We killed the mother and father, but we didn’t mean to.
The father grew frightened (we inadvertently used
the linguistic paradigms of the wrong subcontinent)
and when he began emitting projectiles from a device,
we overreacted. The mother was standing right behind him.
We insisted on making amends personally, once
the diplomatic formalities were concluded. The children
seemed to find our furrier bodies and higher-pitched voices
comforting. We did our best to serve as surrogate parents.
However, the local customs were quite confusing:
bedtime stories, rectal thermometers, vaccination records,
rollerblades, noogies, snow days, sex education, s’mores, track.
The sustenance we extruded from our posterior glands
went unappreciated, and was difficult to pack for school lunch.
We were very good at helping with math homework, though.
When the eldest qualified for a temporary driving permit,
we assumed that she would like to learn to operate
our transporter as well as the vehicles of her own culture.
This assumption was correct, as far as it went, and we think
they went a long way. We are thinking of it as a field trip.
It is sure to be a learning experience. They have maps.
©2005 F.J. Bergmann
"First Contact" appeared on nthposition.com November 2005.
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