31 Head space

Jesse lay back in the sleeping nest he had constructed. He put on his sleeping mask and carefully screwed up his foam earplugs and stuck them in his ears. He sighed.

Let’s recap, Jesse thought.

George and Michel are members of the same species, presenting as male humans. But are they really? They talk about a mate, or Kima, and refer to her as she, and themselves as male. Can I assume from this that whatever they are, they experience gender sort of like we do? Of course God help them if they do, because the way we experience gender is often extremely fucked up.

It annoyed him that there wasn’t enough evidence. People can say anything about themselves, and often do.  But Jesse had always thought, even if he couldn’t prove it, George told the truth unless he had a good reason. But he had no idea what that reason could be.

Why did George say ‘planet’ when he could have said ‘Earth’? But they both say they were born in Europe.

He’d confirmed that with Michel, while he was working with him, away from George.  But it was a weird piece of hearsay: “We were both born in Europa, him on land and me in water.”

He contemplated that for a minute, but realized that humans also have water-births, although it isn’t common, and decided not to worry about that part.

Both of them can vanish.  Are they moving out of my view or just disappearing, or are they somehow editing the light my eyes and brain turn into my perceptions? Is it a species-wide characteristic?

He wanted to start putting his questions into a notebook, except that he’d be viewed as a lunatic if somebody else read it.  He imagined laboriously writing in his childlike handwriting, “Ask Michel and George separately if Kima can vanish.” And then finding Raven looking at it, with one eyebrow going up like a wing.

Michel thinks Kima is real. So maybe — she is real. Michel certainly seems real.

I should start thinking of the questions I’ll ask her if I ever meet her.

“Hey Kima how does it feel to be referred to as a mate?”

Maybe that’s what she wants.

If she’s not a girl, she can’t be a girlfriend.

Michel was born in water.

George said, “If you feel like swimming.”

Kima lives in water? Or across a stretch of water?

He reviewed every weird or inexplicable thing he’d ever seen George do.  After almost six months, it was a sizeable list.

He can move impossibly fast and carry very heavy loads.

He always sighs and laughs and barks exactly the same way, like he doesn’t have a voice so much as a … playback button. He never yawns, or makes breathing noises, and he never farts.

That just ain’t right.

But if he doesn’t eat, why would he need to fart?

That still ain’t right.  Anything that eats, excretes. How can his appetite be ‘vestigial’? Does he eat but he’s in denial about it, like one of those wacky New Age folks who think they can live on air but their friends sneak them food?

You can’t sneak up on him.

He speaks medieval Greek, Romanian, Hungarian, English, a little bit of German and some other language that isn’t human. But if they have their own language why would they learn human languages? And if it isn’t a human language, what the hell is it and where did it come from?

Raven would say I’m going down a rathole.

He won’t say how old he is but talks about World War II as if he lived through it.

I need to find more ways to ask him about his family that aren’t like me grilling him.

Why did George pick me to work with?