No Other Choice
by Elliot Richard Dorfman
Part 1 appears|
in this issue.
“Yes,” he said, breathing heavily.
“Good, because I don’t believe in all these silly conventional restrictions, especially if a man and woman find each other physically appealing.”
She gently blew into his ear.
That was enough of a hint for him. He took her in his arms, and to his delight, she totally responded to his actions. They made passionate love that night, the kind he never knew existed when he was with Elaine. About three, she left his room, leaving him to fall into a deep sleep.
Her portrait was finished the next afternoon, just when the sun finally came out. Grace was thrilled with the painting.
“You’re a talented artist!”
Encouraging words, not like the critical, self-absorbed Elaine. He wondered what he had ever seen in his “ex” to begin with.
Ron was anxious to get outside. “Let’s take a walk on the avenue, I need some fresh air. We’ve been inside this house for too long. I am interested in seeing how the neighborhood once looked.”
“Once looked?” she said, laughing. “Has it changed that much in four days?”
“What? Oh, I mean, looks,” he quickly answered, reminding himself to be careful of what he said.
Grace turned toward the stairs, “I’ll just change my clothes into something more suitable. The grounds must still be muddy after so much rain. Why don’t you sit on the verandah until then?”
Ron stepped outside. Except for the chirping of an occasional bird, it was very quiet and serene. No carriages with horses or rumbling vehicles passed on the road. He could have sworn once seeing an old 1900 photograph of this street with at least two houses on it, but maybe he was wrong.
When Grace didn’t come out after half an hour, Ron went in to see what was taking her so long. He walked into utter darkness that lasted for a few seconds. When the lights came on, he was standing alone in some kind of ultra-modern office, wearing his own clothes again. What’s going on? he thought.
The symmetrical furniture was done in soft, pastel colors. The ceiling glowed, giving off a natural kind of daylight. Looking from a large picture window, the bewildered man saw one- and two-storied futuristic buildings bending in harmony with the country surroundings.
“Too perfect for Earth,” he said out loud.
“You’re right, Ron,” said a deep sounding voice behind him.
Quickly turning, Ron saw a tall, handsome man with light gray eyes and white hair smiling at him. It was hard to distinguish his age, since he had no wrinkles or lines on his face.
“How do you know my name?”
“Calm down and sit,” requested the distinguished looking man.
Ron sat on one of the high back chairs near the side of the desk. It automatically adjusted to his body.
“First of all, let me officially welcome you to my planet, which is called Tandor. I am Arando, the elected leader of this united world. Tandor is located in a galaxy billions of light years away from the Milky Way. However, we exist in a solar system exactly like yours.
“The only difference between Earth and Tandor is that my species developed eons before yours. Physically we are alike, but we don’t have the destructive imperfections in your race such as hate, jealousy, and cruelty. Our knowledge goes beyond what you can even envision. We started visiting your planet many centuries ago.”
“All interesting, but why did you put me back in time?” asked the overwhelmed Earthling.
“We didn’t. We simulated that time on Tandor after transporting you to our planet.”
“Simulate? But what about Grace? Do you mean to tell me that she was acting?”
“Grace isn’t a person. It’s a humanoid robot designed for a special purpose. Still, its appearance and character was from a prototype of an actual Tandorian woman chosen to match your personality. Actually, that person is very anxious to meet you now, she...”
“I’m not interested. Just tell me why you did this. Even if there was an important reason, as far as I’m concerned, I was manipulated in such a way that indicates you do have some imperfections!”
For the second time in his life, Ron was hurt by falling in love.
Arando made a sad face. “We really had no choice. It was imperative to get you on Tandor to freely extract what we needed from your body.”
“Freely extract!” Ron got up and threw the chair.
“Compose yourself,” Arando pleaded, getting the chair and motioning for Ron to sit again.
“I’d rather remain standing,” replied the incensed Earthling, glaring at the Tandorian.
Arando continued, talking slowly so that Ron didn’t miss anything, “The population here on Tandor is only one-third the size of yours. A crisis began when my race was no longer able to propagate. Upon scientific investigation, it was found that a strange new virus was weakening the spermatozoa in our men. Even with the tremendous medical advancement we achieved, it was calculated that it would take us many generations to find a complete cure.
“For reproduction to continue, we needed one healthy sperm specimen. That meant getting it from an Earthling. From that single specimen, we could extract 10 million healthy spermatozoa. The DNA would then be modified with our own individual males to effectively stop future children from carrying recessive genes resulting from inbreeding.”
“But why did you select me? I am not the most perfect man on Earth.”
“A random search on your planet indicated you were one of the healthiest specimens. We didn’t ask permission because we felt it would be too overwhelming for you. To compensate, we gave you your wish of living in an earlier time.”
Ron’s blood pressure was rising, “Your compensation was only a simulation. What you did was devious and cruel. I was violated both mentally and physically. You got me to fall in love and then have sex with a robot so that my semen could be used for your own purpose. It makes me sick just thinking of it.”
Arando sighed, “I am really sorry you feel this way. The situation required drastic measures. We thought it was a humane way. Be assured, the people on Tandor will always be grateful to you. Are you positive you don’t want to meet the female who was the prototype for Grace the robot?”
Ron shook his head, “Absolutely not! This whole situation reminds me of some grotesque story. If you are through with me, return me to Earth. I’ll bet my parrot, Freda, is either sick or dead from starvation.”
Arando put his hand affectionately on Ron’s shoulder.
“Don’t worry. We had a mechanical replica of you take over your daily activities on earth while you were here. Its memory bank of that duration will be transferred to your mind and all experiences here will be forgotten.”
“Okay, enough talk!” Ron pleaded. “Return me home.”
* * *
The phone rang, waking Ron up in the morning. It was Zack calling.
“Haven’t seen you in the past few days, pal. What’s up? ”
“Just doing some repairs around the house.”
“How about coming over and taking a swim in my pool? It’s suppose to be a scorcher this afternoon.”.
Ron liked the idea, “Thanks, think I’ll do that. See you ’round 12:30.”
Hungry, he went into the kitchen to make breakfast. Freda was screeching in the dining room. Taking her out of the cage, he put the parrot on his shoulder. The bird seemed very happy to see him this morning.
“Look like it’s going to be a great summer vacation.” He gave her a morsel of his food which she happily took.
But surprisingly the summer did not go well. Restless and depressed, an empty feeling welled up in Ron as if he had recently lost someone very dear to him. Certainly it was not Elaine!
Zack advised him to start dating and find a woman that he could fall in love with. “Living alone with a parrot and listening to all those old records isn’t a life.”
Perhaps his friend was right, but every time he dated, he found all kinds of faults with the woman. A decision was made to get professional help from a psychiatrist, but even these intense sessions didn’t seem to alleviate his dark mood.
September came, and all the teachers in his school had to report after Labor Day to prepare for the students’ arrival the following week. The night before, Ron decided to ask the principal for a leave of absence. He wasn’t sure that he could effectively teach his students with this thick depression looming over him. The next morning, Ron was at school early so he could talk to the principal before the staff meeting started.
Fulton Wesley, the principal, shook his head in exasperation.
“Ron, I am sympathetic to your condition, but this is a bad time for you to suddenly take a leave of absence. Our high school only has two art positions, and one teacher has just retired in June. I was counting on you, as an experienced professional, to help the new teacher we hired until she gets some experience. The young lady has just graduated from college, but loves kids and shows good potential. Could you hold off the leave as a personal favor?”
Ron shrugged. “Well, I don’t want to leave the school in a lurch. Okay, I guess I’ll wait.”
“Fantastic,” said the relieved principal. “By the way, the teacher’s name is Gefstra Gratis.”
“That’s an unusual name. Say, what happens if we clash?”
“Oh, I have a feeling that you two will get along fine.” His superior gave him a wink, “ In fact, it may be the best thing for you. Mark my words!”
There was a knock at the office door.
“That must be Miss Gratis. I left word for her to see me.” He opened the door and let in the youthful teacher.
Ron rose. He suddenly felt a warm sensation arise throughout his body as he looked at Miss Gratis. She was very beautiful. Her braided chestnut brown hair framed a beautiful expressive face with big hazel eyes.
After the introductions, Wesley explained to Gefstra how Ron would be helping her through the school term.
“You’re in excellent hands. Now, why don’t you two go to the cafeteria and have some coffee before the meeting gets started?”
“I know this sounds contrived,” Ron said to Gefstra as they walked down the hall, “but haven’t we met before?”
“No, but maybe you met someone who looks like me,” she said, giving him a big smile.
Ron’s depression was suddenly gone. It looked like this was going to be a good year after all!
A few months later, Fulton called Gefstra into his office.
“Well, how is it going, Gefstra.”
“I am hopelessly in love with Ron,” she said, her eyes sparkling. “We do make a perfect couple!”
“Then you are willing to spend the rest of your life in this environment that we have set up for him?”
“Absolutely, but will you ever tell him that he is still on Tandor because Earth was obliterated by sudden nuclear attacks throughout his planet?”
“No, he would just pine away knowing that the Earth he loved is gone. This is the best way to keep him physically and mentally healthy. It’s the least we can do. Remember, he has saved our race from possible extinction. I am glad we were able to save one personal thing on Earth and bring it here to Ron.”
Gefstra smiled. “Oh, yes, Frieda, his parrot.”
Copyright © 2007 by Elliot Richard Dorfman