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Chris Keys

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The Encounter
by Chris Keys   

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Books by Chris Keys
· Apollo Road
· One by One
· One M istaKe
· What? No second date?
· The motor Home-God Does Work In mysterious Ways
                >> View all


Science Fiction

Publisher:  self ISBN-10:  147910664X Type: 


Copyright:  Aug, 3, 2012 ISBN-13:  9781479106646


It’s late and you’re tired from driving for twelve hours in pouring rain. You stop to get a bite to eat at the only diner open for fifty miles. There is only one other customer in the place and when the cook and the waitress are less than attentive, he begins talking to you. You exchange pleasantries and then he tells you to use your mind to tell the cook what you want to eat.
You think he’s crazy, but the cook jumps up and gets you your meal. You think it’s just a coincidence but your fellow diner suggests otherwise and the conversation leaps from reality to the surreal.

what if aliens really do exit? what if they are a hundred million years more advanced than us? what if what we believe regarding mankind and our origins, they say is wrong?

It’s late and you’re tired from driving for twelve hours in pouring rain. You stop to get a bite to eat at the only diner open for fifty miles. There is only one other customer in the place and when the cook and the waitress are less than attentive, he begins talking to you. You exchange pleasantries and then he tells you to use your mind to tell the cook what you want to eat.
You think he’s crazy, but the cook jumps up and gets you your meal. You think it’s just a coincidence but your fellow diner suggests otherwise and the conversation leaps from reality to the surreal.
Believing you’ve encountered a mental patient you decide to leave, in hurry, only to discover you’re not going anywhere. And your new found friend is taking you on conversational thrill ride through mankind’s history, from its origins to the future predestined for us all.
Open your mind to the possibilities that encountering an Alien, from a race a hundred billion years more technically advanced than mankind, might present. Face the alternative explanation of our existence and then be ready to decide which is the truth and which is just a story meant to entertain you. The Encounter, where reality may not be what you thought it was.


It was several years ago, when I was in the process of moving to Florida from Michigan, that I found myself traveling, on a cold and rainy Wednesday night in December, a little after midnight. I had reached the limit of my endurance for the day and desperately needed a break. I’d been on the road for almost twelve hours and I hadn’t slept much the night before. So, by the time I was approaching Jellico, Tennessee, heading south, I was beat. The roadside sign said I’d find several different restaurants to choose from at the next exit, so I slowed down and pulled off the highway.
To my dismay, upon reaching the end of the exit ramp, almost every store or restaurant was dark. I say almost every store or restaurant, because there was one, Pancake Flipper Restaurant that was all lit up like the Fourth of July. I pulled into the parking lot only to discover that despite it having been the only place lit up, its parking lot was devoid of cars and it appeared to be devoid of customers or employees.
”That’s just great!” I thought to myself, “Now, I’ll have to drive another fifty miles before getting a cold drink.”
But just as I made a loop through their parking lot and was about to pull out, I happened to glance back at the building. It was then I noticed there was a customer at the counter and a waitress was pouring him a cup of coffee. I guess not having any cars in the parking lot, didn’t mean they weren’t open or that no one was there. So, I pulled in, and then dodging rain drops the size of grapefruits, which I did badly at, I briskly walked from the car into the restaurant.
As I entered, no one looked my way. The waitress, in the time it took me to park and walk in, had sat down at the end counter and was staring at some old movie on the TV. The TV had been installed on shelf above a door marked storage/restrooms. The chains holding it up looked as if they had somehow come to life. The dust was so thick on them, it looked like hair.
The guy seated at the counter drinking coffee was dressed in Dockers’, a golf shirt and a pair of black shoes that looked more like socks than shoes. On the stool next to him, was a rain slicker, dripping water into a small puddle on the floor under it. He looked to be maybe forty, clean shaven and a short yet stylish hair cut.
“Does it matter where I sit?” I asked, as I stepped further into the restaurant.
“No, you can sit anywhere, Honey.” The waitress replied without taking her eyes off the TV.
I started to walk down the counter angling for the booth in the corner, only to have the waitress blurt out.
“Anywhere at the counter, Honey.” I stopped, turned towards the counter and picked a seat, three down from the guy drinking the coffee.
I sat watching the TV for a few seconds along with the waitress, until I finally decided she needed a little prompting.
“I’ll have a large coke, please.”
“Yeah sure, Hon.” She replied, but she didn’t move.
“Here have mine. I haven’t touched it.” The guy with the coffee stated, as he slid it towards me along with an unopened straw. Funny, I hadn’t remembered him having a coke in front of him before.
“A…thanks.” I said, as I looked wearily at him and then over at the waitress. She sat frozen to her seat, oblivious to our conversation. What the hell, I probably just missed it when I glanced at him before, I told myself. I tore open the straw, stuck it in and took a large gulp.
“Not a great night to be out driving is it?” The coffee man mentioned, as he took another sip of his coffee, without turning to look at me.
“You can say that again. It’s really coming down out there. I’d swear the median was filled with water back outside of London. I may have to find a hotel and spend the rest of the night, driving is getting tough. So where were you headed?”
“Oh, I’m just hanging out, killing time so to speak, waiting for my ride to show. I’ve got to be in Washington tomorrow for a business meeting. What about you?” he asked smoothly. A business meeting, that seemed to fit him. You know, he was just that type. He oozed smooth. It was clear he was comfortable talking to anyone, anywhere. Whatever it was, it made him likable, as soon as he opened his mouth.
“I’m headed to Florida.” I offered. “I guess I’m about to move there. The wife is down there already, looking at houses and working. I’ve had to make the trip so many times back and forth; I’m starting to feel like, I’m a rat in a maze.”
“Moving can be an unpleasant experience. So where are you from?” He asked between sips of coffee.
“Michigan, outside of Traverse City. You?”
“I’m a bit of a traveler. I rarely call anywhere home for too long. Right now, I’d have to say here was home. Well, at least a few miles from here.”
“I bet that gets tiring, traveling all the time.” I replied.
“It can. But it comes with the job and I do love the job.” Coffee man offered.
“What do you do for a living?” I asked, just as a loud clap of thunder rattled the restaurant windows. Coffee man glanced quickly towards the ceiling and then back to his cup of coffee before answering.
“Oh, I guess you could call what I do, counseling.”
“Like in psychology, legal or school?” I quipped thinking I was pretty sharp. The waitress still wasn’t making any effort, to see if I would care to eat something, so, as I stared at the back of her head. I was thinking real hard about what I would like to eat, hoping I’d be able to reach her telepathically, since I wasn’t able to get her to respond conventionally. I thought hard about bacon and eggs, scrambled.
“That’s good. I’ll need to remember that one.” Coffee Man replied and then added. “I wouldn’t bother trying to reach her. She isn’t capable of any subliminal communication. But if you think about the cook and what you’d like, he’ll get it right out to you. He’s sitting on the floor, over there, at the end of the counter, napping.”
“What?” I found myself saying, as my head snapped around to look at the guy. He was still looking straight ahead, coffee cup in hand.
Before he could answer, I heard another voice, “Yeah, what can I get for you?” I practically fell off the stool, the vocal intrusion so startled me. The loud crash of thunder that instantly followed the question, didn’t help to calm me down.
“Whew! It sure is getting loud out there!” Coffee Man exclaimed.
“I… a…. Yeah...I guess, I’ll… a…” My tongue stumbled over my teeth and I struggled to get the words out. The cook in the meantime, at least I assumed he was the cook, stood staring at me, with a totally blank expression on his face. He looked as though he hadn’t a thought in his head. He was a young black kid, well groomed and good looking, with a tooth pick hanging out the side of his mouth.
Coffee Man, seeing my sudden inability to speak, spoke up for me. “He’ll have five strips of bacon and four scrambled eggs, plus a large orange juice and another Coke.”
“I got you, man. It’ll be up in a minute.” The cook grinned widely, exposing perfect white teeth. He quickly turned away and got right down to cooking up the order.
I looked at the Coffee Man, my eyes wide in wonder. “How did you know?” I mumbled, as I gradually gathered my wits again.
“Oh hey, I guessed. You just look like an eggs and bacon kind of guy.”
“But how did he know to…” I once again was struggling to untangle my tongue from my teeth.
“I told you to think about him, didn’t I?”
“That scared the heck out of me. I wasn’t expecting him to walk up and ask what I wanted. That was weird. Wow! Talk about a coincidence.”
“If, you say so.” Coffee Man replied and for the first time he turned his head and looked at me. He looked familiar and yet he wasn’t familiar to me at all. His cheek bones were high; his nose was regal; his chin strong and his eyes…his eyes were the brightest, deepest blue, I had ever seen. They were dazzling.
“Are those contacts?” I stupidly asked. I knew I’d seen ads for colored contacts and his eyes were so deep and rich, I just assumed he was wearing contacts.
“They are real, I assure you.” He replied as he turned away again.
“Hey, I’m sorry. But you have the bluest eyes I have ever seen. I bet the women just love them, right?
“The women around here, sure, but where I grew up, everybody has blue eyes. So, they’re really no big deal.”
“So, where was that again?” he hadn’t answered me, when I’d asked before.
“Let’s say I’m from a good distance north of here.”
“You’re Canadian?”
“You could say that.”
“I’ve an adopted brother from Canada, haven’t seen him in years. He was originally from Hamilton. You?”
“It’s a small back water community. It’s named Orion.”
“Is that in Ontario?” I asked. “It doesn’t ring a bell for me. I’ve been all over Ontario and don’t remember seeing it. Well, I haven’t been everywhere, but a lot of places over there.”
The cook stepped over and did a quick dance spin in front of me, slipping a plate of bacon and eggs onto the counter top. On his second spin, he slipped the Coke and Orange Juice onto the counter as well.
As he stepped away he quipped, “Just call if you need anything else.” Three quick steps later he was back sitting on the floor by the storeroom door.
“That was interesting.” I mentioned in a quiet voice.
“He’s quite talented, but his older brother moved to Atlanta a few years ago and was killed in a drive by shooting, so his mother won’t let him leave town.”
“You know the family, huh?”
“Oh no, I just can sense it in him. He misses his brother but he’s devoted to his mother.”
“Man, are you good! You had me going for a minute. You must be lawyer or salesman, right?” I guessed.
“Actually, it’s more like a life coach.”
“Like one of those new age religions?” I asked.
“No, I stay away from the religious angle. That would be the competition that pushes religion. It makes it easier to get most people to accept the rules by framing it in the unknown power of some all knowing and all controlling deity. The people I work for, they prefer to educate the individual specimens, in the hope that someday, they might be capable of being able to grasp the concepts of the galactic reality. With the right training, we hope to open their mental reserves to the possibility of an existence far beyond the pinnacle of your current civilization.
In fact, we have watched for some time with a good deal of anticipation and hopefulness. If only the human race were more like Einstein.” Coffee man took another sip of coffee, while I quickly ate my eggs and bacon, not sure how I should take his guy. I mean he seemed harmless, nice enough, but he was talking as if he was in a cult or something. I mean, I like to think I’m smarter than the average human but I had to stop and think about what he was saying, before I got it.
“So you work for a company that studies people and whether or not the training you provide is making them more productive or maybe even smarter because of the techniques you teach them for problem solving?” I asked.
“Close, the company… is very old. We have studied people the world over, for hundreds of years.” I started to wave my hand in front of me as I interrupted him.
“Wait, you’re saying your company has been around for hundreds of years, studying the human race? Right, what you’re saying is, you’re feeding me bull.”
“Few people are able to accept that life, on this planet, hasn’t always been as it is now and that someone, other than themselves, could possibly develop the ability to expand to new horizons and new levels of thought. My company and this, isn’t bull, as you say, has been watching and experimenting for considerably more than a few hundred years.”
“Bull! Next you’ll be expecting me to believe that little green men really exist and that they created the human race. So what, you do seminars and people pay you money to talk about how the mothership is coming to take us away.” I don’t know why I unloaded on the guy but I did. I guess I was just tired.
“I see you have been exposed to the stories. Have you ever read the bible?” Coffee Man asked.
“What?” I mumbled, as I finished the bacon and took a long gulp of Orange Juice. “Look, I’m sorry. I’m really tired. I didn’t mean to be so rude just now, but it’s hard to believe that your company has been around for hundreds of years studying mankind, looking for smart people. I need to get back on the road, so it’s been nice talking with you but I got to go. I’m on a schedule.” I started to get up when the Coffee Man spoke.
“What if I could show you the proof of what I’m saying?”
“Hey, how much do I owe?” I called out to the waitress or the cook or to anyone who might be listening. After neither one moved, I blurted out. “Ok! I’ll just leave a twenty and you can keep the change.” I ignored the coffee man’s question.
“Don’t bother, they aren’t really here.” Coffee Man offered. That seemed like an odd thing to say, so I turned to question the comment but when I turned around, he wasn’t there either. There was no coffee cup, no dirty plate in front of me. Even the wet spot on the floor under the stool where his rain slicker had been was gone. My own coat was dry as a bone. I quickly turned back to the waitress and cook, but they too had disappeared. I scooped up my coat and my twenty, and headed for the door, as fast as I could. Just as I opened the door, the lightning flashed and the thunder roared loudly. The rain, which had slacked off a few minutes before, once more came down in a torrent and pounded against the door so fiercely, I was barely able to open it.
I mustered every drop of strength I had, pushed the door open and jogged to my car. As I jumped into the car, I noticed the lights of the restaurant winked out. That was when the lighted sign over the door next caught my attention. It was the standard Pancake Flipper motto sign that said, Open 24/7/365. On the door though, was another handwritten sign, that I must have missed on the way in and it read, “Closed midnights until further notice, see you at six a.m.”



Jumping into the car, a chill ran down my spine and I rapidly scanned the parking lot, while I made sure that all the car doors were locked. I fumbled with my keys for few seconds, trying to find the ignition key and once I’d sorted it out, I quickly stuck it in and turned it.
Nothing happened. There was no sound at all. NO crank, no cough, no sputter, no rrrrrrrr. Nothing! I pounded the steering wheel with my fist and was about to scream, when Coffee Man spoke up.
“Doesn’t that hurt your hand?”
I leapt out of the car and stood several feet away in the rain. I stared back into the car and I thought I had to be dreaming. The car doors had all been locked, I locked them all. I knew I locked them all. Yet Coffee Man was sitting in the passenger seat, grinning at me.
“How did…. you…” I stumbled over the words again, so Coffee Man finished the sentence for me, once more.
“How did I get in your car?” He looked at me and I nodded my head affirmative. “I just decided to be here. Now get in out of the rain and stop acting out your primitive impulses, before I change my mind about you.”
I stepped closer but I didn’t get in. I continued to look at him, as the rain continued to poor down. I looked about the parking lot. There weren’t any cars or trucks or people for that matter, just as it had been when I had first arrived. We appeared to be all alone. Once more the lightning flashed and the thunder roared, and I suddenly found myself in the driver’s seat. I tried jumping out of my seat again only to bang into the door which wouldn’t open. I then, did my best to meld with the door panel, trying to create space, between myself and the Coffee Man.
“Christopher, you need to relax. If I had wanted to harm you, I would have harmed you long ago. Besides, my group does not experiment on the sub-species. That would be the Grey’s. They have had an ongoing routine of experimentations for thousands of years. They aren’t concerned with whether or not you can someday develop into a greater participant in the galaxy. They are looking for a slave race that they can easily repair, while extending the life span to a reasonable length of time. So far, your species shows possibilities. They are currently lobbying the Galactic Science Council for the right to harvest several hundred million humans and most of the domesticated cattle population worldwide. They intend to use the humans as slaves on their mining colonies and the cattle, as a food source for their slaves and themselves. They’ve developed a real taste for beef.”
I sat staring at him for a moment, trying to decide how to handle this situation and this mental patient. I had to get him out of my car, before I could leave. It was while I was pondering my predicament, it registered that he had said my name. He had called me Christopher, but I hadn’t told him my name. “How did you know my name?” I asked out loud, when I thought I was just thinking it.
“Good. That’s what I like to see. Get the little questions out of the way. I saw it in your mind. My race is able to read minds to some extent. Names, current intensions, questions you’d like to ask, things like that. You’re currently thinking, I’m a mental patient and that you’re in danger. I can assure you, that neither is true. Just relax and let your brain search it out for you. Relax and try to open your mind to the possibility, that what I’m saying is true.”
“At this point, I couldn’t relax if you drugged me. I don’t understand why you’re talking to me. I’m just some guy, an average guy at that. I don’t even have a college education. Hell, I barely managed to get through high school.” I confessed.
“The education process, on this planet, is not designed to bring out your true potential. It is merely designed to make you competent enough to build some minor mechanical or electrical device, so as not to challenge those in power. Once mankind has reached its true potential, there will be no need for the pompas fools that inhabit this world’s capitals. All men and women will be of equal intelligence. Those with information necessary to survival of the species or which might provide personal fulfillment for others will simply have that information taken from their minds and shared with the others.
We rule jointly through the connection of our minds. Violence, when applied, is swift and terrible. Wars among ourselves are unheard of, and we will only rarely interfere with the normal development of sub-species.” Coffee Man stopped speaking as he looked at me with those brilliant blue penetrating eyes. I sensed he was expecting me to ask another question.
I don’t know if he was expecting the question I asked but I asked it anyway. “What’s your name?”
“Yes, it is right to know with whom you are speaking. My name, in my native language would be impossible for you to pronounce. You lack the extra set of vocal cords we possess, so I will translate it for you. Let’s see…”
I blurted out, “Bob?”
“Oh no, that was a random thought, where I momentarily thought it just might be easier but then I discarded it. It is good to see you are becoming more receptive. However, it is Clounos’h
If I were you, I’d just call me Clo.”
“Okay Clo, what is it, you want to tell me?”
“It isn’t so much; I want to tell you something. It is more along the lines of, I have a question to ask you, my friend. Oh wait. It is your custom to shake hands when greeting a friend is it not? And are we not, just a couple of friends having a quiet conversation?” Clo stuck out his hand and I almost recoiled, but I remembered from a TV show I saw, they recommended not upsetting mental patients, so I slowly stuck my hand out and shook his hand. Yikes, it was a cold fish of a hand. I mean it... it was ice cold. Shaking his hand, hurt my arthritis and I quickly pulled it back.
“I am so sorry. I should have warned you. I sense that you have some malfunctions that may have caused this interaction to be painful.” Clo may have been sorry, but it was hard to tell by the complete lack of facial expression. “I am sorry.” Clo mentioned again.
“Yeah, sure, it didn’t really hurt much, just startled me. So why are you so cold?” I asked.
Our building blocks of life are based in nitrogen not oxygen/carbon as you are.” Clo started to explain, only to have me interrupt him.
“But you look just like us.”
“Yes, it is by far the most functional design in the universe. It allows for locomotion, grabbing, climbing, seeing long distances, standing above most plant life, it protects the brain from easy attack, allows for easy removal of bodily wastes and it still allows the unit to function even if an appendage is damaged or removed. The only drawback that we have discovered is the location of the male genitals. They are far too easy to access in fits of violence, but with the proper added protection it is workable.”
“So what, you have nitrogen flowing through your veins?” I asked.
“Let me see if I can explain this at your level. Hmmmm…..Ok think of the nitrogen in my body as you would the oxygen in your body. Your blood and indeed your whole body, is filled with oxygen. It’s in your blood, your cells, and your tissues. You need to breathe it in with every breath you take. Now your atmosphere is made up off 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen and a whole host of other lesser gases. Our home planet, Orion, has an atmosphere that is 85% nitrogen, 30% helium, 18% oxygen and again a large number of lesser gases. When life formed on our planet 100 billion years ago, it started with a carbon/nitrogen atom based creature which over several billion years evolved into us. On this planet we discovered that in order to construct a life form just like us, we needed a great deal more nitrogen and a good deal more helium. We attempted to import the gases from several gas giants but the amount of gravity that your planet exerts wasn’t sufficient to hold a large enough amount of helium in the atmosphere, so we abandoned the project and settled for the gases we already had in place. The whole process was enormously expensive and in the end very disappointing.”
“Wait. You still use money or trade something of value for something else of value?” I asked.
“Of course, but I’m a bit ashamed to say it took us a few foolish missteps along the way marked by failed political systems, where everyone received the same and there wasn’t any real incentive to achieve anything. After all, handshakes, pats on the back and trophies only go so far. We settled on a system where no one goes without, but everyone gets the chance to create wealth for themselves. Most achieve this through discovery and hard work, supplying the needed materials to continue building and rebuilding our world plus the numerous others we have terra farmed. The system works quite well. Unfortunately, some will never advance, because they just didn’t receive the drive needed to be successful, in the great cosmic draw. We typically make them work as the governmental bureaucrats as you call them. They are paid well and are given perceived special privileges to help make them feel special. Most are not able to read another person’s mind, so they never figure out that they are not all that special. It is sort of like the, ah… special education people, we have observed on your planet.”
My God, this guy sure can tell one hell of a story. He’s got answers to every question I can think of, I thought to myself. I then glanced at my watch and saw it was 4:30. Just an hour and half more and I can get some help. God, I sure hope I can keep this up that long.
“I wouldn’t worry about keeping the conversation going. I assure you that I can carry it all by myself, if need be. But your interaction is greatly appreciated. As far as, the Police, helping you? Well, just let me say once more, I will not harm you and they will not be able to locate you even if, you could somehow provide them with a message. Where you think we are sitting, isn’t really where you are. It’s an illusion. One, I made up it up for your comfort. Would you like to see where you really are?” Clo asked, with a smile on his face.
“Sure, why not?” I brazenly stated.


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