The Story of an Earthling (From Planet Earth)

When I began writing this I intended for it to be a love story. 

What comes out on the following pages has as little to with love as The Last One did. I came to realize that there are plenty of love stories out there in the universe. There are far too many of them. I have written plenty of love stories. There are plenty of hate stories, too. This isn’t one of those. 

This is a story about when, where and how, exactly, I became a human being on the planet Earth and why that’s so spectacular in the first place.

The fact that love is involved is merely circumstantial.

In a cool damp room on Vikshieck, on a dark and stormy night, something was happening. 

I was nowhere near that room or that storm, but as it goes in this wild universe of ours, something too was happening here. 

It turns out that the room I was in was on Earth and was comfortable and the weather was being decent for once. I was sitting there with Ingrid sipping on some coffee when I had decided to get involved in a conversation about interstellar politics. 

Ingrid was sitting there calmly at first and she must have thought she was beautiful or something.

Let me tell you something, alright? Ingrid was not as beautiful as she thought she was. She thought she was a good eight. A good solid eight, no wishy-washy, no if-and-or-buts. A straight B, no pluses or minuses. Like most women, she was not nearly as beautiful as she had imagined herself to be.

Nor was she as smart, as funny, or as interesting as she imagined herself to be. Good grief. 

She complained about how I don’t look at her the way I used to anymore. She said it hurts her deep down inside, somewhere where men could never understand, and that she feels like the love has gone. She said this after she watched a movie with Brad Pitt, so it was difficult to take her too seriously. 

I said, I never used to look at you at all. Stop that. And in this way, she stopped:

She bunched her arms up, looked in my eyes with small little glances, like an assault rifle, pew pew, and then she’d restore herself looking at whichever crevice of the wall seemed the most attractive to her in that point in time and space. She had a thin smile that wasn’t really a smile at all. It was the loudest frown of the smiles. 

This was what I could never understand about Earthling women. They always want to talk about personal politics. I, however, was focused on the stars.

For this, among many other things, Ingrid had thought I was crazy.

Ingrid was not the only woman who had thought I was crazy. There were many. But she was at least honest with me about it. 

There are no aliens, she said. There is nothing but us. I thought that was awfully self-centered of her, especially after I’d seen it myself. The Viksheians and Pashyks were having huge battles with star ships only a few hundred thousand light years away and she had the audacity to call me crazy. 

So just to spite her I would talk about interstellar politics. 

“Right,” she said, “right. So the Viksheians have starships the size of moons and are blasting cottage cheese craters filled with aluminum and cyanide through the air at these Pashyks.”

“I think you’re getting the hang of it,” I said. “I think you’re on to something there.” 

“Right. And all in the name of democracy, right?” 

“Well, they don’t call it that,” I said. “They call it something more like WeAllAreTogether. They’re a very to-the-point race. But all in all I’d say a good translation would be democracy.”

“Interesting,” she said. She didn’t mean it. She leaned her head against her hand which was parallel to the table. She tapped her foot. “You should write a book about this.” 

“A book?” I said. “I couldn’t. I don’t know what happens yet. I don’t even have a live feed. It could be over for all I know.” 

“I mean fiction,” she said. “Like Star Wars. Men like things like that. You add a few explosions, a few crazy starships, a few sex scenes with a hot bimbo, hell, you might even get an award for it.” 

“Don’t talk about what Earthling men want,” I said. “You and I have no idea what Earthling men want.”

“Oh, dear,” she said, and patted me like a mother pats a child who just asked what the meaning of life was. “You’re as much of a man as any of the rest.” 

She smiled at me warmly. A bit of a strange change of pace. 

“I have my doubts,” I said. 

“We’ll see.” 

Then, Ingrid and I had the most magnificent sex I had ever had with an Earthling woman on a coffee table at five o’clock in the afternoon. 


Ingrid and I were not in a relationship. She had many men whom she doted upon. She said she liked to “spread her love equally,” but it really meant something else. She had a lot of sex, and sometimes she wouldn’t come home for five or six days at a time. 

That was alright. I’d gotten around to the fact that she didn’t like me all that much, but I wasn’t upset. Of the seven billion Earthling men in existence I was flattered that she felt I was even a bit better than average. 

Ingrid was living with me then, and we had a flat in Manhattan, but that was temporary. For the years following my arrival on Earth, I had wanted to visit the Goddard Space Flight Center in Massachusetts. It was the home of the Hubble Telescope. Always my head was toward the stars. 

I had never gotten around to it.

It was after that Sunday drinking coffee that Ingrid told me that we ought to see other people. Not break up, exactly, because we weren’t in a relationship or anything. She said something romantic about it, but I can’t remember what. She was always so obsessed with personal politics.

I wasn’t too upset about it, which bothered her a bit, and I told her my plans to go to the Goddard Space Flight Center, and she became unbothered. She looked like she had dodged a bullet. It was nothing new. She had thought me crazy since the second date. 

I helped her pack her things, and there was a lot of them. When she left I looked around my flat and realized I hadn’t had much of anything at all without Ingrid. It felt like I was bare, but new, all the same. Stripped down and reborn. I had a lanyard, an ashtray, and a solar-powered rock from the planet of Vikshieck. 

I sometimes used the solar powered rock as an ashtray, and the lanyard as a solar-powered rock. They weren’t too great at being those things. 

I felt the same way about being an Earthling. I wasn’t too great at being one. I could look like an Earthling, talk like an Earthling, make love like an Earthling, eat, shit, and sleep like an Earthling, but all in all I felt I was as far away from an Earthling as a Pashyk was to a Viksheian. 


The two races look very different, in fact. While on the train to Goddard, I explained this to one of the men who had the misfortune of sitting next to me.

“Parakeets?” He asked. “I don’t know anything about parakeets.” 

“No, not parakeets,” I said. “Pashyks. They are aliens from the planet Pashyka.”

“Oh,” he said. 

“Pashyks have these big long noses that are flappy and like tentacles,” I said to him. “They reach down nearly to their waist. A derogatory term for a Pashyk is a bykwiffer, which translated roughly to ‘ass smeller.’ Call a Pashyk a bykwiffer in a bar and you’re almost certain to lose whatever body part was easiest to hit for your particular anatomy.”

“Yeah?” he asked. “How interesting.” He didn’t mean it. He gave me the same eyes that all the other ones did. 

“Yes. They are interesting looking creatures,” I said. “They are bipedal and have holes in the sides of their heads for ears.”

“Um. Isn’t that hard to manage?” he said. “I could only imagine swimming with things like that. I like swimming.” He was an average Earthling, that was for sure. 

“You would think so, right?” I said. “You would think that things would get in them, but it didn’t happen too often from what I understand. Their skin was blue and they had only retinas, no irises. They stood hunched over constantly, and breathed huskily like beasts.”

“Sure,” he said. “I could go with that. You’re a very creative young man, son. It will get you places.”

“Alright,” I said. I was used to that sort of tone. He pretended to go off to the bathroom, and I heard him laughing about something with someone on the way. It was probably about me. He moved seats, and I spent a good deal of time alone. I thought about Ingrid for a while, and then I stopped. She felt like she was light years away.

Later along on the ride, a middle aged woman who had very little clue what she was getting into sat down next to me.

“Do you want to know about Viksheians?” I asked her.

“No, sorry,” she said. “I don’t have any money.”

“No, you’ve got me wrong,” I said. “Viksheians are aliens from the planet Vikshieck.”

“Oh,” she said. “Sorry. I don’t have any money.”

The rest of the train ride was silent and uneventful.

We had finally arrived at the correct train station, and I had taken a cab from the station to my hotel. I would shack up there for a few days until I made other arrangements. 

The cab driver was very friendly. He said, “Tell me something interesting about New York. I am very interested in things going on there.”

“Well, I don’t have much on New York. I’m not big on Earthling politics. But I could give you a good deal of information on Viksheians. Do you want to know about Viksheians?”

“Sure,” he said. He was unsure. “What is that, some kind of medicine or something? Whatever, sure. Knock yourself out.”

“No,” I said. “Viksheians are aliens from the planet Vikshieck.”

“Oh,” he said, “Sorry. I don’t watch the History Channel.”

I laughed. That was a good one. 

“Viksheians look remarkably like you and I. They are humanoid and bipedal. They have noses, mouths, eyes, and the same numbers of them. Their skin was even similar, although they were mostly dark skinned. You’d probably be unable to tell an Earthling and a Viksheian apart from a distance.”

“Probably not,” he said. “Eyes aren’t too good these days.” 

“Yes,” I said. “Sight is not what they are known for either. But anyway, there was this one thing. Their hearts were on the outside of their chests, and this was some sort of evolutionary misfire. They focused all of their wartime armor, and protective gear, around this subtle fact.”

“Wow,” he said. “The more you know.”

The conversation stopped then. We arrived at the hotel. I thanked him and gave him my money and left. He told me that I should write a book about the Vick’s She Ons. 

Everyone’s always telling me to write a book about it. They have history books on Vikshieck too, you know. Most likely they are much more detailed than any account I could give. If anyone is going to write about them, it should be a Viksheian.

When I got settled in my room, I turned on the television. There was a life alert commercial with an elderly woman who had a heart attack. It ma de me think, as always, about the Viksheians.

A Viksheian who had a heart attack was a scary, scary thing to witness. All of a sudden, it just stopped. 

Viksheian religion and philosophy saw this as some sort of key to discovering the meaning of life. They believed that one day, everything will just stop. No explosions. No eternal flames. It simply would blimp away, like when there’s a blackout and all the lights go off.

It was when I learned this that I had truly questioned whether or not I could identify as an Earthling any longer, since I had always felt that my heart was on the outside of my body. I had also always felt light years away, and that, eventually, the lights would all go out suddenly.


The next day could have been in that book that Ingrid was talking about. It was very action-packed. 

It turns out the way that the Goddard Space Flight Center works, and the Hubble Telescope, is that you can’t just stroll in and take a gander at the stars using it. It’s actually a very secret government operation. Amateurs are allowed on a very rare whim to schedule to use it, but it is extremely unlikely. 

They had these little attractions for people around the area, in what they called the visitors center. There were smaller telescopes that could see, say, Venus or Mars, but you couldn’t go and use the real thing.

This was news to me. 

“But you must understand,” I told the woman at the counter. “It is very important.” 

“I’m sorry, sir, but you must understand,” the woman said. She wore all white and was tapping her pencil in front of her. “It’s just not practical for everyone and their mother to be able to come in and use the Hubble Telescope.” 

“My mother has no desire to use this,” I said. “I don’t even talk to her anymore.” 

She didn’t respond to that. Earthlings love to talk, but sometimes they shut up. It’s very peculiar. “It’s far more important,” I said. “Have you ever heard of the Viksheians?” 

“No, sir,” the woman said. She wasn’t paying attention to me anymore. 

Behind her was a door that read:


I, of course, started to make my run for it right when she went back to the crossword she was working on. I hopped over the desk and pushed the door open. 

Big buzzers started going off all around the facility. The halls were bleeping red, red, red. They must’ve set it up to look like the Death Star or something like that. Everything’s derivative, nowadays, even in the name of Science. 

I had thought that somewhere back there the Hubble Telescope was laying there, unused, with a big red sign that said HUBBLE TELESCOPE on it. I was wrong. It was actually in an entirely different part of the Space Station, not the visitor’s center, and there was no way I could find it. 

I hadn’t known that. Security guards came trampling after me like brutes. I kept running. I was determined to find Vikshieck if it was the last thing I was going to do. 

They caught up with me pretty quickly, since I was never known for my running ability. 

“Alright, fella, time to go,” one said. “Another one of those crazy kids,” the older one said onto his walkie-talkie. 

“Take me to your leader,” I said. 

“You think you’re very clever, don’t you?” the younger one said. “You know how much we get that?”

“No, no, sorry,” I said. “I just thought it was funny. I meant a scientist. Could I at least see a scientist?”

“They don’t want anything to do with you, kid,” the older guard said. “They don’t want to hear it.” 

It just so happened that as he said that a group of scientists were doing whatever it is that Earthling scientists do, and they overheard us. They were immediately interested because they were very happy to be called scientists. They also didn’t want to screw up their P.R. by seeming too distant to hear the little man. I suppose I was the little man.

Looking back on it, you could say that in this particular instance all of the stars aligned. 

“Hey,” said the one with the big clipboard in his hand. “Wait.” 

He must’ve been their leader. He asked me what I was going on about, what I was interested in. 

“Well,” I said, and looked back at the guards, “see? Get your hands off me, you brutes. We’re talking science here now!” 

The guards grunted, stereotypically, and released my arms slightly. They still didn’t let me go completely, though. 

“Now, sir,” I said, “I wanted to know if you had ever heard about the Viksheians.” 

“Oh,” he said. “This again.” The whole lot of them began to laugh at me. 

“Other people know about them too?” I asked. I knew there were other abductees. There had to be. Chances are it wasn’t only me. 

They continued to make fun of me. Some of them pointed at me like I was some sort of circus attraction.

“Oh yes,” he said, “all the time. People talk about that stuff all the time.” 

“Wonderful!” I said. “Finally, some intellectuals who know my plight. So listen, I just need to use the Hubble Telescope, just for a minute or so, to see whether they’re still at war with the Pashyks and I’ll be on my way…”

“And don’t come back!” 

The next thing I knew the guards were picking me up and throwing me out the back door of the visitor center. Who knew they had a back door? 


I was feeling pretty down, down there on the ground. I felt like the human race and I were finally done with one another. It wasn’t working out. How could I be the same race as these barbaric apes, who do nothing but lay judgment on others? Why does everyone always make fun of me? I felt smaller than small. 


One of the scientists came out after the guards had thrown me out. She was a short woman with bobbed black hair. I hadn’t noticed her before. She looked down at me with pity. She gave me a small slip of paper. She put her finger up to her lips, telling me to be quiet. Shh. I muttered and stumbled over my words. I didn’t know what it was all about until she was already inside and I had gotten up and opened the paper. 

The paper read: 

Meet me at McKinley’s at 7 P.M. Tell no one. 

To tell you the truth, it was the first time a woman had ever asked me out on a date.

“Lily,” she said. 

We sat at a table. It was one of those restaurant bars. 

I thought I had to be very inconspicuous when I first got in, given the nature of how she gave me the note and everything, but I didn’t. I thought it was some government conspiracy to hide the existence of the Viksheians, and that me and her were on a top secret mission from the CIA and we were going to contact the Viksheians. 

It made plenty of sense to me at the time. I came in acting all sly and mysterious and she just screamed out “Hey!” and told me to sit down. She wasn’t disguised or anything and was wearing a dress. 

That’s when I noticed. She was attractive, I’ll admit. Even for an Earthling. 

“My name is Albi,” I said. 

“Okay, Albi. Tell me all about those…Vickians, was it?” 

“Viksheians,” I said. “Do you really want to know? Most people don’t.” 

“Let’s see,” she said. 

“So, it all happened six years ago,” I said. “I was abducted by aliens. I was in the middle of this big field – this was back when I lived in Pennsylvania – and I was looking for my friend at the time. His name was Rick and we were going camping. Then, all a sudden, I’m not there anymore. There was no light like in the movies. It was just a blimp of an instant and then I was sitting there on Vikshieck with a whole bunch of Viksheians at a table looking at me.” 

“Okay,” she said, and drank some of her beer. “Go on.” 

“At first I think they’re Earthlings, because Viksheians look very much like the people here. But there was that one thing, they had their hearts on the outside,” I said. I pointed to my chest. “Anyway, they get around to telling me they abducted me to study me. They said it wasn’t an invasive study. I would be able to do as I want, when I want, and live like the Viksheians do. They were very hospitable people there. They never treated me badly because I lived on Earth and was born on Earth.

“I stayed there for five years. In that time, I learned a lot about interstellar politics. I learned that in some ways, the Viksheians were very much like us, and in some ways they were not. They were much more honest creatures. They believed in things, alright, but they never took themselves too seriously. I liked that about them. 

“They were at war with these creatures called the Pashyks. They were these big ugly creatures, I’ll tell you, with long noses. But it wasn’t too serious a war. Sometimes I’d meet people from Pashyka on Vikshieck in bars or at movies. They had movies there, too. They were very much like us, in a lot of ways. There were people from other planets too. I never really got to know them well. I mostly hung around Viksheians, because they looked like me and spoke like me. They didn’t speak English, exactly, but they were able to speak whatever language you could. It was part of their technology. They were way ahead of us in terms of that.

“So, that’s about all,” I said. “I have plenty of stories about it, but that’s the gist of it. They sent me back a year ago and I’ve felt like I’ve been on the wrong planet ever since. It’s okay. You can leave if you think I’m crazy.” 

“No,” she said. She smiled at me warmly. It was the most genuine thing I’d seen. Lily finished her beer and then said, “I was abducted, too.” 

“Really?” I said. “By who?”

“They called themselves the Brjocks.” 

“Brjocks, eh?” I said. “Never heard of them.” 

“Yes,” she said. “I was fifteen. I’m thirty now. I never told anyone, because I thought they’d think I’m crazy.” 

“I know what you mean,” I said. “I just can’t help it. I’m like a Viksheian now. I’ve got my heart on the outside.” 

“What’s that supposed to mean?” she asked. Not in the bad way though. She really wanted to know. 

“I’m very open with these things now,” I said. “I learned a lot from them. I don’t identify with Earthlings anymore.” 

“Me neither,” she said. She smiled at me. 

“No one ever believes me,” I said. “I can’t believe that you believe me.” 

“Neither can I. But I do.” She put her hand on top of mine. “I really do.” 

That feeling was the warmest feeling I had felt in a very, very long time. 

“The Brjocks were a very militant race,” she said. “They looked like pigs. They would rape and plunder and destroy entire planets and solar systems just for the heck of it. They took me by accident, though. They meant to take someone else from a different planet. I guess, they missed. They apologized a lot, which was surprising to me since they were so militant, and they gave me a big meal and a nice room. They were nice, under that exterior. I was only there for three days, but ever since I have been keeping my head to the stars, wondering when they were going to come for us.” 

“I wonder what would happen,” I said, “If the Viksheians met the Brjocks.” 

We both sat there and stared at each other and felt the kinetic energy rise. 

We talked the rest of the night about the Viksheians, and the Pashyks, and the Brjocks. I believed everything she said, and she believed everything I said. At the end, she came back to my hotel room with me. 

Then, Lily and I made love so well that it would put the Big Bang to shame. 


I said this wasn’t going to be a love story. It isn’t. Just because I am in love with Lily, and just because she is in love with me, and that is how this story ends, doesn’t make it a love story. 

This story is about acceptance. This story is about how I, an Earthling from the planet Earth, became an Earthling once more. 

Although I didn’t know it yet, Lily became proof to me that I could be accepted by other humans. That someone would listen to me, and really believe me, and not just say they do. And that I could do the same for someone else.

Maybe Lily and I are crazy. Maybe we are delusional and there is no Vikshieck or Pashyka or Brjock. It wouldn’t be the first time I had heard it. Our neighbors seem to think so, too. 

But in the end, we are crazy together. 

All it took was one other human who could believe me, who could feel that they never belonged here, too, and that there was something else out there, to make me realize that I am a human. I could not feel that loss if I were a Viksheian. 

No matter what, there would always be that part of my heart that I wear on the inside. That is what makes me an Earthling, and not a Viksheian or a Pashyka or a Bjock. I am a human from the planet Earth and together, Lily and I are the two most delusional, insane, happy human beings on the entire small blue-green planet floating around that mid-sized, unspectacular star. All just pixie dust in the grand scheme, different sizes of pixie dust. 

Yet all it took for me was one other person who had their head faced towards the stars. 

Lily and I have spent the last twenty Earth years together. We’ve laughed, and cried, and loved, and this story could never hold all of those memories. But that is why I said it is not a love story. 

Lily simply was the catalyst for me to realize it didn’t matter what speck of dust I was floating on. 

She made me realize that I am a citizen of the universe, but more specifically, that like the universe, I could be infinite, if only I am given a chance.