Note: This is posted “as is”, no editing or proof reading involved, as part of the 30 Shorts In 30 Days project. During April I will be attempting to write and post a new short story everyday.
“So what you’re saying, right, is that you’re not really from Guildford?”
“And that really, you’re from some planet or other out in space?”
“And you expect me to believe that?”
“Just one? Okay, ask away.”
“What drugs are you on?”
It was lunchtime in the Fighting Cocks, and Simon and Matt were having a drink. The Fighting Cocks was an old style English pub in that it was built in the sixties and not updated since.
“I’m not on any drugs, look. I’m off home tomorrow, and thought I’d better let you know so you won’t get all worried and freaked out and stuff,” Matt explained.
“Mate, you’re starting to worry me know.”
“Look, I came here five years ago…”
“Hah! That’s where your story falls down, I’ve known you for at least six years,” Simon crowed.
“That wasn’t me, that was my brother.”
“What? You’re now going to claim it was an evil twin or something?” Simon asked.
“Evil? No, but a prat? Yes. Look, we’ve a ship up in orbit, but it needs to have at least two people on board at any time in case anything goes wrong. There were three of us, and we took it in turns to come down for five years. I was the last to come down.”
“Not buying it mate. I mean, even if it was true, why?” Simon asked.
“Why come to Earth? And more specifically, why Peterborough? I’d have thought any landing aliens would go somewhere more exciting.”
“What’s wrong with Peterborough?” Matt asked.
“Apart from everything?”
“Look, you know what happens when you’re driving along the motorway and you see a car crash? You slow down to look at it. That’s sort of what happened with us. Earth was never our destination, we were just passing,” Matt explained.
“And you thought ‘Hey, there’s a nice accident, let’s pop down for a gander’?” Simon asked.
“Pretty much yes. Look, in your history you used to have freak shows. The weird and the wonderful of the day would all be gathered together into a sort of touring sideshow, and people would pay money to see them. Folks would travel from far and wide to look at the freaks on display.”
“And?” Matt prodded, having a feeling where this was going.
“And we couldn’t pass up the opportunity.”
“So, on top of your idea that you and your identical twin brother, along with someone else I don’t know, are aliens, you’re now trying to tell me that you’re only here because you were passing and noticed that the Earth is one big freak show?” Simon asked.
“Pretty much, yeah. I mean, look at this place. This planet could be so great, but it’s run by idiots who are chosen by lazy morons. And if that’s not enough, just turn on the television. Your species voluntarily sits down and watches the ins and outs of some other idiot’s life. Rather than having a life yourself, you watch someone else’s. But only if their life is falling apart. Rather than fixing your own lives, you want to watch someone worse off than you, just so you can feel that bit better.”
Simon finished his pint and leaned back in his chair, folding his arms.
“If this is all true,” Simon began.
“If it is, then I’ve got one question.”
“Sure,” Matt said. “Ask away and I’ll try and answer. Don’t expect the secrets to life or faster than light drive or anything. I’m just a traveller, I turn the key and it goes as it were. So, ask away.”
“Well, if this is all true, have you got time for another drink? It’s your round.”