An Unrewarding Job For An Alien, Please Help
by Isabelle Ghaneh
forum: An Unrewarding Job For An Alien, Please Help
speculative fiction for the internet generation.

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An Unrewarding Job For An Alien, Please Help

           The world depends on music, poetry, art and the zodiac. If only the earth people would believe that. Itís hard enough trying to fit them into my schedule, since they are simply so stupid they never get it right. Leave them a way to write and think and dream and they spend years trying to figure it out. What yahoos. Thank you Jonathan Swift. That one had some idea of how the world worked. I mean how many pyramids does an alien have to leave for galaxyís sake before they get a grasp.

           I hate that planet. I shouldnít say that but I do. Why Zakanko made me in charge of those gravity bound dwellers is beyond me. But you like a challenge, Zakanko chimed out for me, letting me see the words, music and colors all at once, as he included that tiny idiot planet on my already full repertory of places to inhabit, get started and then hopefully leave on their own once theyíve got it down pat. Yuck is all I can say after the myriad of years Iíve spent spot checking those people. Yuck.

           Even after all these years, I hoped once they got themselves to Mars they would figure it out. Yes it had water once, yes it had life once, yes it was red. Duh. Does Mars look red through your telescopes it took you eons to create, Iíd like to ask? Then I guess it must be red. 

           Yes, Mars had visions of itself bigger, better and grander than those Earth could ever imagine. Yes, itís the legacy of Mars you remember, those some of you anyway, the ones whose brains havenít been short-circuited by the time you are two earth years old. 

           I tried. I swear I tried. Yes, what you see in dreams is real. Of course itís real. What is your definition of reality? I had hoped youíd begin to see and learn and know as earth time went on. H.G. Wells, Jules Verne; some of you , yes, there have been successes along the way. Philip K. Dick. Please, Iíll go into rhapsodies if I get started on that one. But back to the basics.

           We tried, all of us, not just me. The Alien Federation League Of Interplanetary Settlement And New Beginnings made a vow to start you people here off right. We gave you the tools, we gave you the memories and we let you go. Then we had to come back ,or at least I did . And come back and come back and come back. I feel like I live on your planet, and itís not the place I plan to settle on, trust me. Just now earth science is finally beginning to discover the sleep process. How many years have you earth people been around? Just now you understand how the mind works, how dreams are so important, how the mind replenishes itself and lets out into the cosmos what it needs to and takes in what it needs to. You people have no knowledge of brain matter at all, not at all. And just look back at the ancient stories and myths you have to draw from. Whatís an alien settlement manager to do, I ask you. Look what I have to work with, then presume to criticize me.

           The AFLISNB should know all this by now. Embedded memories are deep in the earth peopleís brain, the hippocampus they call it, and when these beings sleep, as they must, these memories, dreams and reflections (thank you Carl Jung, another earth creature after my own heart) are pushed into their neocortexes. When they wake up, viola! What they have dreamed and envisioned is brought forth to them. What more do they need, a diagram?

           Thatís my reason for my ad in The Intergalactic Journal. I need to be clear on what I am looking for. I cannot lie. I cannot mislead anyone. My ad reads simply Ďan unrewarding job for an alien please helpĎ. I think that says it all.

           I heard a song yesterday weaving itself back and forth over the farthest star I could see in my minds eye, and that is pretty far, even for an alien with bifocals. It danced around and around. When it was done, a new galaxy had been added. Beautiful. Just beautiful. Maybe I can be sent there for restarting purposes, before I get too old to do any good in the universe. I donít want just Mars and Earth on my resume. That would be too cruel.

           I am subsiding on the branches of the water plant nexus. It is where I chose to live now. For the time being, anyway. Itís comfortable. Itís also cool. I can transform myself into a droplet of water and do nothing but seethe and ebb and flow and be constantly regurgitated through the tendrils of the water plant nexus. On and on and on. The stems of the water plant nexus are long and sweet and wide, and I glide up and down and around and the water bubbles from the roots and back down again like a living faucet, or a water fall. Earth people can think of water world in Orlando and theyíve got it.

           Chime chime chime. Come in, I wrote in calligraphy, the lovely Chinese system of writing that the earth uses from time to time. Earth has had their accomplishments, when all is said and done. Let the music play on. Looking at the words dancing around the room I heard what they were saying to my incoming guest. Where are you, the Edrood entering said aloud. Being a droplet of water nesting on the top of the water plant nexusí top tendril, I guess even an Edrood was unable to scope me out. As soon as I had this thought, the Edrood promptly morphed into a tiny parasite like creature, small enough to sit on the top of the water plant nexus with me. 

           Why he thought, not talking out loud anymore. Fine, weíll use thought messaging if it makes my Edrood visitor feel happier. Itís the closeness that counts. Look, I replied. I wrote a picture for him. I colored it and I gave it life. Its all about Mars isnít it, Edrood wisely answered. I canít go through that again I replied instantly. My calligraphy changed into the darkest blacks and maroons, the highest shades of despair, passion and death you can imagine. They lit up the place, they scoured the walls, the thunder came crashing down. Edrood nodded. I see what you mean. Itís like a light show I saw once on the asteroid Zappagarcia.

           I cut him off. Fight fight fight. Kill kill kill. Bully bully bully. Thatís all there is down there on Earth. Not all; Edrood intoned a Buddhist chant to me. Not all not all not all. He imagined a Tibetan Mandela, the sand patterns taking shape right before my water logged eyespots. And I have many of them. So it was a wondrous thing to behold.

           I tried to tell them, I said, sand wafting into my eyespots. They know Mars is the planet that rules war and mayhem and anger. They know mythology and astrology, the true sciences. I gave them that I said, water mingling with the sand and mixing it into mud. The Chaldeans understood I continued. Edrood murmured a fresh warm babbling brook. It appeared over my head and dropped down onto the floor and cascaded over the walls. Before you knew it we were in a rain forest. Then the water steamed up and took us with it, and brought us back down into a garden of wildflowers and dandelions. A little reverie from all the nastiness Iíd been thinking about since I received my admonishing letter from the League. 

           I want to be a butterfly I said suddenly to Edrood. So do I, he agreed. We both became blazes of color, flitting here and there over the rocks and sandpaper flowers that open up only when you say hello to them, but only if its in a whisper. Itís the garden of reverie I said, a peaceful place if you can afford it. I saw a picture of one once in the Retirement For Aliens With Money Guidebook. I saved a lot of zinopips on my last space saucer sale, but not enough for that. So here I am, resting comfortably courtesy of my new found Edrood friend. Who is here for what purpose, I need to ask. As if I didnít know. Later, let me rest first. 

           Edrood buzzed into my butterfly wing. All they want to do is kill each other I moaned, watching my whimperings float like gigantic burps escaping from my fragile butterfly self. Beat up on each other, put each other down, make fun of each other, thatís their sole reason for being. My burps became a crescendo in the octave of eight. 

           Edrood became the pages of a book. Songs of Myself by Walt Whitman danced over him. Join me he whispered into my butterflyís wings as a cacophony of moans and burps and now sighs escaped from me again. 

           I did. The letters of ĎOh Captain My Captainí wrote themselves again and again. I nestled in the stanzas. See, even in beauty they destroy or write about destroying. Edrood and I plunged into Whitmanís love poems to himself and the whole earth race. When I felt ído I contain multitudes í wash over me, I smiled finally, feeling relief descend. Next, Edrood and I swam into e. e. cummings in just spring, paddling around in the mud luscious world with the little lame ballonman. This took up a bit of time. When it was over I was covered in mud but content and happy. Just letting the breeze turn my pages one by one by one and feeling the words run up and down my spine was enough of a massage for me.

           I think I slept for a while. When I woke up I was myself again, not a water droplet anymore and resting on the ever turning sky watcher futon in the day room, which is the night room also. I didnít make as much on the Interplanetary Buy Stocks In Quasar Motels Cheap deal as IĎd hoped. Well, did anyone? 

           Edrood smiled at me from the other end of the room. Iíve drawn your horoscope chart, Edrood said. Go sit in the seventh house and tell me what you think. Watching Jupiter align with Neptune was not as helpful as Edrood wanted it to be. I jumped from house to house. I sat on the cusp of Leo and Virgo. I played with the flute of Pan, the representation of Capricorn the goat. Again mythology and the zodiac blending into one. Did we try Edrood, I whispered, looking at him pathetically from the fixed star Sheat, right at 28 degrees of Pisces, the martyr placement. (I refuse to go there, I simply refuse, donít even ask me what happened in the Piscean Age. Iíll disintegrate at once. )

           Edrood smiled reassuringly. Yes we did. You did, I did, Zakanko did. Zakanko, I shouted, I knew it, I knew he was behind your visit, donít think I was fooled for a moment, Edrood. I jumped down from Leo the lionsí back, now cavorting all over my day and night room after leaving his fifth house lair. Shoo boy I said to Mr. Leo as I watched him and the entire zodiac pattern Edrood had created just for little me whisked up and away towards the sky light and finally out into the stratosphere.

           Zakanko I said again. I knew Zakanko was behind this. You didnít come here to apply for my unrewarding job for an alien please help ad did you? No one did why should you? Edrood patted me on the antennas I use to hear far off musical compositions. Edrood smiled in a condescending way, having long since morphed himself from a water parasite into an old graying paternalistic owl, once we left the place of reverie. Edroodís owl spectacles ran down his nose as he looked down at me, having grown to his full height of over 20 feet. Luckily, he can vaporize himself instantly, so I only saw the short version of him, the larger one being spread out into space. 

           How many aliens that you know of would respond to an ad like that, Edrood said? Isnít that really a cry for help? Didnít you ask in parentheses for help? Two parentheses stood out on either side of me, quivering in pain and hurt and humiliation, all the feelings I had been keeping inside at an unknown level, once I got the letter from the League, asking what in the universe was going on in the Earth world and what did I intend to do about it. Edrood reached out his feathery wing. There there, he said sympathetically, there there. The Galaxy Association For Detoxification Of Stress To Aliens In Thankless Jobs is here to help you. We heard your plea.

           I donít need help, I need a new job, I stormed at Edrood, lashes of rain pelting his gigantic bird body. His mirror laser image was now at full height. His head looked down through the open ceiling in my modest dwelling. I could barely make out his expression. It looked stern even down here. You are being silly, he growled in a gravely undertone. I could see pebbles falling from his mouth and hitting the space station televiewer that keeps me appraised of how my galactic stock is doing at all times, nano second by nano second. Ping ping ping I heard. Sput sput sput. Boo boo boo, I shouted up at him, the only intelligent communication I could make with the pebble spouting bird at the moment.

           I want to quit Edrood, I want to quit. I canít take it anymore, so please stop soft soaping me. You can see whatís going to happen on earth. You know the future and the past and the present and so do I. We tried Edrood, I said we tried. You tried, and even Zakanko tried. I limped across to the edge of the platform of my open air dwelling place. Sometimes we win. Sometimes we lose. We lost on Mars and we lost on Earth.

           Not yet, Edrood came back down to my size. Not yet. You donít know that. I do know that, I shouted. I looked at the sky. I remembered. Mars was beautiful, Edrood, I mused, all that water cascading down the mountains. It was sparkling in the winter cities, palaces of silver glittering in the night. Giant canyons in the desert area. The desert area was pretty cold, Edrood smiled, if I remember correctly. Sand, brilliant colors all around the sky, the terrain gleaming with the rich soil. Yes, Edrood said softly, yes.

           I continued wearily on, talking to myself, really. When we took the last remnants of the microbiological culture that was left on Mars, just those few pieces, and we came down to Earth to plant themÖ..I had such hopes. I trailed off. Such hopes it wouldnít happen again, ever. This time, I said, things will be different. And I knew, I concluded, still lost in my pictorial wanderings of what was and could have been on Mars, I knew there would be trace memories still intact in the structure of the atoms that would leave memories deep in the recess of the minds of the earth creatures. And that, I finished, I hoped would prevent what happened on Mars ever happening again. And now look. I turned to Edrood, to see what answer he could possibly have for me.

           Earth creatures are made of atoms, Edrood said quietly, the same as the Martians were. It is their structural base, it is the base of all life. What can we do? His feather wings shuttered and then shrugged. We want them to learn, he continued. And when they do look what happens, I finished. Edrood, just look. The smarter they get, the more advanced, the more developed, look what they do. Thousands of years, I muttered now, beginning to re-transform into a water droplet. Fight kill destroy rebuild, fight kill destroy rebuild, until ÖÖ

           I looked at Edrood. Until, he said. I know. Until. 

           Where are you, Edrood said suddenly, looking around for me. Iím here, I sulked. I put myself back on the water plant nexus. I want to be a water droplet again. 

           Thatís fine, Edrood soothed me. He became a gentle mist that settled over me and the water plant nexus. I saw the silence and could hear Edroodís mind humming along. Iíll come with you, the mist particles said, spiraling like starlights across the room. The next time you go there. Okay, I said to Edrood finally, okay. But first weíre making a pit stop. Where to, Mars, Edrood muttered, whatís the point? You know what youíll find. 

           No, not to Mars, I said. To the red earth and the deep canyons on the small planetoid the next galaxy over, what the League just named the Arizona Plains. Ah, Edrood muttered, yes. It does look just like Mars, doesnít it? Yes, I said snuggling up to the tendril of my water plant nexus, yes.


The end


copyright 2004 Isabelle Ghaneh.

Isabelle Ghaneh has had astrology articles in Dell Horoscope Magazine, American Astrology Magazine, Transit, Astroworld, Astroabby, The Astrological Journal, StarIQ, and The Mountain Astrologer, poetry in The Ridgefield Press, The Fairfield Review, Surface Magazine and The Copperfield Review, feature articles in Art Times, The Blue Review, and The Llewellyn Journal.  In addition, she has a historical short story set during the American Revolution in The Copperfield Review, reprinted in the Ridgefield Press, and an article for children on Manifest Destiny in the Learning Through History magazine.

Ghaneh has been interviewed on WQQQ and on KDVS for political astrology analysis, and had a poem in support of free speech read on KPFA. In addition, she has had letters to the editors published; on the issue of terrorism in The Hartford Advocate, on the issue of child abuse, LA Weekly; Gore and Bush political campaign, Darien News Review; and the founding fathers of our country, Danbury News Times.

Ghaneh has her own web page, Isabelleís Astrology Guide, located at