|For Rod and Damon
To Serve Man
I lay on a table in this heap of a cabin.
I suddenly hear a machine-like drone from the other side of the bulkhead. This is quickly followed by the mechanistic voice of the intercom.
"Mr. Dover!" it states in a sleazy voice. "What would my little honey like for lunch?"
"I'm not hungry!" I yell. "I want to go home!"
"Ben, don't talk like that," it said alluringly. "Don't you know you're my favorite human?"
I rub my eyes, hoping I can wake up from this terror. I can't believe this is what has happened to me. This is the way nightmares begin.
I think back to how it all started...
It was a normal April day, with the world facing all its usual problems, when a Spaceship landed outside Hunts Point, The Bronx, bearing creatures from outer space.
I remember the CNN newsfeed from the United Nations, where the Secretary General informed the delegates that more spaceships had landed around the world. He advised no retaliation on the part of the countries of Earth.
On MSNBC, while the press inquired about the appearance of the creatures, known as Dimp-Paddys, a messenger arrived, informing the assembly that a spaceship had just landed outside the UN itself, and that a representative of the Dimp-Paddys was on his way.
Every TV station's news camera zoomed in on the Dimp-Paddy. Its appearance
was startling to say the least. The Dimp-Paddy was super-suave, dressed
in a long bright red suit, a yellow fedora with a green feather sticking
out of it, and teeth covered with
I remember the Dimp-Paddy speaking to the assembly through a hi-tech voice box suspended over its chest. I surmised this box read its thoughts then translated them into words.
"People of Earth," it began, "We come as friends with a desire to help Earth and to set up reciprocal visits to our planet. We have become aware that your planet is plagued by calamities, both natural and un-natural. We only wish to help. We offer to you a new power source, an end to famine, a variety of alternative music and new clothing styles for your people."
The Dimp-Paddy finished his speech saying, "We wish only that you simply trust us...you sweet things."
As it departed, I noticed it left a strange looking book behind. You see, I'm a decoding expert for the U.S. government. After several phone calls I became part of a team assigned to translate the book, which turned out to be a most difficult task.
One day, while I was presenting the latest updates to visiting Pentagon Generals, my assistant, Foxy, rushed into the room with news.
"The title of the book, Ben!" she shouted. "It is...To Serve Man."
The generals and I smiled. I guessed that these Dimp-Paddys were pretty good folk after all.
The months flew by.
The last of humankind's cynics were more than impressed by the public display of polygraph tests given the Dimp-Paddys. The results showed quite clearly that the Dimp-Paddys made truthful statements.
I remember the last answers given during those series of tests. "Our motive in coming to Earth," the lead Dimp-Paddy answered, " is to offer help."
The countries of the world offered their thanks as deserts become gardens and all of the Earth's armies were disbanded.
In a couple of years it became routine news to see people standing in line to board spaceships as the reciprocal flights to the Dimp-Paddy's home planet of "Slap" began.
There was one unusual thing and that was how the Dimp-Paddys would insist that before entry into the ships all humans dress in skimpy clothes and wear gaudy make-up. But we wrote this off as an innocent alien tradition or cultural quirk.
I do remember, though, that last day, the night before my flight, when Miss Brown and I discussed most of the recent events. "Its strange, Foxy," I mused. "For the first time in history, mankind is at peace. There are no more codes to decipher. Nearly 2,000 Dimp-Paddys are now on Earth. And look how easily most people have accepted flying off to a strange planet."
"Well," Foxy replied with an exaggerated pout, "I'll have you know I've still not given up translating 'To Serve Man'. In fact, I'm expecting a breakthrough any day."
And then came the morning of my departure. I remember it so bitterly. I ascended the steps to the spacecraft when Foxy suddenly appeared thirty feet away at the departure gate.
She was held back by Dimp-Paddy but managed to yell to me.
"Don't get on the ship!" She wailed. "The book. 'To Serve Man'. IT'S A PIMP'S DIARY!"
I struggled helplessly and was forced into the ship.
And so I lay here in this solitary cabin.
I toss my meal onto the floor.
A Dimp-Paddy enters the room, picks up the meal, and places the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches before me, before slapping me disrespectfully on my behind.
"Eat. We wouldn't want you to lose weight," it said nonchalantly. "The bigger the cushion the better the pushin', sugar-britches."
The smug bastard leaves.
I look up into the room camera and speak, wondering if this signal will reach my fellow humans...or just bounce around the alien equivalent of an adult internet chatroom.
"Whether we are on the ship with the Dimp-Paddys or back on Earth,
it doesn't matter...we will all be on our backs soon enough."