Picture it. Shreveport, Louisiana, 1977. I was half way through college and still wondering why boys at coeducational schools weren’t called coeds. That summer, a nerdy hot boyfriend had taken me to see Star Wars, although I would have preferred to see Annie Hall. (Nerdy hot boyfriends may have greater earnings potential later in life, but they are not likely to agree to see a Woody Allen film.) A couple of days later, he told me he’d like to see the movie again and asked if I’d like to go with him. I declined, having been unimpressed both by Star Wars and what came after it.
By the time winter came along, there was another science fiction epic in theaters and another boyfriend, not as nerdy hot but decidedly more romantic and belonging to a fraternity whose box I hadn’t yet checked. So we went to see Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and we both loved it.
The use of the five tone phrase combining music and mathematics as a means of communicating with the aliens (I suppose “visitors” would be more politically correct these days) appealed to my two favorite nerd strains. After the movie and the date were over, those tones kept playing in my mind on an endless loop.
It may have been that my brain waves were still vibrating to those tones which caused what happened after I had drifted off to sleep. We all have dreams, and sometimes they are just somewhat random imagery.
But this was not a dream; this was a vision. This was something like Isaiah or Ezekiel would have had, or even that scientist Jodie Foster played in Contact. While those five notes were still bouncing around in my head, a being began to emerge from the haze, not scary, just comforting and familiar and beautiful.
I raised up from my bed and called out, “Annette, is that you? What are you doing here?” Now understand this was not Mouseketeer Annette, this was Beach Party Annette.
“Well, Craig, I’m to let you know that the Great Consciousness, or Gra-Cie as she prefers to called, has noted your openness to cosmic truth and asks you to be prepared to communicate for her should she need for you to do so.”
“Well of course. How could I turn down such a request? So God really is a woman? Is that what you’re telling me?”
“Oh, Craig, that’s so cute. We’re not talking about God—we’re talking about Gra-Cie. And you’ve already had enough experience with males to know that they usually operate at their fullest potential when they are approaching the Great Unconsciousness.” While I wondered if that was slut-shaming me, Annette finished her task. “Now that you’ve agreed, we’ll let you know if you’re needed.”
Picture it again. Dallas, Texas, 2020. Sleeping soundly from both COVID and Trump fatigue, I was dreaming about attending a lecture by Aldous Huxley (at least I think it was Huxley) with a woman I worked for nearly 30 years ago. Looking down, I discovered I was wearing a diaper with a single black cha cha heel. Horrified, I looked around to discover the hall had filled with a smoky mist and, once again, the perfect face of my very first favorite movie star appeared. “Annette? Is it really you again after all these years?”
“No, Craig, Annette died seven years ago. You remember.”
“Well, then who are you?”
“I’m your favorite childhood memory. You had chicken pox and had to stay home from church on Sunday night, so you got to watch Walt Disney and Annette sang Dream Boy. I’m not the real Annette, so perhaps you should think of me as QAnnette.”
“That’s kind of disturbing, but OK. So why are you back?”
“Gra-Cie is not amused by what’s happening on Petri.”
“What you call Earth. Despite the advancements in technology and the endless bragging about proficiency in multi-tasking, humanity is not handling things at all well. There’s climate change and the coronavirus, not to mention some of the folks that have been elevated to power. When she asked about all of the smoke coming from your North American continent, she was reminded that these weren’t distress signals from the native peoples who have been all but eradicated, but a message from Petri itself. That’s why she sent down a little reconnaissance mission to see what’s really going on down there.”
“I saw that. The supposed UFO sighting this week in New Jersey. Turned out it was the Goodyear Blimp.”
“Yes, good disguise, don’t you think? We use that one a lot. Gra-Cie is consulting with herself—which she can do because she really is Gra-Cie—to decide whether to flick an asteroid in your path or just leave you to your own devices. The part of herself she was consulting with encouraged her to go down among the people before making that decision. The Blimp was seeing if Grover’s Mill is still a good site for a stealth landing.”
“Why am I being told all of this? It’s not like I’m on television or anything. Really, QAnnette, you should be talking to Anderson Cooper or Rachel Maddow or even Sean Hannity.”
“I’m telling you because Gra-Cie asked me to do so. Now I must go. I have a message for Ted Cruz before he wakes up.”
“Gra-Cie has a message for Ted Cruz?”
“No, she just likes to mess with him.” Then the mist rose again, and all that was left was the hint of an Italian folk song.
Is this real? Is it true? Should we really be concerned about an Orwellian dystopian future? Or is the future more Orson Wellian? Something to think about, for those who still can.