In case you are wondering, and several have asked, C.W. has been on a recall assignment back to his home planet to provide an interim report on his findings. I suspect that the “Elders of Falloonia” as he calls them (somewhat disrespectfully if you ask me) wanted to make sure he wasn’t going native, so to speak.
Anyway, he showed up at my door in the shape of the captain of a sailing ship, complete with a long-barreled brass telescope. It was New Year’s Eve so he could get by in about any shape since one would assume he had escaped from a costume party.
“Avast there, sailor,” he said as he barged in. In his spare hand he held a metal tankard and I immediately went on guard as he does not handle earthling liquor well. He thrust his telescope in my face and said, “Know what?”
“Hello, C.W.,” I said, motioning him toward a chair. “What? And be quiet about it. My wife is asleep.”
“Can I go watch her?”
“Hell no,” I said, “What are you up to?”
“Did you know,” he said. “That you can stand out on the street and see about anything you want with this?” He brandished the telescope again. “Especially in your apartment building. Now there are some real characters therein. Don’t you people know how to pull your curtains?” He paused and took a drink. “Of course you can’t even hold a handle to the people staying in that motel across the freeway.”
“Did you know that you could be arrested for peeking in windows?”
“Me? Hell, swabbie, I ain’t the one who should be arrested. Shiver me timbers.” He took another drink.
“C.W.,” I said. “Would you calm down? What is with this sneaking around spying on people?”
“Research,” he said, letting his chin rest on his chest. “Just like I was ordered to.”
“The Elders want to know about this obsession you Americans have with voyeurism.”
“You call it ‘reality television.’ We call it voyeurism.”
“It’s just a popular form of entertainment,” I said.
“Belay the semantics,” he said, bellowing it out. “We call it an obsession with the lives of people more culturally challenged than the norm.”
He had me there. “Maybe it is simply escapism,” I said. “Maybe it’s a form of relief, knowing that no matter how screwed up a person is, there is always someone worse off.”
“Lad,” he said in his captain’s voice. “The way you use words reminds me of a south sea orangutan trying to copulate with a cannonball. You go round and round but you just can’t get at it.” He took another drink. “Which reminds me,” he said. “We need to have a talk sometime about the use of contortionism in your species’ sexual acts.”
“C.W.,” I said, “Give me the goddam telescope.”