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K-Lunk Ptet

"Sometimes time can change things."

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K-Lunk Ptet

WC: 5200

MF Burbaugh

“K-Lunk Ptet,” it said again.

“Look, I have no idea what you are saying,” I told it. I still wasn't sure what the hell the it was, but this was my damn land and no stinking robocop was telling me what to do.

It seemed to stop, like it wasn't sure what it wanted to do, then it spun partway around and pointed a thing at a dirt hill and the damn hill exploded. Well okay, so it impressed me; still didn't mean nothing. “Wow, you got a big pop gun. I'm impressed, now get the hell off my land and leave me be.” I started walking away. Apparently it was having none of that as it shot in front and pointed the tube at me.

“Look, if you are gonna kill me then get it done, if you're not get the hell outta my way. I got to feed the cows and get them milked. They get upset when they don't get milked on time,” I told that one-damn-eye-camera or what ever it was.

“K-Lunk Ptet!” it said with some emphasis, and the tube was clearly moving around in a menacing manner. If I had to guess I'd say it said 'hold it right there’. But I ain't gonna guess what no bucket of bolts says, nor care what it thinks.

“Get off my farm, I got work to do, dang-nab-it.” This tin can was starting to get my dander up. I walked around its body heading for the barn. It was equipped with treads like them WWI crawler tank things had on them. There wasn't a dang thing I could do, I had no weapon or anything but I wasn't lettin' some space alien tin can piece of shit tell me what to do on my property. At 89 I dang sure wasn't afraid to die; hell the doc's said only a few more years tops with my bad ticker and plugged up arteries.

It spun on its tracks a bit, then moved once more to my front, blocking my advance toward the barn. It stopped and said something different. “Goosd Frep?” Well, it sounded like a question.

“Look, I told you back by the house, I speak every language in this world but Greek and if it ain't English it's Greek to me. So either speak American English, kill me, or get lost.”

It stopped again and I saw the camera eye or what ever it was seem to zoom in and out. I saw the little spaceship come closer to my barn and set down. It had been by the house—being awakened at three in the morning instead of four pissed me off to start. Us old folks need our five or six hours sleep. Then to find out it is a stinking alien spacecraft causing the ruckus and the fool is a machine that don't speak English, well it was going to be a shitty day, I could tell.

The ship was a saucer, like the books showed from when I was a kid, but it was smaller. Doubt more than three or four people could fit in the thing. I watched it as something came down the little ramp, well, it looked like a girl in a spacesuit with a slivery shimmer around her. I reckon it was a forcefield of some kind. She walks up to me and then I think she talks to the robot, it turns and beats them tread things back to the ship.

“K-Lunk Ptet? Not?” She actually said a word I recognized.

“No, whatever a ‘K-Lunk Ptet’ is I am not one. I told that tin can and I tell you, I am Frank Lakes and this is my farm and you are not a guest, so leave.” I saw nothing through the gold shield-like thing she wore. Reminded me of a motorcycle helmet but it was a fancy space one.

I figured it was a she—nice body lines in that tight suit and her torso indicated she had some hooters—may be wrong, never seen aliens before. She turned toward the ship then back toward me then back to the ship then back once again toward me. “I need K-Lunk Ptet, get him please?” It was broken, clearly not her native language, but I finally understood.

“Ain't never heard of K-Lunk Ptet. This been my farm for sixty years and never heard of him.”

“Shows here as location, sure positive he is here. Sorry, robot is not programmed for indigenous life but he is here, not a mistake so now why can't you produce him? Obvious answers are he not known to you, hiding. Or you lie and he is captive. Or you lie and you killed him.”

“K, you got me, I ain't killed nothing but a couple squirrels for stew and the old lazy milker now and then for beef. Oh, and a few ground hogs digging up my fields. Look, you want to jaw, fine, follow me, but I got to get the cows milked.” I walked around her as she looked back toward the ship again. I figured she was talking to it or the robot. I went in the barn and opened the back gate. My six milkers came in, all routine. Each knew her stall and went there for the feed box and started munching as I cleaned udders and installed the vacuum cups.

The alien followed, watching.

“Sorry, no record of this site having cows, we did no studies in this area for long time,” she said.

“Well I been doin' it for sixty years and my pop did it here before me for twenty-five,” I told her, as I dumped a bit more silage into the boxes.

“Explains it. One hundred eight of your years was last survey.”

“Well, got a few minutes while they get milked, who is K-Lunk Ptet?”

“Is to be my mate. Came here to find a Singkolt plant two years ago, but never came back. Err, Marygold plant, used in our marriage rites,” she said.

“Well if he died I'm sorry, but never seen nothing around here at all. Maybe he got cold feet and bugged out on you?”

She turned back to the ship a second then back at me. “What has cold feet got to do with him not being here?”

“Sorry, guess your English ain't perfect. I meant maybe he disappeared so's he didn't have to marry you.”

That she understood. “No, he chose me. He just came here to get the plant. I waited beyond time as ordered. Ship checked before, nothing, so now I am here to find him or his body. His ship traces clearly shows he is here someplace.”

“Look lady, I told yo—” I felt a sharp shooting pain go up my arm, then it spread and felt like I was being stabbed. I tried to grab the rail as I fell; I think I did; I went black.

I saw dim light, still felt pain but different, like someone sticking me with needles. I saw fog and then things went dark.

When I could refocus my eyes there was still a dim light, a blue-white like those stupid bulbs the Government tried to force us to use before we voted all them nuts out of office. As things came into a semblance of recognizable shapes I was in a couch-type chair with a couple wires hooked to it. Meant nothing to me. I saw that robot and I realized I was inside the ship. It had smooth walls and floor in a circle and another couch by a small counsel. In that seat was the girl—I thought it was her, but no helmet on this time. All I could see of her was the back of her head; she had long golden hair. Her helmet was on the floor by her seat. Her hands were flying over some panels floating in the air, but she touched nothing.

Without turning, she said, “Well good, you are back. Robbie thought you deliberately tried to die so as not to answer for your crimes.” I heard her almost laugh.


“Sure, I read your books, all the robots are named Robbie so I named mine that.

“Oh, you had a heart attack. I hope you don't mind, I sent in the nano eaters and have added thirteen drugs and vitamins to your system. You're stable for awhile. Robbie finished the milking for you and turned the cows to pasture.”

“What are eaters and what do those drugs do? I have some I take every day to help.” I tried to move. Except for my eyes it wasn't gonna happen.

“The Nano eaters are going through your system, they eat up all the fat buildup in your veins and arteries and convert it to dissolved sugars and simple proteins. They already ate through the clot that caused your problem and they will die off when all the arteries are cleared and they run out of fat to process. Then your liver will filter them out.

“The drugs and the rest are to reinforce some damaged muscles in your heart and control your blood-pressure until the nanos get the system stable, and repair all the other minor problems found.

“I need you alive until I find out what happened to K-Lunk Ptet, after that I could care less of course.”

“Of course,” I said. "Why can't I move?"

"The field won't allow it until the nanos are done dining," she replied, as she slowly stopped moving her hands and spun her couch to face me. "Look, I need to find him. He came here, his ship traces are registering on my scanner as being here."

Well, she may be an alien but she was sure a dang pretty one. I almost felt ancient stirrings that no longer stir at my age, but still, this K-Lunk Ptet guy was one lucky son-of-a-bitch. Other than her eyes being a bit large and the pupils a bright green, she was as cute as any in them old Playboy magazines hidden in the barn where I use to read them when my pop wasn't around. Damn, they was now over sixty years old, maybe if the mice didn't use them for nests they could be worth some money as antiques or something.

"Done told you, don't know him and don't ever recollect anything but a meteor falling near here. That was twenty years ago and them government guys scoured the area and left with nothing that I saw, and how come you are now talking fancy English?"

"Actually Mr. Lakes, I'm not. You were given a scan and programmed. It is more of a temporary thing as the parts of the human brain that needs to retain it aren't activated yet. You are a quaint and primitive peoples we find amusing at times, but so self-destructive with others."

"So I am talking in your language?"

"No Mr. Lakes, you're talking in English but you're listening in Palinese, our language. Now, where is K-Lunk Ptet? He would have arrived about two of your years ago."

"If you got such highfalutin' gear as to know he landed here on my farm then get off your lazy ass and go find him yourself damn it."

"Actually, our records show you males find our asses quite attractive in some primitive, bestial sort of way." She had a Pixie smile that was hard to ignore.

"Maybe the youngin's would, but I'm to old for that sort of nonsense. Anyway, go find him, I ain't seen him at all."

"Mr. Lakes, you ever heard of Bi-Polar temporal displacement absorption?"

"Nope, don't cotton much to fancy names for mental illnesses," I told her. "Crazy is crazy."

She actually laughed. "No, Mr. Lakes, it is something I am going to do to you. We can transport our mental essence into another being and control it for awhile, read it, share it, whatever you might want to call it. It is not a permanent thing, but I show records of several humans being confined in institutions, having heads cut off, or even being burned alive while it was going on, so we now restrict its use. As a scientific research tool it is wonderful for seeing how a species feels or thinks. But I use it strictly for personal greed, I want to see what you have done with my K-Lunk Ptet. It will only hurt a little until I find and organize a few things."

"You're going to read my mind?"

"No, Mr. Lakes, I am going to possess your mind, share it with you for a time. Everything you remember I will as well."

"But I don't want that. My mind is messed up just fine, it don't need no alien helping it out."

"But Mr. Lakes, I'm not here to ask. I told you, I must find my K-Lunk Ptet and soon."

"If he loves you and is still alive he'll find a way to get to you."

"Love? What is love? Oh never mind, ready?" she asked, like I had a stinking choice?

At first I just felt an itch I couldn't scratch. Then it became stronger. A little pain? Shit, it felt like open-heart surgery without an anesthetic!

I'm not sure, I think I passed out. I kept seeing sheets of white pain.

"Mr. Lakes, can you hear me?" It wasn't from outside, I clearly felt it was inside, inside my head.

"No, I don't hear a damn thing," I said out-loud.

"Funny. Now K-Lunk Ptet, where is he?" she asked for the millionth time.

"Told ya, don't know."

"Humm, damn, you really don't do you? Well that stinks!"

"I told you I didn't."

"Okay, relax, I'm stuck in here a few hours so let's see what a human male does think. What do you see when you see me?...

"Mr. Lakes really? At your age you still think you could?"

"Well no, but doesn't mean I can't dream."

"Tell me of this love thing please?"

Basically my whole life shot by. My mother and father, the girls, the magazines, the fun, getting drunk, the marriage, the wife dying, the kids dying, the grandkids growing up, all shot through my mind in a few seconds.

"Really Mr. Lakes, looking at magazines? Why not just find a girl?"

I guess she saw why.

"Oh, I forgot, some of your time lines are so out of touch with reality. Still the feelings you show for your wife and children is unknown to me. Don't mind me, first time I ever used absorption and the entire thoughts and ideas you have are so different and strange to me. How do you all mate?"

I fought against it, but the more I fought the more the memories jumped out.

"Well, at least that part is the same the universe over, I guess," she snickered.

"Think, anything you remember from about two years ago, anything you remember at all that wasn't part of your normal daily routine."

I found myself slipping back almost fifteen years to when Marge died and tried to remember anything at all that was different from then to now. It flashed by, day after day was almost the same. Up, milk, plant, harvest, sleep, repeat. Except the rare time or two one of the grandchildren stopped to say high it was all the same.

"It was there, I saw it. We need to back up and step through it."

I found her basically doing a rewind. Then I saw it, well, if it was anything. I was wakened by bright lights at 2AM, a car on the main road maybe? But seemed too bright and too close. I drifted back to sleep.

Well, she was right, it was two years ago.

"Just a car passed by."

"No, it was him, the lights are a different color than yours, brighter, whiter. Problem was they lasted far to short a time. Damn it all."

"Look, stupid, I know, but does this absorption thing have to be with a human?"


"Well, all the cows were in the fields that night, they would have seen whatever it is you think I saw."

"You're right! Why didn't I think of that?"

"Cows are kinda dumb, not sure what you'd get doing that. Not sure how much they remember about anything either."

"We will see. Relax, let your mind wander around at random. We still have almost an hour until I return."

I found I was thinking about a lot of things, many I'd forgotten long ago, but I also felt some of them were actually her rummaging through the piles of my memories.

I felt a sharp pain, then she was gone. I was once again alone in my mind as I watched her body heave in her couch.

"A very interesting mind, Mr. Lakes. I shall release you as soon as Robbie gets in here, then you can use the bathroom and eat before the next part. Rest assured, for now Robbie is running your farm. It is well that you get few visitors."

As the robot came in, it moved to the side and waved that little cannon thing in my direction. She stared at it a minute and I could finally move. I was allowed to leave the ship and make a quick comfort stop on a handy fencepost. Glad I hadn't turned on the electric to it. I really had to go, which she knew.

I was alone with the robot, but now that I at least knew what was going on, I didn't feel as threatened.

I went back to the house and I found that body-wise I felt great, far better than I could remember in a long, long time. After a couple of sandwiches and some milk I was ready to nod off for a nap when she appeared.

"Time is up Mr. Lakes. Please follow me?"

We went back inside the ship and she had me sit down on the couch again. As soon as I did I found I again could not move.

"I didn't tell you some things, Mr. Lakes. I am a Slammer, a Time Slammer. I'm not a true alien in your sense, but I am in others. Those aliens from the Roswell thing and all the rest? They are real too, but they and you are all long in our past. Legally we are forbidden to Slam the past because we might change something, yet our scientists do it all the time, it is all politics you know." She just kind of looked to me for understanding. I didn't have a clue what she was talking about.

"I'm from way in the future. I wish I could say things were um, hunky dory, but they suck. The world is one big political shit hole. We are all controlled soon after grade school. Well most are. Some slip by. It is something like I did to you, but we are programmed to respond in certain ways or else.

"I was able to hack the computer long enough to get in and change the records saying I had already been done." She looked reflective. I think she saw my confusion.

"Been in your mind, remember. You're a lot smarter than you're pretending. We are being controlled. No freedoms at all. Those few of us not strapped to the system slip back through time for relief. We find others like us in our world and hook up, marriage. K-Lunk Ptet was one of the few males still available and not controlled by the system. That is why I need to find him. I'm already twenty-one.

"I'm sorry Mr. Lakes. I honestly thought you killed him or something. Robbie says I can't do a cow. I assume you would have noticed a hole in the ground wouldn't you?"

"You was in there, you tell me," I told her.

"Yes, that was a bit dumb to ask now, wasn't it? Mr. Lakes, is there any part of the farm here that you haven't visited since the night of the lights?"

"Well, let me think. The upper forty, no, I was there last year. I hire others to do the plantin' and hard stuff now, you know. Yes, I reckon there is one section I ain't seen in awhile, the north edge, be the woods up by the old creek. Ain't no fish and mostly rocks and the such so not farmable neither. Near I can remember that is about the only spot. You think he hid there?"

"Hid? He didn't need to hide. It was simple, land, pick a couple plants, take off, and come home. Problem is he didn't.

"If I give you a boost can you take me to that area?" she asked.

"Boost? I'm over six feet, don't need no boost."

"An energy stimulant. The nanos cleaned out your system, the drugs will take a while to stabilize everything yet, but the stimulant will make you feel twenty years younger."

"Humm, at 69 I wasn't in great shape. I hurt real bad then, colon cancer and all, then the radiation therapy. Nope twenty years was a bad time," I told her. I was joking but I guess her sense of humor was limited.

"Okay, we'll make it thirty years then." I saw the robot come forward and that big ass needle he had hurt. Still couldn't move so guess it didn't matter to her much.

When I could finally stand she took me out of the ship and the robot did something—I saw a little pale light come from a finger on his hand and the spaceship disappeared. I guess she saw my surprise. "Just light bending combined with a radar scrambler. Keeps it safe from all but your most sophisticated gear. Makes everything look normal."

The robot turned north and she did too.

"Look young lady, it's all fine and dandy you come looking for your lover and all, but do you at least have a name I can use?"

"Yes, I have been quite rude, haven't I? I am called Esia-Hundel Gont, call me Esia. Hundel is my mother’s maiden name and Gont is my father’s family name."

"So your husband-to-be was named the letter K?"

"No, he is named K-a-y."

"Oh, sorry, I thought the Robot just said K-Lunk."

"Not a lot of difference now, is there?" she asked. "Okay Mr. Lakes, why don't you lead the way, it is your property."

"Aaa, so now you acknowledge it is mine?"

She just sort of laughed, a dry humor type laugh. At least she saw the sarcasm.

It took about twenty minutes of walking to get across the fields to the wood line. I opened the gate and after all of us passed through I closed it again. I questioned if the robot would be able to travel over rough country. She assured me he'd have no trouble.

As we came to the hill leading up to the top, the rocks were more pronounced. I watched as I scrambled over a few larger ones. The robot would run up to the rocks then his treads would all rotate and the triangle tracks climbed over them with no trouble. I was duly impressed.

About three-fourths of the way up the hill a large tree had fallen and the robot wasn't able to climb over, nor move around. His little cannon tube swiveled around then poof, a large section of the tree was no more.

I had stopped for a breath as she passed me. She was climbing a rock with moss on it. I started to tell her it wasn't a good idea when the moss slipped off and she landed on top of me. She jumped up, apologizing.

"Sokay, I got a good feel." I smiled, she blushed.

When we topped the hill I was glad I'd got that booster shot. I forgot why I seldom came up here. I was exhausted. I noticed even the girl was heaving. "Now I remember why I don't come up here any more. Can't make the climb."

"Yes, I can understand that, Mr. Lakes."

"I built a hang glider once and jumped off here when I was a kid," I told her.

"Oh? How did it work?"

"Didn't, mom was madder than a hornet. I ruined her sheet and dad was pissed I cut up one of his bamboo fishing poles for ridge supports. Broke an arm and a finger too."

"Oh, okay, I remember seeing that in there, just not the how," she said.

"Here on back about a quarter mile is all rocks and trees. Not much use to anyone." I sat on a rock trying to catch my breath. She sat down by me. "Use to be a few squirrels running around is about all."

She looked toward the robot then it started moving off. "I sent him ahead, he has all the detection gear to find the ship if it is here anyplace. Long range says yes but short range is very short."

We sat there about ten minutes and I saw her jerk her head in a northerly direction. "Come, he found it." She led the way. "He says there is no sign of life and his robot is unresponsive." We scrambled over rocks and dodged trees. We came to a small ravine; I knew it wasn't here before. At the end of it sat the remains of a small saucer, like hers, but this one was in pieces, little pieces. Among those pieces was the remains of a silver suited humanoid. We had found her K-Lunk Ptet, rather her Kay Lunk Ptet. There was a smell of death on the air, but not much. I'd seen my share of death during the drug interdiction wars in South America back in 2023 and had no reason to get closer. She did.

She scoured the site and the robot did all sorts of tests and finally she sat by me. "My humble apologies, Mr. Lakes. He had unforeseen problems with his spatial disruptor and came in too close and too fast. He felt he was being tracked by our scientists and did a risky maneuver; he lost."

"So what now? You shoot me and take his body and go home?" I asked her.

"Shoot you? Why would I do that? Like I said, it was his mistake. His robot’s data tells his tale. Robbie will try to destroy most of the evidence, I have said his rites and he will be consumed along with the ship. You forget, Slammers are illegal. I dare never mention him again for fear they will find out that he died here or that I also slammed. It would likely be a total lobotomy if I am caught." She walked around stiff legged and arms like a zombie making goo goo noises. I had to laugh.

I saw short flashes of light as I looked toward the robot. It was dissolving or blowing up everything from the wrecked ship, including the body. "Won't all the burn marks be seen?"

"No. Winter is almost here and by next spring it will all be gone as new growth comes in. Can't do much about the gouge—your people wouldn't believe you, yet they wouldn't know what caused it either."

"Well, now that you know what happened why not just go back again and warn him ahead of time?"

"Why not indeed. Unfortunately it has been tried before. If I was able to do so it would have already been done and we wouldn't be here talking because it never would have happened. Time, once passed for us won't allow us to change what is. If I show here, as I do now, I can never show here again or I'd create a paradox. Our equipment won't allow that. Not even sure it could anyway."

"So what now?"

"Now? Oh, we go back down and as soon as Robbie says it is safe we leave. You try to make people believe you saw aliens or time travelers, people think you're crazy, you get committed, and the doctors wonder how come you aren't sick any more. They start analyzing everything, your farm is quarantined, the cows slaughtered and studied, nothing is found or accomplished, and at the appropriate time you pass on, still in captivity in a nice padded cell.

"I go home feeling sad for myself, I wait to see if I can find someone else who likes me for a mate that isn't controlled, or I get old alone. If not caught I will probably slip back in time a few times for the hell of it. If caught I spend time in rehab and when cured I walk around like the rest of the zombies and smile at everyone."

Okay, she did have a sense of humor, just different than mine. "Well, I'm not going to tell nothing to nobody so that is out. Can't help you in the boys department, too old, and why not just stop coming back so's you don't get brainwashed or whatever?"

"Too boring, too controlled. Oh well, let's head back down."

Last I saw of her she kissed my cheek. "Sorry for the trouble, Mr. Lakes. I'll figure something out." The door closed and the ship went poof. My mind cleared a bit as I smiled and went back to the house. Dang, fifty years ago I would have liked her.


"Wake up, son, you have to get the hay down from the barn—quit goofing off. Then you can celebrate your twenty-first birthday with a beer after we get the evening milking done," dad said.

The day dragged forever. I was given a new box of shells for hunting and a new pair of Bib overhauls for my birthday. Dad was always such a practical man and money was tight as always.

I was up in the loft looking over my collection of Playboys, dreaming the young man’s dreams when something caught my eye back in the corner. When I checked it out it was a girl, as pretty a blonde as any in them books. She had a real tight silver suit thing on. She was asleep and I was afraid to touch her. Then she rolled over and smiled real big at me.

"Frank?" She asked.

"I, um, I'm Frank Lakes, who are you?"

"Me? Just call me Esia. I want to be your bestest friend ever. Honest, you don't need the magazines any more, not for another sixty-eight years, five months and twenty-one days anyway."

She stood and slowly unzipped the suit. Man-oh-man.


Alarms were going off, people were scrambling all over. Some vanished, others changed looks, new people popped in, equipment looked different, and a speaker wailed in protest.

"Warning! Time Line change. Warning! Time line change."

"Where?" someone asked.

"To late, unknown, all is well, all is—" the entire Time Central disappeared.

Some when and where a young lady and her lover lived happily ever after.

Coming soon
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