Friday, April 30, 2010


“Right!” Martin shouted to his wife. “I'm off for a bit.”

“You'd better not be going to that club,” she shouted back from the kitchen. “I'm telling you Martin, I can't live like this.”

“Oh lay off, I'll be back in a little while.” He left without waiting for a reply, letting the screen door slam shut behind him. He drove across the small town where he and his wife had grew up, went to school, and married right after graduation. Things had been quiet, peaceful, until Indulgences was built on the city limits. He'd been going there every night since it opened. After all, he worked hard all day and a man needs to blow off steam, no matter what the wife says.

He pulled into the gravel lot and parked his beat up pickup next to all the other beat up pickups and went inside. There were a few familiar faces, which he politely nodded to, but no one was there for conversation. They were there for the show. He sat down at a table near the stage and ordered a scotch on the rocks from the somewhat homely waitress. As she went to put in his order, the lights dimmed and the music started playing. He'd arrived just in time.

A spotlight lit up the stage and the curtains drew back to reveal a row of dancers wearing nothing but top hats and tap shoes. They began to move their furry boddies in perfect unison with one another in an intricate dance routine that would have been more at home on a Broadway stage than in a smoky bar in the sticks. The waitress brought his drink and he leaned back, scotch in hand.

“You tap-dancing hamsters,” he said with a grin. “You rock my world, with your little blurry feet."

Inspired by Sleep Talking Man

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Mission Logs

Journal Entry One:

I seem to have assimilated into the human population seamlessly. My documents were accepted without question and I have successfully obtained lodging. My disguise is perfect, no one suspects that underneath this pink layer of flesh, the true Vedician lurks. I have begun my observations of the humans, all of which will prove vital once the invasion has begun. My observations so far: humans seem to enjoy keeping certain lower life forms domestically. They refer to these animals as pets. However, certain other life forms in the domestic sphere are called “pests” and are treated with disdain. I have yet to ascertain the difference. The female who serves as keeper of the housing unit assured me that the apartment was pest-free but that I would be allowed to keep pets in my lodging for an additional fee. I will do more research into the pet/pest paradox.

I have also observed that humans perform labor in exchange for “money.” They then exchange this money for goods and services. Upon my arrival, I replicated some of this money in order to obtain food and lodging. The type of labor that the humans perform seems to determine their status in the society. I have overheard humans asking one another what they “do.” It seems apparent that I will need to find something to “do.” Eating in social settings seems to be very popular among the humans. A disgusting habit but these eating establishments are plentiful and could prove to be an excellent source for further study. I will begin my search for employment tomorrow.

Journal Entry Two:

My search was successful. I obtained employment in an establishment which serves caffeinated beverages and sweet starchy foods. My contract with this business begins tomorrow. The work should prove to be simple enough. It shouldn't take long for me to master the rudimentary skills of serving the humans their food and beverages and for my subsequent takeover as leader of the establishment. As the leader, I will cultivate the loyalty of the small band of humans who are employed by the establishment. I will show them that I can be a kind, if stern, ruler. Their loyalty could prove useful once the invasion begins.

Journal Entry Three:

My task of serving caffeinated beverages has proved to be a bit more complicated than I imagined. The combinations these creatures come up with! There is a menu of standard beverages that these insolent creatures brazenly ignore. Just when I think that I have mastered a recipe, an endless string of consumers come through and alter the recipe in a myriad of ways. Some want a special kind of cow excretion or a variation of the amount of flavored syrups or an extra dosage of caffeine. I have worked three shifts at the establishment and my head is still spinning.

On the upside, I feel that I am close to understanding their system of monetary exchange.

Journal Entry Four:

I am now much more comfortable in my job in the cafe and I feel that I can focus my energies on my mission. There doesn't seem to be any real system of centralized government on this planet. I have avoided asking direct questions regarding this as I don't want to arouse suspicion that I am not a native. From what I have gleaned, there are several tribes on this planet and each tribe has its own method of governance. Most tribe seem to prefer to have a ruling council rather than a single leader. The result is that no one takes responsibility for the ills of society and no one seems interested in finding solutions. I have yet to determine what, if anything, the ruling councils of the planet seem to do. I believe that the governing systems of the Vedicians will be a welcome change. They will surely see the wisdom of electing a single leader for the planet, then executing the leader if they do not perform adequately.

Journal Entry Five:

I have begun to make social connections at work. Social connections seem to be the area into which most humans put the most amount of effort. The males spend most of their time trying to catch the attention of the females. The females also try to catch the attention of the males but complicate the process by pretending to ignore the very males whose attention they are trying to catch. The whole thing seems very exhausting and its seems to be a evolutionary miracle that any mating ever takes place on this planet. It makes me long for the simplicity of a Vedician mating ritual. It may be harder to convince the humans to adopt this, however, as I can't imagine these coy females painting their bodies blue and running through an open field and mating with whatever male is both quick enough to catch her and agile enough to dodge the spears being hurled at them by her relatives. The males, however, will most likely think our way is simpler.

My forays into the human social sphere have been tentative so far. My attempts at humor have met with mixed results and I am unfamiliar with the “bands” and “movies” that most human bonds seem to revolve around. I am attempting to amend this by doing research in my off hours but there seems to be no end to these “bands.” There is a confusing array of genres and despite my hours of research, I still don't understand the difference between Speed Core, Speed Garage and Speed Metal. The humans at work seem to like me for the most part, despite my ignorance of popular culture. In fact, my ignorance seems to amuse them. They never tire of saying the titles of movies or songs to see if I have heard of them and their amused surprise never seems to grow stale when I reveal that I am not, in fact, familiar with that area of popular culture.

I was surprised to discover that humans do not enjoy their jobs, despite the fact that they spend the majority of their time at work. While they are at work, they seem to spend the time finding creative ways of not doing work. On the few occasions when I have been invited on social outings with my co-workers, I have found that they spend the majority of that time complaining about their job and the consumers who frequent the cafe. It is a contradiction that confuses me.

My reports to the Vedician command have become longer and more complex with every passing day. I fear they may begin to think that I'm making the majority of it up.

Journal Entry Six:

I find myself fascinated by a female co-worker. She is quite attractive for a human, slender and of average height, with brown hair and brown eyes and a pleasing smile. Her legs are pleasing as well, at least the parts of her legs that aren't covered up by the short pants she wears to work every day. She is kind to me and the consumers at the cafe. Even her name is pleasing. Alice. I have tried to determine if Alice finds me at all fascinating but it is very hard to tell. True, she seems to smile at me frequently but she also seems reluctant to talk to me. My knowledge of human females is not extensive enough to tell me if this means that she is inviting me to mate with her or merely being friendly. A male co-worker named Caleb seems to be of the former opinion and keeps advising me to “go for it.” I am hesitant to do so, however, for I fear that if I have misread her signals, our working relationship may become awkward. Perhaps a group social outing would help to determine her intentions.

I am ashamed to admit that since the development of my fascination with Alice, my reports to the Vedician command have become fewer and further between. It is hard to focus my attentions on the trivial politics of this puny planet when thoughts of Alice's lovely pink skin are so much more appealing. Despite my reservations, I must consummate my affections for Alice. For the mission.

Journal Entry Seven:

I am positively dizzy from the events of the evening. Also, from the alcohol. Several of us cafe employees went to a bar once our shift was over and I finally had the chance to ask Alice if she would be interested in mating with me. I did not phrase it so bluntly, of course. My time on Earth has taught me that Earth women are to be approached delicately.

“Would you like to see a movie with me sometime?” is what I actually said. I waited with no small amount of anxiety while she first turned even pinker and then said “Yes.” I spent the rest of the evening learning as much about her as I could and being as vague about my own past as I could get away with. I must construct a believable history before our date tomorrow night.

Journal Entry Eight:

Why is it that in our entire history as a species, Vedicians have never invented kissing? While it may be true that we excel at the maths and sciences, humans have kissing and that irrefutably proves their superiority. We were having a perfectly pleasant evening, Alice and I. We had partaken in social eating, paid to watch a movie with a group of other humans and were wrapping up the evening with a moonlit walk as we talked our “hopes for the future” and “interests.” Then, with no warning whatsoever, she stopped talking, threw her arms around my neck and pressed her lips to mine. My human form seemed to respond immediately, knowing somehow that this was the first step to the mating ritual. My hormones surged, my blood pumped harder and seemed to rush to my genitals, my breath quickened. All of these physical parts, however, did not add up to the whole that was kissing Alice.

As she wrapped her arms around my neck and pressed her lips to mine, I felt something inside me open up. Somehow it seemed as though she came into my being and I went into hers. My whole world was about that moment when our mouths opened up and our tongues met, when our bodies pressed together and our hands ran over each others backs freely. Our lips reluctantly parted after several moments and she looked up at me and smiled and I knew that I would forever be her slave. She took my hand and continued walking again, picking up the conversation as though nothing had changed although everything had.

I must cancel the invasion.

Journal Entry Nine:

The Vedician command will hear nothing of my pleas of mercy. They accuse me of “going native” and betraying my species. I have tried to explain to them that there are things that the humans can teach us but they refuse to listen. To them, humans are only savages which must be conquered and colonized. I must warn Alice.

Journal Entry Ten:

The invasion is back on. Alice refuses to speak to me. I was certain that after I warned her about the Vedicians, she would see me as her hero and take me to the appropriate authorities to prepare them for the upcoming war. Instead, she called me insane and threw me out of her apartment. I stood outside her door for several hours, begging her to believe me, pleading with her to stock up on provisions and arm herself. Eventually I became angry with her refusal to speak to me and began to shout at her. I told her she would be one of the first ones against the wall when the fleet arrived. I regret that now. Once the humans are under Vedician rule, then she'll see that she was wrong about me and ask for my forgiveness, which I will naturally grant. I will graciously allow her to be a member of my harem. She will tremble in awe before my true form and regret ever taking out that restraining order.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

If You Believe

“Fucking Fairy!” Carl slammed the crowbar onto Tink's knee. She emitted a shrill jangling scream like the bell on a shop door that had been slammed shut. Tink writhed against the fence, unable to twist away from the blows. Her hands were tied to the post behind her back, forcing her to stay in a standing position.

“Where are your wings, you freak?” Carl asked. “Did you have them cut off?” Did you really think you could pass for human? You can't even talk. How fucking dumb are you?”

Carl swung the crowbar down again, this time connecting with Tink's other knee. She slumped forward, no longer able to support her own weight but unable to fall to the ground. She sobbed quietly, not able to gather the strength to scream again.

“You should have stayed in Never-Never Land,” he growled. He cracked her in the temple with the crowbar. This time, she didn't make a sound. Blood trickled slowly down her face, dripping off her delicate up-turned nose and matted her blonde hair to her forehead. Carl dropped the crowbar to the ground and ran his trembling hand through his hair. He walked back to his truck and cranked it. The headlight beams fell on Tink, illuminating her crumpled form.

“Who's gonna clap for you now, fairy?” Carl muttered to himself and put his truck into reverse. The headlights swung away from Tink and onto the dirt trail, leaving her alone in the darkness.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Way We Were

Seneca465 crushes her cigarette into the ashtray and looks out the cafe window at all the other Senecas and Roberts and Margarets and Franks rushing down the street. As the other Senecas walk by, she gets fleeting impressions of what they are feeling but the other models are blank slates to her and she has to rely on the secondary signs of body language and facial expressions to guess what they are thinking. If she thinks back far enough, she can remember the first Seneca as she was before the days of the sickness when she became one of the last of her kind with viable genes. If she squeezes her eyes tight and really concentrates, she can remember a day that the first Seneca stared out a cafe window and crushed her cigarette while watching hundreds of complete strangers walk by. They were all blank slates, just foreign bodies rushing by each other with no shared memories or emotions. Though the memory is there, she can hardly wrap her mind around such vast loneliness.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

They Once Were Wild

The humans were let in the gates at eight. They trickled in slowly at first but by mid-day the zoo was full of them: chubby tourists with fanny packs and baseball caps; mothers with tight ponytails and t-shirts stained with baby food pushing their sleeping toddlers along in strollers; middle aged men wielding cameras with huge lenses taking photo after photo of the zebras and elephants for the portfolio no one would see but themselves. Around this time of the day, the zoo employees would open a metal door and pile of hay and raw meat would slide down the chute into the centaur's habitat.

Arbios looked over his shoulder at the sound of the door opening and the resulting thud as the pile of food hit the grass but did not move. Clopia didn't look at all, but instead continued to slowly pick the hairs off her rump, one by one. She had long ago picked all the long hair off her head as well the majority of the finer hairs on the horse half of her body. The zoo keepers had brought in doctor a few months back to see what could be done about it.

“Trichotillomania,” the doctor had concluded after observing her for a period. “In a human I would prescribe cognitive behavior therapy, but for an animal, the best we can do is dose them with anti-depressants. You can also try exercising her more.”

Today was an exercise day. The zoo keepers walked cautiously up behind Clopia and swung a rope over her head, leading her into a room with a large centaur-sized treadmill. They left her in there for an hour and watched through a window as she stood, arms folded over her chest, looking back at them. She would swish her tail and defecate on the tile floor, but she showed absolutely no interest in the treadmill. Once the hour was up, the zoo keepers sighed and came from behind the window.

“Come on, girl,” one of the keepers said as he tossed the rope over Clopia's head once again.

“Die in a stampede,” she replied, but all the zoo keeper heard was a whinny.

Back in the habitat, Arbios still had not partaken of the hay and meat left by the keepers.

“Not hungry?” she asked and she lowered herself onto the grass.

“Not for that slop,” he said. “Just once I'd like to hunt something down and feel its hot blood gush as I tear out it's throat.”

“You could take one of them down pretty easily,” Clopia nodding towards a group of humans leaning over the fence, gawking at them.

“Yeah, about as easily as I could walk over there and eat that dead chicken in the corner.”

“They could at least leave the feathers on. That's the best part.”

She went back to slowly picking the hairs off her rump.

“Look kids!” said a woman with a group of fifteen youngsters. “Here are the mighty centaur. It says here that they live in forests and eat berries, hay and small mammals.”

“I also like long walks on the beach and French Poetry,” Arbios said. The woman didn't seem to notice. “Wanna mate and freak out the kids?”

“Not really,” Clopia shrugged.

Arbios watched her methodical movements as she pulled out a hair and held it out for the breeze to blow away and then repeated the process.

“Why do you do that anyway?” he asked.

“Its something to do, I guess.”

“Doesn't it hurt?”

“A little.”

“Ugh! How come the lady centaur is bald?” one of the youngsters said loudly, scrunching up his face in disgust. “She's ugly.”

She growled and leaped up, running at full speed toward the fence that separated the habitat from the humans. She slid to a halt when she reached the water and puffed herself up to her fullest height. Nostrils flaring, she stared at the youngster.

“I will come over there and feast on your eyeballs, you little shit-head,” she said, shaking with rage.

Arbios came up behind her and put his hands on her shoulders.

“Come on,” he said quietly. “It's not worth it.”

He led her back to the shade, then went to the pile of food and began to eat.

“Want some?” he said, holding out a chicken leg to her.

“I'm not hungry,” she said and resumed her plucking.