Death of a Dwarf Planet
by Ryan Dunn
2,000 A.D. -- Earth
When the asteroid nailed the swing set in Abraham's back yard he freaked. The dog barked, his wife gasped, and a baby cried (he didn't even have a baby). Of course he was the first to inspect the intruder from outer space, he was a cryptologist after all. If someone can crack a cypher, they can most certainly determine the nature of space rubble. Right?
"What is it, Abe?" his wife asked from the safety of their screen porch.
He looked back and scowled. Her thinly veiled sarcasm showed made an appearance even in this potential disaster situation. The nerve of that woman. But he swallowed the anger, and turned back to the buckled aluminum that once was his son's swing-set. The kid hadn't swung on it in years. Abraham silently thanked space for the favor of breaking the thing down. It would fit in the trash bin just right.
A deep inhale, filling his lungs with false bravado, and then he grabbed the crumpled metal to move it aside.
"God Dammit!" he howled. The dog, wife, and baby howled back, each in their own way. A squirrel even joined the concerto. He cursed them all, but his hand cursed him even louder. Throbbing, burning flesh raged in protest. He gagged at the smell of singed hair (his ape-like knuckles bordered on orangutan-ian).
When the tears from his eyes cleared his vision enough, Abraham leaned down to inspect. The swing set laughed at him to his right, the squirrel to his left. Hackles in stereo, but he was oblivious. He could see it now, the thing that fell from space. Not a meteor at all. _Holy shit!_ he thought. Out loud?
Abraham remembered watching "The Ten Commandments," (the man loved Charlton Heston) when he was in college. He remembered the wardrobe choices mostly, but there was that scene. The scene where Moses carries the tablets up to Mount Sinai, one under each arm. Not a strange connotation when you consider the thing lodged more than four feet underground in his backyard. _Holy shit!_ he thought again. Then he remembered to move.
He picked up the stone tablet, forgetting the throb in his right hand, and found it icy cold to the touch. Though the size of a small window opening (the kinds you find in bathrooms, or prisons), this tablet was hardly heavier than a happy meal. Raised formations brushed against his good hand.
This alien tablet has words on it.
"Honey, I think you need to see this," no answer. "Honey?"
But his wife didn't hear him. Nobody did. Except for the squirrel, who gave Abraham a great big smile. He swore the chitter was a laugh. Nobody saw this thing crash either. He thought about that while running back into the safety of his home, like Moses on his way to Sinai. Only Abraham held a styrofoam tablet from outer space. Probably dropped off by some aluminum foil UFO.
Inside, on the television mounted to the cupboard in the kitchen (don't ask), Abraham heard a newscaster talking. Usually he just hears jibberish and gobbledy gook coming from that thing, but something caught his attention, and he listened.
"...now has eight planets.