(I apologize in advance if you already got this part, it didn’t show up on my WordPress reader for some reason)
With an effort, Juan began to walk out from under the doorway of the restaurant to the sidewalk in front. He knew now that as soon as a car or pedestrian passed by he would be noticed, captured and later examined. How am I supposed to make contact when I look so conspicuous?
He stepped onto the sidewalk with these concerns in mind and was almost run over by a pedestrian. “Watch it, pal. Reinitialize music app.” “Excuse me, ma’am,” said Juan to the jogger heading south. Juan turned to walk north and stopped. “She didn’t say anything about my appearance.”
His long legs took him past a street sign that said Main Street. After a few minutes he was looking at a sign for a grocery. He looked inside the windows to see fruits and vegetables for sale. A car zoomed by as he stood there looking in the window and he again noticed that no cars were stopping to allow the passengers or drivers to gawk. “Perhaps they think I am in a costume? They have sports teams in all likelihood so they could be assuming I am a local mascot.”
“Outta the way, buddy,” said another pedestrian to Juan after bumping him aside. He appeared to be in a hurry as he carried a backpack under his arm and was walking briskly. “Reinitialize sports app.” “What does that mean?” But Juan received no answer. “What a strange place.”
He looked back inside the grocery window and saw a woman browsing the fruits and vegetables on the opposite side. He figured that she must be able to see him as he could see her. He extended his eastward arm and tapped the window. The woman gave no response. He leaned in and put his face next to the window as he was now frustrated with his inability to get noticed. “Ma’am, could you take me to your leader?” Still there was no response.
“Umph,” went Juan when someone bumped into him yet again. “Quit hogging the sidewalk. And get a shave. Reinitialize social media app.” “Excuse me, sir?” Please?” But the man was already out of hearing range. Juan just watched as he turned east onto a different street.
Dejected and alone, Juan continued to make his way north past where the social media man had turned. He even felt brave enough now to cross a busy street despite his initial fears of being spotted. As Juan crossed, a car narrowly missed him and when he looked he noticed no one was driving. Despite his knowledge that cars required a driver, this car only appeared to have a passenger. “So there are driverless cars? Fascinating,” Juan said aloud.
After he crossed the road he scratched his head and looked around at this foreign world and said, “I don’t understand. No one notices me? No one notices each other? Is everything here automated now? What happened?”
“You look like you’re searching for intelligent life or my name isn’t Reeking Bob,” said a man sitting on the corner steps of an apartment building.
“You can see me?”
“Of course I can see you. Don’t worry about these other fools. No one sees anything around here they don’t want to see. Nope, they don’t see anything at all.”
“What do you see?”
“You go first, my friend.”
“I see raggedy clothes, some kind of bottle wrapped in a brown bag, matted hair and an unshaven face.”
“You forgot my shoes.”
“Ha. Exactly. Now I’ll tell you what I see.” Bob looked him up and down. “You’re an alien. I’m right, aren’t I? Now, you know my name, what do I call you?”
“I am Juan. I’m here to speak with your leaders.”