All necessary translations have been made
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There was a soft knock at my front door, so I opened it without hesitation, but I saw no one until my gaze dropped to knee-level where to my amazement I saw an alien. The freaky little visitor padded in stockinged feet across my gleaming hardwood living room floor, and settled onto my moiré antique silk-upholstered sofa, actually a davenport for which I had paid a small fortune many years ago and had kept in perfect condition so that it briefly occurred to me, even within my sudden mental tumult, to hope that my visitor was not sticky or otherwise begrimed as it placed its strange posterior upon my treasure. My visitor had politely left its tiny, pointy, hand-crafted shoes at the door, one beside the other and facing modestly toward the outside, so I was somewhat reassured, even if still highly agitated by so unlikely a visitation.
Fighting my panic, I scrutinized my visitor, whom I now recognized as a somewhat stereotypical alien, who was perhaps more unnerving than a fanged and demented monster from whom I could simply have run. It was petite with an oversized head that suggested high intellegence, huge eyes (the better to see you with!), spindly limbs which I could probably subdue if it came to that but I most sincerely hoped that it would not, and interesting yellow skin, not a pimple on it. I fought my limbic system for control of my breathing and mental agitations.
My visitor, now apparently my guest, sat expectantly behind a complex mechanism which had blinked into existence on my intricately carved, exotic hardwood coffee table, also a cherished and hard-won acquisition which was unprotected in any way as I rarely put anything on it, and certainly not anything without felt pads beneath it. The complex mechanism, which I presumed belonged to my guest, began to thrum at high and low frequencies simultaneously, somewhat like the polyphonic overtone singing of monks, but to what purpose?
Perhaps this was a late April Fools’ Day joke, or an early Halloween prank? I followed my guest back into my beautifully appointed living room, even in this moment taking pride in the attractive subtleties that I had arranged here and there. Anyone would be impressed by the high culture that it demonstrated. I left the front door open so that whatever trickster had masterminded this event could see how unperturbed I was, or so that I could make a fast escape if things were other than they seemed. I sat with as much authority as I could muster directly across from my guest and its complex mechanism, which I now thought of as a thrum box. My guest gestured with diffidence toward the thrum box, but its little hand movements and over-sized facial grimaces were lost on me. I thought perhaps it would be best to wait until my guest spoke, but it only drooled with a winsome smile, which was disconcerting.
To distract myself, I leaned over the coffee table and poked a trembling forefinger at the thrum box which did indeed lack felt pads, but I jittered at the last moment and gave it a firm nudge instead. To my dismay, the thrum box fell off my coffee table with a clack, then rolled with a clatter across the floor, where it lay blinking against my hand-polished baseboard. Thankfully it did not impact any of my precious collections of priceless brick-a-brac which overflowed my display cases into artful groupings on the floor. I leapt up in synchrony with my guest to recover it, we exchanged glances, and my guest took the lead. It briskly righted the thrum box to its original position on my coffee table, and then again sat behind it, this time closer and leaning into it. I realized with horror that the thrum box was pointed directly at me, some trick of perspective made this very and horribly clear to me. There was an instantaneous flash/bang and my guest yipped with glee. It held up a flimsy image of me. In it I was standing in the middle of my lovely living room, surrounded by my precious antiques and collectibles, my eyes were focused and my mouth was firm with intent to defend them. I never understood how the thrum box worked, but the flimsy was a very good likeness, extremely multi-dimensional.
My guest looked deeply into my eyes, then handed me a gift, with a note; and blinked out of existence as if it and its thrum box had never been in my home. The note said in perfect English that it had come from far, far away, and would maybe or maybe not return. It said that I had been chosen for image-capture by thrumming as a result of both my own attractive qualities of which it assumed I was well aware (I was not, and my natural reticence, social awkwardness, and nondescript appearance suggested otherwise), and as a result of my fine collections and artful arrangements of high-quality Earth goods which provided the perfect backdrop for just the sort of image of a human being that was required. It explained that my guest was a professional thrummer, traveling far and long to find the very best flimsies, and the note continued with the somewhat fatuous statement that the image that my guest had taken was good and necessary for historical and intergalactical purposes. Further, and in compensation, as a sort of model’s fee for the image it had captured of me and my collections, it wanted me to have this gift of a tesseract thrum box replica charm with miniature blinking lights. I took a sharp look at it. It appeared to be tinted aluminum with novelty lights and a cheap clasp, but it was a first-of-kind intergalactic bauble, so I found a little velvet cushion for it and put it in place-of-honor in my rarest curios cabinet. Incomparable.
Afternote: This story’s origin is inthetide.com, blog post 12-07-17.
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This work is copyright protected. It is a work of fiction. Incidents, places, and names (especially those of alien entities) are products of the author/artist’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any similarity to actual events or persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
Caption: Tesseract Thrum Box Replica Charm
by Annmarie Throckmorton 2017
Caption: The Alien Looked Deeply Into My Eyes
by Annmarie Throckmorton 2015