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The day outerspace aliens presented themselves to earthlings began warm and sunny in Hepzibah county.  People had always assumed that outerspace aliens capable of traveling lightyears within days would be highly intelligent species, and either extremely dangerous and inimical to all earth life or all beneficient – sort of like your rich Aunt Shumacher, full of kindly wisdom, helpful advice and the means to fix all the worlds problems – but in either case destined to change the course of human destiny forever.

Nothing could have been further from the truth. 

They appeared before Hank and Williams out of a silver spaceship, descending a metal ladder.  The spaceship was about 150 feet in diameter, perfectly circular, and resembling in shape a soup tureen placed upon two dinnerplates glued face to face.

Hank was a professor of astronomy at State College and Williams was an FBI agent.  They had gotten lost trying to hook up with the official Welcoming Committee    Tramping over hill and stream bed, Williams had had nothing good to say about the area chosen by the E.T.s,  its geography, its people, its politics or its shrubbery which he decimated with a mattox wantonly.  After Williams displayed his arsenal – in some surprise that Hank went about entirely unarmed – Hank decided he did not like the man.  Williams carried, besides pounds of electronic eavesdropping equipment, a Glock 9mm, a Smith and Wesson .45, a can of CS tear gas and a 500,000 volt taser.  “Well if they aint friendly they could turn one of them x-ray things on us.  Cook your brains in minute.”, Williams explained. 

The aliens were ovoid in body, possessed of two arms and two legs each.  A single large oval eye about ten inches in length and five in width stared above two nostril slits and an oddly mobile mouth slit distinguished by a sort of rudimentary beak that marked the upper lip.  In hue, they were a sort of silvery-green. In addition, their bodies were hairless and to all appearances, naked.  They each stood about five feet tall.

Perhaps it should have been seen by Hank or Williams as an omen, but, neither said a word when the second alien descending the ladder apparently tripped on the penultimate rung and abruptly turned head over heals to complete a perfect somersault on the grass.

The reaction of the earthlings was postponed for the first alien presented a box and began speaking without paying the slightest regard to his companion.  As he spoke in his planetary dialect, the box presented a translation into earth language, just like in all the important Sci-Fi stories.

“Meefunksaheereneetdammendeserdessggfg biggpooh . . . .” And out of the box came the following sounds: “Meeseiurs et madames du Terre!  Conduire me a notre chef  . . .” .

There followed a most notable speech,  no doubt prepared especially by the alien peoples for this significant occasion, which was entirely lost   on the two humans, who professed to each other to not understand  a word and who interrupted this meaningful occasion by talking to each other.

“What the hell is this?” said Williams.  “You unnerstan’ frog talk?”

Hank denied this ability.  

“Oh shit!” said Williams, venemously.

The alien paused.  “Osheet?”  He, or it,  fiddled with some knobs and then repeated the Saxon word.

“Zut alors!” said the box, followed by a lengthy string of alien syllables.

The alien turned away in disgust and spoke to his companion, who responded by placing both hands on his belly, leaning back and guffawing to the sky.

Clearly something had gone very wrong on this first contact with an extraterrestrial species.  No one could understand one another.  The really important people were missing and Williams could not get his radio equipment working – some kind of heavy interference snarled the air.  Hank, somewhat baffled by everything that had happened since he had been called out in the name of Patriotic Duty, sat upon a stump and lit his pipe.

The military had seen the thing coming in shortly after the astronomers and, after weeks of anticipation, finally had determined a rough tragectory and arrival point in a west coast state in North America.   Teams of FBI, Army, NSA and scientists of all description were dispatched to meet the aliens.  As well as a fair number of well-armed Marines and a passel of tanks.

Hank had no idea if this sort of thing had happened before, but he suspected not.  The great hoopla had hit the news as so many knew about what was happening from the astronomers, a few of whom had initially claimed that the planet Uranus had broken free of its orbit and was heading for a final party-stopping collision  with earth.  The GOP whip demanded the missle shield be put into place at once.  Right over rural Hepzibah county, however, everyone had lost sight of the object.   This sort of nonsense did not contribute well to the reputation of Science in America, in  Hank’s opinion.

The first alien tried the box one last time after making some adjustments.  Once again he spoke impressively at the smoking Hank.  “Ni shu-oh Putong Hwah?”

Hank shook his head. 

The alien threw the box at an oak tree, which appeared to surprise the ET by its solidity.  The box cracked against the back, emitting a puff of smoke before falling to roll to the base of a drooping buckeye tree, where it uttered one phrase, and then was still. “Ah! Je suis total desole’!”

 Hank and the alien looked at the box, which steamed among the roots.  “Miefa!” said the alien, who threw his arms into the air and walked away.  His companion, standing up to this point with a silly grin on the broad expanse of its “face”   raised his arms up high over his head and then did a neat hand-stand on the grass for a solid minute before falling solidly backward.   “Errff!” it said.

“Y’know,” Hank said to Williams.  “I am beginning to wonder about these Extraterrestrials.” The first alien was now absently chewing the branches of a willow tree. Its manner and expression were not much different than a cow.  The other began doing a series of somersaults across the little green glade. 

Williams turned to the first alien, stepped forward and pounded his chest.  “Williams!  Name is Williams!”  He pointed at Hank.  “Hank!”   That’s Hank!”

The two of the aliens stared at them. 

“Is there anything at all coming from that sqawk box of yours?”, Hank said.

Williams told him there was hella static around here – maybe from the spaceship that still steamed among the pines over yonder.  He stated that he would drop down the hill to see if he could raise anybody.  He left a miniature recorder with Hank should he be abducted and then trotted down the hill.

“Wygarr!”  The first alien had spoken. He rapped his chest as Hank had done and said the name again.  “Wygarr!”

The other alien rapped his chest and said “Foofah!  Foofah Miefah!”  The little box by the tree roots began crackling.  “Foofah! Merde!”

Now we’re cooking with gas, Hank thought.  But then the alien named Wygarr gave up all communication and began eating the buckeye.  He broke loose one branch at a time and stripped the leaves with his beak before chomping the branches like bread sticks.  Foofah, if that was his name, lay on his back and idlely sucked on his big toe.  Making any sort of serious contact with Earthlings seemed the last of their concerns.

At that point Williams came huffing back up the hill in a state.  “They’re coming.  The entire National Guard, the Commander and backup.  Seems another ship is coming in.  A lot faster than this one.”

The radio interference apparently ended down the hill around the bend from the ship to where Williams pointed.  And as if summoning the cavalry, a group of men, some in uniform, came huffing up the slope.

It turned out to be General Flatiron accompanied by a bevy of soldiers and officers.  A few FBI agents hung back to survey the entire scene as if concerned the death ray reported by Wells in an earlier escapade might be somehow true. 

Hank reported to the General a little of what had taken place already while Foofah idly regarded them over his left foot.   The General went in search of his men for anyone who might speak French or any foreign languages, but found only one Private Redhalse from Nogales, Texas, who had accomplished three years of that language in high school.   Wygarr, by this time, had decimated most of the near side of the buckeye within his arm’s reach.

 The General and Pvt. Redhalse stepped up formally with several members of the cadre carrying videocameras and taperecorders. 

“My god!” said Williams.  “Look at what he is doing!”

“Alors, uh, mesieurs!” began Redhalse. “Bienvenue a notre Monde . . . oh crap.  en Amerique . . . no, Bienvenue en Etats Unis . . . Nous voudrez uh  parlez avec vuh. .” .

He never finished.  For as Williams had spoken earlier, Wygarr stood in an odd forward leaning posture with his legs bent and his right hand held at the end of his long right arm underneath him.  Into the alien palm a short, thick greenish rope, studded with undigested leaves dropped from somewhere underneath and behind him.  Which he flung, even as Hank shouted a warning, right at the General and the Private.  The General did as officers do and ducked in time, although a fair amount still managed to get the General’s right epaulettes.

The Private was not so fortunate.  

“Miefa!” said Foofah.

Everyone was aghast. This was the first meeting, recorded on tape, of our meeting alien beings from outer space, beings capable of flying in under the radar past the world’s most sophisticated missle defence systems at a speed that made the F-16 fighter jet look like a balsa-wood toy powered by rubber bands and this first meeting did not bode well for humanity.

The General recovered his composure first while Wygarr sat on a log and sort of cackled to himself. “Heeba heeba heeba . . .”.    Several of the soldiers asked if they could shoot the alien now.

“If this is what they think of us, “  said the General.   “We better point ‘em towards China or start begging for our lives. “  He paused regarding Foofah.  Then he looked at the buckeye tree and asked Hank for his opinion.

“I don’t think these aliens built that ship.  They seem a little too placid and unaware to me.”

“That’s it!” said the General.  “They’ve been sent out to find pasture!  We’ve been colonized by alien cows!”

the import of this possibility caused great excitement, expecially among the scientists and technicians among the earthlings who figured that now they had carte blanche to board the alien ship and take it apart. Before they could do so another ship landed quite abruptly in a glade a little ways off.  A door opened and several aliens came running down the ladder and towards the group.

Foofah turned around, saw the ship and jumped up shouting, “Ai miefa!” He then started shambling quickly down the hill.  Wygarr, too, regarded the newcomers with alarm, leaping up and racing past Foofah.  Some kind of saucer-like object came out of the top of the new ship and darted with three aliens aboard around behind the trees. 

The Earthlings watched all this with absolute astonishment. 

A few of the aliens raced past them after the fugitives.  These aliens were very different from the first two.  Although seemingly identical in anatomical shape, these aliens wore clothes made of some blue material, belts, shoes that resembled brown wingtip Oxfords and a number of them wore what obviously were neckties.  A couple even had pens shoved into pocket protectors. 

After a few minutes Wygarr could be seen, fleetingly, crashing through the trees and underbrush off to the right.  There could be no question the alien was screaming bloody murder.   The General had to restrain a couple of the soldiers who wanted to start shooting to effect a rescure or simply out of excitement

After a moment several aliens came out of the woods bracketing Wygarr, who was wearing what was undeniably, incontrovertably and without question a good old-fashioned straight-jacket.  When an alien cries, especially one with a single nine-inch eye half-covered by a purplish eyelid, the sight is extraordinary.  Hank began to feel sorry for the guy.  But then he was not Private Redhalse from Nogales, Texas.

A troupe came marching up the hill with Foofah lying comatose on a stretcher. 

It appeared that the whole episode had come to an end, as far as the aliens were concerned.  The General urged the Private to speak to the alien who stooped to retrieve the voice box thrown by Wygarr.

“Uh porquoi  … um take away, um . . . prendre vous Wygarr et Foofah?  

“Amis,”  added the General.  “We. Are. Amis. Friends.”

The alien looked at the General with undisguised amusement with his hands in the pockets of his tweed jacket.   “Parceque ils sont fou!”  The alien leaned slightly forward and tapped the side of his head with one forefinger.  “Pas de sens.   Ils sont  ved L’Hopital du Sante Mental   et Psychiatrie.  Alors, bon jour!

With that the alien turned and began walking away until the General chased after him, followed by the earthlings. “Hey wait!  Hold up!  Poor-qwah uh, dammit, Redhalse, say something! Opportunity is flying off in two shakes of an alien steer! If you don’t stop him you’ll see latrine duty in Somalia.”

“Vous voudrez parle avec nous!” shouted Redhalse, getting the phrase a little backwards.”Parlez! Parlez!”

The alien turned and regarded them.  “Pourquoi parlez?”

This was it. This was the Big Moment for Earth to make its case, and maybe leap forward another thousand years with all sorts of technological breakthroughs, sociological studies, archeological finds, new music and artt, redesigned urban villages not to mention answers to many questions of the universe besides improved service in restaurants.

And to communicate this important message of longing from Earth to the stars we had one Private Redhalse from Nogales, Texas.

“Um, Nous sommes les Hommes du Monde, qui nous appeles “Terre”, ou “Earth”.  Um, nous voudres parlez parceque, um, parceque parlez . . . . nous sommes exchange uh chose things tres important.”  While the alien looked at the private askance, Redhalse raised his hands up as if begging the heavens for linguistic inspiration. “ Pour exchange.  Pour votre gens.  Et exchange pour notre gens. Yeah your people and ours.  Technologie!  Medecine!  Societie!  Les armes!“   Redhalse broke down sobbing.

The alien sympathetically patted the Private on the shoulder, and regretted the action immediately.  “Miefa!” it said and wiped his hands with an handkerchief he then threw into the bushes. 

The General, man of importance, stepped forward.   “I don’t speak yer language but I’ll get somebody who can if I hafta drag em in shackles.”

The alien used a classroom extended pointer to flick at the epaulettes on the General’s right shoulder.  “La condition Humaine.”  With that, he turned and briskly departed.

As Hank, who had been raised for the first twelve years of his life in Martinique and who understood the language perfectly well, watched the ships rise up and disappear into the azure skies he thought, la condition humaine – man’s fate, yes.  We, and they, are almost certainly better off this way.

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