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A disciple of The Jetsons, I dreamt myself James T. Kirk (Oh, to be loved by a green-skinned alien in a bikini, to fire a phaser on stun). Constellations pasted to the ceiling above my bed provided the only warmth when the lights were out. I first walked the day men walked on the moon (one small step for me in a Brooklyn living room, one giant leap . . . ). I biked to the store, saved my pennies for the inevitable jetpack, and learned to run for the bomb shelter, to hide myself under a desk. Sonic booms and mushroom clouds were the metaphor for my parents’ divorce, the merit badges of my Boy Scout troop. Flying saucers might’ve visited, but never arrived. I kept a telescope by my window to watch for them. The model rocketships I never learned to launch, the countdown to blast off always aborted. At a certain age I re-aimed that telescope, first, to look into the window of the young widow across the street, she who made me feel atomic. Then a few weeks later I turned the ‘scope around so I might look out onto a world so small I could fit it all in my fist.
Copyright 2019 Gerry LaFemina. From Baby Steps in Doomsday Prepping (Madville 2019).