We’ve wrapped up the judging of the First Annual QSF Flash Fiction Contest early, so we’ll be sharing the top stories over the next 6 days. After that, most of the submitted stories will be posted on the site for everyone to enjoy. We had some fantastic submissions this year – congrats to everyone! All stories were limited to 300 words max, with the theme “endings”.
Our second of three honorable mention winners is Aldous Mercer – congrats, Beth! Here’s the story – enjoy!
Today we’re interviewing Dr. Julian Smith,
expert on Argar Exopsychology
By Aldous Mercer
Couples therapy. He said “I ask you how your day went, you see red–”
“I cook,” I interrupted. “I clean. By nightfall, I’ve accomplished nothing, then you ask me about my day? I’m blue, not red.”
Why were the Argar–galactic peacemakers—suddenly interested in marriages?
Peaceful starsystems are not repeat customers. But marriages are a renewable source of conflict.
They cooked up a theory to fix us. See, our philosophers, scientists, keep asking: do others see what I see? For humans, colors are sensations—subjective neurological phenomena. The Himba of Namibia—same word for blue and red, can’t tell ’em apart. But sound? We agree on musical notes, because we have ears, and voice. We self-correct. We sing in harmony.
The Argar theorized that since humans use color-words for emotion, harmonizing color-perception causes emotional reconciliation.
Oh my god. What did they do?
They made little cuts over our penises, grafted on chameleon-like skin. It hurt.
I remember my husband’s hand in mine. He said, “I hate you. But not enough to leave you alone.”
We healed, eventually. Our marriage didn’t. But they wouldn’t let us leave till we reconciled.
Wasn’t going to happen.
So, we started pretending.
Watching how we spoke. Viagra-and-porn sex. It looked like progress; they stopped monitoring.
Then we stole a ship, and ran.
If not on Argar, then where was your marriage actually healed?
In a tiny, stolen, rusty spaceship. Survival depended on the other person’s mood. We kept pretending. By the time we got home…somehow, we’d pretended ourselves whole.
So you wouldn’t recommend Argar Reconciliation to others?
If a couple wants it, after hearing our story? Means there’s still something left in their marriage.
Do they really need Arghar skin grafts to tell them that?