A science fiction parable
Trent was masculine enough to get away with chewing gum in the bar. Masculine enough even for the brand and flavor of gum he was chewing. Not one man had chidden him for the chocolate Bubble Yum he vocally chewed in their midst, not one man had commented on the fact that it was more appropriate for an 8 year old than for a man of Trent’s age and build . Something about him said “don’t fuck with me.” He was a travel writer and a poor man’s Indiana Jones, proficiently wielding a Wilkinson swordcane in bar fights and against muggers, and, he bragged, the occasional anaconda. Nobody would deny it, with his rough, tanned skin, slightly grayed black hair and ugly scar given to him by a piss drunk sherpa, not in some Kathmandu rogue’s gallery of poachers but at base camp. But, the fella next to him made Trent quiver just a little.
You see, the fella next to him was seven feet tall, but weighed from the looks of it, around 90 pounds. His skin was chartreuse, with perfectly round, black eyes that looked like glimmering obsidian baseballs. His head looked like a tulip bulb and the face had little slits for nostrils, but it was obvious there was no nose. No ears either. The stranger seemed quite able to consume the peanuts, though it was difficult since his fingers were thin and three feet long. But what was really strange was the comfort with which this oddly shaped creature wore the grey raincoat and khakis it had on. It was as if human clothes were the norm for him. Nobody bothered even staring. The bartender knew not to disturb the thing, especially since he caught a peak at the long, tubelike weapon concealed in its trenchcoat. Nobody also voiced their sneaking suspicion that his name wasn’t really Andy as he claimed it was. Trent, the explorer of course had to say something and everybody knew he would. Everybody also wished he wouldn’t.
“So, Andy, where you from?”
“Detroit.” His voice was lethargic and mechanistic. He wasn’t joking, this was a cover. Those blank eyes were so hard to read.
Seeing the scowl on Trent’s face, “Andy” corrected himself. “Just kidding.”
Semi-comfortable laughter echoed through the bar.
“No, really.” Trent insisted.
“Space,” said “Andy”.
“I figured on that, but where?”
“I come from Zebrak 5, a planet three galaxies beyond Pluto. A description of it would be completely incomprehensible to you, requiring words for concepts that have no synonyms in your language and do not exist on your feeble, worthless planet. I can only tell you that is nothing like Earth and our technology is vastly beyond your own. For years we have been studying your species through your television and radio waves. Our satellites pick them up even before you send them into space. And, to be honest we are quite annoyed with you. There is no end to the vicious, antisocial behaviors you are capable of. You kill each other, you exploit each other sexually, you indulge in any number of vices from theft to intemperance. I cannot claim that Zebrak 5 is perfect, but we certainly are not as shameful a species as yours. I wish you could all understand what a state your planet is in. It sickens us.”
“You find our media that distasteful?” Trent was about four percent surprised.
“You have done some slightly redemptive things. This man Ghandhi, we are impressed by him. And this man Christ was kind, but so many bad things were done for him. People are hated to gain the love of a man you admire for love. We do not understand that. We do not like the man with the scary moustache who is always shouting. What was his name?”
“No. But we hate him as well. Gallagher, that’s the one. He displeases us greatly. We do not find it funny to break things and waste food. But this man Chaplin pleases us. It is sad though that he is always falling. And the men and women who sang because they hated the war. That pleased us. I am sad that the black man with the guitar died. He played it so well. We are sad that singing skinny bignose glasses man was shot by a fat man because of angsty novels. And we were sad when this man Cobain died, and this man Kennedy and this man King. He should not have died. Men like him are not allowed to die where I come from. You see, this frustration is why my people and I have come here. The Council of our planet has decided that your planet should not exist or at least not your race.”
“What are you implying?”
“Well,” said “Andy”, “My brethren and I are here to exterminate your race.”
“But we have done so much good. For every Hitler, there has been a Ghandhi. For every vulgar, stupid hateful piece of music, there is a John Lennon saying no. For every company poisoning the environment, there are protesters who don’t want it destroyed. If you destroy mankind, they will die too. And if we must, we will fight. It doesn’t matter how much more advanced or powerful you are, we’re not going to let you win. We’ll fight, we’ll get vaporized or whatever, but we’ll fight. Humanity is something, Andy.”
“It is something, but we don’t see much of it. Your words would touch me if I had not seen what I have. You are killers. You are drunks. You are rapists. Those of us who aren’t laughing are absolutely desperate to annihilate you all utterly. I agree with the second school of thought myself.”
“There are reasons you shouldn’t.”
“Bend down. Look at my walking stick. Isn’t it beautiful?”
“Andy” took a closer look, noticing the nice ebony handle of the cane. “Yes, it is.”
In one motion, Trent sprang the blade and decapitated the little alien son of a bitch as he was bending down.
“That’s six of the big, goofy bastards, Trent,” said Harry the bartender. The whole bar laughed, cause it was a hell of a trick. And in neighborhood bars around the world, people pulled the same thing and every time the aliens fell for it. I’d like to believe that we were still the victims.
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