Meeting Marie Calloway Without Adrien Brody

“It will never rain roses: when we want to have more roses, we must plant more roses.” ― George Eliot

The first alien came as a rose out of the rocky ground. It grew on a mountain slope, shadowed by a lonely olive tree. It grew in three days from a seed that had drifted there on a high, forgiving wind after the crash and burn of the starship. It had come all the way from Saturn in less than half a human day, and from a far away galaxy in less than a human year.

There was nothing natural about the rose but when it suddenly talked to the olive tree, the tree could not help but be touched: “Nobody has spoken to me since the only other olive tree here died over thirty years ago,”, said the tree. It was shivering. “I imagine that must’ve been hard for you,” said the rose. “Where I come from, there are no trees,” it said. “No tree brothers at all,” said the olive tree, “might be easier on one than plenty of trees about but none near.”―“True enough,” said the rose, who didn’t have all day to chat. It thanked the tree for the shadowing job, and the tree said “no problem at all, it’s not as if I had anything else to do,” but the rose insisted that everything is a choice and then it left. It simply walked down the mountain on its fine roots. “Wait,” cried the tree, “how do you do this? Can I do it, too? Can I walk?” But the rose didn’t hear the tree. It was busy preparing the second invasion of Earth by alien life forms.

Later that day, the rose walked into the apartment of Marie Calloway and dropped on her bed. This was a terrible mistake. That is, if you’re on the side of the aliens. Otherwise, it was a miraculous coincidence, because Marie Calloway’s powers at this point in her young life far exceeded the powers of the alien. Without knowing it, she immediately killed the alien.

Marie Calloway took the rose, which was now just a beautiful, dead flower. She looked around for a messenger but there was nobody. She smiled and put it into a vase. She filled the vase with some water. She stroked the rose with a  tenderness reserved for special days. She put the vase on the window sill and then she sat down to write some more.


This was published in Yareah Magazine (April 23, 2012)—Author’s Note (Feb 18): I live in Berlin, Germany, not in Brooklyn, New York. I don’t know much about the Marie-Calloway-Adrien-Brody-Tao-Lin complex except what I’ve read in a few blog posts. I’ve looked at the original text at Muumuu House and I’ve read Roxane Gay’s post at HTMLgiant which is eminently sensible as is most of her what she writes. The debate interests me as a phenomenon of modern identity confusion and confabulation in both a scholarly way (I’m researching virtual identities) and as a writer. This piece just came out and the end suggested itself effortlessly.

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