(This is going to be a little experiment in fictionalizing what would essentially be a typical blog post/essay. Think of it as the book World War Z, but instead of chronicling the zombie apocalypse, it is instead depicting a world where Feminism, Political Correctness, and the blue-pill shift never stops. Feel free put your comments, critiques, criticisms, and/or condemnations below.)
There were two main reasons why I left Earth for Asgard.
The first: Earth didn’t want men like me anymore. Ever since I was a kid, I wanted to be a journalist (still do, in fact). But I couldn’t tell you how many times I’d been turned away from a gig because I wasn’t the right “type” of reporter. They told me straight, “we don’t need the white male perspective right now, but feel free to try again in eight months”. That last part was only to soften the blow. They would never hire me, no matter how good I was.
If that had been the only thing wrong, then I might not have left Earth at all. I might have stayed there and dyed my hair blue, and my beard pink. I could blend in and toe the line like the best of ‘em, but would I have been happy? No.
That’s because my second reason for leaving Earth was my intense interest in people who became adventurers. Imagining the kind of soul it took to cross the Atlantic nearly seven-hundred years ago made me want to do the same. Who did you have to be to leave home and head west for gold, with only the promise of fortune taking you thousands of miles away from home? What kind of man gives up everything they’ve ever known for the prospect of something better, a little slice of it, a slice that was never guaranteed?
That question pulled me, while the culture pushed me. So off-world I went, to Asgard.
The children on Earth know next to nothing about Asgard. It is a planet so far removed from Earthen society that even if you were to search the internet, as deep as you could go, you might only find a footnote on a generic encyclopedia article, or, if you’re tech savvy, a Martian recruitment page behind the government’s firewalls. They don’t teach it to kids in school, it never makes the news, and movies about it? Heh, you’ve got to be kidding.
The great dream of space expansion they promised was quickly swept under the rug when Mars won the 60 Days War. Everything after was sanitized and blacklisted. History was rewritten. And now, no one knows about our third planetary colony. Nobody, except the men like me who couldn’t hack it on Earth anymore…
To put things in perspective, Asgard has close to 500 million people. That sounds like a lot, until you realize they’re spread across the entire surface of the world. Asgard’s tallest skyscraper tops out at just under a thousand feet, which is about a third shorter than the Empire State Building. If you were to line up all the paved roads on Asgard in a straight line, you wouldn’t be able to reach Atlanta from Washington DC. The yearly output of Asgard’s entire planetary electrical grid produces enough electricity to power New York City… for 3 days.
Needless to say, life on Asgard isn’t what you’d expect. It has plenty of hardships and very few luxuries.
I went there to talk to the men like me, who left Earth because they were pushed out, or had nothing else on the home-world. Deadbeats, druggies, criminals, neglected veterans. Those were only a few examples. I wanted to make sure their stories were told, so that something would live on. I wasn’t keen on letting Earth’s historians wipe out what could be an exceptional era.
[Titan’s Landing is Asgard’s planetary capital. Even though it’s roughly the size of Salt Lake City, Utah, it is home to Asgard’s political establishment, the embassies of all nations currently colonizing Asgard, and the headquarters of Asgard’s corporations. It is the only city with a fully-functioning space port, and though any shuttle can land anywhere on the surface of Asgard, it is Titan’s Landing where return trips are made. Despite being a small city, situated on the shores of a crater-bay, it is a new city that is expected to double in size every five years. That’s a new skyscraper every four months. Needless to say, there are plenty of construction contracts, and everyone’s hiring. It is here that I found my first story.
I met Dan in a diner just outside the spaceport grounds. He was a young man from America, who left his home planet because, as he put it, “that place made you a pussy.”]
It was a long time coming, but I guess I didn’t realize it at the time. You get used to living in certain places for a while that you forget that they might not be good for ya. I actually remember the night it happened, when I took a long, hard look at my life and realized that I needed to do something better.
At the time, I was living in Ft. Lauderdale with a roommate from college. We were gonna take the portals to Denver to see one of his favorite bands, some hipster thing that I don’t really remember.
On the way to the portal station, I got on Findr, just to see who’d be in the area, and, lo and behold, one of my old college flings was in the city, plus her friend that I kinda knew from back then. So I sent her a jaunt. I figure she’d take it if she wants, but I didn’t get my hopes up. My roommate and I got off the bus at the Ft. Lauderdale station, then walked across the gates to Denver International, then another bus into the city. Got to see the sunset for a second time, which was always cool to me.
The club was standard hipster stuff, filled with old vintage wood carvings and bikes, or whatever those people liked. I dunno. Not my kinda thing but my roommate was into it. So I went to get a drink at the bar while he walked off for whatever. I hung out there for a while by myself until this girl came up to me, out of nowhere. She was like, “Hey, how’re you? What’s your name?” I gave it, reluctantly. Wasn’t quite sure why she was talking to me in the first place. Now, I don’t know about you, but if a girl cold approaches you at a bar and she’s that friendly then you’d better get the hell out, ‘cause she’s either a cop or a con. My dumbass didn’t know any better.
So, I made some small talk. She said her friends were supposed to be there, but they weren’t of course, and that she was lonely, and she just wanted someone to talk to, and I bought it. Actually, I bought her a drink. No, actually, she said, promised me, that she’d alternate drinks with me: I buy her my favorite, she buys me her favorite. Whatever, I thought it was a fun idea at the time.
As soon as she had the drink, her phone got a text. She said it was her friends and that she had to go. She thanked me for the drink and took off. I watched her go over to a table, to a bunch of people I saw when I came in. Then it hit me that I’d been conned.
And the guy next to me? He laughed at it. I was about to tell him to go fuck off, but then I got a good look at him. He seemed like a giant, but I guess that was only his coat. At the time, I didn’t know what a Cheshire was or any of that shit.
[Reader’s note: a Cheshire is one of Asgard’s apex megafauna. It is a catlike, or cat-equivalent species of super-predator roughly the size of an African Rhino. Its teeth are, on average, 4 inches long, claws are 6 inches, and has a maximum sprint speed of about forty kilometers per hour. It’s namesake is due to its wide mouth, giving it the appearance of the Cheshire cat. Armored coats are made from their skin due the numerous porcupine-like quills intermixed with the animal’s fur, or fur-equivalent.]
His vibe was enough to stop me from doing anything stupid. What a guy like that was doing on Earth, in that hipster bar, who knew? He said to me, “Go over there and make her get you a drink. Don’t take that shit from her.” I told him, hell no. Not that I was afraid or anything, but some things you gotta let go. Not worth the drama.
He said nothing to that. He just got up and walked on over there. I didn’t know what he said because of the music, but it must have been bad, because all of them sitting there glanced over to me, then looked away. He just, silenced them all. He didn’t raise his voice or anything either.
Then, he came back and said, ‘Good news: they feel like shit for what they did. Bad news: she’s broke and can’t buy you a new one.’ He said his name was Lars, gave me a handshake, and bought me a beer like we were bros or something. Tell you what though, it felt good to have someone on your side for once. After that, I figure we’d just hang out, ask him about his coat or whatever, but then guess who walked in the door?
Yeah, my friend from college, Erica. Oh yeah, I guess her friend was there too. Jessica? Katelyn? Eh, I forget now. Erica and friend found me at the bar, sitting next to this space-Tarzan guy, so immediately they were like, “Oh, who’s your friend, Dan? What’s your name? What do you do? Blah blah blah.” They both tried to sit next to him, but I already had one side, and Erica got the other. Her friend wasn’t happy about that, but hell I wasn’t gonna move for her.
So he told them about, of all places, Asgard. Said he was a hunter there. Now, when white girls on Earth hear “hunter”, they think “poacher”, and so they think you’re one of the worst human beings, like, ever. I expected them to explode with that angry white girl rage, but they both just looked at him, doe-eyed, heh, excuse the pun. Sorry.
But they hung on his every word. Didn’t matter what he said. While he was telling his stories, I looked at him and thought to myself how… different he is. I couldn’t tell why. It wasn’t his muscles, but his vibe, the way he carried himself. He must have been through some shit because nothing seemed to get to him. When that chick gypped me out of a beer, he simply walked over to their table like he was going to check the mail. No emotion. No angst. Just… “well, this is what I gotta do now.”
Truth is, he was a completely different class of person. It didn’t really bother me that my friends, well my one friend and her friend, were almost drooling over him, because, compared to him, I was nothing. At the time I didn’t know what this feeling was, but in retrospect I guess I had an inadequacy complex. Here was a titan among men, and I was barely even a man.
But, through it all, he always made sure to look at me, and talk to me. Keep me in the conversation. He didn’t seem like a bad guy. He didn’t want to make me feel insecure. Eventually, he told me, not the girls, but me, “Hey, if the music is starting to get on your nerves, I know a place in Boulder that a bit more low-key.” I agreed. Of course, the girls agreed too but they’d agree to anything if Lars was going.
So we took the light rail to Boulder. Went to a walking mall, then down some steps to a little dive bar that I can’t remember the name of either. The place was a dump. Crooked ass floor boards. Lamps too low to the tables. The benches were all torn up and had duct tape all over ‘em. One of the least-kept bars I have ever seen, and I’ve been to some dives on Asgard.
We found a booth somewhere in the back. Lars ordered us some beer, and we got to talking. The girls kinda took over the conversation. They talked about their school, and their job, and all their activities, but I’ve heard all that shit before and I can tell it wasn’t appealing to Lars. Every time he put them down, gently, of course, the two of ‘em sprang back up to prove themselves. “Oh, I’m the head of some stupid waste-of-time organization, isn’t that great?” Heh. No, no it’s not.
God, if I could go back in time, I’d slap myself right then and there for putting up with such boring, stuck-up bitches. You want my honest opinion? You can be stuck-up and not be boring, or you can be boring and not stuck-up about it, but the combination of both is the worst kind of cringe. But Back then? I would have lapped it all up. Eventually, Lars had enough. He told the girls that they should go use the bathroom or something, that he needed a minute to make a phone call. Normally, you’d think these girls would have put on the snark or some shit, but I couldn’t believe it at the time: they just did what he said and went to the bathroom.
Then, Lars glared at me, stern-ass look on his face, and told me the words that I will never forget, “Aren’t you bored with this?” He nodded to the bathroom, obviously meaning the girls, then to the rest of the bar. “You know this is all fake right? It’s pretend. It’s all dress up. See the bench, how worn it is?”
And how could I not? Shit, I could feel the lumps in the seat.
“See the finger marks? The seat was torn up on purpose. The cuts on the fake leather were obviously done by a knife. I know for a fact that the pool tables aren’t level… on purpose. See the graffiti and shit on the table? It’s laminated over. None of this is real, man. It’s all fake and pointless.”
And shit, I can never forget what he said next. “No offence, man, but this place has made you a pussy. That’s why you’re unhappy, and don’t even try telling me you are. I can see it in you. Do you even feel it?”
Bull’s eye. Right in the heart. That man knew my number, for sure. I told the truth. I told him no, that I wasn’t happy. He said, “What are you looking for?” I had no clue, and said so. “Well, whatever it is, you won’t find it here.” He got up from the table, gave me another handshake, and dropped this on me, “If you ever get tired of this, talk to Sam at the ALGS.” After that, he just… walked off.
The girls came back from the bathroom and asked where he’d gone. When I told ‘em, they left too. Well, they gave me some shit excuses but that’s basically what they did. As soon as Lars was gone they bailed too.
That night started the little seed of doubt. I went back home to Ft. Lauderdale, went to work the next day and tried to process it all.
Maybe I had felt stuff like this in the background all along, and that night kinda opened my eyes to it. Ever since college, shit, even during college, I had just taken my classes because that’s what you do. I got a job as a cashier because you needed a job. I spent my money on going out because that’s what people like me did. What the fuck else was I going to do?
Sometimes, when you’re stuck in the suck, you can’t picture yourself ever leaving it. You think, this is all there is. This is all I’ll ever be. You either get used to it, or do something radical, or you just off yourself. Most people get used to it. Me? I eventually realized that I’d be trapped in that cycle on Earth. No job would ever pay me enough to buy a house or start a family, so I didn’t bother trying for it and spent my money on going to bars or whatever. Fifty bucks a night out, twice a weekend, every weekend. Four-hundred dollars a month, nearly five-grand a year, and what did I have to show for it? Nothing.
It took a few days, but I realized that Lars was right. This place made me a pussy. It was designed to trap me there, and it would continue to suck the life out of me if I let it.
That’s why I decided to say fuck you to Earth. I sold the rest of my stuff, signed my work contract, and bought a ticket off-world. I don’t know yet if it’s gonna pan out. It’s hard living, for sure. But shit, it’s better than before.
[I thanked Dan for setting aside his valuable break time to lend me his story. He wished me good luck and asked that I send him an autographed copy, if my writings ever came to publication. I thanked him and wished him good luck. However, before we left, I jokingly asked him if the girls of Asgard were any better than the ones on Earth. His tone changed to serious as he told me that if I was going to learn more about that, then I should talk to a man named Yuri.]