In My Parents Basement

“What the fuck!?”

The timer continues to tick down. 44... 43 ... 42...

“Your life depends on this” pleads the voice.

I don't know why. But, I believe him.

He repeats the command for the fourth time: “In your mind, think of a place you visited last year.”

I say “my parent's house” this time without thinking.

The screen flashes green and a chime rings. The slightly more relaxed voice says: “Well, ALICE seemed to like that one.”

I guess “ALICE” didn't like Colorado, Target, or Disney World (I lied about that one).

“Now picture a room in that location” says the voice with a returning urgency.

“The basement.”

Another green screen and a chime. I'm as perplexed as when I began, but I seem to be doing a better job.

“Final question, you're almost there. You need an object, a talisman.”



I blurt out the first thing that comes to mind when I picture my parent's basement. “The brown leather couch.”

A flash of red and sharp piercing note. The computer voice breaks in again and says: “Selected object must be hand held!”

My mind goes blank and I freeze as the countdown continues. I look at the half eaten lunch in front of me and blurt out “Apple!”

The flashing red light and even louder piercing noise.

“You must....” the voice cuts off midway as the countdown hits 10.

The screen starts flashing red. A robot voice shouts: ““In your mind, look around your location and identify an object that currently exists there!”

I hesitate. 8...7...6....

At this point I only have one shot.

I think of myself standing in my parent's basement and looking around....

“The black metal fireplace poker in my parent's basement!”

A twinkling ring and the video screen shows an image of a key opening a lock.

I hear my words repeated back to me again several times.

“The black metal fireplace poker in my parent's basement!” “The black metal fireplace poker in my parent's basement!”

The much relieved voice cuts back in and says matter-of-factly “we can't keep this portal open much longer.”

“That is your one way pass phrase. You will never repeat it. It will only ever be said to you.”

Drained, I simple say “I understand.”

He continues with a sense of self-importance “Only ALICE knows the phrase. She blocked me from hearing your responses, so even I don't know.”

What is going on?” I plead.

He simply says “Just do what ALICE says. That's all I do. If you hear your pass phrase, do exactly what that person says. They are speaking for ALICE.”

ALICE?” I ask.

“Yeah, ALICE...the portal is closing in 3...2...1.”

The computer monitor flashes for a second and I'm back to my work desktop. Half-finished work email staring out at me.

I guess I just have to wait now.