Marriage can change a person in some really strange ways. For example, not long ago I was perfectly willing to pick up and move to a strange town and overturn my life for a shot at my dream job. Back then (which was not so long ago), I only had to worry about myself and what I wanted. Now that I’m no longer single, I need to account for what someone else wants and needs, as well. Not only do I need to account for what’ll make Wanda happy, but I want to. I actually seem to enjoy having a ball and chain around my ankle.

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Have you ever seen a finer set of leg irons?

It’s also changed my perspective on things like time. My attitude has always been that I’m young, and I’ve got my whole life ahead of me. Things like long-term goals are a great idea in theory, but not something I need to worry about right now. I’ve got all the time in the world.

Of course, we all know that’s not true, but when you’re young and single it’s really easy to just live day-to-day. Now the pressure to make something of my life has been cranked up to 11. After all, it’s not just about me now, it’s about her, too. Wanda is my wife, I love her with all my heart, and she deserves the absolute best. I can’t give her that by pretending tomorrow will never come.

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Sparky and I work on my latest project

It’s motivating, knowing someone else is depending on you to do your best. That extra incentive has led to some major breakthroughs at work. My latest project has been a new kind of satellite dish. It does all the typical stuff you’d expect from a satellite dish like, for example, picking up signals from satellites, but it does a lot more than that. For example, it’s got a signal amplifier built in that can send singles far past the orbital range of most satellites, and straight into other galaxies. Why would I want it to do that, you ask? Well, here’s the deal, and you have to promise me you won’t laugh: I’m pretty sure we’re being visited by aliens.

Now, what did I just say? No laughing.

I can’t prove it, but I keep seeing signs of it. Strange behavior from visitors to the lab, the occasional unexplained lights in the sky, and now these:

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I call them Herp and Derp

I found these… things… in odd little craters not far from the lab. I’ve tested them every way I can think of, and there’s just no way they’re from this Earth. I mean, they’re not even carbon-based, like every other life form on the planet; they’re actually lead-based. These things did not come from here, and I find it hard to believe they found their way here from outside the solar system all by themselves.

So, yeah, I’m pretty sure that whoever or whatever brought these to Earth is out there within listening range of my dish, and I’d like to have a little chat with them. That’s why I’ve got one of my new dishes plopped right on top of my rapidly-expanding house back on the island.

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One ringy-dingy, two ringy-dingy

Still, there’s more to my recent interest in success than just marriage and a couple of dead aliens, as significant as those two things might be. I’ve also been reminded recently, in the clearest way possible, that I don’t have forever to do everything I want to do with my life.

It was a typical day at work, and as is usual lately I was working with Sparky on refinements to the dish. In the middle of a heated brainstorming session, Sparky stopped.

“Excuse me, sir,” Sparky interrupted. “There seems to be a problem near the microscope.”

Sparky was referring to the huge electron microscope housed in a room directly across the hall. I looked over to see Vivian Lewis through the window, obviously in a great deal of distress.

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A cry for help

I ran to the room as quickly as I could, with Marta right behind me. It was too late. There was nothing we could do. One moment Vivian had been there, working hard as she always did, and the next she was just gone. No breathing, no pulse, nothing.

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Marta was crushed. Eric was, of course, devastated that his mother had just died. We all were. Vivian had been a co-worker, a friend, and an important part of all of our lives.  And now she was gone, just like that.

It reminded me of how fragile we all are. While Vivian was quite old, nothing was preventing the same sort of thing from happening to me. One careless step into the street, some undiagnosed disease, or even a freak lab accident, and it could be me my co-workers are mourning tomorrow.

That, my dear readers, is what motivates me right now more than anything. I will leave a mark on this world. I promise you that. When I go, I’m determined to leave ripples. If I can’t change the world myself, I’m going to make damned sure there are Poindexters who come after me who will.


2 thoughts on “Incentive

  1. Oh, my scientist Sim had a co-worker who died in that same location. It really devastated everybody! But Grim was a champ and stuck around to put out a fire that started in the lab!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s not the first time I’ve seen someone die there, either. I’m starting to wonder what’s in those microscopes.


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