[Introduction: Melanie Stormm continues her humorous series of posts about the misdirected emails she’s been getting. Stormm is a multiracial writer who writes fiction, poetry, and audio theatre. Her novella, Last Poet of Wyrld’s End is available through Candlemark & Gleam. She is currently the editor at the SPECk, a monthly publication on speculative poetry by the SFPA. Find her in her virtual home at coldwildeyes.com. Wipe your feet before entering.]
CALLING ISAAC ASIMOV
Hello All! Melanie here.
Could you give me a hand? I spent an Eternity combing these for cryptic messages but I think they may be too well hidden.
Without further ado…
Subject: I NEED TO BORROW YOUR CAR
I need to borrow your car this afternoon so that I can go to the Telephone Museum in Warner so that Isaac Asimov can make me his protege. Something is wrong with my car and it’s at the mechanics. Once they drain all the river water and algae out of the engine, things will be good as new so I should only need your car for a couple weeks.
Anyway, I’m sure you’re dying to know how my writing is going. It is going excellently. I have made a lot of progress in fixing #bestkitten’s paw-mashings from last week. She walked on my keyboard this morning during my writing time and, in a few more days if she keeps this up, I’ll have this shaped into a killer short story!!!!!
Speaking of killers, Stephen King’s shadow was returned home safe and sound and I do hope Mr. King has learned his lesson about not boring his writing shadow to tears!!!! You have to keep your writing shadow happy with LOTS of distractions.
Gladsy, I have had a HUGE breakthrough in writing. You know how R___ is my protege and I’m encouraging him to stick to his dream of being a mumble rapper instead of becoming a doctor? Well, I was driving over the Greater Cradensburg Bridge the other day when IT HIT ME!!!!
Why am I not a protege??????!!!!!!
I’m very excited about what is coming up the pike for my writing. AFter the fire department dragged my car out of the river and brought me home to Tryxy, I had a major EPIPHANY about why I’m not ALREADY FAMOUS.
IT’S BECAUSE I WASN’T FAMOUS IN THE PAST.
You may be shocked to hear this, but Isaac Asimov is about to make me his protege. Tryxy has been going to the library to do his homework and this week they installed a new Isaac Asimov exhibit with personal items from Asimov’s life that you can check out and enjoy at your leisure. Well, Tryxy checked out some of Asimov’s old telephone bills and THE UNIVERSE IS SHINING ON ME because I FOUND ASIMOV’S OLD TELEPHONE NUMBER.
Now all I have to do is find an old telephone to call him on!!!! That’s where the Telephone Museum comes in. They have lots of old telephones. Once I find a timeline phone that is from the same period as the phone bill, I’ll call Isaac and BLOW HIS SOCKS OFF. I’ll be the FIRST writer he’s ever talked to FROM THE FUTURE and that’s sure to leave a lasting impression.
After that, he’ll no doubt take me under his wing, give me all his writing secrets, and OH I DON’T KNOW TELL EVERYONE IN THE PAST ABOUT THE NEXT BIG EPIC FANTASY WRITER OF ALL TIME??????
Then, by the time I’m born, I’ll already be famous thanks to Old Ike-y. That’s what my endearing nickname for him will be once I develop an affectionate and budding writing relationship with him in which he will also come to call me his X-ey. When I’m two and three years old, I will have way more confidence in my ability to sit down and write something because I will be born with the knowledge that I am Isaac Asimov’s protege.
Reporters will follow me around with notebooks writing down everything I say as if it’s a hint about what first book will come out of me AND THUS YOU WILL LEARN HOW TO DO THE SAME THING GLADYS!!!!! I’m pretty sure I spout genius regularly but no one is listening or writing it down for me. DO I HAVE TO WRITE EVERYTHING MYSELF?
SORRY. #BESTKITTEN HAS STEPPED ON THE CAPSLOCK.
I just need to copy and paste her paw mashings into my working document. BRB!!!! (That means be right back.)
Anyhoo, I’m back, Gladys and I need to go because I still have to get to your house and hotwire your car in time to get to Warner before the museum closes. It’s time to invest in a remote key fob, Galdsy, or else anyone who’s not me could one day steal your car and run away with it!!!!!
Subject: BE BY YOUR HOUSE AT SIX A.M.
THIRD GRADERS WILL BE THE END OF ME.
So by the time I hotwired your car and drove to Warner, a bus full of third graders were already unloading into the lobby of the Telephone Museum!!!!
Stupid third graders. Of course the tour guide gave them all the attention and showed them how to call their grandparents and great grandparents and great great grandparents using the telephones and, by the time I got to the phone exhibits there was only one from 1939 left so I had to made due with talking to stupid H.G. Wells.
Anyhoo, I’ll need your car in the morning so I can drive back to the museum and be there the SECOND they turn on the lights because NOTHING is going to stop me from KNOCKING THE SOCKS OFF ASIMOV.
Watch out, Gladys! The future is about to change!!!!!!
Or the past. Same dif.
P.S. Will be by your house at six to take you to work. Be out by 6:05 or the bus moves on without you!!!
Subject: I TALKED TO ISAAC ASIMOV!!!!!!
A few aspects of my Isaac Asimov protege plans have changed, but I am an excellent IMPROVISER so we are still largely on track for me to become Isaac Asimov’s dear little X-ey. I know that my plan is already working because someone liked one of my Isaac Asimov quote posts on BUGG’R and WHY WOULD THEY DO THAT UNLESS THEY ARE ALREADY STARTING TO BELIEVE I’M ASIMOV’S PROTEGE?????
That said, when I did get hold of Old Ike-y today, I didn’t quite get to wow him with my phone call from the future.
Here is a quick summary of how the conversation whent.
Me: Hello, is this Isaac Asimov?
Me: Hello, Isaac, I’m calling you from 2023—
Ike-y: The year or the apartment?
Me: The year.
Me: Are you still there?
Ike-y: My apologies. Now is not a good time to talk about the future. My wife is having company and, if they were to overhear, they would get the wrong idea. Or the right idea, but at the wrong time. Call me tomorrow around this same time. Can you do this? We can square up details then.
Ike-y: Thank you. Goodbye.
Now gladys, I’m sure someone like you couldn’t pick up on what was being discussed BETWEEN the lines, but I’m pretty sure Old Ike-y quickly deduced from the writerly quality of my voice that I am his future protege and I’m also pretty sure that his wife’s company was ANOTHER WRITER looking to become his protege and he didn’t want to make them jealous.
Anyhoo, Gladys, as you can clearly see, my mechanic is still pulling baby river squids out of my cylinders so will be by tomorrow morning at 6 to take you to work. Unless you’d prefer jogging again!!!!
Subject: HEADED TO BOSTON
I need to borrow your debit card so that I can fill your car with gas. I have to head to Boston immediately THE FUTURE OF MY WRITING CAREER IS AT STAKE!!!!
And also the future of the planet, but what else is new?
As you know, I went to the Telephone Museum again this morning and I caught Isaac Asimov before he started writing for the day. Now, the conversation I’m about to share with you is VERY CRYPTIC, but trust me, it’s ALL ABOUT MY WRITING CAREER.
Me: [phone is ringing]
Ike-y: Is this the individual calling from upwhen?
Me: What’s up with you?
Ike-y: Forgive me, some of your expressions are hard to decipher. I’ll cut to the chase: Were you or were you not sent by the Dean of AllWhen?
Ike-y: And what year did you say you were calling from?
Ike-y: Is that a question or does your voice simply lilt up at the end of a phrase?
Ike-y: Please let the Dean know that I have been writing full tilt. I’ve also left several messages in advertisements but fear either they have not been seen, or if they have been seen, they have not been passed on. It’s a go on the pocket computer. But tell me, which space mining colony are you calling from?
Ike-y: I’m not familiar with that one. What do they mine?
Ike-y: Telephones? There appears to be a critical error in eternity. Is the Dean aware that the Warner colony is mining telephones?
Ike-y: And that’s why he’s had you contact me.
Ike-y: I must confess I’m relieved that you’re calling me from a space mining colony at all, even if you are mining something as asinine as telephones. For a second there, I was afraid you were going to tell me that the human race never established space colonies by 2019.
Me: …No? All fine there?
Ike-y: [tremendous sigh of relief] Good. This will be tricky to repair, but here’s what I need you to do. How quickly can you catch an earth bound space shuttle and get to Boston University?
Me: Boston? Oh….I can be there in—say—an hour and a half.
Ike-y: Excellent. Now listen closely…
ANyhoo Gladys, I don’t have time to type out the full conversation!!!! I need to get to Boston University and find the current incarnation of the Trap Door Spiders and let them know ROBPROF sent me about the space colonies but now the stupid police have pulled up behind me and are asking me if I stole this car.
Gladys, CALL THE POLICE RIGHT AWAY AND LET THEM KNOW IT’S ME!!!! My future depends on it!!!!! IF WE HAVEN’T HAD SPACE COLONIES SINCE 2019 I’M TELLING HIM IT’S YOUR FAULT!!!!
sent from my iPhone
As you know, due to some slight confusion with the Cradensburg police, I was unable to make it to Boston before my scheduled call with my writing mentor, Old Ike-y.
Fortunately for me, I was able to improvise. When I got Old Ike-y on the phone this morning he was a pinch grumpy about having his writing time interrupted again but I cut right to the chase and told him I’m a writer and I need advice on how to get more writing done.
With that, he gave me some advice and, although we didn’t say it overtly, I am pretty sure I am now his OFFICIAL POROTEGE!!!! The fame should start rolling in any second now.
But then he was anxious to hear what happened when I got to Boston U and I was able to improvise and tell him that EVERYTHING IS FIXED IN 2023 AND OUR SPACE COLONY NOW MINES WRITERS.
Then I was CRUDELY interrupted by a school bus full of FiFth GRAders wanting to call their great great gam gam.
Oh, and when he asked me who the Dean of Allwhen is, I gave him your name. IF he calls you better cover me on the space thing Gladys!!! He thinks it’s fixed!!!!
P.S. His writing advice? “Get yourself an apartment with a great view of a brick wall.”
Perhaps X could use one of her visits to the telephone museum to call the library in the recent past to put Tryxy’s name higher up on the waiting list? Or perhaps that wouldn’t work because calls to the past only go through if the other end already happened, in which case Tryxy’s name would already be on the list? Or maybe time itself is an illusion and we are all caught in one moment, repeated over and over with minor variations. That might explain why pocket calculators cost the same now as they did when Asimov was advertising them.
Those newspaper adverts with the late Isaac remind me of a series of TV adverts (and I have them amongst my quite extensive collection, on video, of SF TV adverts) re the late Leonard Nimoy and his plugging then, Time Computers..”get yourself a time machine..”. Interestingly, that particular computer co, I think, went bust!!
@PJ T. de Barros
Spit my drink out at the cost of pocket calculators. I hadn’t considered that at all. Looks at universe with suspicion.
@dave lally, thanks for sharing that! I wasn’t aware of the Time Machine/Nemoy adverts and had to google. I watched a few of the commercials and I wonder if the reason why the Time Machine went out had anything to do with their Unique Selling Point. So far, all I could tell is that their name was unique, but I couldn’t figure out what unique benefit the computers offered (at least from the advert I could find.)
@Melanie thanks for that: glad here to have been of help. Re my quite extensive SF TV adverts collection (all on VHS/PAL tape), one UK SF annual Festival (Sci-Fi-London – this coming year : Sat 3-Sat 10 June) wanted, in a previous year, to show some of them [ including the (in)famous “For Mash Get Smash” (mash potato) one- with the hilarious robots. It should already be on You Tube though.] . But sadly it needs quite a lot of copyright clearance for each one (advert co, product co, actors, music etc, etc) and all for just 2-3 minutes. Of course I have shown them, privately, at some SF events. Included in my collection (again check You Tube) is the one done using S/Trek for the privatisation of power in the UK (National Power and PowerGen). Starring the late Scotty (Doohan) and of course Kirk (Shatner) and done on the Next Gen set, it was only shown in the UK …oh and also briefly at Worldcon/Helsinki/ 2017 -at the very end of my Prisoner/50th talk there and it was included only cos it followed on –on the tape– from the 3 Priz-related ones done. And those 3 were solely shown in the UK (LBC 1, LBC 2 and Renault 21)! And those 3 may also be on You Tube..!! Best wishes…
@dave lally, you’re a goldmine! The national power ad has filled a bingo card I didn’t know I had (with bonus points for a Star Trek mash up with Snap!) Will scour YouTube for more!
@melanie yes do look up, amongst other adverts, those 3 (rare) Prisoner ones: LBC1, LBC2 and Renault 21. The 1st two were only broadcast in the London area for London Broadcasting Co -a local radio station there and were approved by McGoohan. They use bits of the series opening scenes, intersperced with then current news items (incl N/Ireland riots). The 3rd, broadcast UK-wide and done in Portmeirion (and briefly using some of the Village staff as extras), was not approved by him and indeed the voice over is a different actor mimicing No 6!! Also in my collection, a bit Prisoneresque/Big Brother-ish and quite interesting, are AOL’s 3 adverts re the internet (is it a good thing or not etc)… aol(stroke)discuss.. etc …. Again best and BCNU..