Photo by Jeff Baker.
Look Not With the Eyes But With the Mind
by Jeff Baker
Hank sat in the examination room and fidgeted. Three-hundred-and-eighty-seven years and he’d never needed an eye exam. But he couldn’t well tell the Ophthalmologist that and he needed the exam to keep the job and his Earth identity.
For the umpteenth time he wished he’d learned how to make gold. This would never happen back on Vothnian. He could only guess how much a pair of glasses would cost. He closed his eyes and scanned the eyeglasses store next door.
“Let’s see,” he thought reading the sign on the display table. “Two for eighty dollars. Okay but I bet they charge up the butt somewhere…”
“Mister Jones?” the man’s voice said.
Hank opened his eyes, breaking off the scan. “Yeah,” he said.
“I’m Doctor Dyebold,” the man said. “And you’re here for a company eye exam, right?”
“Riiiight,” Hank said, wishing the company would pay for it. Oh well, he was the one doing the Discreet Monitoring on Earth, and he was the one who had fallen madly in love with a human being. And Kenny was so wonderful…
Hank found himself smiling.
“Okay, first take a look at that chart over there and read the smallest line you can.” Dr. Dyebold said.
Hank bit his tongue at the thought of reeling off the entire eye chart in a few seconds like that character on the DVD set Kenny had gotten him for Christmas; the old show about the stranded Martian.
Instead he faked it. Read the bottom line slowly but perfectly.
“Okay, let’s try it with one eye covered,” said the doctor.
And that was when it hit him. Perfection would be suspicious. He was supposed to be an Earthman approaching middle age, not a slowly aging being from a world where their senses and abilities were beyond the level of human.
So he deliberately flubbed reading the next line.
“Okay,” the doctor said, swinging the big gadget with all the lenses toward Hank’s face. He knew it was called a phoropter, but how many other humans would? He kept his mouth shut.
“Now just look through here and look over at…” the doctor said.
Hank smiled to himself. It would probably be a couple of hundred bucks over their budget but he couldn’t wait to see Kenny’s reaction when he came home in the new glasses.