WE WELCOMED THEM
By Daniel Rush
The steady, early morning drizzle over Connemara, Ireland, did nothing to keep Jimmy Malone from his daily routine. Rising before the rooster's song, he would quietly get ready, to make sure he would not wake Mary. He would have his tea with the sandman still crusting in his eyes. Then out to the coop to gather breakfast.
This is the way generations of Malone's had done it, except now, he had the modern convenience of a flashlight. While he flipped the udders of the cow, like the expert he was, he had time to reflect back to what he and Mary had spoke of the night before. Mary had said how she could not get used to the monotony of farm living after being reared in a fast paced city like Dublin. She expected life to be slow and relaxed but she did not realize time would come to a complete stop here. Jimmy could only counter that just because she would not go and make friends with the neighbors, it was no fault of his that she spent her time knitting like an old spinster. She was beautiful and headstrong and Jimmy was beginning to feel like the evil king who kept the princess locked in the tower.
Now, though, he was hoping the jackass would give him a kick for telling her she could take the Peugeot and visit friends in Dublin, if she needed to. She probably would not be back for weeks, he thought to himself. Maybe he would have some time to get the crops back in shape. Or repair that wall near the McCarthy farm. That would be easier than trying to keep her amused. It might be about time to give her that child she has been hinting towards. Something to keep the clock moving for her and the help would be invaluable down the line. Jimmy had no ideas of changing his lot in life. He had come from generations of farmers. The dirt in his fingernails was the same dirt his great-grandfather had in his. It was dirt that had not much to yield, but it was his dirt. The work was hard and the hours were long but the feeling of independence was priceless.
As he strode into the house, muttering to himself, Mary rushed to him and threw her arms around him, "How's my James today?"
Splashing them both with milk from the bucket, Jimmy just had to smirk and roll his eyes. "You don't have to be so damn happy about leaving me do ya," he drawled.
"You know I'd love for you to come along, there's so many people that I would like you to meet. " she cooed.
He just stood there for a second, his eyes enveloping her beautiful face with his eyes. He thought to himself, "She could ask for the world all day but with her auburn hair curling towards her soft cheeks and gazing into those translucent blue eyes, I would not hear a word."
Looking down, trying to clean the spilt milk off his pants, he mumbled,"Well somebody has got to row this boat and who's gonna knit the baby's booties?" He blurted out.
"Oh Jimmy! She shreiked. I love you, can we try right now?"
As good as that idea sounded to him. . . he knew he had promised McCarthy he would get that jalopy of a tractor running for him again this morning. " I'm sorry Mary but remember that boat? Well it's sinking."
"Well, okay," she said. "But I'll go to Dublin next weekend and this weekend you are mine, all mine."
Jimmy began to set the table after turning on his favorite talk radio station. Once again they were talking about the latest peace efforts in Northern Ireland.
Mary had just broken the eggs when the slightly ajar door blasted open. The wind was suddenly, incredibly ferocious. Jimmy's tweed tam blew off his head and stuck to the wall. The wind was as constant as a wind tunnel fan. First the plates, then the chairs and the mahogany table itself flew to the back wall. Jimmy standing behind the forewall watched as Mary become horizontal in the air while holding onto the oven door. Jimmy could see her screaming hysterically but could not hear her. His mouth and eyes agape, he could not move toward her knowing how futile it would be to try and help her. Jimmy outstretched his arm just as she lost grip and flew headlong, crashing against the wall. He fell to his chest and started to try and inch toward her. Then just as quickly as the wind started, it stopped. As if someone had flipped
We Welcomed Them / D. Rush
a switch. Silence had taken hold of the air. The radio, unmolested, sat mute.
Mary managed to spin around to her knees. Shaking the cobwebs from her head, she muttered, "What the devil was that? We have never had a tornado here before, have we?"
"Oh honey, are you all right?" Jimmy cried.
"I can feel the bump rising already," she said while rubbing her head.
Jimmy chipped some ice out of the frosted ice box and gave it to her.
"That was no tornado. I better see if anyone else got hurt." He said, then he started through the door. Mary heard him yell immediately. "Oh my God!" He came running back inside, his face white as her Irish linen. He ran to the living room and grabbed the pike above the mantle. It was the same one his grandfather had used in the 1916 Easter uprising against the British.
Jimmy darted out the door again, with Mary screaming behind him, "What has happened?!" She scrambled to her feet and rushed to the doorway.
There it was, the largest thing she had ever seen. It looked like some kind of ship. It seemed to be an oil tanker on stilts
but it had to be over a kilometer long. The monstrosity stretched past their acreage, past the McCarthy farm and way beyond. Jimmy had disappeared into the darkness of it's shadow.
She started after him screaming, "Please, Jimmy, come back!"
She then noticed her echo. That was the only sound at all. Mary could not hear Jimmy running, the wind, the chickens, cows or anything. She decided to follow him and found she could not move. Mary tried to call out to him again but nothing came out. Mary stood there muted, wondering if she had fallen deaf.
A light appeared from the bottom of the ship halfway across. There was Jimmy ready to poke at anything that would descend from the hatch. "Come out of there you devils! How dare you ravage my farm?" He yelled. Then, as if someone had flipped another switch, his anger converted to serenity.
He dropped to his knees and laid down his pike. A man then descended the stairs from the hatch. This was no ordinary man though. This man was nine feet tall and looked even taller to Jimmy peering up from his knees. He was an artist's rendition of Zeus, white hair and beard but no other signs of age. This Goliath of a man had calming blue eyes and the build of Samson. There was a peacefulness about him, the kind that made Jimmy bow his head. Jimmy dared not take his eyes off him.
Mary was still stuck in her tracks screaming wildly though she could not even hear herself, nor could anyone else. The only thing Jimmy could say was, "What can I do for you?"
The giant, looked down on him, smiling, said, "It is what we will do for you that you need to be concerned with."
Jimmy started wondering right then how many of these men could be in a ship this size. "I'll tell you what you can do for me." Jimmy stammered, gathering his courage. "Get this ocean liner off my radishes!"
The giant spoke calmly and evenly. "James, as a man would say, your ship has come in. You and your land have been chosen as the embarkation point of this world's greatest age. We have come in peace and have much to teach all humankind. You will know riches beyond your comprehension. World acclaim, power and immortality shall be yours. The price you will pay will be minimal for every human's dream throughout earth's history."
Jimmy just shook his head and said, "Price! I knew there was a catch! What do you things really want after you take my farm? World domination and slaves?"
"I see we have chosen the right man for our task,"the giant said to unseen others. "James, we have been here before, our planet also orbits your sun. Only ours takes thirty-six hundred of your years to revolve around it. We usually stop by earth every time our orbit brings you close enough, to check on man's progress. This time we could not wait for a variety of reasons. One being our planet is in peril, another reason being, so is yours. There is time to save yours if we act now. Ours is soon to be struck by multiple meteor strikes. Much like the planet Jupiter recently endured. Our planet is very much like earth and would never survive such a catastrophic event. Your planet is slowly being poisoned by what you call the industrial revolution, nuclear weaponry, its waste and the extinction of indigenous wildlife. We have so many things to offer you, your country and your planet, all for virtually nothing."
We Welcomed Them / D. Rush
"Well, if you call taking the land that my great-great-grandfather had fought to keep the British from taking and every generation thereafter nothing, I'd like to see something!" Jimmy piped in.
"I see you are a man of action and deed," the giant allowed. "We will have no more griping. Behold."
There in front of Jimmy a pile of gold bullion appeared. Jimmy's eyes bulged as he gasped. He thrust himself on top of the pile and broke into hysterical laughter.
"I see greed still rules your planet," the giant said in disgust. "There are a thousand liters there, enough for you and your neighbors. All we ask of you is to be our representative to the leaders of this world. We will do everything in the confines of your laws to purchase this land and all we shall need."
Jimmy regained his composure and asked in all earnest, "Why would they listen to me? I'm nothing but a grubby farmer who hasn't made a profit in two years."
The giant was getting perturbed with this inanity. "James, was not your Jesus but a carpenter? The status that you crave and need will be given to you through the riches we will endow upon you. The knowledge that you will be taught will be invaluable to all humankind. They will listen."
Jimmy turned to look at Mary. She was still in a stasis. He could see something strange about her. She was no longer screaming. The aura of serenity that surrounded her had Jimmy frightened for her. It looked as if she had died peacefully
in her sleep but she was still standing.
Jimmy turned to the giant, "What have you done to my wife!" He reached for his pike but he was thrown backwards five meters. Then the pike disappeared.
"James you must relax. We are holding her at bay so we may complete our conversation. Believe me when I tell you she has never been more at peace than she is right now."
"I'm gonna take your word for that" Jimmy said. "Only because I know you might be the one fellow who can take me on without me arms bound and win."
The giant let out a great laugh and said, "That is why you were chosen James, we need a fighter for our cause. With our strength we can take what we please. There is no army that could stop us on this planet. But that is not our way. My people are here to live in peace like any other minority. We just hope to be treated better than you treat the other minorities. Earth will not take to our presence easily. They will have to come to understand that we are here for their own good. And you will be our advocate of trust and accord.
Jimmy started to look around the outside of the ship. "I guess you should start preparing for that army. They should be here any minute now," Jimmy said, looking at his watchless wrist.
"We will not be interrupted," the giant stated unequivocally.
"Well then, I guess it's 'bout time you begin giving me some answers," Jimmy said with his best Bogart imitation. Of course, with his Irish brogue, he could never quite capture its essence.
"I will answer what I can for you but I need to know if we have an agreement on what we have discussed thus far," the giant asked.
Jimmy eyed his wife, then looked at the pile of gold. "Yeah, I guess so," Jimmy said with not too much confidence. "First, what's your name?"
"I have been called many names on this planet, Anu by the Sumerians, Ra by the Egyptians, Zeus by the Greeks, Quetzalcoatl by the Aztecs, Vishnu by the people of the Punjab along with many others by your ancients," the giant stated with grandeur.
. "Well, I guess I get to give you a name since everyone else has," Jimmy said. "How about Conn? He fought a hundred battles and you've had a hundred names."
"That will not do, I do not like the connotations," the giant laughed at his own pun.
Jimmy rubbed his chin in a thinking posture. "Okay, how about Cormac, the greatest of all Irish kings?"
"Whatever you like," the giant said.
"So Cormac, how many others are there in that boat of yours?"
"Myself, eleven elected elders and one thousand others of our race."
"Is that all there was on your planet?" Jimmy wondered aloud.
We Welcomed Them / D. Rush
"Of course not," Cormac said. "There are others all over the universe. Some are at our station on the largest of Mars' moons and we have countless others throughout the galaxy. We were the most familiar with this planet and thought you ready for our arrival and acceptance."
Jimmy's mouth fell open as he began to grasp the weight of what Cormac was saying. "You said you've been here before. When, why and how come we never knew?" Jimmy asked.
Cormac was becoming impatient. "James, I know you have hundreds of questions. I will answer all in due time but now we must proceed with our plan."
"Just one more question, Cormac. How do you know of me?"
"James, we are not omniscient, although we do have a vast network to what takes place on this planet from a variety of sources. We monitor your radio and television waves and have agents that live among your people. You may not believe it but you have been bred for this position. Your Grandfather was of us."
Jimmy stumbled backwards, stunned. "That, that can not be true," Jimmy stammered. "This farm has been in my family for generations before my Grandfather. So how could you interrupt the bloodline?" At this point Jimmy was incredulous. "I am sorry James, but I cannot divulge all our secrets yet. At a later date we shall tell you more. For now, though, you should look after your wife."
With that Cormac vanished. Jimmy turned in time to see Mary collapse. He ran from the darkness of the shadow of
the ship and embraced her. Her eyes opened and she smiled. Then she threw her wrist over her mouth as she screamed upon catching a view of the ship.
"Jimmy, what has happened?" she cried.
"Something wonderful yet frightening," he said calmly. He pointed to the gold and began to relate the whole story to her, everything save his alien parentage.
Then he heard his neighbor Seamus McCarthy running toward him yelling, "Jim, Jim what the devil is it?!"
"The end of toil my friend," Jimmy said as he motioned toward the gold.
"I was trying a new battery in the tractor when I . . . I lost track . . . no, I lost time," Seamus said, his voice trailing off. "They're here to buy your farm me friend and it is an offer you can't refuse. Come inside and I'll tell you what I know." Jimmy said as he helped Mary to her feet.
We Welcomed Them / D. Rush