“I’m stuck,” he said. “Like a pig playing the Paganini Violin Concerto, I find my fingers unequal to the defined piece of work, sometimes of short or limited duration.”
“You mean ‘unequal to the task?’”
“That’s exactly what I said. You have this problem with your Universal Decoder Device and Receiver.” He gave what appeared to be a sigh. “Your species always has UDDER problems.”
“So what kind of help do you need?” I said, ignoring him.
“I’m making a report to the Falloonian Elders.”
“There are some things I just can’t explain to them. Perhaps you could help.”
He pulled a sheet from a pocket of his baggy pants and read from it. “This rich man with the funny hair,” he said, “who says he is running for president.”
“Yes,” I said.
“I can’t,” I said, “and neither can anyone else. Don’t you have abnormalities like him in Falloonia?”
He looked at me and thought. “Don’t be silly,” he said. “I’m serious.”
“What’s your next one?”
He read. “These followers of a religious figure who said, ‘Blessed are the poor, blessed are the meek, blessed are the peacemakers, …”
“What happened? Now they are saying “Blessed are the rich, you burn in hell, and let’s all go to war.”
“I don’t know. Maybe they changed their minds, some of them.”
“Strange species,” he said. “And speaking of that religion …”
He continued, “It seems to particularly glorify a king who wanted to gubmpinnicht with his best friend’s wife.”
I leave it to the reader to understand the meaning of that Falloonian word.
I prepared for the worst. “Yes?”
“So he sends his best friend to be killed in order to clear the path to the boudoir, so to speak.”
“Strange standards for a religious icon,” he said. “How do I explain that?”
“What do you have next?”
“Explain to me the act or practice of refraining from indulging an appetite or desire, especially for alcoholic drink or sexual intercourse.”
“You mean abstinence?”
“There you go repeating me again. Should I have a look at your UDDER?”
“No,” I said, “I think you best leave my UDDER alone.”
“I do that, you know.”
“Check UDDERs. I’ve advertised my services and everything.”
“Have you …,” I struggled for words, “gotten any business yet?”
“Not a bit,” he said, “and that is very strange. Can you explain that?”
“Uh, no,” I said. “Now what is this about abstinence?”
“Why do you want young girls to avoid reproductive activities?”
“Oh,” I said, finally feeling I might help him. “We believe young unmarried women may not be physically, financially, or psychologically prepared for motherhood without the help of a loving mate.”
“You want them to marry first?”
“Well,” I said, “we think it is a safer route for young girls to mature and marry before having children. It’s more a guideline than a rule.” I looked for recognition of this humorous allusion. I saw none.
“So you actually teach it—abstinence—as the cure.”
“Some advocate teaching it, yes.”
“They believe that pure strength of will can counteract an urge created by five billion years of natural selection?”
|Sad to say, the Falloonian Elders seem|
to view your species this way at times. - C.W.
“Yes.” It came out a little weak.
“And how is it working?”
“Not too well.”
“Maybe it would work better,” he said, “if your species selected, as one to spearhead your efforts, a person other than a young, inexperienced, uneducated and uninformed person who, herself, is now working on a second example of the failure of abstinence only.”
“C.W.,” I said, “where are you coming up with these examples.”
“From your most reliable national database.”