Interspecies Relations Part Six

The last snippet from my Confluence 2003 Short Story Contest Entry!

* * *


Nix plucked at its stockings, fussed briefly with its garters and finally said, “We will make much honey, then.  This moon and every moon.  Yes.  Your daughter will be a good wife to me. And I will be a good wife to her.”

Hannah and her mother both snapped to rigid attention.  “Wife?” they yelped in unison.

Nix flinched, chittering.

Hannah’s mother recovered first, rounding on her daughter.  “Did it just say wife?” she demanded shrilly.  “I knew it!  I knew it when you cut your hair!  I told you it made you look like a lesbian and you rolled your eyes at me and now look at you!  Oh thank heaven your father didn’t live long enough to see his baby girl pitching for the other team!” She broke off there, grabbing at her chest. “You are pitching, aren’t you?  Hannah Winnifred Fuller, you look your mother in the eye and tell her that thing does not pitch in this relationship!”

Hannah had been experiencing a growing sense of unfettered doom.  Now, desperate, she flung her arms out and pasted on a huge, ridiculous-feeling grin.  “But hey!  Where are my manners?  Mom!  Let’s go chew up the cardboard!”

Nix perked up, stretching out its feeler-hands in a clumsy parody of human invitation.  “Yes!  To make pulp?  Yes?  Together?”

“You want me to eat cardboard?” her mother gasped, backing slowly towards the door.

“Oh, we’re not going to eat it,” Hannah said soothingly.  “We’re just going to spit it on the bed.”

Nix hopped a little closer, snapping her blood-bright mandibles in what it probably thought was an expression of optimistic goodwill.  “And then we mate.”

Mrs. Fuller smashed into the door twice before she managed to unlock it and run into the mob of reporters.

“Oh dear,” said Hannah.  She closed the door.

“Distress,” offered the translator as the Tharku washed its eyes.

“Listen, I’m…I’m really sorry about the things she said.”

Nix stretched out a feeler-hand and patted Hannah’s shoulder, as if for comfort.  “I understand this, my wife.  Mothers are the great Universal.  Yes.”  Nix patted her again, somewhat uneasily.

“Well,” said Hannah slowly, “I’m glad you understand.”

“Yes.”  The Tharku scratched again at its fishnet stockings and stood there, clicking nervously.  “Mine will arrive in six days.”

* * *

Re-reading this story has been like opening a time capsule for me. It was so tempting to rewrite and edit as I posted it here, but I restrained myself. Hopefully, you all (ya’ll? Do I still say ya’ll? Where is my copy of the Idiot’s Guide to Midwestern Patois?) enjoyed it as much as I did. It’s a pity I don’t have copies of the rest of the stories I submitted to fanzines and such lo those many years ago. Floods and fried computers have claimed much of my early writing, but if I come across anything else, would you like to read it here? Let me know what you think and I’ll try to come up with something else to post about next week!


8 responses to “Interspecies Relations Part Six

  1. Loved it. Again not disappointed with an R.Lee read, even a short one. Yes, dig up whatever you can find. Your fans are hungry and until the next book, please feed us.

    • New book idea: The Care and Feeding of Fans.

      Sadly, I have next to nothing of my early works, but if I ever find another one hidden away in a notebook or whatever, I’ll be sure to drag it out into the light of day.

  2. ^^ what they said–I am suffering from withdrawls. Re-reading–while helpsul–is not enough to get the full “omg-that-was-so-awesome” effect.
    Sorry . I just fan girled at you . hope you’re not allergic. 😦

  3. What a twist. I loved it and would love to read more of your earlier work if you come across any. Thank you for sharing some of your earlier self. And yes, say ya’ll with unapologetic abandon. Three cheers for regional idioms! They make conversing with people from different parts of the country so much fun. We Southerners will hit you with several before you can say lickety-split.

    • I’ve lived here for five years now and I still get hit with new ones all the time. It makes me wonder how much of my usual phrases are really regional idioms from the Pacific Northwest. When it’s something you grew up with and say every day, you don’t think of it like that.

  4. Aaah, mothers, love their commiseration on this topic. And the anxiety that Nix displays there right at the end about her mom’s impending arrival.

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