They’ve Seen A Few Things

“Well, Tom, I did as you asked. Went out to the Hogan’s place out by the Fulton Farm and interviewed Old Man Conner.”

“Yeah. What did he have to say about his neighbor?”

“Nothing in particular. Strange one, that Conner, though.”

“What did he say this time?”

“Wasn’t what he said; it’s what he asked.”

“What did he ask you?”

“Well, I approached him all careful like, as you instructed. He was sitting on his front porch, just as you said he would be, shotgun across his lap, sitting back in the corner of the porch rocking back and forth.”

“He didn’t point the gun at you, did he?”

“No, no, nothing like that. As I approached he didn’t seem bothered I was there. As I eased up, careful to keep my distance and taking a few steps carefully as I spoke, to make sure he understood I was there just to talk to him, not to arrest him, I told him my name and asked how he was doin’.”

“And what did he reply?”

“He said, ‘You carbon based?’ To which I replied that I had no idea what he meant. He then half asked, half said, ‘You ain’t one of them robots are you?’ To which I smiled and said no. ‘Not one of them androids neither?  Not one of them electronically modified biological organisms with integrated systems that allow information to be displayed across your visual and auditory cortexes connected wirelessly back to some server on the other side of the planet via radio waves bouncing off of the ionosphere?’”

Tom let out a brief laugh.

“I don’t know what the hell he was talking about, Tom. Sounded like some kind of science fiction technobabble.”

“Conners is harmless, Styles. He’s just seen a few things others haven’t; that’s all. If you think what he said to you was odd, you ought to hear him tell you about the people pulled from another dimension being used to replace those here. Says they look just like and behave just like the ones we know. Says there is something different about them, hidden in the way they look at you. Oh, and they all carry smartphones and access artificial intelligence apps to retrieve the information they don’t know about to sound like they are the ones they replaced. Says it’s all a religious conspiracy based on a messiah who was really a spaceman.”

“This county gets any weirder, I’m goin to have to move elsewhere, Tom. I’ve never seen such foolishness as exists in the citizenry here.”

“Oh, they’re alright, Styles, they’ve just seen a few things, that’s all. They’ve just seen a few things.”