Sunday, June 7, 2015

253. Longings

Oh no. It was happening. On a sleepy early spring day, C.W. was homesick. He gets that way every couple of months when he starts thinking about his native planet of Falloonia. He assumes the shape and demeanor of a pretty young girl of thirteen or so with sad eyes and a look of longing to be somewhere far away. He, she, lounges aimlessly on the couch and won’t eat, read, or even watch TV, all odd behavior for a teenaged girl.

That’s not the worst part.

 He yodels.

Yes, yodels. He says it is the closest thing on earth we have to what Falloonians call music. Any dogs that may be hanging around flee the moment he assumes this mood. My wife locks herself away. We’ve actually had neighbors call to see if someone is having a seizure.

Sometimes, not always, I can tease him out of his mood by discussing current affairs. So, on this day, I gave it a try. In between yodeling episodes, I interjected a question.

“Been keeping up with the news?”

“It’s all, like, boring,” he said. Then he let loose with a shrill vibrato that bounced around the room like musical marbles.

“But what,” I said during a brief break, “about the man in the news who admitted to molesting his sisters and some other young girls when he was a teenager?”

The yodeling stopped.

“He what?”

“He sexually molested young girls.”

“Like me?”

“Well,” I said, “like what you appear to be at this moment.”

He shook his head and a long, blond pigtail swung into his face. “What does that mean, ‘he molested them’ anyway? It, like, sounds creepy.” He drew a breath to begin yodeling again.

Quickly, I said. “It means that he touched them in places that were inappropriate for him to, uh, touch them.”

“On their heads?”

Oh, I forgot to tell you that, in the Falloonian culture, it is considered a grave insult to touch one of the heads of another creature.

“Oh no,” I said. “They weren’t Falloonian girls.”

“Where then. On their gudascnifamoor++?

“You know our species doesn’t have those. We detect smells through our noses.”

“Oh,” he said, “I, like, forgot.”

“No,” I said, “he touched them where their mammary glands will be when they mature, and where they will produce babies.”

There was a long silence, then, “Euuueew.”

“Quite so,” I said.

He looked down and crossed his legs, smoothing his dress and scooting back on the couch. He eyed me with a look of suspicion I had never witnessed from him. “I thought,” he said, “that was considered, like, a crime in your culture.”

“Oh, it is,” I said. “It is.”

“So the perpetrator is in jail now?”

“Uh, no,” I said.

He began to yodel again.

Sometimes I just don't understand
the human species. - C.W.
“But,” I said, interrupting him in mid screech, “he did lose his job.”

The yodeling stopped. “What job?”

“He had this high-paying job with a group that exists to teach us proper moral behavior.”

He started yodeling again, this time with more enthusiasm.

“And,” I said, “apparently he was given a stern talking to.”

“Was he, like, painted bright orange and driven from the tribe with ‘ribbons of remorse’ draped around him?”

“Not exactly,” I said. “We don’t follow that tradition on this planet. His tribe blamed the whole thing on the girls.”

This time I knew there was no stopping the yodeling, so I joined the dogs outside.

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