Not From Earth Excerpt
“You look like a smart guy. Why are you reading that crap?”
James spun around, ready for a confrontation but instead, he found himself believing in love at first sight. There stood a stunning girl dressed in hippie clothes. She dressed like the girls at Woodstock. Long-dark-hair, sparkling eyes, and a sexy figure sculptured by yoga exercise. She had a sunflower in her hair as she held her yoga mat on her hip. But that smile, that was a smile that could launch a thousand wars.
"What's wrong, flyboy? Cat got your tongue?" the girl asked.
After pause-staring too long, James responded, “Why do you call me flyboy?”
“Naval Academy lit?"
James glanced down at his article on Becoming a Navy Pilot. “Busted. It seems to be the only way to space, and I have to get there,” James said, still mesmerized.
“Okay, so you want to go bomb rice farmers, got it.” The girl turned to leave.
"Wait, what's your name?" James called out.
“Alice, like Alice in Wonderland. Why do you want to know?”
“I’d like to talk about it. Which part is crap?” James asked.
“The Vietnam war statistics. It’s all crap,” said Alice.
James picked up the newspaper sitting open at a war news page. “They need good pilots to stop the communist aggression,” James explained.
"As I said, you look like a smart guy. If you believe the enemy kills propaganda, the US military has already wiped out the entire North Vietnam army three times. It's all lies."
“Okay, I can see you need some friendly education. This war is needed to free the people of Vietnam. And by the way, I was at Woodstock, so I understand all the hippie opposition.”
“You were at Woodstock? Alice asked.
“Yep, good music and bad girls dressed like you.” James regretted that statement. “I’m sorry, that was rude. I’m an idiot.”
“Tell me about Woodstock. I so wanted to be there,” Alice pleaded, ignoring the apology.
“It was fun. It was crazy. To be honest, I loved it,” James said.
“But nothing sunk in? You are still a war hawk?”
“I need to become an astronaut. I can’t explain why,” James said with conviction.”
“So to become an astronaut, you are willing to kill innocent people?” Alice was dead serious now.
“I’ll be honest, the kids at Woodstock were anything but stupid,” James said. “But would you be willing to let me convince you of the truth? I think the war is necessary.”
“Sure, let's meet here again tomorrow, same time. I have to get to class, or I’d shake some sense into you right now.”
For the next two weeks, James studied everything he could find on the war. It was an epic struggle. His boyhood self believed cowboys were the good guys, not the Indians, and now he thought the US military was saving the planet. But his research and his arguments with Alice were not working. Alice was brilliant and convincing, and James felt the pain of losing his convictions. His cognitive dissonance was dissolving.
Devastated, he called and asked Alice to meet him by the old Physics building. The sun was setting when he saw her. She approached with her usual beautiful smile and a few skips and twirls. James had tears in his eyes. What’s wrong, James?” Alice asked
“You are right. I can’t do this. I’m withdrawing my application from the Naval Academy.”
A young couple on a bench nearby watched as Alice held James. “I love you, flyboy,” Alice said.
James pulled back, looked at her. Now they both had tears. Then he kissed her. “I love you too.”
For James, Alice was the most precious soul he had ever known. She believed in peace and kindness, and honesty. They were together every day for six months. James was happy and close to graduating. He found the girl with whom he would spend the rest of his life. They were in love.