July 12, 2011

This is for all the aliens who got stranded on Earth but never found kids to take care of them, who wander the back roads and sleep in orange highway water barrels that are roughly the same size and shape as their stubby bodies, who stand next to farting cows to breathe in the life-giving methane, who hop up and down excitedly when they see another alien race’s ship park overhead looking to do some serious cattle mutilation, who spit their stories out as fast as they can in the Standardized Intergalactic Lexicon to the first beings that beam down from the ship, then see the blank expressions on those beings’ faces and despair that maybe these guys don’t speak the SIL but then realize no, it’s way worse than that, they understood you just fine, this is just on some bad-blood interplanetary dispute type stuff and they won’t vaporize you but they also definitely won’t be taking you anywhere. I know you want to shout after the ship as it disappears, “Sure our bosses might be fighting over ownership of spiral nebulae none of us will ever see, but what the FUCK does that have to do with me and you, bro?” Maybe you do shout that, in the Lexicon or your own language or even the garbled pidgin English you’ve picked up from overhearing the audio ads for nachos and lighter fluid they play on a loop outdoors at gas stations as you huddle in the dark, in the weeds, beyond the throw of the many lights, as you wait to stick your face up to the tailpipe of an idling but unsupervised vehicle and breathe deep. Maybe you shout it, and maybe it wakes the farmer.

Let’s say it doesn’t, though. Let’s say you shuffle out of that field and across the highway at your own pace. I know when you do it, you think back on the briefing where they said this would be your race’s only Earth excursion for the next ten thousand years. I know that your years are longer than our years yet your lives are shorter than our lives. I know you think about presenting yourself to sinister government agents the way that guy robbed a bank to get health insurance, so at least then you’d have a warm lab to sleep on the ceiling of and all the sunglasses you can eat.

I know you probably won’t ever read this. You will probably never find your way here, we will probably never have any adventures. But it does me good to know you are out there. I know that doesn’t help, that I like you as an abstraction. Me thinking about you does not make your legs longer or your breathing easier. It might if we were bonded psychically the way some of your luckier stranded brethren are with their new adolescent patrons. But we’re not. I think about you and you don’t know I exist, and if you did know I would exist, you would go, “Great, another interior-skeleton-having bi-ped. Is there more than one of him on the planet that he is on? There is? Then maybe he should stop fucking whining.” And you would not be wrong.

But I just wanted to say:

I know it’s loud and bright and exhausting here for you. But believe me when I tell you that it’s that way for us, too, and we’re from here, and we’ll almost certainly never get to go anywhere else.

And if you ever need a ride to a pasture, I have a you-sized trunk.

Posted by DC at July 12, 2011 05:09 PM
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