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A Man of Few Words - by Swan Morrison


I awoke to the sight of two large, black eyes staring down at me from a long, grey, mask-like face. The creature spoke: ‘I am Zogret from the planet Ephiasom.’

‘Bollocks,’ I retorted.

‘What?’ it said with a linguistically English-like tone of surprise.

‘I don’t believe you,’ I clarified.

‘But I’m four feet tall, grey, hairless and in a circular room filled with flashing lights. What more proof do you need?’

I sat up on the couch. ‘Well, I’d like to see your technology and your DNA analysed by a panel of investigators which included senior scientists, psychologists and members with an expert knowledge of magic and illusion. I would like to see their methods and findings verified by fellow professionals and then published in major scientific periodicals to encourage further criticism and research.’

There was a stunned pause before Zogret spoke again. ‘We thought you were a Whacko - after all, you were meditating in a crop circle when we beamed you up.’

I recalled my last memory prior to waking up in this place. ‘I was walking on a public footpath and stopped in that circle to eat my sandwiches.....What’s a ‘Whacko’?’

'Whackos are people with a medieval understanding of science. They easily form firm beliefs for emotional, rather than logical, reasons. These beliefs then become so enmeshed with their own identity and sense of self that they take on delusional proportions and become unshakeable in the face of any evidence to the contrary. We come across a lot from the literalist or fundamentalist wings of religions. Also from the New Age Movement and among supporters of single issue pressure groups.’ He paused and then added as an afterthought, ‘We usually only communicate with Whackos.’

My curiosity was aroused. ‘Let us assume for a moment that you actually had come from outer space. Why would you only communicate with what you call ‘Whackos’?’

‘We’re here to study humans. We try to keep hidden as far as possible, but these are big spaceships.’ He gestured around him. ‘Unlike on Star Trek, we can’t do ‘invisible’, so inevitably we get seen sometimes. The plan is to have contact with as many Whackos as possible so all sightings become discredited.’

‘So, what about me?’

‘Back to your sandwiches. We’ve been so successful in being identified by people that no one else takes seriously, that if you said anything, you’d be treated as one of them.’

‘So, can I experience you transporter beam to get back?’

‘No. At the moment your main hypothesis is that I am an emaciated dwarf in a rubber suit and all this is some kind of TV practical joke show.’

‘That’s about right.’ I followed his line of reasoning. ‘So, you don’t want me to see anything which might change that view?’

‘Correct. Nice talking to you. Goodbye.’

I suddenly felt very, very sleepy.

When I awoke, I was back in the cornfield with my half-eaten sandwiches by my side. I checked my watch. Two hours had passed since I had arrived at that spot. I finished the sandwiches and continued my walk, wondering when that TV practical joke show would be broadcast.