When I saw Carl with the coins I said, “Where did you get those?”
His Corgi muscles tensed. “Are you questioning my ownership?”
I wasn’t. “No, just curious.”
“The contract proves that these are mine.”
“The pet-master contract clearly states that the treasure-between-the-cushions belong to the dog.”
“I don’t remember signing a contract.”
“It’s universally understood and needs no signatures.”
I truly had no objection, but I wondered what Carl intended to purchase. “Doggy biscuits?”
Carl shook his head. “Something far more important.”
I naturally assumed that my adoring pet was saving up to buy a paperback version of my new book, The Five Names, from Amazon.com or from a local bookstore.
Carl nudged the coins with his front paws. “And I finally have enough.”
Oh, I must be wrong.
It wasn’t until the next day that the secret was disclosed.
Then I remembered our frequent talks about the universe. But I hadn’t imagined that those discussions would lead to this.
“I’m forming a new organization called, SETI.”
I replied, “There’s already such an organization.”
Carl looked at me, his head to the side. “How can that be? Your book just came out.”
Now I was confused. “SETI—The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence?”
He yapped once then said, “No. SETI—The Search for Extraterrestrial Inkies.”
Oh no, Carl thinks that Inkie (the protagonist in The Five Names) is still…. “Carl, you do know that Inkie lived a long time ago, don’t you?”
“I know that you wrote the book in past tense. But that was likely only a literary tool. Besides, time can be different in different galaxies. I believe Inkie still lives, on a far, far away planet. With my telescope I will be the first to find him.”
What could I say?