Written by Annette Leddy
Earth Still, 2015
"What’s that?" asked Billy.
Lock proceeded to explain in minute detail the working of a combustion engine, as they got on the freeway and vistas of the city opened up. There were vast stretches of buildings bleached colorless in the glaring sun, punctuated by electronic billboards flashing red and blue and palm trees spiking up in random clusters.
"One strange thing," she mentioned to Rennie, "is how many people believe they are the alien."
"Is that so?"
"Yes. It was in the paper today. The number of people turning themselves in to the police for being the alien is steadily rising. Often they claim to have forgotten their home planet or how they got to Earth." Rennie laughed
"The article also said that a great proportion of people claiming to be the alien come from working class and non-white sectors. The most prosperous among us tend not to feel like aliens and are more likely to feel the alien is a terrifying monster."
They arrived at the site of the pro-alien demonstration, which was to be on Hollywood Boulevard, beginning at the Pantages Theater and running past Musso’s and Grauman’s Chinese Theater, to end at la Brea.
"Do you think many people will be coming?" Rennie asked.
"A few hundred, I would guess."
"That’s all?" he exclaimed. "In a city of so many millions?"
"Well, you know, the biggest demonstrations here have just a few thousand participants. And this one represents something of a minority position. Because most people are terrified of the spaceship." […]
The demo was composed of the usual suspects, the kind of people with whom she was comfortable. Loudspeakers, carried through the crowd, broadcast speeches by hipsters, mothers, athletes, actresses. Billy just wanted to hold her hand. The idea of conflict with the government was new to him and scary. As they walked she explained to him that in a democracy everyone has a voice and can let his or her belief be known. It’s not wrong to disagree with the leaders. And there are always forces trying to prevent anything new or different from entering the country and it is important to fight against that.
"Hostility is inappropriate and possibly dangerous," proclaimed a female voice somehow familiar but to which she could attach no name.
© 2015 Annette Leddy; Los Angeles: What Books Press, an imprint of the Glass Table Collective