The Visitor

May 11, 1993

He blinked his eyes several times to make sure what he saw was true. A creature was standing before him.

He was at least three times the size of the boy and a shiny silver in color. He was strange looking.

From a distance he could pass for a human, but up close he was definitely not. And the boy was no more than two feet away from, from, whatever it was.

He (or was it she?) had two legs and two feet, but only four toes. Other than that, the boy could see little because he was wearing a huge helmet with a visor and a shirt that said, "My parents went to Mars and all I got was this lousy T-shirt."

It whirled around to face the boy. "Who ... who are you?" the boy stammered out, a little scared.

"I am Tobor," he responded in a stiff, toneless voice.

"You're not human are you?" asked the boy. After all, he had never seen nothing like Tobor before.

"Ah," he said "you are an Earthling?"

"Yes," said the boy.

"And you are human?"

"Yes. Now answer my question," he demanded impatiently.

Tobor seemeed not to hear his demand. "You are a native?"

"Yes, of course. And you?"

"And me what?" asked Tobor.

"Are you a native Earthling?" he repeated exasperated.

"Me?" He laughed.

"Yes, you!" said the boy, growing more annoying. "No, I mean that tree over there."

The sarcasm flew over Tobor's head, and he responded with disbelief, "There's someone else here? Someone named Tree?"

"No, no! That. Is. A. Tree," he said pointing to the nearby willow.

Tobor let out a gasp and drew back startled. "It's huge! Will it kill us?"

"No," Didn't this Tobor guy know anything? "It can't even move." "Why not?"

"I don't know."

"You don't know, you don't know," Tobor mimicked. "Ignorant, plain ignorant."

"Wait," said the boy, as he flung his bag from off his back and got out a book. He flipped it open until he got to the page he was looking for. "Here." He thrust the book in Tobor's hands. "It's my science book."

Tobor reached out for it, but dropped it. "I'll get it," said the boy. He bent over and happened to glance at his watch. "Oh no! It's after five!"

It was starting to get dark. But wait? Wasn't it dark before? Now the sky was a tawny orange color, and the sun was far on one side of the sky.

"I must be going now," said the boy.

"What is the date?" Tobor inquired.

"Tuesday, May 11th."

"And the year?"

"1993, of course."

"Good grief! That's practically pre-historic."

"It is not," the boy defended, not sure exactly why he was offended or what he was defending. "We have lots of technology. Electricity, well most of the time. Cars, planes, telephones, TVs, CD players, video games, computers, space shuttles...."

"That is all?" Tobor interrupted. "What about robots?"

"Yeah, we have some really cool hi-tech ones I guess, but they're not really important."

"Not important?"

"Well, you know, they're not like Nintendo or anything. Some help people do important things, but they cost millions. And it's not like you can invite your friends over to play games on them."

Tobor's face turned bright red, and suddenly the boy understood. Metal. Tinny voice. Even his name was a clue. "You're a robot!"

"Yes, we're the only ones left."

"The only ones left?" the boy repeated, lost again.

"Yes, in my time the planet Earth is gone."


Tobor's voice was emotionless. "I saw it go -- Nine hundred thirty two thousand four hundred and fifty three years ago."

"Oh." said the boy simply. There was a pause. "That long ago, huh?"

They stood together in silence watching the sun set.