Call Me Desla (Please Read My Lonely Talk Pt 1)

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Please, call me Desla.

Not my actual name, mind you, but there is no real reason for you to know me by anything else. I was born—well, that is not important either, is it? All you need to know is that I am an alien—the extraterrestrial kind, not the immigrant kind—we can engage in intercourse for a fee, and you will most certainly not survive the experience.

Upon entering my boudoir you will undoubtedly notice the notches on the posts of my ornate bed. Your first inclination might be to assume these markings to be sexual conquests, and you would be severely mistaken. They are actually deaths. The number of grooves carved into the wooden headboard is one hundred and ninety-seven, at present, but the actual number is at least four times that. Only the deaths I regret have been engraved here. The rest received precisely what they came seeking and ultimately deserved.

A bit harsh, I realize, but how could you expect me to pity or mourn the passing of those who have tossed away so many possibilities, so many futures in search of la mort parfaite?

But I digress.

Due to the residency protocols of your Office of Planetside Security, the majority of my life was made an open book, yet there are certain things that remain hard for me to discuss. It is known that I was charged with treason back home for defending my personal beliefs—which remains my concern alone—and because my mate stood by my side during the trial, we were both exiled from my homeworld.

Set adrift in space, my people chose to let the universe decide our fate. If we were intercepted by a space vessel and taken aboard or found a world that would permit us to stay, then we were fortunate and were surely meant to live. If not, we would die on our craft when the life support and/or provisions ran out.

We traveled for what seemed like an eternity and never crossed paths with another vessel. Eventually, the ship malfunctioned and crash-landed on your planet. Only I survived, pulled from the twisted wreckage of my prison ship by a farmer who hid me away and chained me in his barn like an animal. He hosed me down and threw me scraps to keep me alive. What I did not know was that he was mustering the courage to have his way with me.

When I realized what he had in mind, I tried to warn him but I didn’t speak the language yet. I’m not sure even if I did that it would have made a difference. He forced himself on me and upon orgasm, promptly died.

My race can only mate with one partner in our entire lifetime. The first union sets into play a biological defense against infidelity by secreting a vaginal toxin that forces orgasm and subsequently death.

I was later discovered by one of the farmer’s neighbors, set free, and promptly handed over to Planetside Security. There I was taught the fundamentals of English and given an aptitude test to determine if there was a place on Earth for me. It was grueling and humiliating.  And when I was finally issued a caseworker, she sat with me and explained that the only opportunity available was in legalized prostitution. I was insulted and furious and baffled by the thinking behind this. Did they not understand that of all the professions they could have handed me that this was by far the worst possible choice? Then I stepped back to look at the bigger picture. The planet was overpopulated by indigenous humans and the influx of extraterrestrials and what better way to cull the population than to tempt the thrill seekers who wanted to risk death? To treat terminal patients who wanted sweet release?

So, I embraced my role in society and performed my duty and was dubbed the “Whorebinger of Death” and the “Grim Raper” by the press. And naturally, because humans are bizarre creatures, there were ladies who worked the same profession who envied me.

I have yet to warm to this planet and it does not resemble my homeworld in any way. My assimilation was slow to nonexistent and this was primarily my fault since I declined to undergo the genetic surgery offered to offworlders to make us appear more human. Though the human form is better suited for the physicality of this world and less cumbersome and my world has turned its back on me, I am still proud to be of my race.

The more time I spend here, the less confident I am about my appearance. On occasion, I have watched a television show or movie, or glanced at an advertisement, thinking the models to be a proper representation of the human race. I have since learned that there are those among you who feel your appearance does not measure up to the so-called perfect people placed on display. If you are one of these people who question their beauty, I ask you to consider this: at least you are of the same species.

I stand at the edge of acceptability, balancing on the fine line of grotesque fascination and physical revulsion simply because my eyes are not the same color or shape as humans, and my hair, what little I have in places considered odd by your lot, was actually tufts of fine fur.

I also need to be aware of my nails and keep them within an acceptable length to where they were not considered claws. The same with my smile. Apparently, when I bare my teeth it triggers a fight or flight response in most people.

To be continued…

Text and Audio ©2014 – 2021 Rhyan Scorpio-Rhys

To Make a Long Story Shortest: #TwitterFiction

First there was the micro novel, or microblogging novel, a work of fiction intended as a full-length novel written and distributed in chunks, varying in size, depending on the social media site it was being published on. Then, flash fiction burst onto the scene (see: The Short and Short of Flash Fiction) and dared to tell big stories with extreme brevity. Not to be undone, a new arrival,Twitter fiction (aka tweet fiction), tossed its hat into the ring, boasting its ability to tell a story within 140 characters.

Thumb your literary nose up at it, if you will, but surely you can see the art in concise writing. Catching the key moment of a story and carefully selecting the proper words so that your audience infers your meaning and does all the heavy lifting of filling in the details themselves requires a level of skill and finesse. Not to mention the challenge of drawing laughter or tears from your reader, or filling them with horror or dread as you build suspense in such a confined space.

And this latest sub-genre hasn’t escaped the notice of well-known writers who have tried their hand at 140-character novels:

Geoff Dyer – I know I said that if I lived to 100 I’d not regret what happened last night. But I woke up this morning and a century had passed. Sorry.

James Meek – He said he was leaving her. “But I love you,” she said. “I know,” he said. “Thanks. It’s what gave me the strength to love somebody else.”

Ian Rankin – I opened the door to our flat and you were standing there, cleaver raised. Somehow you’d found out about the photos. My jaw hit the floor.

Andrew O’Hagan – Clyde stole a lychee and ate it in the shower. Then his brother took a bottle of pills believing character is just a luxury. God. The twins.

Jeffrey Archer – “It’s a miracle he survived,” said the doctor. “It was God’s will,” said Mrs Schicklgruber. “What will you call him?” “Adolf,” she replied.

SJ Watson – She thanks me for the drink, but says we’re not suited. I’m a little “intense”. So what? I followed her home. She hasn’t seen anything yet.

Charlie Higson – Jack was sad in the orphanage til he befriended a talking rat who showed him a hoard of gold under the floor. Then the rat bit him & he died.

India Knight – Soften, my arse. I’m a geezer. I’m a rock-hard little bastard. Until I go mushy overnight for you, babe. #pears

Rachel Johnson – Rose went to Eve’s house but she wasn’t there. But Eve’s father was. Alone. One thing led to another. He got 10 years.

Inspired and curious, I even took a stab at Twitter narrative one idle Sunday and among my favorites are:

A large stone, the opportunity, a swampside grave; all that was needed to end a lifelong sibling rivalry. Guess who’s Daddy’s favorite now?

Mother warned him not to look but curiosity was his master. Now he struggles to reverse the time of eye to unsee the horror.

Regardless of your personal views on Twitter and tweet fiction, I honestly think you should give it a go. If nothing else, you can consider it a warm-up exercise to get your mental juices flowing. Can you think of a better way to hone your craft than practicing clear, clean and concise writing? And what have you got to lose? Surely not time. In the moments wasted complaining about the artform, you could have written several magnum opuses.

Sally forth and be tweetful.

— Rhyan Scorpio-Rhys

PS. If you’re looking for more famous author tweet novels, you can find them by searching #140novel on Twitter.

P.P.S. Not exactly #tweetfiction-related, but dealing with creating fiction, the NY Times ran an article on the importance of Twitter in today’s pop-culture era: How To Make a TV Drama in the Twitter Age.