Friday, May 1, 2015
io9 Concept Art Writing Prompt Apr 30, 2015
Goddamn immigrants. That’s how it starts.
Mitchell didn’t notice the alien come in. It was only when Justine, so excited she tipped over her Coke and her teddy bear, Gingerbread, exclaimed “Look Daddy! A Farflung!” that he took notice. There goes the neighborhood would be an appropriate thing to say here. How it starts is one or two Farflungs show up like they’re casing the joint. Then they move into one apartment, then two, then a whole building until the block smells like strange alien cooking and out of the windows you hear that strange ululating singing they do. And they take over, some of them dressed like you, or maybe your brother Shawn, because Shawn was always a person underburdened with good decision making, starts adopting their clothes and trying to imitate their language. Maybe he gets a tattoo, one of the psychopoems that probably just means “chocolate fudge” in their language. And you can never get away from the feeling that they’re all laughing at you.
They came from some distant corner of the galaxy. They dropped at our doorstep not looking to conquer, at least not through force of weapons, but to trade. They offered limitless cheap energy--and Mitchell’s job at the refinery evaporated. They offered advanced robotics--and nurses and home health aides found themselves out of the job, too. They offered a way to grow enough food to comfortably feed Earth’s exponential population, and only corn subsidies kept the farmers afloat.
They liked art. They liked music. It was all they cared about. They devoured museums, binged on television, drowned in studio albums. This was apparently enough for them.
Mitchell never gave much thought to art, or art history, or any of that. He’d heard the rumors, that the Farflungs came in at night and stole the great works, like the Mona Lisa or the Scream, and replaced them with duplicates. Hoarded them on their ships. Even that would make more sense than the alternative.
Mitchell Hargreave poured the best years of his life, his blood and sweat and tears, into that refinery job. A lot of good men did. A lot of good men down through the years bloodied themselves on the grindstone of progress, building something that ought to matter.
But it didn’t, did it? Because when the aliens came--and until the Angels arrive we only have the Farflungs to judge us--they didn’t care. They didn’t care about the miracle of digging out the oil from the Earth, about the toil of it, about the toil of making growing things, about our cities and the armies they didn’t even bother to fight.
No, what they liked was Leonardo da Vinci, and Edward Albee, and Godspeed You! Black Emperor. And the way that made Mitchell feel sick to his stomach he did not care for at all.