”

Once the movers finished, Edgar mixed himself a frosty pitcher of whiskey sours. He set the highball glass on the side table and sank into the thick cushions of his new furniture. He scrunched down, the cushions learning his shape. Leaning back and flicking on the TV, reruns of an ancient favorite, “My Favorite Martian” lit up the screen. After a few drinks, he dozed. He dreamed of understanding the gulf between appearance and reality.

The crackle of sound from the TV awoke Edgar with a start. An alien, a doppelganger of Uncle Martin, extended its shimmering antennae towards Edgar.

“Rise, earthling. I must have food,” the alien commanded, its metallic antennae quivering with impatience.

Edgar stood. He turned to look behind him. “I don’t see any food.”

“I speak of the lavender steak upon which you sat.”

“The sofa?”

The mauve sofa pulsated with an otherworldly energy. “I crave electromagnetic waves of 450 nanometers. I must eat.”

Edgar wiped his eyes again. “This is a sofa to sit on, not to eat! I just bought it.”

The alien knocked him to the side. Spectral rays emanated from its eyes. The mauve sofa lost its special brilliance. In seconds, the sofa was an impenetrable ebony.

Sated, the alien turned its baleful ray upon the groggy Edgar, who collapsed onto the black sofa.

Much later, Edgar rose with a splitting headache. Wincing, he noted that the pitcher and his highball glass were empty. What an outrageous dream, he thought.

But then his eyes widened with insight. Grabbing his notepad for tonight’s philosophy meeting, he wrote,

Is reality always in the eye of the beholder? If so, can there be an objective truth?

Alien image created by Bing CoPilot upon my request.

a_update Sci Fi

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