Rude Awakening

He looked at his reflection in the mirror and saw a stranger.   Not an ordinary stranger either … the mirror reflected the image of a bizarre creature.   Tom wanted to scream, but he couldn’t find his voice.   It was as if he no longer had a vocal apparatus.  So instead of screaming, he fainted.   It was so pleasant being in a dark, quiet, warm space — asleep.   Tom was aware of neon question-marks bobbing in the near distance.   He remembered something very odd, something about screaming.  Suddenly he was awake.   He was sitting in a chair.  If he looked to the side, he could see his reflection in the mirror.   Fear wrapped around his torso like a python.   He didn’t want to look. Instead, Tom stared at his arm and hand.   Everything appeared OK in the limb department so he glanced at the mirror.   The reflection stared back at Tom like a grotesque movie monster.  He almost lost his lunch.   The mirror told a different story from what Tom expected.   The room in the mirror looked like the inside of a lung (or how Tom imagined lung-insides to look).   After checking his arms, body, and legs Tom realized he still looked the same .   He concluded the mirror must be malfunctioning — but the mirror was just glass without any moving parts or electrical connections.   There was nothing in the mirror to malfunction.  He studied the reflected image: a distorted creature with several arms and no head hunched-over inside an enormous lung that seemed to vibrate.   Tom thought it was like watching TV, then he understood — the mirror was transmitting the images he saw.  Suddenly sound kicked in: gurgles and gasps punctuated by a category ten hurricane.  Tom couldn’t turn off the sound and it was deafening — then, there was silence; then the sound was back at a more tolerable volume.  He heard a voice in his head, “Howdy Tom!  Let me introduce myself.”  The voice was friendly and Tom was immediately put at ease.    “I’m Mxxelzeekrftz, but you can call me Mixer because I’m going to mix it up.  I’m from space.  Glad to meet you.  The fellows and I got together to offer you and your kind the offer of a lifetime. That’s right.  That’s not all.  There’s more.  Sign the pact and we will send you free of charge some really cool stuff, hot off the production line.  If that’s not enough we are authorized, just this once, to throw in a special deal.    You can’t beat these prices.  Hurry before this offer ends … ”  On and on it went: the deals, offers, and free gifts.  Tom wasn’t the only target.  Mirrors everywhere were transmitting images of friendly representatives from the Galactic, Better Business Bureau.   Pacts were signed, the sales pitch worked like a charm and the Earth was put on the auction block.  The highest bidder turned Earth into a shopping mall that offered relics made by the humans who were eliminated in the name of progress.

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