Diaries of the affected

By Jared Vaillancourt
[contributor]

October 12th, 2021 –
Dear diary, it’s been a long day. Christie finally dumped that jerk Matthew and is staying over as a result. I never got a good read on Matt, he seemed nice to me. I guess there were some problems between them Christie never told me about. She’s so shy, I wish she could just talk to me and tell me what’s on her mind.

Maybe she’s jealous of Mark and me. We haven’t kept in touch as much since Julian was born. I don’t know, I just wish I could help.

That guy Kris at work told a joke today, something about the Internet but I didn’t get it. Samantha told me he’s gay, but I’ve seen the way he acts all suave and classy around the other girls. Sam’s been awfully bitter this week anyways. I wonder what would happen if I introduced Christie to Kris? No, their names are too close. It’d be weird.

There was something else on the news tonight. I think it’s some sort of prank the CBC wants to play on us for Halloween. Last year they ran a story about vampires in blood banks, so I guess aliens are up this time around. They’re good actors, too, sounding like everything’s legitimate. Speaking of which, I legitimately need to get some sleep, heaven forbid Julian wants some more attention at 3am again.

October 13th, 2021 –
Dear diary, that dumb story was on every radio and broadcast today. Kris had the most fun with it – he always has a joke or two to tell. I agree they’re not doing as good a job this year; the vampires were at least rumoured to be forcing donations, but I guess this year it’s just a bunch of CGI creatures standing around like idiots while suits make silly gestures at them. That reminds me, Mark wants to take Julian around the block this year and meet all the neighbours. That should be fun.

October 14th, 2021 –
Dear diary, what a day! Some people on the street were hosting a march and talking about the CBC’s Halloween story. I think I’ve seen a few of them behind bars when I picked up Mark that one time his car was in the shop. They’re crazy UFO people or something like that. Some folks just can’t take a joke, I guess.
Christie can’t, either. At dinner tonight she was awfully quiet. I keep having to remind myself that she’s going through a tough time breaking up with Matt. Either that or she didn’t like my casserole. It’s not my fault I’m a vegetarian, I’ve just never had the urge to buy meat! Maybe I do put the odd steak or pack of hot dogs in my cart and somehow it manages to stay at the bottom beneath the bread. No big deal – the restaurant serves a great fillet mignonette, I’m told.

I asked Kris today if he was gay. I don’t think I’ll ever hear anyone laugh that hard ever again! He said no, and remarked that I’m a married woman and shouldn’t be straying from Mark. When I told him about Christie, however, he got really quiet. Apparently he’s got a crush on Samantha, of all people! I can’t see why… she’s not really nice around men. Maybe that’s his thing, but either way the talk made me realize I’ve been thinking too far ahead. Better let Christie cool down and come to terms with herself before I start spouse-hunting for her. Julian’s ecstatic to have a nanny, anyways!

October 15th, 2021 –
Dear diary, I didn’t know they made robot models of those aliens from the television. I saw one walking around Granville Island with an escort of like twenty army officers. Would it be called walking on those long tentacles? I have to admit, it’s a much better robot than my vacuum – it was picking up trash from the sidewalk and stuffing it into a pouch. Maybe the CBC wants to have some fun before revealing the city’s new street cleaners! That would be funny, I admit.
Christie told me she saw one from the window today. I checked the news and saw that these “aliens” are exploring the world with the consent of the UN. I wonder how long it took for them to piece together stock footage from Somalia, France and Japan? Editing this one must have been a nightmare. Someone’s joke is going to pay off big time. Still, Christie told me the sight of the thing disturbed her, like she knew it was from outer space. She was so distraught that Julian was crying when I got home and it took Mark and I an hour to calm them both down. Maybe I’ll move my reservation at the Cactus Club ahead to tomorrow night, she could use a good drink. And Julian could use a babysitter who isn’t emotionally unstable right now.

Speaking of emotional instability, Kris was joking about the Halloween story to Sam today. I could hear them from my office. I don’t know what the heck happened out there, but Sam went home with tears in her eyes. Did they fight? Did he tell her he had a crush on her? Maybe I shouldn’t meddle. If the stock figures aren’t correlated by the end of the month we’ll have a lot of unhappy investors – and they won’t take it as a Halloween prank, either.

October 16th, 2021 –
Dear diary, okay – I admit, I’m getting a little scared myself. But it’s easy to remember that this is all just a stupid Halloween prank the CBC is playing. There’s no such thing as aliens, it’s all CGI and robot models. Still, one of those things was speaking to a crowd of those UFO nuts on Broadway street today. Traffic was backed up for an hour. If this is just a stupid prank, they’re really going over the top to pull it off. Also, they could work on the robot’s accent. It sounded like it was flushing dry leaves down a toilet.

Christie told me at the restaurant that the “visitors” want to meet as many people as they can. There’s a lottery, so I asked Mark if he’d enter us. I’d like to see how sophisticated these things really are; whoever made them could be making a lot of money after the 31st, and I don’t think such a company would be an unwise investment. Maybe if I won I’d take Julian with me – Mark said he’s way too busy preparing for the holiday season. Last year Kris nearly got into a bar fight with some ghouls and a demon princess. Why they don’t bring back prohibition I’ll never know.

I talked with Samantha today and she told me she was scared. Hard to believe a failed basketball player could be scared. But looking up at her, I never thought I’d see something other than a scowl on her face. Something did happen between her and Kris, I’m sure of it. Now if I could just figure out what, I’ll be set. They’ve both been alone for so long, her and him. If something could or is starting to happen between them, it’s miraculous it didn’t happen sooner.

October 17th, 2021 –
Dear diary, the new Internet sure as heck works fast – Julian and I were selected today. I found out during lunch with Kris and Samantha. That was a little trick I’d seen work on television, inviting both perspective lovers separately and then slipping away discreetly so they can talk. The notice I’d won was timed almost perfectly, coming right after things began to get awkward. They were chatting when last I checked, so I’ll take that as a good sign.

Christie was quiet this evening. She looks so natural with Julian in her arms. I can’t imagine someone who helped rebuild the Lion’s Gate Bridge wanting to be a mother. Mark was more open tonight, too – seeing Christie with Julian reminded him of us in the hospital, just last year. It has been a while since we’ve cuddled and slept a good night’s sleep. I wonder what kind of flowers Christie likes? She deserves some for… well, for everything, I guess.

Tomorrow’s my day off. The contest had asked us for our earliest convenience, so I’ll be heading down to city hall to meet the “aliens” then. I didn’t give this prank as much credit as I’d thought – the idea of something out there that’s smarter than us is a little frightening. I once read a book called The Killing Star, and it had a much different idea of how aliens would react to meeting humans. Now that was scary! I’ll have fun tomorrow either way. After all, I don’t believe in aliens.

October 18th, 2021 –
Dear diary… oh, sweet mercy. I called Kris and told him to propose to Sam right away. Christie also got one heck of a speech from me over dinner about finding a mate and but soon. After I’m done writing this, I’m going to latch onto Mark and hold on as tight as I can. No way, no way, no possible way. The CBC wasn’t poker-faced all along. Those things, these visitors are honest-to-goodness real!

I met one today. I can’t believe what I saw. I was in the middle of city hall and there was a small crowd of pretty much every demographic in Vancouver. But then the army people came out and we got to meet the aliens. I was there almost all day. When it was my turn to meet one privately, I was still convinced they were just cleaning robots. Up close, I understand what Christie said about… about… knowing they’re from another world. I’ve never been more terrified in my life. It’s too much to think about, too much to understand. They’re here, they’re benign… and they’re hideous. I really must watch the news again. Forget Halloween – this coming year is going to be a hell of a lot more interesting.

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