Howdy folks. Here I am, back again with another entry in the ever awesome Thain in Vain’s Flash Fiction Challenge. The prompt?
A celebrity of your choice (alive or dead) applies for a job and gets an interview.
This week’s entry is a strange one for me – I’ll explain after the story, as I don’t want to spoil it for you. Stick around after.
“So tell me, Ryb’neor, what makes you think you are qualified for this assignment?”
Ryb’neor smiled as they orbited slowly over the surface of the planet that glimmered the same blue as his eyes.
“Supreme Commander, I’ve made the study of primitive life forms my life’s work. This is the first chance we have to truly study and understand an alien culture on the cusp of star travel. I’ve studied this species extensively, analyzed their media, absorbed their understanding of the universe. It’s my hope that perhaps I can guide them. Help them understand their own condition, before they reach out to the stars.”
The Commander furrowed his eyestalks, one turned towards the blue orb below and the other staring intently at Ryb’neor.
“You know the Law. You are not to directly interfere with their progress. You are not to directly change the path of their civilization. I know you’ve grown fond of these…children…and I fear you will be unable to resist the temptation to sway them with knowledge they are not ready to have.”
“Your concerns are noted, Commander. I know the consequences of breaking the Law, and fond as I am, truly, of these people, I would not risk breaking the Grand Treaty to push them where they are not ready to go.”
“Even if they are a danger to themselves? To their very existence? Can you let them go that path, if it the path they choose leads to their own destruction?”
Ryb’neor fell silent. He knew that what his superior suggested was a possibility. For all their wonder, their exuberance, their joy, they were still a violent, chaotic, mad species. In truth, it was that madness that sang to him, drew him, inspired him. His race had long since evolved past the passions that drove this species, but the spark of passion burned within him. He hid it well, but perhaps there, on that polished blue orb, he could find himself. Could he, then, let them destroy themselves?
“If it is their path, it is their path…but perhaps I can sway them, discreetly.”
“Laughter. Tears. Anger. Sadness. Hope.”
“Emotions? Primitive things…”
“Perhaps…but are they not a primitive people?”
The Supreme Commander sat quietly for a while. Finally, he nodded.
“Understand, if I give you this, it will be permanent. You will not be reassigned, you will not be allowed to leave. The surgery will be…extensive. Painful. Are you truly ready to go through all that, for a species that may kill itself off before it ever reaches the stars?”
“Very well. Assignment granted, Ryb’neor.”
Ryb’neor smiled. It took getting used to in this funny new body. Waiting in this room, he could not help but remember the last interview with his commander. And here he was, about to embark on a new adventure, on his new home.
The door opened.
“Mr. Williams? Are you ready for your audition?”
Ryb’neor…no, it was Robin, now…smiled broader.
“Nanu-nanu,” he whispered, and his eyes twinkled blue.
I started this story last week, after struggling with deciding what kind of story I wanted to tell. I ended up choosing Robin Williams because I thought it would be fun to imagine a world where he really *was* Mork, essentially. Mork and Mindy was a favorite of mine as a child, and is something that, believe it or not, I think about all the time. It’s kind of hard not to when your name is Mark and your wife is named Myndee. And yes, she’s named after the show.
So here it has been, sitting in my drafts, waiting to be edited down from the 630 word story I started with to the 500 word limit of the challenge…when yesterday happened. I will be honest, I thought long and hard about deleting my draft and not posting the story. I didn’t want to seem as if I were jumping on some band wagon or taking advantage of the death of one of the few celebrities I have ever genuinely admired.
But in the end, I decided I’d publish it anyway. RIP, Mr. Robin Williams. I hate that sadness overtook you.