Selwin was abruptly awakened from restless sleep by the loud sound of multiple police sirens at 4:15 A.M. Feeling especially depressed, he sat up slowly, stared at the flowered wallpaper in his too familiar one room flat. “Here we go again, (he bitterly complained to his full-size mirror) another impossibly dull, Saturday.” Addressing his tall, skinny mirrored image, “Same old, same old…nothing to do, nothing to see… just colorless boredom. If only boredom were preventable, by a vaccine, like the Coronavirus.”
He then began his unvarying daily routine, bedroom slippers, left foot first, donning his faded red cotton bathrobe, slowly and dispiritedly, padding over to his small bathroom, relieving himself, washing his hands and face, brushing his teeth (first, prudently, brushing along the gumline, top and bottom, then in the back of the mouth, followed by an impressive rotary motion of his own nuanced creation) and finally, his trademark, gargled rinse. After pressing out an economical squish of shave cream, he proceeded to follow his fixed and immutable shaving regime; first the right side of the face, then the front nose area and chin and then as customary, his left side. Selwin, petulantly, brushed aside the “damn” pink flamingo plastic shower curtain, took up his partly used bar of soap and proceeded to undergo his regular shower routine. Since it was not a workday, he would take breakfast, (routinely consisting of light toast, butter, and grape jelly with light coffee) in his faded red bathrobe and slippers.
He dressed and exited his apartment, nimbly descending the three flights of creaky wooden stairs, to the still dark outdoors and, in keeping with his usual Saturday morning routine, bought a newspaper from the Pakistani gentleman at the corner stand. He thereupon walked to the pinetum section of the beautifully verdant park to sit at his customary park bench. Opening the newspaper with the intention to peruse his favorite sections, Science and then Health, his eyes were unavoidably drawn to the front-page headline, huge dark letters, announcing the sudden and ominous arrival of a delegation of visitors from Planet Mars, fearfully speculated to scientists on a secret exploratory mission to Planet Earth, to observe the environment for possible future colonization.
The article, which followed the bizarre and frightening announcement, notified the public that the surprise planetary visitors reportedly had been successful in tactically altering their physical form to resemble that of human beings, except, the report continued, they were unsuccessful in mimicking the human hand, possibly due to some hormonal or innately nuanced chemical cause. The public was advised to notify the police department of any suspicious or unusual sightings or occurrences.
As he proceeded, routinely, to turn to the Health Section, a well- dressed gentleman sat down, approximately four feet away on Selwin’s bench. The man was attired in a neat, striped- gray suit and green tie and would appear to be feigning the act of reading a magazine, but in reality, was engaged in subtly and studiously observing him. A brief glance, revealing to him, that the stranger had unusually large, lidless eyes, seemed to invite the stranger to ask him what he was doing. Selwin, advised the stranger that he was simply reading a daily newspaper and innocently stated, “Why do you ask?” The stranger politely requested to see the newspaper and Selwin sleepily handed it to him, failing to observe that the “hand” with which the stranger accepted the newspaper was dark spotted green with small- ribbed fins on its reverse side, large nails and three, jointed and rather elongated fingers. “ You can keep it”, Selwin generously said,”I am finished reading it.”.
Selwin, thereupon decided to go for an early lunch at the neighborhood diner, ( predictably, grilled cheese and tomato with fries, pickle and diet coke) still muttering disgustedly to himself, “Same old, same old*** dammit, nothing interesting thing ever happens to me. ( big morose sigh).