“Hey, Jack,” said the young man with the aviator glasses.
“Hey, Tommy,” replied the man named Jack. He was sitting at a small round coffee table, with a paper cup and a newspaper in front of him.
Neither one said anything for a while as Tommy poured himself a cup of coffee, and then some milk, and sat down at the table.
Jack turned the page, then another, and when he finally had read the newspaper, he folded it up and threw it back on the table.
They sat at the table silent.
Then Tommy slammed his clipboard on the table.
“Here they are,” he said with a big grin on his face.
“Who’s here?” said Jack, and then barked:
“What are you doing here, Tommy?”
Tommy kept on smiling.
“I came with a delivery, Jack. My first one,” he said, beaming.
“What delivery? We’re not expecting a delivery. Not in months, to be honest.”
“Well, here I am with one!”
“Tommy, who’s here?”
Tommy picked up the clipboard off the table and started to read.
“Well, I have 23 Finns, 119 Swedes, a half a dozen monkeys, and a car. A Cadillac. Pink,” he said and threw the clipboard back on table.
Jack grabbed it and started to read. His followed the lines with his finger, and once he got to the end of what seemed to be a long list, he threw the clipboard into the wall.
“Tommy, Tommy, TOMMY! You idiot! This was not a delivery to us! This was a regular flight from Stockholm to the Canary Islands!” Jack yelled.
“No buts! How could you be so stupid?”
“Well, I was a little surprised to see that I’d have so many passengers, but it was my first trip so… how should I know? But …. Surely the pink Cadillac was for Elvis, and I assumed the monkey was Michael’s,” Tommy said.
“They’re not. We’re not expecting anybody for months. There’s been some talk about … well, I’m not supposed to be talking about names, you know that, but I can tell you, these Finns and Swedes don’t belong here. Now what are we going to do with them? YOU’VE JEOPARDIZED THE ENTIRE OPERATION!”
“Well, I can take them back … maybe?”
“Never, how are you going to explain it to them, and to the rest of the world? That a plane vanished from the radars, was gone for a day, and then simply reappeared? No, they need to stay here.”
“Maybe Elvis can have the Cadillac after all?”
“He doesn’t need another Cadillac! And no, Michael doesn’t need another monkey. Dianas fine, and Jimbo’s busy with his herb garden.”
“But the Cadi….”
“Shut up! Let me think,” Jack said.
“Think, think! Think, Jack, think!” he said to himself, while walking around the room in circles.
“Maybe Buddy would want the Cadillac? Or Whitney?” Tommy said.
“FORGET ABOUT THE CADILLAC! How long have they been here now?”
“Well, I got here in the morning, and …”
Jack glanced at the clock on the wall. It was 2 p.m.
“… AND NOBODY REALIZED THE MISTAKE UNTIL NOW?!” he yelled.
“Nobody’s said anything to me, and, well, the people are camping out on the beach,” said Tommy.
“What? What have they seen? What do they know?”
“They’ve got their welcome drinks, and they’re getting their info packages now. Some of them must have been assigned their bungalows because I heard a woman scream that she was neighbors with a guy who was a ‘spitting image of Elvis’,” said Tommy.
“This is it. This is the end. We’re going to have to relocate at the very least, but can you imagine what will happen if any one of those Finns and Swedes return home and tell people they’ve seen Elvis and Jim Morrison and Buddy Holly, not only alive, but looking as young as they were when they ‘died’?” Jack asked Tommy, then turned around without waiting for an answer.
Jack was biting his thumbnail. Centuries of work was about to go down the drain just because of one idiot. There had been close calls before – like when Marilyn Monroe had arrived on the island – but never before had a certified idiot delivered over a hundred outsiders there. Jack had got the island wiped off Google Earth, and he would take care of this, too.
“Not on my watch,” he muttered and rushed out the door.
“People! Everybody!” he shouted.
“Where are we? Is that Andy Kaufman?” he heard a man yell back.
“May I have your attention, PUH-LEASE! I hope everybody’s already enjoying his drink. In just a few minutes, our social director will play some Elvis songs, and then there will be an afternoon yoga on the beach, led by Princess Di,” Jack said.
“Is this a joke?” another man yelled.
“No, this is no joke. Welcome to Other Earth, this is a place of relocation for those who have had enough of the life they’ve led. We have celebrities, heads of state, royalty…” Jack said.
“… and now you. Congratulations!” he added.
He then explained the rules to the people: how they were allowed one letter, what their accommodations would look like, how the points system worked, and how to place orders from the outside world. The Finns and Swedes seemed to be happy, as were the monkeys, because nobody said anything. They were listening to Elvis and Buddy Holly sing “Rave on.”
“Once again, welcome. Enjoy!” Jack said, and walked back into his office. He still had a lot of work to do. Now he had to plant a plane wreckage somewhere in the Atlantic.