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To Leave This World

To Leave This World

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Published by David Oppegaard
A young woman joins an alien cult in California to escape her own life.
A young woman joins an alien cult in California to escape her own life.

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Published by: David Oppegaard on Nov 12, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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To Leave This World
By David OppegaardWe are all waiting to leave this world. We have purchased four industrial-sizedspotlights, the kind they signal Batman with in the movies, and we have placed them atthe four corners of our stargazing field. The spotlights are aimed so that their beamsintertwine high above us in one stunning tower of white light that seems to go on forever,all the way into the deepest pockets of space. The highway that runs by our compoundhas a steady stream of traffic and every night at least two or three vehicles turn off ontoour little access road, their tires spinning on the loose gravel as they rumble towards us,always moving too fast for the lumpy road. When the access road ends they continue onfoot, their eyes wide as their chins tilt up. They ask us in murmuring tones why we have built the tower of light, what its purpose is.“We are waiting,” we tell the newcomers. “We have friends from a distant place,and this is our version of leaving a porch light on.”Usually this sends the person, or persons, power walking back to their vehicle.But since this is California, and some people here still have an open mind, hungry for anew consciousness, not everyone takes off right away. Some stay and ask questions.They learn of our leader’s vision, of his astral connection to a friendly, sentient speciesliving ten million light years away. They also learn that members of this distant speciesare already on their way to make contact with us, to perhaps even take us home withthem. If these facts do not frighten the newcomers away, either, if by the end of our announcement they are still sitting with us and smiling naturally, then we may have anew member on our hands, and our hearts fill with the joy of conversion.
OppegaardTo Leave This World
*My parents visit us every Sunday. They have just come from church and smelllike Old Spice and lilacs. They both have silver hair and are well fed, having made their fortune in the cutthroat world of San Francisco real estate.“Teresa, honey,” they say, “Why don’t you come home now and stop all thisfoolishness? We still haven’t touched your old room, and your cats miss you. All theydo is meow and pace the house, like they’re saying ‘Where’s our Terry?’ Really, it’s a pathetic thing to see.”When they start begging like this I try to keep my patience, but it’s hard. MyEarth-centric parents think I’m only here because my husband and son died a few monthsago in an apartment fire, that now I’m hiding from “real” life. They don’t believe inaliens. They are Republicans. They believe in dollars and sense. They believe in thestock market and the prime interest rate. They go to church to shake hands, fish for newclients, and network.“I can’t leave the grounds,” I tell my parents with as much tact as I can muster,“you know that. What if I left today and tomorrow they came for us? How would youfeel then?”“We would be glad,” my mother says. “We love you, Terry. We don’t want youto leave the planet.”The conversation stalls. My father looks around our dusty, unkempt grounds andshakes his head. “Fifty acres,” he says. “What a shame. This used to be a vineyard, youknow? I bet it made great wine.”*2
OppegaardTo Leave This World
My mother always brings flowers when she visits the compound. She prefersyellow daises and shockingly large sunflowers, and she thrusts a bouquet in my armseach week as if transferring a sacred object into my possession. I tell her the flowersaren’t necessary, that I will only put them in my building’s entryway when she leaves.She always laughs at this and puts her arm around me.“Oh Terry,” she says. “A little color never killed anyone.”My father nods in agreement.“Your mother’s right, dear. People can always use more color in their lives. We just painted the living room last weekend, and what a difference a lighter shade of bluemakes.”My father likes to walk around the grounds with our leader, asking questionsabout the two main buildings and our future construction plans. He asks detailedquestions and listens to our leader’s answers with a slight grin. I am sure he thinks hecould construct a bigger, better development than this, that he could fix all our problemswith a stack of 2 X 4s and some nails.“Aren’t they cute?” my mother says, watching the men point in broad, visionarygestures. “They’re like little boys playing with blocks.”I don’t know what to say to this, so I stay silent.“Have you met any gentlemen here?” my mother asks, trying to elbow me andwink at the same time. “I’m can only speak for myself, but so far I’ve seen at least acouple of Casanovas checking you out.”There are obviously many problems with my mother saying something like this tome, but they aren’t all as humorous as one would think. She doesn’t know that I actually3

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