Chapter Eight. Yucky, Weird and Icky.
The Nerdlings said, “Dear Sogwa, how can we ever repay you?”
“Just take me home. I know a tiny trick with tin that will pay me well enough.”
So the Nerdlings carried Sogwa in triumph back to the Crystal Cuddle Ship, and waved goodbye as she got on board. She and the Nerdlings aboard lifted off planet and headed towards Earth. “For we must drop you off, and pick you up,” said the Nerdlings. “The Crystal Cuddle Ship is a time-loop ship; its past is its future, its future is its past. When you get back to Earth, do not, unless you must, talk with Sogwa! For it is weird and icky to meet yourself in a time-loop.”
“I did see another Sogwa a few times. We waved once.”
“Twice, you mean. Oh well, poor you,” said the Nerdlings.
“I do not understand,” said Sogwa.
“But you will,” said the Nerdlings.
Sogwa said, “How long to Earth?”
“Fifty thousand years Earth time, a hundred and forty-two years shipboard.”
“That’s still too long. So it’s lecture or freezer or Yucky Potion?” The Nerdlings nodded, and Sogwa thought it over. She had heard the lecture; and as for the freezer, no way! She sighed. “Bring me the Yucky Potion.”
They brought her the Yucky Potion. It was bright green, and it bubbled puffs of purple smoke. It smelled like liver, gasoline and mint. It was full of little squirmy bits. It was in a big gnarly goblet that you needed both paws to hold. Sogwa looked at the Yucky Potion, lifted it to her mouth, then lowered it, then quickly raised it up and drank it down in one, two, three, yuck, four, five, six big gulps.
And oh boy! It was so minty that she fell asleep right then and there. She would have hit the floor, but the Nerdlings caught her, for they are faster than a speeding bullet.
The Nerdlings laid Sogwa on a mat, and plunked her and the mat into a bin, and trundled her bin down to the luggage compartment. And there Sogwa slept off the yucky potion.
They woke her a hundred and forty-two years later, shipboard time, when they had reached Earth. She could still taste the mint. Yuck!
Through the ship’s diamond window she could see Earth, so big and round and blue and beautiful. They landed the Crystal Cuddle Ship, and since it is a time-loop ship, the Nerdlings invaded Earth all over again.
Once again they weren’t evil, just obnoxious; once again they asked Why far too many times; once again they embarrassed the wrong people to embarrass; once again something had to be done; and once again Sogwa came to visit.
The Sogwa on the ship kept out of the other Sogwa’s way, until the very end, when the other Sogwa was leaving. Sogwa was staring at her out the ship’s front door. The other Sogwa stopped, turned, and waved.
Sogwa thought, “Just because the other me waved last time doesn’t mean I have to. So I won’t.” But as she was thinking this, her right paw rose anyhow and waved back. Sogwa stared at her disobedient paw and ran back into the ship, yowling. She vowed not to meet her previous self again, for the Nerdlings were right; that sort of thing is weird and icky.