The Short Humour Site

Home : Writers' Showcase : Submission Guidelines : A Man of a Few More Words : Links

Writers' Showcase

Park Bench
by Doug Hawley

Joe took his newspaper out to read on a fine spring day.  As usual he sat on what he thinks of as “his” park bench by a stream in the forest.  He was mildly upset to see a stranger on one end of the bench.  Because he didn’t want to cede his place, he sat down and greeted the stranger. 
The front page of his paper has a headline “Army suggests flying saucers may be real.”  Without thinking he said to no one “How can anybody believe in alien spaceships?” 
The man at the other end of the bench replied “I know what you mean.  Little green men, disk shaped flying machines.  What nonsense.” 
Despite himself, because he believed he has encountered a rare rational soul, Joe said “Right.  Nothing inhabited could be close enough to earth to travel here.” 
“That only works in what we call the tachispace where speeds are faster than the speed of light.  There we can travel between galaxies in seconds.” 
Joe stared at the stranger for a few seconds and after blinking for a while appropriately asked “Huh?” 
“You see, we can easily get from the universe to tachispace.” 
“You mean a place where women wear big shoulder pads and the floors are linoleum?”  Joe laughed at what he thought was a clever joke. 
After mumbling something under this breath about stupid humans “It’s ‘tachi’ like fast.  In this sense we mean fast, not tacky as in bad taste.” 
Now Joe is irritated “I took you for a reasonable man.  Now I see I’ve run into another crazy.  Who are you?” 
“Just a guy from planet Umlaut in another galaxy hanging out for a while on this bench.  You can call me Duke.  We don’t usually use names where I’m from.” 
“But earlier you said flying saucers were nonsense.  Now you say they are real.” 
“True, I said there are no flying saucers.  We travel in displacement ovals.  There’s a little jolt going from universe to tachispace and back, but it’s not too bad.  As you can see, I’m brown not green.  We come in all colors, but only send out people who match the place they go.” 
“OK, is there any way you can prove all this.  Can I see a displacement oval?” 
“Sorry, you cannot sense one of our machines.  Your senses don’t work that way.  I could walk into it and you would just think that I had disappeared without seeing the machine.”  Duke looks around and doesn’t see anyone.  “I can do something that might make you believe.” 
“You can try.” 
Duke grabbed his forehead just below his hairline and pulls back.  Inside Duke’s head where a brain would be expected there appeared a spaghetti-like mess of translucent tubes carrying fluids in a multitude of colors. 
“Did you hypnotize me?  Did someone slip me some drugs?  That’s not real.” 
“Joe, I can’t think of anything that will convince you if this doesn’t.  I will give you some advice – if you tell anyone, you’ll be called mad, so you probably shouldn’t tell this to the news or anyone you know.” 
“How did you know I’m Joe?” 
“Hey, you didn’t believe anything else I’ve said, I don’t think you would follow how I know about your birthday, marital status, and occupation.” 
“Then you must know I’m a writer.” 
“Indeed.  You could turn this into a story.” 
“Before you go, why are you here?” 
“We visit different planets for vacations and science.  I’m studying primitive societies.” 
“Joe you must want to know what humans always want to know.  I’ll show you mine if you show me yours.”  Duke started to unbuckle his belt. 
“Uhh, no I’m good.” 
“I see.  You would be shamed by the comparison.” 
With that Duke walked about fifty meters away while projecting a multi-color aura and disappeared. 
Joe stared at the spot where Duke disappeared for about five minutes and then said to no one “Maybe I will write this story.  I’d better call it science fiction instead of memoir.”