Rainbow and Nibuz conversation 2

Rainbow: Nibuz?

Nibuz: Hey, sorry I was working in the yard.

Rainbow: Is it nice where you are?

Nibuz: Very. Not for you?

Rainbow: Winter.

Nibuz: That’s right. I forget you have a seasonal world. So what’s up?

Rainbow: I’m trying to be friends with someone. An ex.

Nibuz: How did it end?

Rainbow: Badly.

Nibuz: Why do you want to be friends?

Rainbow: Because he’s alone. He really doesn’t have more then a couple friends. And he’s not ok. A lot.

Nibuz: Is he someone you’d want to be friends with if he had loads of support?

Rainbow: No because it’s too dangerous.

Nibuz: That’s still true.

Rainbow: I know. But. There isn’t anyone else.

Nibuz: That doesn’t mean it has to be you.

Rainbow: He has enough health problems that he occasionally needs an ER. I’m not ok letting him get into trouble and not offering help. Something in me needs to do this.

Nibuz: Why do you tell me this? How do you hope I’ll respond?

Rainbow: I’m not sure. Because it’s good to talk it out with someone. There might be another answer. Also. If it goes badly again it will be upsetting. Is that unkind of me? To use you for when my terrible plans go terribly?

Nibuz: No. Not unkind. At least not unkind to me. Although I sort of wish you’d be kinder to yourself in all this.

Rainbow: I cannot be myself if I don’t try to assist him when no one else will. I am being careful.

Rainbow and Nibuz conversing 1

Rainbow: Nibuz?

Nibuz: Yes? What is it?

Rainbow: Just thinking of thoughts. Are you very busy?

Nibuz: No not right now.

Rainbow: You remember the plague we have here.

Nibuz: Of course. Your world is still off limits for travel.

Rainbow: I know. I’m not asking you to make a trip. I’m trying to keep myself safe. I’m just having a difficult time knowing how. I have friends who worry. Relatives who take different levels of precaution. It’s a hard balance to strike.

Nibuz: That sounds stressful.

Rainbow: It is! I’m blamed for what I do and don’t do. I can’t please one friend without displeasing another it seems.

Nibuz: How so?

Rainbow: There’s a gathering I would attend. Someone close to me has a brother who is getting married. Another of our friends has told me flat out I’m being reckless.

Nibuz: Are you?

Rainbow: I don’t think so! But I’m so mad at him. It’s been ages since I’ve gone to a wedding. I love them. And it’s his brother. He won’t be able to go if I don’t take him. He has no car. Public transit presents a danger to him I can minimize. I’m so tired of being careful. But I still will anyway. I will wear a good mask, I will wash my hands. But the only way to make this one friend happy it seems is to miss the wedding. I wish I knew the answer. Can’t you help?

Nibuz: I’m not a seer. I have brain scans and space travel. I don’t have the cure to your plague. This has to play out how it will play out. Ideally everyone collectively protects each other and this is solved in a few weeks to months. But a planetwide effort like that is hard for any world. I’m sorry Rainbow.

Rainbow: I know. There’s so much fear everywhere. So much judgement. It weighs on me. I really do want everyone safe.

Nibuz: That you make clear.

Rainbow: I love you.

Nibuz: Yes. Ikkanstrill are often that way. I understand you.

Rainbow: Thanks.

Nibuz: Any time.

Rainbow and Nibuz, second meeting

My first meeting with Nibuz is something I will catalog another day. For context perhaps it may help you to know it was rushed and focused on a problem not of my making or solving. Right now I’d like to remember my second meeting, because it was an important one.

Nibuz left my planet. But in doing so he did something that is familiar to most on my world. He forgot his cell phone. Typical earth mistake. I still don’t know how usual that is to his world. Regardless! It was left behind at my house, where previous events had occurred, and been resolved.

I was relaxing after a strange afternoon. It rang. I saw it for what it was, the device of Nibuz, equivalent of our cell phones. I let it go to voicemail. He’d be back for it. But it rang again. And then again. So I followed my hunch and did what many on earth would do. I answered it. Turns out I was correct; it was him calling.

Rainbow: Uhhh, hello?
Nibuz: Oh Rainbow, it’s you! Thank goodness the device wasn’t lost permanently. I’m so glad you knew to open it. Where are you?
Rainbow: Just in my house. Haven’t gone anywhere.
Nibuz: Ok, I’m coming back to collect it.
Rainbow: Any idea when you’ll get here?
Nibuz: An, an hour and one half?
Rainbow: Seems fine. Um. Do I just close the device back up when we’re done speaking?
Nibuz: Yes! Thanks so much.
Rainbow: No prob.

The next thing I did might seem underhanded. But, I wasn’t sure I could delay Nibuz any other way. An hour and a half went by. Nibuz was only a trifle late.

Nibuz: Ok I’m so sorry about this. Where is it?
Rainbow: You can’t have it back. Not yet.
Nibuz: Where is it?
Rainbow: I’ve hidden it. Stay and talk to me.

At this point Nibuz took out a cylinder and depressed a button. His cell rang faintly. I’d placed in in a spot that made echoes sound like it was within the wall near the kitchen. Nibuz frowned slightly but his eyes seemed to hold a mild amusement.

Nibuz: You’ve hidden it in a wall? I could just put a hole in your wall and get it.
Rainbow: That’s a support beam for the entire house. Mess with that and we’ll both be in trouble.
Nibuz: What is it you want? I do have things to be off doing.
Rainbow: What sorts of things?
Nibuz: Well, I help people. I can cure people sometimes. Like I did today on this world.
Rainbow: If there was someone else. Someone you didn’t know about, who needed help.
Nibuz: I couldn’t help them if I didn’t know about it.
Rainbow: What things do you cure though? There must be many things people need help for that you cannot fix.
Nibuz: Who needs my help, Rainbow? Is it you? Rainbow, I know that’s not a support beam. Are you going to give me an idea what’s wrong?
Rainbow: There are illnesses on my world that are mental in nature, related to the brain.
Nibuz: We have them on my world as well.
Rainbow: What’s wrong with me? Why am I different? It feels like I don’t belong on this world.

Nibuz took from his belt a small pack of medical tools. One of them looked like an otoscope. Nibuz used this against my temple. It buzzed briefly.

Nibuz: Your brain just has a strong flavor.
Rainbow: What? Do people eat brains on your world??

At this Nibuz laughed in a loud hearty way that reassured me once again as to my safety around him.

Nibuz: No, no! It is a figure of speech where I come from. To put it plainly- you aren’t different. Your world is. Your mind has a strong flavor. There’s no name to the mind flavors here. On my world your flavor is called something like Ykkanstrill. Most of the minds here are mild. Most other people meet and taste so little of each other, that it seems to them that they are alike. The flavor of your mind is so overpowering it throws people off, I think. Listen, Rainbow, I get along well with Ykkanstrills. It’s good to meet another. I’d like to be able to send you a message from time to time.
Rainbow: How?
Nibuz: Give me your device.

Nibuz took my phone and began a new text message. Instead of typing a string of numbers, he aimed his device at it. The screen filled with hieroglyphics, then registered as a fresh text.

Nibuz: Send me something.
Rainbow: Ok, it’s a picture of my name.
Nibuz: That’s very Ykkanstrill. Rainbow, I have a favor to ask.
Rainbow: What’s that?
Nibuz: A strong flavor on a mild world must be a very lonely thing. You said you don’t belong here. If that feeling gets too much, the feeling you don’t belong, you may think you need to leave…Are you following me?
Rainbow: I am.
Nibuz: If you become overwhelmed, if it gets too much, will you message me then?
Rainbow: May I also message you at other times too?
Nibuz: Yes.
Rainbow: Then yes.
Nibuz: Good. I’m glad you made me stay. May I have my device now?
Rainbow: Yes.

I ran to retrieve his phone. I handed it back to him.

Nibuz: Message sometimes.
Rainbow: Is there a too much messaging?
Nibuz: I will let you know if that happens. Goodbye Rainbow.

Interlude (a non-canon Doctor fiction)

The TARDIS ground to a halt, complaining all the while.

“I know,” the Doctor said aloud. “I’m trying. But I’m not ready yet. When you’ve lived as long as I have…I should be more ready to face this. But I’m not. I just need…wait. Where are we?”

The Doctor opened the door to the TARDIS cautiously. Randomly stopping her shouldn’t have brought them to any actual place. But somehow it had.

There, behind a shining wooden counter, stood a woman polishing a drinking glass. Behind her was a mirrored wall, covered in shelves holding liquid-filled bottles of various sizes. On the other side of the counter sat several humanoids. Customers, the Doctor realized.

“What can I get for you?” the woman asked without looking up.

“I’m not sure,” the Doctor said.

“That’s alright. It will come to you.”

Was the bartender old or young? Her hair was gray and cut very short, but her face was smooth. Perhaps her species were all gray-haired.

“What is this place?”

“This is A Stop Along The Way. Perhaps you think you’ve wandered in by accident? Trust me when I tell you this is where you’re meant to be. Tell me what troubles you, and I’ll see if I can’t help.”

“That’s very kind. But, I don’t think there’s anything you can do.”

The bartender shrugged. “You’re welcome to stay awhile and listen to me ramble.” She nodded slightly at one of the other patrons. “See that woman there? She comes in every few weeks. Tells me it’s only when she feels heavy. Says my mixes cheer her. Today I made her a Jazz Nostalgia. Equal parts old jazz and 2D animation, with a dash of innocent psychedelics- just for flavor mind you, the kind one might mix into a late 1900’s children’s television program. A properly mixed Jazz Nostalgia tastes of friendly bittersweet and no-wrong-notes. It takes you back to the bright poppy colors of childhood and celebrates the modicum of weirdness every culture feeds its children. See how it’s fixed her up?”

Indeed the woman was nodding slowly, a smile spreading across her face. She turned to face them and to the bartender she said, “My god that’s fine.” She set down the nearly-empty glass she’d been drinking from. It smelt of- no! There was a distinct smell coming from the glass which seemed somehow to be soft strains of mild jazz. The Doctor moved closer and the music grew more fragrant, loud enough that a melody was almost discernible. The woman leaned her head on one hand, her elbow bearing its weight. She regarded the Doctor through half-closed eyelids. The bartender wandered away to settle with another customer. “What are you having?” the woman murmured.

“I haven’t decided if I am,” the Doctor replied.

“Oh do!” she said, perking up. “If you’ve never tried one you should. This woman’s mixes are so very beyond.”

“Taking music by drinking it…”

“Has no one liquified music where you come from? Having music this way is so much more personal, more intimate than simply listening. It gets at your very core.”

Pausing thoughtfully, the Doctor said, “A drink that IS music! Is it physical or psychic? Is it nutrient-based or hormonal? How can I have lived long enough if things like this are still out there? On the other hand, perhaps I should be comforted. The world is meant to outlast me. There will be new things, and I leave without knowing all of them.” The Doctor sighed.

The bartender came back over to them and the woman paid her tab and got up to leave. Before she did however, she gave a gentle squeeze on the Doctor’s shoulder. “Try one,” she said. After she left, it was just the Doctor and the bartender left in the bar.

“Let me mix you something. It’ll be the best you ever had. I get all kinds in here. I help them all: lovesick dreamers trying to find their perfect match, the ones who have lived and only want a rest, teenagers trying to become who they must, business folk whose shops go under, seekers, trailblazers, mourners- tell me your story and I’ll make you a drink to restore what was lost and right what’s wrong.”

“So would you say you make improvements for people?”

“I afford them a little caring. A little healing.”

“Like a doctor?”

“Something like,” the bartender admitted sheepishly.

“And you never miss? Your mixes always hit the mark?”

“I can see a simple drink won’t satisfy you. Alright. A drink and a story. No I can’t always help. Far as I can tell I’ve never caused outright harm, but sometimes I fail to do any good. Take this one fella. Comes in here first time, heartbroken over a girl who’s left him. Way he tells it, he had it coming. Doesn’t make the pain less real. So I give him some blues. He says very little, leaves. A week goes by. Then he returns. Still just the same. I try Rock’n’Roll; free-spirited soaring stuff, but it doesn’t lift him. I try meditative chants, I try Motown, I try pop-fauxmercials, whale opera with icicle music of the Hilberne, but nothing gets this guy where he needs to be.”

“So, what happened? How did you solve it?”

“I didn’t! He always leaves looking just as low as he came in. There’s something I’m missing. So far all I’ve done for him is distract.”


“I know the system he comes from. The health groups are well established. He’ll already be getting anything he requires. This is something else.”

“Perhaps he’s interested in you.”

“I’m flattered, but that isn’t the vibe I get. Can’t think why the guy won’t move on.”

“Does he want to?”


“Does he want to move on?”

“Course he does! I mean he has to. What does he return for?”

“Maybe he’s waiting for you to change him. Problem is you can’t.”

“Huh!” The bartender looked stunned. Then she laughed.

“I think you solved the mystery for me! Most people who come here are looking for something. He isn’t looking for anything. That’s why he hasn’t found anything. Ah, but it’s only half solved. The real trick will be getting him to start the journey.”

“The journey?”

“He’s got to find the thing he doesn’t know to look for. There’s a path he needs to follow, and he hasn’t yet realized even that much. I have to find a way to get him to take a step.”

The door to the bar opened and someone pushed inside. Under her breath the bartender said, “Well look who it is.”

The bartender greeted the newcomer. “T’sol. Been a week hasn’t it? How are you today?”

“I dunno. I just don’t.”

“What can I get you?”

“You can’t make everything suck less, so how about something to make me care less?”

“You sure? Maybe what you need is to care more. Well I’ve got something for you to try. Here.” The bartender quickly and expertly mixed clear liquids together until they became like a gray fog swirling in the glass.

T’sol picked it up and eyed it suspiciously. “Not much to it,” he said finally.

“It’s a shot. If you’re drinking it, knock it back,” the bartender suggested.

T’sol took the shot and downed it with some difficultly, as one unaccustomed to shots. “What the hell!” he exclaimed after a breath. “What in the, holy, ever loving- what IS this??”

“How does it feel?” the bartender asked.

“Discordant! I can’t make sense of the sound. Is it even music??” He looked at the bartender’s intense stare and suddenly said accusingly, “You meant for it to be awful like that, didn’t you?”

“I’ve mixed it properly. If you let it sit with you, through the discord, you’ll be able to sift out the flavors and harmonies. It’s like a puzzle. Waiting to be solved.”

“I didn’t come here for puzzles. Not sure why I came at all!” T’sol snapped.

“You came because you know something is amiss with you. But you’ve been relinquishing control and making it my fault you aren’t ok. My fault, her fault, anyone’s but yours. You told me you messed up, but you haven’t told me how you’re going to fix it. It’s time to stop clinging to feeling helpless and go do something.”

“I had my chance at that relationship and I flubbed it. There isn’t anything to fix! Now you decide I need to feel worse?”

“Sometimes feeling worse has to come before feeling better. And I don’t mean you get the relationship back. I mean fix whatever’s going on with you.”

“And exactly how should I do that?”

“I can’t tell you that. I can tell you how others found their way. And I can offer guidance on the path you choose. There are many who have-”

“I don’t need this,” T’sol said abruptly. He got to his feet, hesitated just one moment, as though waiting to be stopped, then rushed out the door without paying.

“Well now I’ve done it,” the bartender sighed, almost to herself. She stretched her arms out on the bar in front of her and let her head drop between them in defeat.

“What *have* you done? What was in the drink you gave him?” the Doctor asked.

The bartenders voice was muffled by her arms. “I discomforted him. I gave him a mixture of this really unnerving ancient religious piece… was that it? I went too heavy? Uh, mixed with a backwards piece of music, something by The Beatles, so it would taste tantalizingly familiar but also so very wrong. It will play inside him most of today. He might figure it out. He adores Beatles drinks. I’d hoped the solution to one mystery might tempt him to solve another. Whatever the story is with his situation, he hasn’t learned it himself. He still needs to. But what have I done to aid him? Nothing. I’ve failed.”

“Could I get one of your mixes?” the Doctor asked suddenly.

The bartender straightened up. “Now you want one? Now?? Why?”

“Because you tried. And because you don’t know that you have failed. Perhaps that man will accept your nudge and start down his path. Perhaps others will push him in the same direction. Eventually the advice may stack up and he’ll feel compelled to try something. You did the only thing you could. You stopped him being complacent.”

“You sure it’s you who needs help from me?”

“I think I need it more than anything,” the Doctor replied. “My species lords over time, and it makes us arrogant. But time is coming for me. I see that now. I can’t run. I must face it. But I’m just not ready.”

“To see destruction ahead and advance. Something special. Epic! I know what I’m making you.”

The bartender made her selections and poured them together. Music from six different flasks combined into one. Then she took a stir and beat the liquid rhythmically before handing it to the Doctor.

“Have you ever consumed music before?”


“Then, drink it slowly. And while you do, allow me to tell you about what I made.” The bartender paused and allowed the Doctor a sip. She was careful to speak only when the Doctor held the glass or set it down, never while the Doctor was drinking from it.

“What I made for you is a very old recipe. It’s been in my family for generations. It was created in music first as a true auditory mix and later converted to recipe form. It grapples with love and sadness, destiny and humanity. What it is to be like others, and what it is to be different. How we cling to life when it is hard, yet face death when we have to. It’s about the things we risk for others. And the lingering notes, the last taste on your tongue and surging through your bloodstream is perhaps the most unique. The music itself is a fusion of strangeness. Old music pretending to be older music, and so spanning time. As though rethinking earth music of the past as music of an entirely different period. Written as the backdrop to a dramatic scene from a movie involving space travel, and beating impossible odds. It calls to seeking and finding, bravery and compassion, and never giving up.”

“I taste it all. Nonconformity, reaching out to make a bridge from one person to another, love, death, war, hope… I, thank you. I believe I’m ready now. But! I’ve nothing to pay you.”

The bartender held up a hand in protest, “It’s on the house. Anyway, you gave me something earlier. And when you accepted a mix after seeing me fail. Whatever happens I will remember you. Tell me your name.”

“I’m the Doctor,” the Doctor said, turning to rush through the door.

Whistling to herself the bartender said, “How about that! The Doctor is what they call me too.”

Thinking back via music

I have a couple Scary Pockets songs on my playlist. Scary Pockets is a band I originally came across on YouTube where you can see them playing the music. They do these extra funky jammy covers of songs and they look like they’re having so so much fun. I like best to listen to their cover of Mmmbop in the car because it takes me back to an afternoon hangin around with Tea. We just played each other music off the internet. He played an extra sultry version of Pinky and the Brain with the actual voice actors speaking during some parts. When I played mine without telling him what it was it confused him at first. Then the look on his face when they got to the chorus was fantastic. Yes this is a funk cover of Mmmbop OMG.

To the boys

Dear Buddy,

You are nice to let me pet you. I gather that it’s not really your thing. (Maybe I’m not doing it right?) It’s good of you to let me anyway. I think it makes a better bond between us. Perhaps you understand that I like to have physical manifestations of emotion, and so you allow it. When I asked you to join me on the couch, you did. I hope this means we are friends. It’s hard to tell since I’ve never had a friend who rarely looks me in the eyes. (Though I did have a friend once who made nearly constant eye contact. He gave me a guitar. I think of him sometimes.) Anyways thank you. It’s nice being around you.

Dear Yoda,

It was nice to see you yesterday. Thank you for joining me on my lap. You are comfy and warm, and it makes me happy when you want to sit with me. Thanks for always being careful of my skin, and not hurting me with your claws. I love you.


I read a story in a book today. Momentus monumental.

I never wanted to be in a Ken Burns thing. I don’t want them to interview me at 102 and ask about my memories of this time. Maybe I will. It’s a long time from now.

What I hate the most is the little things we all do. Like the way they’d talk about turning over the plates during the dust bowl, so they wouldn’t collect dust while the table was set but dinner was still being prepared. remember a mask! we all say. I really hate that.


It’s a beautiful day out

I’m hurting

People everywhere are enjoying their day off

I’m hurting

The sun is shining

I’m hurting

There isn’t enough of anything for anything. And still I’m expected to make it through.

I will. But only because I have to.

I’m hurting

Doing ok

I’m doing alright.

It might suck again later. But just now it doesn’t.

Jazzy Spies- with help!

I can count Jazzy Spies. I had help. (thanks and sorry) This song is such utter madness!

Here it is:

7 7 11  7 6 12

6 7 6 10

7, 7’s (!!!!!) and a 6

7 7 11 fade out