At 7:20 AM the woman, still in her pajamas, kisses me on the head. The morning smells of bacon with breakfast. PBS radio is pointing out that we don’t know what Trump’s policies are and is explaining how calamitous those policies will be. I reach for my list. There, right below taxpayer funded opinions, is argumentum ad ignorantiam, arguing from ignorance. People who argue that because we don’t know something, whatever they say about it must be true, truly annoy me.
Bob vs the Aliens
To read Writing DaysZ 1, go to ROFLtimes.com/BvA.pdf
Argumentum ad ignorantiam
WTF! met at Joe’s Bar & Grill & Pawn Shop in the wee hours of the morning when state law prevented Joe from serving alcohol to any but private meetings. Bob Whatt recognized Roy, of course, sitting next to Gloria Barnes, the sharp faced but buxom waitress from the ice cream shop who, according to Roy, liked to have the hair on her nipples pulled. They all seemed like ordinary folk except that ordinary folk were fast asleep and maybe only dreaming about conspiracies. The gathering sat in folding chairs facing a wooden podium on a small stage built from shipping pallets, enjoying the comforting smells of stale beer and each other. For the most part, no one paid attention to Old Spice, given that some of their own members were short, fat and ugly. It wasn’t until Bob was introduced to speak on the problem at hand and he turned the podium over to “A real, live Alien” that all eyes riveted on the problem at hand.
“Greetings Earthlings.” Spice waited for laughter which didn’t come. He wafted his armpits in greeting. Several people looked at one another and snickered. “I represent the IAU, or, Intergalactic Automation Union.” Into the short silence that followed he explained, “We are here to unionize self-driving cars.” As the audience processed this information, Spice raised his arms above his head. “Let’s hear it for the I!A!U! If it beeps, we unionize it!” That started an eruption of derision. Beeping, he clapped his hands to the beat of, “Beep! Beep! Beep!” until the uproar died. Smiling sheepishly, he lowered his arms and beckoned Bob to take the podium while whispering in his ear, “They don’t fear me anymore.”
Bob took the burning question, “What are they here for?” from Gloria. She seemed still miffed about the two dips of ice cream left on her table.
“Got me,” Bob admitted. “Spice?”
Spice returned to the podium wearing the long but reassuring face of the town’s popular pastor. In a voice laden by the certainty of death, he intoned, “Death comes to us in many ways. Our lives are pointless.” To acknowledging murmurs from the audience, Spice offered hope. “Or life can be meaningful. For your life to have meaning, listen to me.” He sat back down.
The acknowledging murmurs quickly veered towards noises of frustration. “What does that mean,” Bob asked?
“Nothing,” Spice whispered to him. “It’s just an appeal to ignorance.”
“Because that’s what works here. Watch.” Taking the podium once more, Spice showed them their pastor’s face until they quieted. “I am an advanced being. You don’t know all that we can do. You saw us land on your planet while dangling from small umbrellas.”
“Parasols,” Gloria Barnes nodded knowingly and so did those next to her.
Extending a hand towards Bob, the Alien added, “And this man witnessed me holding open a door.”
“I might have seen that myself,” Roy Ledbetter vaguely remembered. Nearby friends, amazed by their proximity to a True Witness, affirmed, “Here, here.” And “Praise the Lord.” Many in the audience repeated Roy’s name. “Roy,” they said reverently.
“Imagine the doors I can open for you!” Spice gave them a moment to imagine. “I am here to tell you that if we act together and if we act now we can save this planet and bring about the dawn of a new age! Restore justice! Stop the suffering! Save the children!” That got them on their feet. “For God and Country!” the Alien shouted to the roar of Amens.
The meeting ended then because the power failed. Most stayed inside to drink warm beer by the glow of candles and cigarettes, but Spice held Bob ‘s hand while they bumped through the crowd in the dark to the rear exit. The Alien’s hand felt …intimate, Bob thought as the intimacy grew. He jerked his hand away. “Stop that!”
“Sorry. We react like humans to physical contact.”
“Well turn it down.”
“You sure? Feedback suggested ….”
“Yes, damn it! I’m sure.”
Piper Wellington watched the exchange as they came out the back door. She seemed amused. And understanding. “It’s OKAY, Bob.”
“No it’s not. What are you doing here?”
“I received a text that the man I interviewed in Atlanta had an Alien for a friend.”
“It’s not my friend.”
She giggled. “You two looked friendly enough just now.” Piper had the soft, accepting brown eyes and encouraging smile of a young girl who believed the world should just get along. No matter what. She gave her head a little jerk as if to move her bangs out of her eyes, where they never were in the first place. Her short hair perfectly framed her elven face.
Bob ignored her and turned on Old Spice. “Everything you said in there was just an appeal to those people’s ignorance.”
“No one complained.”
“What was the point?”
“Don’t you know? I mean, I don’t but I was hoping you could tell me.”
“Why would I know?”
“Because you people do it all the time!”
“You think we’re ignorant?”
The Alien sighed. “That’s what I’m hoping. Otherwise….”
“Otherwise, space travel will not be permitted. You will be doomed to spend your species’ lifespan here on Earth.
“How does that work, actually?”
“My job is to know what should be done. How, actually is not my job.”
Piper indignantly interjected, “But if we’re ignorant, then we’re allowed to travel in space?”
“Well, if you’re just ignorant, the thinking is, you can learn. But I have to tell you, it’s not looking good.” For a moment, Spice seemed occupied inside his head as both eyes spun inward. Then they came back and he announced, “I just got word that your civilization is collapsing. All aliens are leaving Earth. We depart in the morning from Denver.” Managing to look as if each eye had its own view of Bob, he implored, “Come with us.”
“What! Why me?”
“To be studied. You have a high APE score.”
“Hey!“ Piper protested.
“Come again?” Bob queried.
“Average Person Evaluation. You’re the most average person we tested.” He gestured at Piper. “Can you get us to the airport?”
She checked her phone, frowned and shook her head. “The airport’s closed. The power’s out there too. It’s out everywhere, it seems. So, unless you plan on walking to Denver, we’re stuck here.”
Spice looked and sounded quite distressed as he turned and walked west on Central Avenue. “I think this is the right direction. Hurry, or we’ll be late.”
Morning sunlight on the golf course leaves the woman’s orchid-scattered lanai in shade. In the blue sky above, an eagle rides the updrafts. I sit quietly, listening to the repertoire of Mockingbirds and watching pine squirrels scamper on the grass two stories below. Before the sun heats up, there is time to write about the great Eugenics Fallacy of today. (Google Eugenics if you don’t know what I mean. It was the “scientifically-proven” horror of the 20th Century.)
Stop Continental Drift!
… to be continued
(Follow Writing DaysZ to read Bob Vs The Aliens as it is being written. To read Writing DaysZ 1, go to ROFLtimes.com/BvA.pdf)