Not "Human"

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic
This is a work in progress. A seventeen year old is talking to us about his unique position as one of the Galaxy's remaining humans. His single nose and eye brows are not the only things that make him stand out at school. With a nod to Douglas Adams - this is a short story work in progress that deals with the adolescence at a Galactic level. Target audience is late teen to adult - sci-fi/humor.

Submitted: January 14, 2013

A A A | A A A

Submitted: January 14, 2013



The end of civilization was completely inconvenient. Most people had neither prepared for nor imagined the possibility of a Tree uprising. The fact that they had sat around watching us for thousands of years silently whispering their disapproval is just embarrassing. They never once hinted at superior intellect nor suggested that they had the power to put us in our place. Without warning the trees just went ballistic. By galactic standards it’s considered one of the biggest practical jokes in sentient history. (*See below for the next biggest practical joke)

Now, if you ask the humans – well, the few that survived anyway, they wouldn’t say “The Day of the Trees” was funny at all. In fact, it’s kind of nightmarish to them. Even though it was a long time ago and they’ve since moved to a different planet, humans still don’t like to talk about it. And when they have to, it’s in hushed tones. But to the Trees – the opinions of humans didn’t count for much any more. In the mind of trees, humans had lost legitimacy once Reality TV was invented and became the preferred viewing of a sizable minority.

I was only a baby when the Trees wreaked their havoc. The humans fought bravely for a little while. But when they started using fire the trees considered this cheating and just stopped making oxygen. That about finished things. I was lucky – my mom was pregnant with me when all this went down. She was lucky because at the time she was operating as an astronaut aboard the International space station. My father unfortunately was on Earth and probably fought bravely but the last thing mom remembers is a Skype video of him with an axe in his hand and the look of terror on his face. Dad mentioned something about the tree house his father built for him as a child and then the screen went blank. Mom says communication from Washington ceased soon afterward and then it was just her – pregnant with me, on a space station.

I know what you’re thinking – why would anyone let a pregnant woman be an astronaut? She didn’t know she was pregnant. I was really only in the very early stages of gestation. The aliens let her know she was with child. They showed up in their ship after watching this event – ironically enough, on a reality television show of their own galactic design. There were five human astronauts on the space station. It had been called the International Space Station, but seeing as the Trees destroyed civilization on Earth, there was nothing to be international about anymore. It just became the space station. The aliens towed it back to the closest space base in the quadrant. The discovery that humans weren’t alone in the universe was almost as surprising to them as the Tree uprising.

Now, before I go on and tell you about being born and unique as one of the few humans left, and all of that crap, I should make sure you understand a few fundamentals.

I don’t consider myself human. I’m an Adlarian. I was born on Adlar, I speak Adlari. And I’ve lived on the planet my whole life. When people see me and whisper to themselves I inevitably will hear the murmur of the word “human” and it raises my blood like the Cack needles on a Runbark’s nose. See? A human would never make a statement like that. They wouldn’t have known a Cack needle from a Vonlin leaf much less a Runbark’s nose from a Pottle Bird’s leg. My mother ended up marrying a Adlarian merchant when I was two and I consider him my Dad. And his parents are the only grandparents I’ve ever known. So when someone calls me human, which by the way is only associated with planet Earth – then I get a little peeved. But mom says that I need to be better than them – that they’re just being prejudiced.

Getting over it would be easy to do if I didn’t look so strange. I mean, having only one nose and it sticking out so much in the middle of my face is just horrifying. Not that my mom is ugly – I think she’s beautiful…but that’s probably because she’s my mom. We look “human” and she says that’s how all of us looked. Also, the hair above the eyes really bugs me. Eyebrows – who has eyebrows?! I’ve encountered dozens of species in my seventeen years and I’ve never come across one with hair above their eyes. Kids at school called me Furry Eyes for years and that eventually evolved into Fries and then even my friends started calling me that…so the name stuck. I don’t even consider it an insult anymore, it’s just a nickname. My first name is Michael but that in no way sounds Adlari so I don’t mind being called Fries. My last name is XCKEFHTKFJSLDFlsdkjfeiorwedsklfmslrkerjlSDLJFSDLKFJdfsdfjeoijfLSDKFSDLFKJjsldkfjsdkfljsdlfkjsdlfLSDKJWEOWJEGHHTWKsdsjfksjroewijfSL which is VERY Adlari and I’m proud of that. My Dad comes from a long line of successful merchants who have made a good name for themselves on Adlar.

I should point out how freakishly large Earth is. For a planet that has had life evolve on it – Earth is the second largest of the “life givers” among any we know about. Say what you want about the humans that lived there – but they were blessed with a huge place to thrive. Adlar for instance is considered a medium sized habitable world and it’s a little smaller than Earth’s Moon. For whatever reason – any planet with water and plant life is small in comparison to Earth. Maybe that’s why everyone has heard of it. Well, that and the Tree uprising. We have Trees too but they’ve been tested for intelligence and unlike the Earth trees are as stupid as a Boldark’s beak.

As it turns out – the Federation of Galactic Planets had only discovered Earth one week before the Tree uprising and was getting a delegation together to make a grand appearance to the Earthlings. This is how new worlds with sentient species are usually invited in to the Federation. The only thing that had been set up were the remote tv cameras that were going to record the event. An enterprising television executive had turned the planet into a reality program that the whole quadrant had started to watch. Ratings went through the roof the day the trees made a mess. Unfortunately for the humans, there wasn’t time for the Galactic Police to intervene. Without humans, interest in the TV show dropped considerable and the show was canceled.

The Galactic court ruled that the Trees were guilty of having a bad attitude and banned anyone from visiting planet Earth. The punishment was a good one. The Trees had killed off every land animal with their “Let’s turn off the oxygen” strategy. Now there was nothing to observe but each other. Out of sheer boredom they committed mass suicide.

But enough about history, let’s get to the present. My name is Fries (real name Michael but only Mom calls me that when she’s angry with me). I’m seventeen years old. I’m an Adlarian who looks like a human. Okay, I’m also human…whatever that means. And I regret having one nose, eyebrows and the ability to laugh.

Wait, I didn’t mention that, did I. I can laugh. So can mom – and the other surviving astronauts that she stays in contact with. I guess laughing is a unique trait for people from Earth. I grew up laughing with mom and didn’t really understand it was such a big deal until first grade when the teacher pulled mom aside after school to talk to her about my “outbursts”. Adlarians and pretty much every other alien specie in the Galaxy don’t laugh. It’s not that they don’t want to – they just never do. They don’t find anything funny. And I’m not sure why I can but mom says it’s just “human nature” which I think is a cop out. There’s got to be some sort of genetic reason why humans find things funny and laugh at them. I’ve done some research on it and nobody’s ever looked because until they met humans from Earth, they never thought about it. Maybe someday someone will find out why.

Let’s just say living with the ability to laugh in a Galaxy that doesn’t is really, really hard. I mean, the time in third grade when my teacher farted in the middle of class was probably the biggest outburst I got in trouble for. Or at recess in seventh grade when Jox Cloxin kissed Burbax Nuzon at the dance and burped right in her face?! That was hilarious. I couldn’t stop laughing.

My peers don’t see my laughing as offensive – just strange. To them it’s a weird guttural sound that they find fascinating. They ask me to do it all the time – and I try to force it but it doesn’t sound right. It’s got to come naturally and then they know I’m really laughing. They’ll hear my mom say something and not knowing what a joke sounds like will look at me waiting to see if I laugh. Most of the time I don’t. My mom is hilarious. She makes jokes about Dad and his family all the time and we laugh right in front of them – they don’t seem to mind. She says it’s not disrespectful if you do it from a place of love. I tried to make jokes with my friends but I just get silence and a weird look. So, I had pretty much given up on laughing. Which is sad because it felt so good. Then one day, we had a new student in class and I would have ignored everything about her except for one thing: She told a joke.

Her name is Karra and she’s Gatlagi – they come from a planet on the outer rim and I had never met one before that day. They look like us – I mean, most Adlari, except they have three eyes and their ears aren’t pointy. Which would make me think that having rounded ears is linked to a sense of humor but for the fact that Kagarts, Tulwoldi, Neburr’s and Forgulons also have rounded ears and I’ve met not a one who seemed to have a sense of humor. So there goes that theory.

Karra at the end of class on the first day turned to my best friend Beetur and asked to borrow a pen. When he said he didn’t use pens she asked what he uses and he said he only uses his computer to write. Then I said instinctively “He’s got a fear of pens” even though he doesn’t. It’s just something I could hear my mom say. And that’s when she said “penaphobia” and I laughed. And she laughed and then I stopped laughing and she stopped because of the look on my face. It must have been a strange look because it really freaked her out. I stood up and started yelling and then she started yelling and then Beetur started yelling and then we all stopped at the same time. Then Beeter looked at both of us and said – is penaphobia dangerous? And Karra and I started laughing. From that moment on we were best friends. Well, her Beetur and I. That was last year – in the second year of our last phase of schooling.

* - The next best practical joke being the Volcanoes on the planet Argyle-9 that waited until the humanoids had created electricity before burping up their fire of hatred on that poor lot. Not a one humanoid survived the “Great Belch” that to this day causes the planet to glow. The Volcanoes have regretted this though as the event has slowed travel there to a halt and now they have no one to watch but themselves. Once in awhile they’ll spew some fire but for the most part they’re utterly bored and wish that things were back to normal, when the land wasn’t covered in lava and tourists climbed on them with awkward accents to snap pictures. One time a small meteor hit the planet but the most it did was cause a small explosion and that isn’t very interesting to a Volcano.

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