Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Bouncebackability (06/05/14)
TITLE: The Day the Earth Stood Still
By Virginia Lee Bliss
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Everything was in readiness for this all-important day. The day that he and the other team members had been waiting for.
The commander had made them rehearse their assigned tasks; he had admonished each of them regarding their errors. They had rehearsed again. And again.
Every member must look spotless. The commander had inspected each one—a tiny speck here, a hair out of place there.
All the equipment had been checked. The tech squad stood ready to correct the slightest malfunction and to provide support for the less tech savvy.
The great moment was upon them.
The commander shouted orders.
“Shut the lights!
“Open the door!
“Lower the airstairs!
“Sound the trumpets!”
He felt the commander’s eyes upon him.
“You! You’re first. Down the steps."
He couldn’t believe it. He, out of all the other team members, had been chosen to be first. The first to walk down that stairway.
Cautiously, he proceeded to make his grand descent.
All my training, the months of hard work, culminating in this moment.
Slow and easy. Make the moment last as long as you can.
The commander and his teammates watched him from the top of the stairs. One of his archrivals shot him a look of pure hate.
The folks at home were watching, thanks to advanced telecommunications. His family, his friends, his girlfriend. They all must be so proud.
He was being watched from below too. Many, many were watching as he came toward them.
He tripped on the last step.
He fell flat on his face.
From the top of the airstairs, the commander was scowling at him in disgust. “Wonderful! Just wonderful! So much for instilling them with a sense of awe.” *
He had never been so humiliated in his life. He would never live this down. Never.
Zorque’s lovely purple skin with the yellow polka dots, selected especially for the occasion, was now covered with grass stains. The webbing between his toes was caked with dirt.
He, the first inhabitant of planet Snickers to set foot on planet Earth, and he had messed it up. Great tears welled up in his compound eyes.
He looked up to see his teammates laughing and jeering at him.
“Zorque, the dork.” Snark, his archrival, chortled with glee. “Wait ‘til Malarca sees what a klutz she’s marrying.”
Zorque brushed away his tears, picked himself up, and looked around.
“Hurrah for you!”
All the Earthlings were clapping.
One of them approached him.
“I’m the mayor of this fair city. I’d like to welcome you and your crew to Springfield.”
Zorque couldn’t understand a word. “Quick, tech support!”
A techy came bouncing down the steps carrying the translator equipment that had the capability to translate the Snickers language into every language in the galaxy, and every language back into Snickers.
“Set for U.S. English!”
He spoke through the automated translator. “Hello, Mr. Mayor. My name is Zorque.”
“Mr. Zorque, when we saw the spaceship, everyone in Springfield, including myself, was frankly a little nervous.
“But when you took a tumble, we realized that you’re just a regular being, like the rest of us.”
Another Earthling approached him, wearing a banner with the words “Miss Springfield.”
She presented Zorque with the keys to the city and gave him a big kiss. “My hero!”
Everyone wanted to snap his picture; everyone vied for the privilege of being photographed with him.
“Speech! Speech!” The crowd cheered again.
Zorque hardly knew what to say. He bowed his head for a moment.
“Thank you, Mr. Mayor and you, the fine people of Springfield, for your warm welcome. As for my recent mishap, I remind myself that ‘pride goeth before a fall’ (Proverbs 16:18 paraphrased) but ‘if we but humble ourselves before the Lord, he will lift us up’ (James 4:10 KJV paraphrased).”
Norgoweth, one of the techies, came rushing down the airstairs.
“Message for you, Zorque. From Malarca.”
“Mr. Mayor, good citizens. Please excuse me. It’s from---from my fiancée.”
Zorque opened the Galactic Express Messaging device and pressed “Read”.
I saw you on television. As the Earthlings say,
“You are my hero”.
“Make haste, my beloved” (Song of Solomon 8:14 KJV)
and may God keep you until you return to me.
Once again, Zorque’s eyes filled with tears. But this time they were tears of joy.
The title of this entry is taken from the film The Day the Earth Stood Still that was released in 1951. A remake was released in 2008.
* Courtesy of Gary Larson, circa 1980s. The Far Side
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