They were cute, these aliens. Green skin, with three eyes, they used their six hands to ensure that their craft was functioning well while listening to the hit music of their world.
They landed on a roof. The ship was small, and the aliens were very small. The roof had plenty of space for them to park. Putting on their automatic atmosphere converter breathers, they opened the hatch and stepped on to the earth with their four-legged bodies.
The first thing the aliens noticed were five houses and many flowers in neat beds. They had been briefed to expect this as the norm for many group dwellings on this planet, but were surprised that the occupants of these houses seemed much smaller than they, the aliens, were. These occupants were also speaking in a buzz language, which was not one of the ones they had been taught.
Bravely canceling the personal invisibility system so that they could now be seen, the first alien approached one of the creatures. The buzzing creature continued to fly past it without any concern for the three-eyed alien that was much larger and, the alien believed, much more beautiful than it was.
The second of the two aliens (for that was the only number the little ship could carry the great distance it had covered), approached the houses. Surprisingly, the buzzers instantly flew towards it (and it was an “it” because the aliens were far too advanced to pick only one sex for themselves) and started to press little needles into the alien’s body. That tickled the alien who enjoyed the sensation. It reminded the alien of the massages given at its home planet from the multi-handed massage specialists. The alien practiced the well-rehearsed greeting in the English language, the language they both had been told was spoken on this landmass. The creatures kept on tickling.
The first alien put one of its many hands into the nearest house and came out with a yellow-brown sticky substance. Assuming it must be food, it inserted the sticky gel into its mouth. It tasted delicious if a little too sweet. It congratulated the buzzing creatures for the excellence of their food, but they did not seem to understand and, if anything, increased the amount of tickling.
The second alien noticed a door and a staircase leading down from it. Inside the door was a sign in bold blue letters on a yellow background with the number “51” prominently displayed.
Highly intelligent as the little aliens were, it simultaneously crossed both of their linked minds that probably the buzzing creatures were not the dominant species of this small world, the third planet from the dwarf sun it spun around. The buzzers had not featured in their pre-flight briefings. They scanned them into their built-in body computers so that, when they returned, colleagues at home could have the virtual experience of the pleasant massages.
The aliens easily opened the door with their hands and moved down the staircase. They carefully inspected the “51” sign which their computer had noticed from way outside the planet’s atmosphere. The full sign read “WELCOME TO YORK’S 51st YEAR!” Both of them had done brilliantly in English studies, and they mutually knew what a “year” was. One spin around the dwarf sun. They began to nervously wonder if the expedition ship had focused on the wrong “51”? Was this the “Area”? Would they make contact with the first expedition ship? Were they in the right place?
They walked down the staircase to a corridor. After meeting the buzzing creatures, their joint minds decided that it would be prudent to raise their personal invisibility cloaks. They looked at a creature coming towards them. It was much larger than they were, had only two eyes, a disproportionally small head, and only two legs and arms. From the opposite direction came a similar creature. The creatures looked around, as though to check that no other creature was watching, and then, quickly, they locked lips. As soon as the ceremony was completed, they went off in different directions.
The aliens walked down a further flight of stairs. Again, there was the same sign with that 51 number: “WELCOME TO YORK’S 51st YEAR!” Both of the aliens had been on their planet for many more than 51 spins around their sun. Maybe, they mutually thought, this was a birthday celebration for a very young creature called York.
There was only one thing to do, they mutually communed, and that was to morph into the appearance of one of these large creatures. This would take a great deal of energy from their energy packs, but it clearly had to be done. They were well practiced in doing this, morphed, and dropped their invisibility cloaks. Almost immediately, a large group of the creatures appeared speaking English. They passed the aliens with a friendly rictus of their mouths, with one almost bumping into them. They wondered why creatures on this planet did not have the spacing mechanism that they took for granted in their own crowded world. They expressed mutual silent concern that morphing may have damaged their spacing machines.
A bell sounded.
A new, taller creature approached them. It spoke: “Come on you two, time for class!” Its voice had the tone of authority that they recognized as universal.
The aliens immediately stepped into the nearest room. It was filled with smaller earth creatures of the size they had adopted, but there seemed two slightly different shapes among them. In front of the room stood one of the taller creatures. That one looked at the aliens and said: “New, are you? Well, welcome to my eighth-grade History class. If you don’t have your books yet, then share one for the time being. I hope you enjoy joining us.”
Highly intelligent as the aliens were, time passed quickly for them. They realized that they were in a building of learning and were happy to find that the creatures were very friendly. They jointly applied their minds to the convincing cover story which they had prepared, and this they adjusted so that they would be new creatures at the school on which they had landed. In just a few spins around the dwarf sun, they graduated as valedictorians. The aliens greatly enjoyed their life and acclimatized quickly. After a few awkward mistakes, they realized that locking lips was not the standard method of greeting. But they were happily surprised when some students locked lips with them. It seemed a special greeting. Using their body computers, they replicated the money that was the transaction methodology. They rented a nice room near the school, bought clothes, ate at local restaurants, and happily participated in the warm social life of the community they had landed upon.
Their small alien ship was swept into a garbage bag along with some dead buzzing creatures, so the aliens had no way of returning to their planet.
And they did not care.
WELCOME TO YORK’S 51st YEAR!
Ronald P. Stewart
York Prep School