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Derek Harnik Really Needed A Cup Of Coffee

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posted on Apr, 26 2004 @ 06:21 PM
Derek Harnik really needed a cup of coffee. He did his usual routine to get ready for work and jumped into his car. Rather then take the highway, as he usually did, he decided to take some side roads that would lead him past a Starbucks. Making a right turn onto Lake Ave, the Starbucks finally came into view.

“Ah, finally, blessed caffeine,” he thought to himself as he pulled into the parking lot.

As he put his car into park, there was a bright flash of light.

Derek Harnik really needed a cup of coffee. He did his usual routine to get ready for work, but something seemed too familiar. As he was shaving, he nicked his chin. Before it happened, however, he seemed to know it was going to happen. Thinking about this for about a minute, he dismissed it as Déjà vu. He jumped into his car. Rather then take the highway, as he usually did, he decided to take some side roads that would lead him past a Starbucks. Making a right turn onto Lake Ave, the Starbucks finally came into view.

There was a bright flash of light.

Derek Harnik really needed a cup of coffee. He started to do his usual routine, but realized that today, it seemed far more routine then it ever had been. Even down to something so simple as getting out of bed, it all felt like he had done this countless times before, exact same movements, etc. He did, however, notice that these thoughts seemed unfamiliar. He was a down to earth guy, and had never become paranoid or thought there was a lot more to the world then met the eye.

These new thoughts were alien to him.

He started to dismiss them as he walked to his front room’s picture window. He just stood there and stared. For some reason, the whole landscape seemed alien. He had lived here for over 20 years, and there was nothing new about the place. Mrs. Woodsworth still had the peeling paint on her gutters. Someone was going to have to do something about that. No doubt she’d call Ned, the local fix-it man who was all too gracious with his time. Looking down the street, he saw Nick and Mort Quill getting onto their bus for school.

Yet there was something…wrong about the place. He couldn’t place his finger on why it looked this way to him. Examining every minute detail, including the patch of crab grass he hadn’t been able to get rid of for the last 5 years, everything was the same. So why these unsettling feelings?

He gave up, checking his watch. He was going to be late, he better call in to work before he left. No time for Starbucks this morning, he’d have to have some of the wretched Folgers they served at work. That stuff always tasted like battery acid, especially since they never cleaned out the coffee maker.

He started to walk away from the window when something stopped him. He couldn’t say what it was. It was like an itch in a corner of his brain he’d never used before. It just tugged him back to the window.

He slowly walked back to the window, looking at his watch. “Shoot, I’d already almost be at Starbucks by now if I’d left on time,” he thought to himself.

Then he looked up, and his whole life changed. His mouth dropped open. He couldn’t believe what he was seeing. Surely everything he had learned in school, everything the media had told him, and every thing he’d ever read or seen, was wrong. This proved it.

As soon as he regained his senses, he ran to the telephone.


posted on Apr, 26 2004 @ 07:35 PM
Well gosh, I hate it when people leave the good stuff for last. Hurry up with this one, you got me hooked...

posted on Apr, 26 2004 @ 08:38 PM
Derek Harnik really wanted to know what the hell was happening. He had just woken up, and he knew something wasn't right. He'd been through this before, and still had a very vague memory of some kind of flash. He looked around his room, and saw a marble on the floor. He was supposed to step on that. He was going to go shave, and cut himself on the chin.

He quickly brushed his chin, looking for some kind of scab. Nothing. Then he remembered coffee and Starbucks. There was something over Starbucks that rushed at him before he had his white out...He just couldn't remember what. It seemed like there was a foggy patch in his brain that was giving him bits and pieces, but wouldn't give him the whole.

While he was sitting on his bed contemplating this, turning it around and around in his mind trying to make sense of it, his phone rang. That shocked him out of his reprieve. THAT never had happened before. He looked over at his clock. 6:45. He was usually 5 minutes into his shower by now. Maybe it had happened. What would happen if...

He jumped out of bed, landing right on the marble.

"DAMN!" he yelped as he made a mad dash for the phone. He picked it up just in time to hear the "click" on the other end.

"Damn..." he muttered again.

For some reason, his jaw hurt. He put his hand to his chin, and it came away with a little blood. A chill went through his whole body. He slowly walked to the mirror in his bathroom, disbelieving.

He wondered if this was just a dream. He had been watching a lot of Star Trek, and this whole "time loop" thing he thought might be happening to him had been used to excess in Star Trek. That had to be it, he was dreaming he was in one of those Star Trek episodes where they get caught in a loop in the time space continuism or whatever it was called. But he'd never realized he was in a dream while he was dreaming...

He was in the bathroom, and saw his chin. Cut just as he remembered it would be, but no razor was used this time. Shaking his head in confusion, he went back to the phone to dial *67 and call the person back.

He picked up the reciever, and noticed a tiny spot of blood on part of the mouth piece. There was a cut in it. He vaguely remembered something happened to the phone 4 years back that caused the nitch in the phone. He'd never bothered to replace it. He assumed that, in his mad rush to answer the phone, he scrapped that piece of sharp plastic across his chin. Still, remarkable that it was in the same place as where he remembered he would be cutting himself with a razor.

He started to walk into his living room, thinking of the movie Groundhog Day. If that was the same scenario he was stuck in, he was jyped...He could only remember until getting to Starbucks, then everything seemed to reset. Starbucks.

He quickly looked out the window to where he remembered seeing something floating above Starbucks.

He blinked. He blinked again.

Apparently, his memories weren't too foggy when it came to this point. There really was a foggy, hazy...something hovering over where Starbucks was. It almost looked like a cloud, except it didn't have the white. It just caused the air behind it to appear blured, as though being seen through extreme heat. He seemed to recall a memory from a life he felt he'd lived years ago, where this moment had a lot more significance that it did now. This was just a curiosity, an odd atmospheric event.

It was then that something seemed to change, to gain substance. He saw nothing else, just this object. It seemed almost to solidify, and it "turned". He couldn't tell how he knew it turned, but he knew it did, somehow. He felt as though all of this object's wonder, or all of it's malice (he felt both things from this object) was directed right at him.

A beam of light ripped out of the object, directly at him.


Derek was confused. His memory of the flash was instantanious. The seemed sustained. He was still experiencing it.

Tenativly, he put a hand out. Then another. No resistance. He took a step. Ok, something stopped his foot. He was on solid ground, anyway.

Slowly, he took tiny steps with both arms feeling around him. He briefly wondered if this was what it was like to be blind. Then his hand stopped. He pulled it back, and moved it forward. It stopped again. What the hell was going on?

He looked closely at where his hand stopped. It looked like it was a solid piece of....something, which was all white. He looked around, and could now make out corners and edges. He was in an all white room. And there was a door.

He hadn't noticed the door earlier due to all the brilliant white. Now it seemed as plain as day, there was a black outline of a door shape. He walked over to it and banged.

It slid open, and 3 individuals filed in. They all looked identical, not a single difference could be seen in them, from how their hair fell on their heads to the shape of their nose to the strange lope they had as they walked in. This was the most generic human being he had ever seen, and there were three of them!

"Well, Mr. Harnik, you've never asked us in before," the man in the middle said in a strange accent. All the words were pronounced the same way as his midwestern accent, but there was a sing-song quality to the voice he wasn't so sure he liked.

"I've never seen you before," he replied.

"He does have the cut on his chin, and the brused foot," the man on the right said.

"Maybe it was just a fluke," said the one on the left.

"Just a fluke? What the hell are you guys talking about?! Who the hell are you? How the hell did I get here?!" Derek demanded.

"Hmm, something has changed," said the man on the right.

"Mr. Harnik...Can I call you Derek yet?" the man inquired, looking at Derek. Derek's face was a stone of demanding fury. "No, I guess not. Not this time. I tell you, Mr. Harnik, every time we've brought you here, you were more afraid then you were angry. This might be what we needed."

In a very cool, collected, yet menacing voice, Derek replied, "I've never been here. I don't remember this place at all, and I don't remember you. All three of you, for that matter."

"No, Mr. Harnik, you wouldn't. We made sure, at your request, to wipe your memory and bring you back in time to where we picked you up the first time. We have done this 137 times. We have gone through the same exchange 135 times. This time and the last time have been the only time we haven't said the exact same thing to you when you got here. You've had no memory of these trips up until last time. And last time..." he hesitated for a moment. "Last time we almost suceeded. We failed ultimately, however, and, as you have done 136 times before, you asked us to wipe your memory and bring you back in time."

Becoming less and less collected as this man went on, Derek felt his knees start to wobble. "137 times? I cut my chin 137 times? By my own request?" He started to get a little frantic, "What possible thing could I possibly want my memory erased for in order to do it right?! Wouldn't it make sense to have me keep my memories and build off of those experiences?!" He had no idea how he had arrived at that thought. Most of his mind was crumbling around him.

"We thought the same thing the first time. However, it was your belief that you needed to come into this situation without any bias.You convinced us this was necessary, as you will convince us again if we fail again. You are the key, Derek, the key that will finally bring peace to our galaxy," the middle man said with reverance.

Derek fell straight down on his butt. He started to blither. He looked around frantically, and started to get his bearings. Then he came back to his senses.

"Bull #!" he exclaimed. "You're aliens? Bull #, you look just like me, this room, although very white, gives no evidence that we're anywhere but Earth. What do you want with me? Let me out of here!"

The man on the right looked a little taken aback. Derek wasn't sure how he knew this, since none of them had shown the slightest bit of emotion on their faces since he'd gotten here. Then something hit him like a ton of bricks.

"You're not talking to me."

"If by talking to you, you mean vocal communication, this is true. We've found that it's a lot easier to communicate without words. There's no chance of misinterpreting what you're hearing. As for us looking human, that was a request you made your first time here. On your way back, you told us to take on human form so you could acclimate more quickly and get to the tasks at hand."

"What," he started to ask, not sure he wanted the answer. "What do you look like?"

"Now is not the time. I will give you the short version, and offer, as we have every other time, to send you back now. This is not your galaxy, or even one your "Hubble" telescope has been able to see. We call it trout."

"Um...Trout? Like the fish?"

Derek felt genuine amusement coming from this man as he heard these words, "Yes, just like your fish, but that's just an amazing coincidence. You've always been amused with the name of our galaxy. I guess now we understand why. Strange this wouldn't have come out before. Our galaxy has been at war for ages. The only thing we know is how to wage war. We know nothing else."

"So what does that have to do with me? I'm no warrior, and I'm definately not a leader. What could I possibly do to bring an intergalactic war to a close?"

"You have a gift we no longer posess. We no longer have any concept of art, music, or any kind of culture. Your world has become a remarkable place. There are uprisings in some 'nations' as you call them, but over all, it is a culture war you are now fighting on your world. You have turned away from massive wars and instead have begun to assimilate your world's populace with this America's culture. You have within you a greater artistic gift then anyone else in your country. That's why we chose you. Now you'll be wanting to get some sleep, teleportation tends to take a lot out of someone of your species."

Derek started to protest, but realized he really was tired. He started to ask where he could sleep when a bed materialized in one of the corners of the room. The walls seemed to fade from white to some kind of starscape. It was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen, everywhere around him, except for his bed, little lights were streaking by.

"Good night, Mr. Harnik," the middle "man" said to him before the three departed.


"You didn't tell him, Goris. This was the first time you didn't tell him."

"Something is different, Jale. He knew too much, and he came here as though he was familiar with it. Surely you must have felt his hostility," Goris said.

" Yes...I did feel the hostility. But you said his anger might be what we needed," Jale protested.

"You both are failing to see one thing," the third spoke up. "Something is different. This time is not going to be the same stalemate we've experienced for thousands of years. This is either the beginning of our beginning, or the beginning of our end. Let's just hope he chooses to help us instead of them this time."

To be continued...?

posted on Apr, 26 2004 @ 11:24 PM
Well done. An intriguing and teasing intro to your character and his situation.

Are you a writer? The story is good save for one thing...the purple prose...found on one sentence. Your imagery is a bit overblown here...Derek's face was a stone of "demanding fury" The verb is passive and demanding fury seems overblown. I was not certain of the metaphor you really wanted to convey. It's a bit over the top.

Ps, sorry if my critique offends. I don't mean to insult, but to offer helpful assistance.
Other than that one excess, this is grand. Thanks for sharing it with us. I love a good read.

[Edited on 26-4-2004 by radstar]

[Edited on 26-4-2004 by radstar]

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