Zane’s Log 3/11/2039

Just when I think I know what to expect from my wife’s family, they surprise me. Fridays have become our extended family dinner nights. Katarina went and brought Coran last year as a surprise for my birthday. He and I started chattering away in Truscan like to little old ladies and it wasn’t until Katarina laughed at a joke and no one else did that I remembered the whole language barrier thing. Maybe I should have felt bad about that, but aside from that one time the table is always full of her family–well mine now as well, but the first year and half I got silent death stares half the time until Katarina got onto her dad and uncle. I like her family a lot…when they aren’t contemplating my murder.

Anyway, the other day I stepped outside onto the back porch with my morning coffee, one of those rare mornings the twins weren’t up at the first inkling of daylight, and found Torin in the backyard.

“Torin, not to seem rude, but why are you in our back yard?” I gestured with my coffee mug. “And what in quasars is that?”

Torin grinned and patted a strange bright blue animal on the rump. “It’s a plow and an ox.”

“What are they for?”

“Katarina  wants a vegetable garden. I’m going to make her one.”

“Don’t they have machines to do that? I think she pointed one out the last time we were at one of those tool store places.”

Torin sneered. “Machines? I refuse to use something so banal and appalling as a machine. The earth should be turned with sweat and muscle.”

I took a sip of coffee–more to hide my smirk than a need for caffeine. “Sweat? You or the strange colored beast? Is it supposed to be blue? Maybe it’s sick.”

Torin looked downright insulted. “This is Babe.”


“Babe the blue ox.”

“No idea what you’re talking about.”

Torin shook his head and patted Babe on her blue head. “It’s okay girl. He’s just an alien after all.” He got behind the plow and since our yard isn’t really that big it took no more than twenty minutes before our weeds and dirt had been tilled into nice little furrows of loose soil. He grinned at me as the oxen and plow poofed into thin air.

“I still don’t see sweat. Done or is there more to this process?”

Torin all but scowled at me. “You didn’t think I’d make a grand canyon in your yard did you?”

I frowned, having the vague feeling I was missing something.

“Next comes planting, and the sweat is metaphorical.”

I stood up from my seat on the porch because I heard the high pitched giggles of toddlers coming from the house. “Okay then. Well, I’ll leave you to your metaphorical sweat. I’m sure Katarina will love the garden.” I paused in the doorway. “Maybe your poor ox is blue from all that shifting space. Oxen might not take to it well.”

The man had the gall to laugh loud enough to wake the neighborhood. I still have no idea what the joke was.


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