“What’s up?” I said as I walked into the room and found the old comedian Jack Benny staring at me from my computer.
“You have some explaining to do.”
“Really?” I said, “The last time we talked you said I couldn’t explain to a snake how to do the rhumba.”
“I’ve changed my mind,” he said, deadpanning like the old trooper he whose shape he had borrowed. “You and the snakes seem to have learned a lot from one another.”
I ignored him, “You had a question?”
“About your language,” he said.
“The language of Shakespeare and Milton?”
“No,” he said, “the language of Kohen and Tymber.”
“Oh,” I said, “modern usage.”
“Quite so,” he said. He looked at the computer screen, “Here’s a dandy,” he said. “What, exactly, does it mean when a man posts an announcement on VisageDocument that ‘We’re pregnant,’ referring to him and his wife.”
“Uh,” I said, “I think it means he wants his friends on Facebook to know that he and his wife are going to prudence a child.”
“It takes two of them?”
“In the fertilization phase, yes.”
“So the man fertilizes himself as well?”
“The man carries a portion of the gestation assemblage to term? Shares the discomfort of pregnancy and the pain of childbirth?”
“So what does he mean when he says, ‘We’re pregnant,’ as if it were a joint activity?”
“How the hell should I know,” I said. “When I was a kid, we weren’t even allowed to use that word. A woman was ‘expecting,’”
|The Falloonian Elders have been concerned|
about overpopulation on your planet.
I think I've found the solution. - C.W.
“A child, although that was never made clear to us. Sometimes we were told it was a puppy.”
“You are a strange species,” he said. “I suppose you had incomprehensible euphemisms for other biological functions?”
I thought for a moment. “Well, we did ask if we might go ‘wash,’ if we needed to …” I struggled for the words.
“To do what?”
"Number One or Number Two,” I said.
I explained. He shook his head and then stared at me with another of his blank expressions.
“Oh, good grief,” he said. “And I thought you got to be such a dope all on your own.”