The descending alien spacecraft bathed the city in a pale, sterile, white light. The light conflicting with the yellowish luminosity of the streetlamps. Other than that the sprawling suburban streets seemingly undisturbed. I stood directly underneath what seemed to be the hatch door of the craft, my small dog didn’t even seem to notice this craft.
Am I going insane? Then my dog looked up and barked. Good, I’m not insane. Then I went up.
I recounted this story to the aliens I found myself among in the bright white room of the holding cell. There was a myriad of aliens; one seemed to be akin to a human, but with tentacles for legs, another was a mere ball with black beady eyes, big ear-like flaps, a beak, and sixteen tentacles, one was akin to a spider, one metre in length, a quadrupedal alien sat purring in one of the corners, it’s long neck curled around to protect it’s small arms. Along with a myriad of other beings.
A few of them seemed to be speaking a pidgin of their various distinct languages.
“Hello?” I said with one hand raised in a wave. A few distinct movements came from the ball alien, almost a wave, followed by;
“Where are we?” a the one curled up in the corner replied,
“Nee okukuhh ongoskuhhoo gobag”
“Huh?” The conversation then ceased. I got closer to what appeared to be some sort of table. Some cards sat on the table. One of them offered me a seat.
I slowly picked up the game, after watching a few rounds I was playing along. I even learnt some of the pidgin, and added some english to it.
The loudspeaker blared into the gymnasium-like holding cell.
“Hello Aliens,” it said, “you’ve been selected to participate in our interstellar primitives short story contest, each of you will be allowed to tell two stories of your planet. We know your cultures so don’t plagiarise other planets' stories. The one with the best story will win the prize of returning to your home planet, with plenty of merch from our gift shop. Also all stories will be performed live on television.”
“The first to go will be the Biran.” boomed the speaker, the being curled up in the corner stood up.
All following text has been painfully transcribed and translated from our primitive pidgin, and later our full creole language, into English.
“In Onoshtee (a land across a channel from this beings homeland) three vagabonds sat in a pub,” they said, “one was a hedonist, who ate all that could be eaten, and drank whatever flowed. Another was a warmonger, who killed all who opposed them, ground them up, and drank them like a smoothie. The final was a man of god, who sold holy relics for every occasion and papal pardons for any that he had no relic for.
The three sat in the corner of a pub and talked, and drank, and ate. A baker’s dozen fruit-vines they ate through, and a half-dozen casks of fine ale they drank. By the end of the night, their conversation had turned into a mix of drunken boasting and philosophical debate.
The warmonger said ‘I have sent a hundred-thousand souls down to the depths of earth to visit Mankene (Mankene seems to be a god equivalent to Hades) in his own home. And what have you buffoons done!’ he scoffed,
The hedonist replied ‘I have eaten villages worth of food, and enjoyed the pleasures of the flesh fully for the last dozen years. I am the single reason for the alcohol storage among the lower classes. And you pardoner?’
And the man of God replied ‘I have swindled countless couples out of their money using false idols alone. I have sold idles to dying men that promise to save the pure from death. I have sold them pardons at the same time. I have sold bones meant to find any well to villages without a single spring. But all of our feats are to fall to the mysterious murderer, Death.’
The warmonger exclaimed ‘We must find this Death fellow, he has not earned the right to erase our accomplishments!’ and with those words they rushed out into the night.
They stopped to interact with every person they thought to know death. They came across an elderly man in a state of mourning.
‘Sir,’said the man of god ‘ do you know death?’
‘Yes, he and I are good friends.’ replied the man, ‘what do you want with him?’
‘We want to speak with him.’ replied the hedon.
‘Last I saw my good friend Death, he in the shade of the mound atop the hill. He was there only a few hours ago, I doubt he’ll have moved far.’ And off the men went.
A few paces off from their target, the men noticed a wicker basket where the man said death could be found. They opened it, and found all the gold they could imagine.
‘What are we to do with it?’ asked the warmonger.
“We are to split it up amongst us three.” replied the man of god.
“But we cannot simply bring it all to our homes, we’d attract suspicion, and thieves. We must bring it in bit by bit, night by night.’ said the hedon.
‘Say, you hedon, go buy us each a cask of mead, the warrior and I will hide this gold.” said the man of god.
‘I can’t say no to the offer of fine mead!” and the hedon rushed off to the village. Once out of earshot the man of god and warmonger began hiding the gold.
‘Friend, you know that I am no fiend, you can certainly trust me.’ said the man of god. ‘I am certainly not a mathematician, but I do know something, one half is larger than a third.’
‘What do you imply?’ said the warmonger ‘That we kill the glutton and steal his gold?’
‘I have not said that, I merely implied it, and our combined strength is much greater than that of the drunken fat man.’ said the man of god.
Meanwhile in the village the hedon had arrived.
‘If I were simply to purchase a handful of poison and slip it into the bottles. I’d get all three shares of gold!’ thought the hedon. And so, he went to the wine seller, bought the finest three bottles of honey mead in all Onoshtee. Then he went to the apothecary.
‘Sir, what may I help you with?’ asked the apothecary.
‘I need two of your sweetest deadberries. For I have a hummingbird problem and fear that if I do not give them the sweetest berry they will not eat it.’
‘Why not get more?’
‘I wish to test this hypothesis first, then, if it is successful, I will return to buy a crateful.’
‘Those will be an Aunki (Aunki, a currency, I assume that they are approximately the value of a shilling).’
‘Thank you kind sir.’
The hedon then plopped the berries into two of the bottles of mead, so that they diffused and spread their poison to the drink. Once he reached the hill, the warmonger and man of god sprung upon him, and killed him with their long daggers.
‘Comrade! We have killed him, that simpleton. Let us drink the mead he brought for us, for the sun is nearly setting and we still cannot bring our loot into the village for another hour.’ and so the warmonger and man of god drank the mead. And all three found death under the mound atop the hill.’