Posted in Mini-Fiction

Rough Cut

Here’s a little something I wrote for fun today as a timed exercise:

The King Edward Hotel was not specifically fitted out for aliens, especially water breathing aliens, but fortunately, the Gnasticollas were used to the terrestriocentrism of many provincial planets, and arrived with their water helmets on and other necessary equipment in conveniently packed transportable cases.

There were screams, of course. The only time the documentary team for “Obscure Nature” had ever received a different reception was the time the chronosmeter malfunctioned, and they arrived on a planet shortly after it had been hit by a major asteroid. In fact, Zynko thought, it might have been this planet, which had been reputed to have gorgeously enormous creatures of an admirable variety, and his show had entirely missed them. Instead, he’d have to make do with these latecomer bipedal apes.

Just prior to the aliens’ arrival, Susan Abbott was self-consciously adjusting her new hat, wondering if it was a little too much. It seemed to be larger than the hats worn by the other women in the Purple Hat Society. It seemed to be purpler. It seemed to be cheaper. This was her first meeting, and everyone greeted her with friendly enough smiles and hellos. She smiled back. She didn’t know what to say other than to introduce herself by name, which was already obvious from her name tag. Newly single, newly jobless, newly pathetic just didn’t seem an apt response to “And what do you do?”

“I’m a grandmother,” she said.

“You look too young!” the president of the Purple Hat Society said. Her name was Cordelia Peppercorn. She was also president of her own company, which sold high end jewelry made by women’s collectives in India.

Susan privately agreed that she was too young. The mother of her grandchild was still in her teens. The father of her grandchild, her own offspring, had enrolled in the military to escape the baby’s mother, who was currently residing with Susan because her mother was a missionary.

So, although Susan was astonished by the aliens’ arrival, just as much as the next Purple Hat Society lady, her scream could be said to be one of relief, rather than dismay.



Lilian is the author of Web of Angels, a novel about a mom with DID (multiple personalities). She's also the author of the historical novels, The River Midnight and The Singing Fire, about secrets, friendship and motherhood in 19th century Poland and London.

6 thoughts on “Rough Cut

  1. If it was not so sad about her son’s refusal to be a responsible father and the pious, judgemental grandmother of his child ….. I found the story to be quite humerous! I had no idea where this short story was going … especially when those purple hatters entered the fray! LOL

  2. Yes, am familiar with both the poem and the group! They started a group here some years back at at first the few of us who were friends had a great time with it …. like being a five year old again! Then as more people (and more personalities) joined and the “politics/back biting ” began …. I lost no time in removing myself from the agroup.

  3. Hilarious! I love the disappointed nature documentarians, who having missed out on the Mesozoic charismatic megafauna had to settle on filming these xenophobic apes.

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