The Inversion Trawler: Sci-Fi Man – March 2008

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Filed by Boo.
Our first knowledge of Sci-Fi man came from Aunt Leona a good while back. She was chattering away to a friend of hers. They were discussing and comparing stories about some "totally creepy wing-nut guy." Between the shrieks, the exclamations, and the can-you-believe-it-? laughter, we started to form an image of a guy who appears around the city asking everybody if they're into science fiction. Aunt Leona was flapping her hands and saying, "Oh, lordy! Every time I see him coming I close my eyes and tell myself 'go to your happy place, Leona, go to your happy place.' And then there I am in my walk-in closet. But, ya know, that creepy voice will shatter my peace and yank me back into reality. And that annoying accent! He's from London or England or some weird place like that. He compliments me on something, waits a coupla seconds and then asks if I'm a fan of science fiction. EVERY TIME! Like he hasn't asked me a thousand times already! Now I just say 'no' and, ya know, make a getaway. He just moves on to the next person and asks the exact same thing."

Oom and I were intrigued. Some weeks later, we encountered him for ourselves. We were sitting at one of the tables in the big open foyer at the downtown library. At the next table sat a young blonde woman wearing floral print and a big bow. She looked like a sofa. A man approached her. He had dark, greased-back hair and big ears. He was kinda ancient—probably around 45—and too well-dressed to fit into the real world. He leaned in close to the woman who was reading a romance paperback and in an English accent said, "That bow truly suits you." The woman looked up clearly startled and said, "Thanks." There was an awkward pause as the man just stared at the woman for a few seconds. The sofa woman squirmed a bit in her seat. Then the man asked, "Are you a science fiction enthusiast? Like myself, do you feel a kinship with the infinite possibilities of the universe?" The woman practically fell out of her seat, and I kicked Oom underneath the table. We were witnessing the famous Sci-fi man in action!
The woman bumbled out, "Yeah! Yeah, well not very much myself. My brother Josh loves those hobbit books." Sci-fi man seemed displeased and frowned at the mention of hobbits. He just stared at her for some more seconds – now seemingly eyeing her with suspicion. She squirmed more and giggled nervously. Then he asked, "Do you live locally?" She giggled and said, "Thanks." He stared at her some more and then said, "Well, do you live locally?" Her face clouded over and she giggled nervously again and said, "Oh. I thought you said I looked lovely." He kept staring. She added, "I live down in Provo. I'm a student at BYU." He asked, "Are you Mormon?" She replied, "Yes, I'm LDS. Do you know about our church?" Him: "Yes, I know all about it. I find it hard to believe that you are Mormon and yet you do not like science fiction - The things you people believe!" While this was going on, another scene had been unfolding at a near-by table. Two girls were sitting and talking – well, one girl was doing all the talking and the other was nodding in agreement. The talking girl loved the sound of her voice and apparently thought everybody else did, too. She was one of those loud types who loves drama and guilt-tripping. Not nearly as brilliant as she thinks herself to be and probably watches a lot of soap operas and reality TV. She was going on about her boyfriend who had apparently got on her bad side. Just as Sci-fi man ended his conversation with sofa girl, soap opera girl was practically shouting out, "...and so I gave him a look that let him know I was mad." At that, Sci-fi man, obviously agitated, turned to soap opera girl and said, "Madam, you need only glance in a persons direction for them to know, without doubt, that you are completely mad – absolutely out of your tree." Then he marched off and out the doors. He was instantly our hero.