Artwork: “Pioneer10 Plaque” Designed by Carl Sagan and Frank Drake. Artwork prepared by Linda Salzman Sagan / NASA – (Public Domain)
“The trouble with humans is that they all look the same.” – Dame Marginal Slightly
After spending 30 minutes ranting about how inadequate the postal service is, describing in detail the pains I have been getting in my lower back, and protesting about the annoying way that the receptionist from work keeps calling me ‘Dolly’… I realised that the human ape before me was not in fact Verity after all, but someone named Alan.
I left the ape standing befuddled, made my excuses, then quickly hurried down the road and headed home.
Whilst I stretched out on the sofa, I read through the accumulation of mail that had greeted me on my doorstep.
Within the bundle of take-away menus, bank statements and charity bags, I was intrigued to find a hand written letter.
The letter was simple and read;
“You are not welcome! Foreigners out! Go back to where you came from, scumbag!”
I was intrigued. How did the Earth ape know? I had been very meticulous in disguising myself here, since landing upon this little planet.
Maybe it was the accent, I thought. I could never fully master the funny intonations with which humans speak.
Later that evening, I decided to show the letter to my ape-friend, Verity.
“Well, where are you from exactly?” she asked.
“I’m an Alkaidian.” I confessed.
“I knew it!” she said, “I always thought I could detect a bit of the east in you.”
“It depends from where you’re looking.” I replied.
I quizzed her more as the evening progressed. Essentially, the planet is divided by continent, and these sectors are further divided into countries.
“So how do I know where one starts and the other ends?” I asked.
Verity showed me a map on her phone and explained to me that there are borders between them.
“Ah, I see!” I said, “So you look down and see these lines on the floor then?”
Verity further explained that these lines are in fact ‘imaginary’ and you couldn’t actually see them.
The division didn’t stop there. The countries are further sub-divided into regions, some of which contained cities and the cities are further sub-divided into even more areas. ‘Imaginary lines’
I asked Verity why someone would not want me to be within their imaginary borders.
“Well,” she began. “It could be that you speak differently, or that you eat different types of food, or that you have a different skin colour.” She then pointed to a place called Africa, and explained to me that the humans which come from that place have slightly darker skin tones.
“Ah, like Dr Bennett, from next door?” I said.
“Exactly.” she said.
Funny, I could have sworn that he’d told me he was from Ashby-de-la-Zouch.
After Verity left, I was more puzzled than ever. Apparently, all of the Earth’s apes originated from Africa – including the one that wrote the letter.
Also, I discovered that sometimes people on one side of the planet moved to another side because they were hungry, or poor, or because they were escaping from the brutality inflicted by other savage apes.
Apparently, there are quite a few Earth apes which are very upset about all of this – hence, my letter.
Furthermore, a proportion of feral apes on this planet feel compelled to demonstrate their primitive territorial impulses by attacking their fellow apes.
It seems bizarre to me that these apes are under the impression that there is more than one human race residing on their tiny planet.
It reminded me very much of the inhabitants of Mintaka 9.
The Mintakans were a progressive race who lived on a planet slightly smaller than Earth. The Mintakans on one side of the planet were red with blue spots whereas the Mintakans on the other side were blue with red spots.
Just as the race was about to launch their new galactic class starship and join the rest of the cosmic community, a red-spotted Mintakan said something insulting about a blue-spotted one. The blue-spotted Mintakans were aghast and subsequently blew up half the planet in retaliation – and so thus ended their cosmic voyage.
I often wonder whether Earthling’s would notice their similarities, rather than their differences, if they could look up towards their little planet from a bedroom window on a cool Alkaidian night.
As I stuck the letter onto the fridge door, I pondered whether I should pen a response to request further dialogue (but somehow, I don’t think that was the ape’s intention.)
Until next time, keep evolving!