Pitlor, MA Econ
Prologue: The Supreme Council of the Coalition of Planets is a sad and somewhat dreary story that deals with a problem which is far too common in the lives of boys and girls throughout the world. I daresay it may even border on depressing, but I hope there is a lesson in it. I'm not good at lessons because, in life, I have learned very few myself. Since the subject matter of the story hinges on the disastrous effects of depravity, I counsel my readers to distance themselves from the main characters only to protect their own sanity as readers and objective observers. The world is replete with tragedies, and this story will end in a tragedy. I want to give that much away before anyone gets too involved. Also, I want to start with a nice part. It is good to begin with nice things first. So here goes. I. Early autumn 1999: Boy meets girl.

Colleen was educationally "challenged."

That was the "in" word back then. When you had difficulties learning things or any other sort of physical or mental weaknesses, you were politely referred to as challenged. And Colleen had lots of trouble concentrating and remembering to do simple tasks like brushing her long, silky flaxen hair or washing her hands after using the bathroom. She drooled out of one side of her mouth too when she got excited. She had never been able to master phonics and was thereby more or less illiterate.

Sometimes she had bowel accidents too, but these were growing fewer as she approached her sixteenth birthday. Of course, Colleen received special training and reported each day to a different room than most of her peers. In that room, reminders abounded in pictorial form about how she was to conduct her day, from washing her face after smearing breakfast on it to putting away her crayons and pencils and not cutting herself accidentally with scissors. Part of the pity felt by many observers was that, although slightly clubfooted and awkward, Colleen was rather pretty. She needed some adult to make her pretty each day, but when they did, she was nice looking. Period. School had just started. First half of the eleventh grade. But for Colleen, there were no actual grades as such. Special education just ran on a continuum from one year spilling into another with the same tasks to be learned and re-learned each day. Colleen was making slow progress, but it was certain that after age 18 she would never be able to fully take care of her own needs. And arrangements had been made for that too. When we throw open the gray curtains of time into that lost era, we see Colleen sitting on the grass in Avondale Park, just down the street from Eastlawn High School, alongside a very handsome boy named Brent Hargreave, and though Colleen will play a small role in this story, it will really be the story of Brent Hargreave, a nice boy, a well-bred and polite lad from a good family. Brent thought of sex occasionally, but he had no unseemly designs on the retarded girl. They had just recently made friends, and now they were talking about why they had made friends. They had a subject in common: The Supreme Council of the Coalition of

Planets. It was a beautiful, sunlit day, and, as Brent edged closer to the challenged girl, she started to feel less challenged and more normal than she had ever felt with the groping, probing boys who always took advantage of the mental limitations which prevented her from saying no or stop. Brent was getting excited about their subject of discussion, and for one magical moment, he grasped Colleen's hand to make a point. His hand felt warm and comforting. It went no farther than her wrist, and Colleen relaxed and let the autumn sun bathe her in the closest thing to happiness that she had ever felt before. Brent himself may have fallen a bit for Colleen, but it was not evident. What was evident is that he wanted her for an audience and felt very comfortable talking to her about The Supreme Council of the Coalition of Planets. From a distance and then even up close, the two looked very happy. And for a few fleeting minutes, they were. II. Why Colleen broke a rule and went to the park with Brent. She wasn't supposed to do it, but she slipped away and did, and it was nice. It had begun that day in school. Colleen, along with several of her special education classmates, were occasionally integrated into regular classes by the eleventh grade, and she was now sitting spread legged in the back of Mr. Crouper's first period English class, inadvertently exposing her unfortunately soiled undershorts. Some front row boys were shooting chewed wads of paper at her exposed crotch, and another was trying to unsnap her bra from behind with a pencil down the back of her shirt. For Colleen, such behavior was normal. She was odd and different, and

this was the kind of attention she felt she deserved. And she relentlessly received it. It stopped when Mr. Crouper came into the room. Crouper had given his class a speech assignment, the sort of task that the most unoriginal and laziest of teachers, and Crouper was both, issued near the start of each school year. Each student was to stand up for three minutes and talk about either something that had happened to him or her over the summer break or something they had learned. The first speaker who stood up was Ash-Ash (short for Ashton Ashcroft). AshAsh looked around at his buddies and grinned. They knew his story was going to be the "big" one. "I made it with a girl under the 18th Avenue overpass," he began chuckling. Mr. Crouper cut him off and thumbed him back into his seat, details of his encounter unfinished. Then came Melissa, Rhea, and Janelle, one after another. Melissa had learned to bake something. Rhea had gone, predictably, to Disney World, and Janelle had taken care of her grandmother in the latter's last hours. Weeping openly at the end of her speech, Janelle blubbered on about having seen death firsthand. "They shrivel right before your eyes," she gushed. Then came Urial, Frankie and Tomas. Urial had done this, Frankie that, and Tomas had gone with his parents to Mexico and had learned about "how bad things were there." "For the Mexicans, I mean,” he added making sure that no one thought of him as anything but a Mexican-American. Mr. Crouper, visibly bored, coughed and agreed that Mexico was indeed a bad place. That was not exactly what Tomas had meant, but it would do.

When Brent Hargreave's turn came, some of the girls giggled and some of them sighed. Brent was acknowledged widely as the hottest boy in the eleventh grade, a star athlete in both wrestling and football. Brent was so well-liked by classmates and faculty that he could have even gotten away with a story akin to AshAsh's without a word of criticism from Mr. Crouper, who, like others, held high expectations for Brent. By popular acclaim, Brent was an all-around neat guy. His speech made his less neat almost at once. With a determined look of awe and wonder gleaming in his eyes, he announced that he had been serve on the Supreme Council of the Coalition of Planets, a cosmic organization of super beings who elected very few representatives from Earth, but now he, Brent, was one. Brent was dead serious. The extraterrestrial masters had chosen him. He would sit on the Council and speak for Earth. Perhaps he could keep them from destroying the planet. Perhaps he could convince them that mankind was not all that bad. The other students snickered and rolled their eyes. Brent was too cool a guy to laugh openly at. But his speech was surely some sort of joke. Mr. Crouper, however, knew that Brent was not joking. Something had happened to the handsome boy over the summer break. He needed to be reported to someone. His fantasy was sudden and possibly dangerous. Mr. Crouper knew the one thing that the other students did not because he had read Brent's file. There was, inexplicably, a longstanding suicide watch on the boy. Teachers were always on guard for possible suicide

threats, and Crouper immediately sent a note to the counseling office as was the official protocol. Brent, still glowing with pride, concluded his speech by saying that he had been awarded the greatest honor any "Earthling" (he used that word) could ever receive: a seat on the Supreme Council of the Coalition of Planets. Unbeknownst to Brent as he resumed his seat, a note on his behalf was floating down the corridor toward the administrative offices. Only Colleen believed Brent, and from that moment on she wanted to talk to him more about his experience. She whispered it in his ear as they filed out of the classroom to the next period. Brent agreed. In the park. Later today. The date was kept, and it was very nice as we have previously seen. III. "Madness in great ones must not unwatch’d go.” ---Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act III, scene I Miss Amy Greenleaf, her first year as a high school counselor, had read the file on Brent. There was nothing terribly weird about him noted until around the age of twelve when his seventh grade teacher had first heard him mention wanting to die. It had been noted with a question mark next to it. No further comment. Then two eighth grade teachers the following year had noted that the athletic and popular boy often fell into gloomy moods for no reason at all and began talking about cutting his wrists, "laterally," he said, "not horizontally." That too had been noted. Then a string of counselors had worked Brent over and found nothing. A social worker had visited his home and found it to be inhabited by "a charming and erudite family." Then suddenly Brent had blurted out after a junior varsity

football game that he was going to shoot himself with his father's gun "if he could find it." The police had become involved with this incident, and their discovery was that Brent's father, a quiet accountant, did not have a gun. Case closed. As far as the cops were concerned, it was just an adolescent attempt to gain attention. But everyone noted that it did seem strange coming from a boy so physically and mentally endowed as Brent. Miss Greenleaf had read it all once again. "You're on suicide watch," she said. "We do that here." "I was just kidding about that," said Brent with a smile. "Besides, now that I've been elected to the Supreme Council of the Coalition of Planets, I can't even consider killing myself. They need me. Earth itself needs me. You just don't understand." "Understand what?" inquired Miss Amy. "That my seat on the Council represents all of Earth. I'm needed there." Brent went on to describe the Council and its members in terms that were borrowed from a succession of Star Wars movies all jumbled together. "Some have compound eyes like flies," he said gasping in unfeigned wonder. "Some have tentacles for arms and a lot of them. Some of them are only shadow beings. Some of them are huge, and some of them are only inches tall but powerful." Brent would have gone on, but Miss Amy stopped him. She tapped a pencil on his file and told him to stop spewing nonsense or he would be sent to a special school. Counselors were trained to bring up "The

Special School" whenever odd behavior manifested itself. In fact, there was no special school for kids with vivid impressions of being interstellar contactees. Upon leaving, Brent, with great assuredness, told Miss Amy that he wasn't going to discuss it anymore anyway, "except with a chosen few." "The Council doesn't want the whole world to know," he said. "I need to act normal." "Indeed you do," said Miss Amy, still making notes in Brent's now bulging file. She wrote and wrote and was still writing when Brent excused himself and shut the door. One of her last entries stands out: “He seems so very happy!! (?)” she wrote and followed it with the same question mark that others before her had always used when noting his behavior. “So very happy.(?)” IV. Brent's happiness. Everyone noticed it. Brent ceased to talk about the Supreme Council of the Coalition of Planets to anyone except the "retard Colleen," as everyone called her. He improved his grades in each of his classes and became a candidate for captain of the varsity wrestling team. But one day he quit that suddenly, telling his coach that he would soon be taking long but quick trips to far off places and would no longer have time to come to practice. The time once devoted to practice was now either accorded to long, impassioned discussions with Colleen or to disappearing altogether into his room. His parents were pleased with the grade improvement and all-around happy and helpful attitude, but dropping sports had sent up a red flag for them. So did the very

obvious fact that he was constantly hanging around a visibly retarded girl, a girl whom he had even brought to dinner once, and, yes, Colleen, aged 16, had had not one but two bowel and bladder accidents on that visit and had gone home wearing some of Brent's mother’s clothes with her own soiled ones in a brown paper bag at her side. Brent's parents did not like Colleen, nor did they like the fact that she went up to his bedroom and had hush-hush discussions with their son. They suspected nothing else. Brent had never told them about the Supreme Council of the Coalition of Planets. V. Colleen's decision One day in January, Colleen decided that she too was going to be called to serve on the Supreme Council. She told Brent that she felt she had been called. Brent eyed her strangely. They were sitting on the porch swing, and the house was empty. Colleen had been dreaming about Brent for a long time, and now she wanted to be wherever Brent was. Her own parents had permitted the visits because some other counselor said that it might do her good. But there were time limits, and Colleen's visit time was nearly expired. Brent did not feel that Colleen was telling the truth. Surely, the Supreme Council of the Coalition of Planets had not called her too. He had a certain warmth for the challenged girl, but it went no farther than that. She was, in effect, his audience and at best his friend. She ardently believed the Supreme Council story---and it is time now to say, if the reader has not already guessed, that Brent did too. HIS council would not have a girl like Colleen sitting at his side. No way. He was about to tell her this, when she suddenly began taking off her

clothes. "Don't do that!!" Brent exclaimed horrified. "The Council doesn't want you, and neither do I." "I've done it with boys before," protested Colleen. "Why can't I do it with the boy I love?" "I do not love you," shouted Brent, "and you are not getting elected to the Council. No way." Brent jumped up and walked off the porch, leaving the nearly naked retarded girl to re-dress herself and leave. She was also crying and drooling, and obviously she had suffered another accident. Her jeans were dripping urine, and there was a puddle left under the swing. Colleen slunk slowly away down the street toward her house. Brent learned the next day that she had cut herself that night, lost a lot of blood and had been removed to an institution somewhere. Good, he thought. She can't get on the Council now. VI. A Council meeting This was going to be the big one. Brent would deliver a speech for all of Earth. The other superior beings from their distant stars would attach their variously-shaped translators to their variously-shaped organs and listen to him. He wrote his speech out in longhand. It said basically that humans have flaws but have merits too. Brent pointed to the railroad in his speech and to the Eiffel Tower. These were the only merits he could think of just then. He would add more as time went on. The meeting wasn't until later that night. Brent had time to shower and put on his nicest cargo pants and his

brightly colored striped shirt. He would also wear his red sneakers. The sneakers represented Earth as well. They were one of the good things he would discuss...maybe. He combed his hair in several directions until he finally hit upon the right style for the meeting. Looking at himself in the mirror he felt large and strong and handsome. He was very pleased. Tonight's meeting would crown his greatest success. The representatives of the mightiest Coalition in the Universe would be at his house, and his parents would be away. Brent beamed with pride. It was real pride. VII. Author's intervention Well, does the reader think that Brent was crazy or what? Probably so, but to Brent these things were as real as the Grand Canyon. And we must attempt to view him standing on the porch waiting for the representatives from all across the universe to arrive. We must view him as he saw himself: the chosen earthly representative of Mankind. To understand the depth of the boy's obsession, we must share a part of it with him and feel the honor and distinction that coursed through his veins as he awaited the arrival of the Council members. Share with Brent these feelings of worth and pride, and you will understand the conclusion of the story better. Stand beside him as he stared out into the street waiting. Do not reject that fantasies can be concrete, compelling and vital if they are YOUR fantasies. Brent was a nice, smart and polite boy. And now he had an important mission to fill. Put yourself into his mindset. He did indeed have an important role, and he felt sure he could rise to its challenge, which was nothing short of speaking on behalf of every human being living on Earth.

VIII. Conclusion: The Supreme Council of the Coalition of Planets arrives. Benevolent and all-knowing, sage beyond human terms, the Star Wars characters came. Some from the Solar System, some from star systems far beyond the boundaries of even the Milky Way. Some terrifying to behold. Others cute and even cuddly. Many with organs that Brent could not explain. And some were, alas, humanoid. Ambulating in whatever way their bizarre bodies permitted, they filed with great dignity into Brent's house and navigated upstairs and into his room. He greeted them all as they walked through the door. Many had titles, and Brent used them. Some of then were even too large to fit through the door, so they just drifted through the walls. Others were tiny like mice. Some slithered; some flew; some swam in the air; some crawled. Others moved by means unknown. But they all came dressed in their spectral and ceremonial raiments. But each one possessed a crucial importance and hailed from a different part of the sentient universe. The signal was almost there that each celestial dignitary had arrived and that it was time for Brent to make his triumphant appearance and stand confidently before them, the living symbol of his blue planet home. Then the signal came. A black BMW pulled into Brent's driveway. Brent's family was away for the weekend and the driver knew it. The driver had a housekey too, and a gun, a police issued gun because the driver was a city policeman. Off duty now, he still made sure Brent saw his gun. The

driver was Brent's uncle Montrose, his mother's brother. About the time Brent turned twelve, Montrose had taken a sudden and rather dark interest in Brent, and he swore he would use the gun if Brent ever told anyone about his visits and what they did and what he expected Brent to do. He greeted Brent with a sullen coarse lustfulness and ordered him to disrobe. Brent knew the routine. They would do it on the sofa. As he began taking off his nice Council clothes, another Brent, still fully dressed, ascended the stairs to his bedroom where gathered were the beauteous ranks of the Supreme Council of the Coalition of Planets. They were all awaiting his arrival with great approval on their variegated visages. It would be Brent's moment of triumph. As he began his address to the awesome creatures of the universe, a now-small, scared sixteen year old boy was prostrate and naked below in the rough clutches of a fully grown man wearing only a gun. The speech went marvelously, the assembly cheered, and Brent, Earth's sole representative, paid no attention to the perverse commotion on the sofa below. _____________________________________ Devon Pitlor November, 2008

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