Seventh Transmission: Europan Day Of Pay

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Greetings from Europa!

Today is isogoles, which is the monthly day of pay for everyone who lives on Europa, no matter what your profession, no matter how old you are. And we’re not talking about money because Europa has no currency, per se. People are paid off, each according to their need. Some are paid in food while others are paid in services or clothing, or one of nearly a hundred things that serve as some sort of commodity here.

Since my family has the ability to grow our own food and my children are adept at creating clothing, we accept water as payment, as our village is far removed from the sea and a trip there and back would take nearly three weeks to complete and that’s only when the weather permits.

Today also marked the arrival of Denpa to our village, which caused the usual amount of excitement. Denpa is an envoy that travels from village to village delivering messages from other communities both near and far.

He’s the Europan version of e-mail, equipped with an audiographic memory that can store and recall spoken messages at will in the same voice, tone and inflection of the original person who spoke it.

Production in the village stops whenever Denpa appears as locals crowd around to hear if they’ve received a message from distant loved ones. I’m always excited when my wife gets messages from home and though I know it’s silly, I secretly pray that Denpa has a message from my mother and father. Hell, I wouldn’t even mind hearing from my older sister at this point.

Like I said, silly, but you have no idea how hard it is being the only one of your kind, even though I’m surrounded by the kindest beings in existence. I am so very far away from my home, and at times I feel every inch of that distance.

So, if you can hear this transmission and you have the ability to broadcast, please try to send me a message, a ping, anything.

Please.

Until next broadcast, this is Captain Edwards, signing off.

©2014 Rhyan Scorpio-Rhys

Creative Commons License

Sixth Transmission: Through Neighbors’ Eyes

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Greetings from Europa!

Forgive the brevity of this broadcast, but I’m really tired after a full evening of shig’umfu, which means interesting world of another and is a brand of documentary qik’climajh in which your neighbors must tell the story of your life as presented to them in casual conversations. It’s important that the exchange be casual. Purposeful family exposition is frowned upon as it comes off as braggadocio, which will most assuredly be included in the story your neighbor tells.

The most interesting thing about the ritual is the closer you get to shig’umfu, the friendlier your neighbors become. Now, don’t get me wrong, Europans by nature are a pretty inquisitive and sociable lot, but come shig’umfu, interest in your family, your life and even your day to day misadventures increases tenfold.

Also fascinating to note, equal importance is paid to the subject matter as well as the telling. Families put forth their very best experiences, both positive and negative, hoping to present layers of interesting source material. The teller is then responsible for arranging the events as to present a story replete with happiness, sorrow, triumphs and defeats, births and losses, because everyone knows the best tales take you on a journey through a full range of emotion.

Careful attention to detail must be paid because there’s nothing more shaming than to have the family whose story you’re telling correct you, though, in polite society that almost never happens. Still, most can tell by the expressions on the family’s faces whether you’ve gotten the story right.

All this may sounds like a silly waste of time to you, but it’s really educational in that you get a glimpse at how your neighbors view you and your family. Tonight, it was my family’s turn to reenact our neighbors lives, all eighteen generations, so I’m sure you can see why I’d be tired.

But it was fun.

Until next broadcast, this is Captain Edwards, signing off.

©2014 Rhyan Scorpio-Rhys

Creative Commons License

Fifth Transmission: Lemonade Boom

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Greetings from Europa!

You’re not going to believe this, but we’re in the middle of a lemonade boom on Europa. I guess that needs some explaining, doesn’t it? Okay, well, the cultural exchange in my house goes both ways. Usually, I learn Europan culture as my children learn it. My wife is a patient and excellent teacher. But at the same time, I try to sneak in a few Earth facts in along to way, and my children love it.

One time, when they were curious about what I did when I was their age, I told them about how my mom helped me build a lemonade stand in front of our house when I was a kid. They went nuts over the concept and begged me to help them build one here on Europa.

I know what you’re going to ask and the answer is, No, Europa does not have lemons. So we improvised by using a sweet mineral root from the tree that grows in our backyard. I even taught them the English alphabet, or enough of it so they could spell the word LEMONADE. I offered to make the sign but was vetoed. They wanted to write the word itself which came out looking like “JBWQNADB” but they were so proud of themselves that I couldn’t bring myself to correct them.

At first I thought they had set themselves up for disappointment, as passersby only offered their lemonade stand the queerest looks, but my youngest, Nes’Tim bless him, started calling to them, “Hey, come buy our lemonade stand!

Soon people flocked around as my kids poured cups of lemonade and told the story of how my mother and I created this custom on Earth. Again, I didn’t have the heart to correct them in the middle of their sales pitch. People stayed, listened to the story, drank the alien concoction and invited others to join. I’m sure they stayed for the novelty and not for the lemonade. Although made from sweet root, that concoction was the most bitter thing I’ve ever tasted in my life.

The next day, when I thought that the lemonade curiosity had passed, I stepped outside to see a crudely built lemonade stand on each of my neighbors doorsteps. But there was no competition in it. Everyone visited everyone else’s lemonade stand and listened intently as the stand owner related the tale of how I discovered lemonade. Apparently, they thought that the telling of the story was the key part of the transaction and that the drinking of the lemonade itself signaled the end of the story.

Weird, but funny. And I have to run now. I’ve drank more than my fair share of lemonade today and I think I’m going to be sick.

Until next broadcast, this is Captain Edwards, signing off.

©2014 Rhyan Scorpio-Rhys

Creative Commons License

Third Transmission: Egami Doctor Visits

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Greetings from Europa.

It’s that season again, the time of year when all the families in the communities are asked to bring their egami in for routine physicals. What’s an egami? I hear you asking and the simple, though not totally accurate answer is, they’re mineral-based creatures primarily used for family transportation. Seemingly mindless and docile, the egami require very little care and are virtually inexhaustible. Normally, on Earth, creatures like these would have been enslaved and abused, but here, Europans go through an extensive interview process and accept the humble beasts of burden into the family structure to the point where they dine and sleep together.

My family is fortunate in that we live so close to an egami clinic, which means Rocky, our pet (it feels so weird referring to him that way, but I simply don’t have a better word) is always amongst the first to be seen. Yes, I think of our egami as a male, though they are gender non-specific, and yes, I was in charge of choosing the name. I just wish there was someone around to get the joke. Sometimes being the only one of your kind can be a lonely thing.

Naturally, there are those who grumble that lotteries should be drawn each season to rotate the order in which the egamis are seen, but these complaints usually come from the hermits who live on the fringes of the community and they are easily ignored since they generally tend to moan about everything.

The physical is more like a spa day for the egami. After their vital signs are checked, they are basically pampered for the day. Another function of physical season is to offer families the ability to trade in their egamis if they’re unhappy with them, which is extremely rare, but has been known to happen.

My family is quite pleased with Rocky, although sometimes my daughter wonders if he would have been better off living in the wild. The problem with this suggestion is, once you’ve domesticated an egami, very seldom do the wild herds accept them back into the fold, so most wind up dying from what is believed to be either loneliness or lack of affection.

Which is a horrible way to die and who would subject a family member to that?

Until next broadcast, this is Captain Edwards, signing off.

©2014 Rhyan Scorpio-Rhys

Creative Commons License

Second Transmission: The Kramdens of Bensonhurst

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Greetings from Europa.

The other day a qik’climajh — translation, translation… uh, I guess they would be considered the Europan version of storytellers — acted out the Tragedy of Nes’Tim, the famous surface whale whose fossilized remains rest at the highest point of Pwyll.

Once the most revered being on Europa, the spiritual prophet Nes’Tim was slain by the heretic tribe, Sel’Tab, during the height of the Glacial Wars. Meis’lo, a relative of my wife, is the only surviving witness to the tragedy. He was a child at the time, and foolishly wedged himself between the heretics and Nes’Tim. He was lucky to escape the confrontation with his life. He bears the scar of the puncture wound over his second heart.

The Sel’Tab, not above slaying a prophet, apparently had qualms about murdering a child. While I wish I could have met Nes’Tim, I’m glad that Meis’lo was not the one killed during that skirmish. Despite his nearly 600 years of age, he is a great history buff and I love talking about Europan history with him.

Back to the qik’climajh, a term which actually covers both the person telling the story and the act of storytelling (it sounds complicated but you can tell the difference when the word is used in a sentence). The ritual of the qik’climajh is that everyone in attendance takes turns telling a story.

I, unfortunately, am not much of a storyteller, so when it came to be my turn, I chose to talk about one of my favorite classic comedy shows, The Honeymooners. I tried to explain the concept of television and quickly abandoned it when I sensed the crowd getting restless.

As I retold a few of the episodes I remembered best, the ones with the chef of the future, Carlos mambo lessons, and rubber marshmallows, I watched their faces knot in confusion. At first I thought it was my fault. Like I said, I’m nobody’s first choice for a storyteller, but I couldn’t have been more wrong.

It was the concept KramdenRalph, as they referred to Mr. Gleeson’s character, they struggled to understand. In fact, his character was so perplexing to their Europan mindset, it sparked a great debate amongst the elders, who couldn’t find the logic of how and why everyone tolerated the portly bus driver.

After many hours of serious debate, the consensus was that NortonEd and KramdenAlice should have stripped KramdenRalph of all his possessions and exiled him from the village of Bensonhurst, armed with only a Handy Housewife Helper and a can of KraMars Delicious Mystery Appetizer.

Now, I’m actually looking forward to next week’s outing. I can’t wait to get their take on Seinfeld.

Until next broadcast, this is Captain Edwards, signing off.

©2014 Rhyan Scorpio-Rhys

Creative Commons License