The Zarkons

by: Susan

There were moments when he forgot. When he would reach for the phone, or order extra pepperoni, or put root beer in his grocery cart. But then time would re-align itself, close the gap between then and now, and he would remember.

He found a box of science fiction novels in Starsky's things. Cheap paperbacks with gaudy covers, yellowed and mildewed with age. A boy's writing on the inside of each one, large loopy letters. Property of Davey Starsky. Hands Off!

He sat cross-legged on the floor of the near-empty apartment and read about the Zarkons, alien time-travelers who could prevent disasters even after they happened. It was almost dark when he finished, back sore and legs numb. He put the book carefully back in the box, wiped his eyes with both hands, and carried the box down to the car.

In the hospital one morning, almost a month after it happened, when it seemed like there was still a chance that things would go their way, Starsky had managed a small half-smile and said, "Fucking Zarkons. They're never around when you need them."

By the time he'd remembered to ask him what he'd meant, it hadn't really mattered anymore.

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