a writing by Paul Butters

“I’m floating! In mid-air. Rising. In such a bright light. Being abducted.”

These were my thoughts as, yes, I was abducted. Next thing I knew, I was waking up in a padded chair, slumped in the middle of a windowless room. My nice moorland walk was well and truly over.

Before me was a broad metallic table, behind which were three more chairs. Beyond those chairs was a sliding door, which now opened. In walked three aliens: humanoid, yes, but with unearthly features. Without delay they occupied those vacant seats.

“Welcome to ‘The Explorer’ Paul. You are on what you would term a ‘starship’,” smiled the alien sitting in the centre chair, “I’m Rebros, the Captain. To my right here is my number one, Akreshi, and to my left our chief medical officer, Trobonkon.”

“How do you know my name?” I stuttered nervously.

Trobonkon: “We have observed you and your race for many years and are very familiar with your behaviours. Your television programmes, as you call them, are most illuminating.”

Rebros: “And before you ask, Paul, no we do not wish to meet your leaders. We have singled you out to represent what you term ‘the common people’. In spite of our thorough observations, there remain many questions we need to ask you about your world.”

The thought went across my mind that it would be better to be ‘interrogated’ than medically ‘examined’ by these people. Better cooperate.

“Go ahead,” I replied, trying to look at ease.

“Good,” cut in Akreshi, “here’s one that’s been puzzling me for a long while. Why do you all repeatedly work for five days, then take a break for two, no matter what the weather? On what you call ‘Sunday’ you are very quiet indeed in terms of productivity, yet often it rains then and you might as well be working.”

“Interesting question,” I answered, thinking hard, “I think it’s got something to do with religion. Apparently God decreed that we should rest on the seventh day, like he did after he created the world.”

Akreshi: “Oh yes, I’ve seen that story. It’s from your ‘Bible’ isn’t it? Did not your ‘God’ construct your planet in six days?”

“That’s right, that’s what it says,” I confirmed.

Trobonkon: “So do you believe in Santa Clause?”

“No, that’s kid’s stuff,” I asserted.

Trobonkon: “So what’s the difference?”

“That’s hard to explain...”

Trobonkon: “Do try. That’s all we ask.”

“Well, erm, well the possible existence of God is reported in many ancient texts....”

Rebros: “So how did your ‘God’ build your Earth in six of your days?”

“I don’t think He did. Not all The Bible is literally true. According to Darwin and other scientists it actually took billions of years.”

Trobonkon: “May we meet with your ‘God’?”

“Oh!” I thought rapidly. “So they haven’t met ‘Him’. They are not so superior after all! Might this be the time to start bluffing them? What if they plan to invade the Earth? Maybe they are afraid of our God!”

Trobonkon: “Well?”

“Sorry, I was thinking. Well, you have to have a special dispensation to meet him.”

Rebros: “Who from?”

“From the Pope.”

They all looked at one another, and fell about laughing! I felt embarrassed.

Presently Rebros turned to me.

“Paul, Paul,” he smiled, “Look, this room is being monitored. You are lying!”

Trobonkon continued: “We can detect the minutest change in your electrical profile, or your sweat rate. Even better than the lie detector on your ‘Jeremy Kyle Show’, ah ah. So will the Pope ring your God on his mobile for us, or will he text Him?”

“We know all about your various world religions, Paul. Buddha, Allah, God, we’ve heard about all of them,” cut in Rebros, “you have come to the belief that everything is ‘governed’ by some mysterious super-being: all-powerful, omniscient, omnipresent, eternal...”

“And what do you believe in?” I demanded, feeling bolder for a moment.

“Something similar to what you do,” replied Rebros, “something rather like your ‘force’ in those ‘Star Wars’ films of yours. Again, like you, our beliefs are based on ancient folklore. We do not follow our faiths as slavishly as you do however.

But let’s cut to the chase, now. Why do you people make war on your own kind for the sake of your beliefs? Why do you kill for land, resources, or any excuse?”

“I cannot answer that!” I frowned, “I personally wouldn’t kill a spider.”

“But if your ‘country’ sent you to fight, say, some known terrorists, surely you would kill then!” persisted Rebros.

“I suppose I’d have to!”

“And do ‘have’ to eat your own kind?” interjected Akreshi, the ‘number one’.

“I don’t!” I protested.

“Oh yes you do!” insisted Trobonkon, the medic.

“I’m afraid you do!” added Rebros, “you humans kill and eat many species with almost identical DNA to yourselves. Let me see, cattle, sheep, fish, even insects. Then there’s all manner of plant life...”

“And don’t you?” I implored him, half dreading that he might answer, “Yes, and humans too!”

“No,” replied Rebros, “we only digest nectar, honey and milk.”

With this Rebros suddenly threw off his cloak.

“I may be humanoid like you, Paul,” he declared, “but essentially I am what you would term a ‘Butterfly’!”

I gasped in astonishment as the other two threw off their robes too.

“And before you ask,” continued Rebros, “We on our planet produce honey within our bodies, with which we feed our caterpillars. It is over a million of your years since we allowed our young to eat plants. Ugh!”

“Where is your planet?” I chirped, hoping to change the subject.

“You wouldn’t understand if I told you,” replied Rebros.

“Try me.”

Trobonkon chose to reply: “Our world is about ten thousand light years from yours. We are roughly five thousand light years nearer to the centre of The Milky Way than you. Just head a few degrees to the left of your star “Vega” and you might land within a few hundred light years of us if you’re lucky. Now if you had our nav system....”

“But first you have to survive!” announced Rebros.

“Eh?” I gulped.

“I have to be perfectly honest with you, Paul,” Rebros went on, “we have reached a point of decision for your world.”

“How do you mean?”

“Well, surely you can see that your planetary ecosystem is not acceptable.”

“Maybe not to you but...”

“No buts!” Rebros insisted, “It is unacceptable, period. You cannot help what you are, I’ll grant you, but that doesn’t mean you cannot change.”


“We have two choices. The simplest would be to eradicate all animal life on your planet and start again.”

“And the other?”

“Try to keep them talking,” I thought.

Rebros: “Or, we might genetically engineer your plant life to produce much larger nectar-bearing flowers. Then we would turn every animal species into a honey-making butterfly.”

“What, does that mean you would turn me into a butterfly?”

“Yes,” jumped in Trobonkon, the ‘doctor’, “it would be perfectly harmless to you. Just a series of painless injections of DNA re-sequencing materials. No unwanted side effects. Wings optional...”

“Well,” I sighed, “to tell the truth, I’m not too keen on either alternative. But if you insist, out of the two, I’d rather become a butterfly than a corpse.”

“Thank you for your input, this is most valuable,” smiled Rebros, “I think we may conclude this interview now. Agreed number one?”

“Yes Sir,” affirmed Akreshi, “I believe we have obtained what we can from this subject.”

Trobonkon: “Agreed.”

Rebros: “Paul, again I thank you for your contribution.”

That was the last I remember of my “interview”. So, Mr. Prime Minister, sorry but I did my best. Hope you think it was enough. What do you think of my new wings?

Paul Butters
(W) and (C) Yorkshire, Sunday 9\8\2009 at 21.36.
About 1,300 words.

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