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Spadina Literary Review  —  edition 5 page 3

fiction

The CK-1 Effect

by Darren Dijoni

I know I’m late, don’t remind me. The reason is, I was tailed by secret science commandos. Pop it in the microwave, tastes better that way anyhow. I borrowed a slice, I was starving. You should have put goat cheese. Those dumb bastards think I’ll start a contagion. Fat chance on this uptight planet. I’m a political refugee like most pizza guys. Crust crunchy five percent charred, side of olives, mineral water, that’s $44.50 total. Nice panorama you got here. The skyline all lit up. Reminds me of Galaxy NGC-274. See the U. N. building there? Never go to the eighteenth floor, that’s where they have the interrogation chamber. They have the lights on round the clock so you don’t know what time it is. You know, just being physically close to a gorgeous specimen like yourself is perilous for me. I’m a CK-1, maybe you guessed. Whatever you do, don’t kiss me on the lips, suppress the urge. If science hears about it, in two seconds they’re sounding alarms, firing off bulletins. You're all nerves, howcome? Here, let me do that for you. A lot of Earthlings don’t get the hang of this particular mobile payments solutions device. What’s your PIN? There, done. I put a ten-dollar tip on account of the service. Thanks. Look down there! There’s a cop snooping around my car, the one on the curb with the flashers flashing. I need a place to hide out till this blows over. They have no right to persecute me like this. I’m just a persona used by CK-1 for its own purposes. Mostly they’re terrified of the economic threat, what it means for their cushy jobs. Plus the usual sexual jealousy of course. Their vengeance is meaner than death. They’ll analyze me until they figure out an antidote then they’ll file me in a freezer. I’ve been through this on other planets. Then they’ll pull some big pharmaceutical rip-off. They’ll say, “Hey everybody, we found a cure for CK-1,” and they’ll trot out some lab rat and say, “See, this guy can’t kiss worth a damn, he’s cured.” You call that proof? Anyway, heat up a couple slices. I hate to see anyone eat alone. Look, they baked the basil into the cheese. The idiots! Everyone who works at that place is an idiot. Just one slice for me, watchin’ the ol’ waistline. I’m not as handsome as you would expect for a CK-1. There was a snag when I reified into Earth’s socio-biosphere. Usually I’m irresistible, even on Alpha Corrumpu where I had eight arms. Their slogan is “Cuddle Capitol of the Milky Way.” Mostly I don’t remember other planets, my memory gets erased due to the acceleration formula divided by the tangential spin. CK-1? What do you mean, what’s CK-1? You gotta be kidding. What school did you go to? I’ll have to tell you the whole background. Sure you don’t know? It all started twenty billion years ago. The universe was a microdot a hundred billion degrees hot and the pressure was cooking like crazy until suddenly in one-quadrillionth of a second it couldn’t hold back anymore, it started shooting out protons and quotons and zotons, all of the nuts and bolts — it was chaos, but thankfully there were luvatons to hold everything together. Now, everything I just told you is scientific fact, as your United Nations pals will confirm. But then what happens next is that their economics operatives say, look, this guy’s sowing wild oats from here to Proxima Centauri, he’s the most dangerous luvaton of all — he’s CK-1, Cosmic Kiss Number One. They know what I am because they discovered that my quote unquote victims get so totally blissed out that they are useless to society’s production agenda so that’s why they hate me. Hey, there’s beer in your fridge, good stuff! I know what you’re thinking. You think I’m probably some galactic Don Juan Kenobi. Well, it’s true I’ve kissed other girls — but none were as pretty as you, even considering the various standards on innumerable planets. Anyway, it wasn’t me performing the kissing, it was the Cosmos. Like, when I talk, I don’t know what I’m talking about. It’s the Cosmos using my larynx. And not just my larynx but also it uses the whole culture that created the language and the transportation experts that deliver the cuisine that sustains the population that maintains the language. Oh, pardon me, I didn’t realize the Cosmos slipped my arm around your waist like that. Now where was I? You know, the bottom line is that anyone fortunate enough to be a Cosmic Kissee soars to a higher level of being and leaves her old life behind in the interstellar dust. Plus she gets automatically enrolled in the Daughters of the Cosmos which means discounts at participating cosmetics boutiques. I shouldn’t have told you all this, because now you probably feel second-rate about never experiencing CK-1. Probably the best you ever had was like a CK-238, some office worker bullshitting about the big bonuses he supposedly makes. The point is, I travelled a long way just to deliver a cosmic bio-message to you so you have to receive it or else it doesn’t exist, which is impossible since I’m here right now, inches from you, right now, you know? First of all, let’s be sure you qualify to be a Cosmic Kissee. We have to check your cosmic connection. Close your eyes. Pucker your lips. I think maybe you can redeem the reputation of Planet Earth.

Mmm.

Mmmmmmmm.

Mmmmmmmmmmmm.

Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmph.

Whoa! We have to pace ourselves. The stamina test comes next. Let me catch my breath first. I sincerely believe you have the ability to reach the CK-1 level. Just keep in mind, the Cosmos doesn’t give a hoot what time you leave for work in the morning. Good. Lips ready? Get ready. We’re going to return to time zero. Me? Don’t worry about that, I've got time. Back at the shop, they won’t even miss me.