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Week 7, Title: The Human Assignment

Posted on 2014.04.27 at 17:07
Tags: ,

Puirka smears cream on her cheeks, her face is feeling a bit itchy and dry, but is definitely still as teal as it should be. Just as she’s putting the container away her friend Lidioc pats her on the shoulder, saying, 
“You must be happy with the essay topic; ‘All true humans’, I know how you’re obsessed with them.”

“Not obsessed, merely enthusiastic, and it’s not just humans, it’s all alien races. When I was a kid I spent most of my spare time on the International Microchip Highway, finding out all I could about alien races. I once spent a day researching the differing fingernail types of the Grugrugri,” Puirka replies.

“Ah, and now that you’re a space cadet you have access to all the redacted human files,” Lidioc says.

“Exactly. It’s unfair that all information on humans isn’t available to the general public.”

“Ugh, this again? The governments got a point; the humans are still in their warmongering stage, most citizens wouldn’t take that threat well,” Lidioc says.

“What threat? All they’re sending out is unmanned probes that aren’t within a light-year of us,” Puirka counters, words familiar by now.

“But one day they will be, besides the government is going to reveal all soon, as soon as they shore up our defences: going from nothing but disassembled remnants to having a state of the art defence program takes time.”

“I’ll believe it when I see it,” Puirka says sceptically.

Lidioc rolls her eyes and changes the subject, “So thoughts on the assignment?”

“You just want to steal my ideas,” Puirka lilts, playfully swatting Lidioc’s arm. 

“True, but you’re going to tell me anyway, I can tell you’re dying to deliver an hour-long spiel.”

“Only an hour?”

“Oh no, what’ve I let myself in for,” Lidioc says faux-dramatically, then asks, “So it’s an allusion to the human tendency to generalise about other humans?”

“Yeah, which is ironic given that humans differ from one being to another far more than any other alien race.”

“Really, even us?”

“Yeah, I know that sounds farfetched, but even more than us. Like most alien races they have a myriad of cultures and many more subcultures within those cultures, but even within those subcultures the differences are astounding and fascinating. There are plenty of humans who are ignorant of these differences.”

“So I suppose it would be cheating to say all humans generalise.”

“Yes. And unfair too. Though I suppose they all do generalise even if it’s to a small extent and possibly unconscious. We have to somehow do this without generalising ourselves. Which is difficult because it’s unlikely there’s any aspect all humans possess. Even with something as basic as breathing, some need machines to do it for them. The point is kind of that there is no aspect. But that can’t really be the focus.” 

“Okay, how about we come at it a different way, if you had to describe humans in one sentence, what would it be?”

“Humans are lovely and weird and terrifying.”

They both pause and look at each other, considering the words for a moment, then Lidioc’s gaze finds Puirka’s neck, and she says,
“You’ve got an indigo patch.”

“It’s nothing, my skin’s just feeling a bit itchy, I probably just ate something bad,” Puirka dismisses. 

“Come on, let’s go find a doctor,” Lidioc insists.

Puirka reluctantly follows.


“You’ve got the Roro flu,” the doctor tells her.

“But I haven’t been to Roro in months.”

“Well, someone has, you’re going to need to stay in bed for the next couple of weeks. I’ll have your status adjusted to medical leave,” the doctor says.

“I don’t need a break, I’m fine, besides the assignment I have is a freaking gift, I need to get it done, who knows what crazy thing the make-up topic will be,” Puirka protests.   

“You’ll be feeling a lot worse in a couple of hours, make sure you take in many sticky liquids,” turning to Lidioc he adds, “you should get her to bed, she should be okay alone, but try to check in on her once a day.”


Puirka feels terrible by the evening, she’s in pain and lethargic, the night and following day go by in a blurry haze. When she gets a lucid moment she looks forlornly at her horn-paste, not even having the energy to brush her front horn. Her friend shows up at some point with refreshments in hand.
“Here you go, nice and sticky,” Lidioc says, helping her sit up so she can take a sip.

She doesn’t mention that her mother always makes the drink stickier.

After drinking, topic ideas about hypocrisy and laughter and anger and singing and friendship and dancing and creating spill out of her mouth, but from the look on Lidioc’s face the words are clearly less coherent than she’d intended.

“Puirka, you’re freaking bright purple and sound like someone hid an auto-translator in your throat, you’re on sick leave, stop thinking about the assignment.”


Puirka doesn’t know how long it’s been, but one day she wakes up feeling fine, contemplates whether she should go to class or give herself an extra day of rest: she feels like she’s earned it. But looking at her watch she realises the assignment is not only due today, but this very hour. And is struck by an idea. It’s a silly thing really and it won’t count anyway, it’s already been put into the system as an assignment to be made up later. But she runs down, sorting out her comp-file on the way.

She bursts into the classroom and wonders about the odd stares before realising her hair’s mussed in all directions and she’s still in her pyjamas. Shrugging, she shakes her head and takes a seat, awaiting her turn. Pretty soon she’s standing in front of them, projector at the ready, and manages to say seriously,

“Humans don’t have a specific gas converter organ like us, and therefore,” she pauses, pressing play on the motion-visual. An odd sound erupts from the human on the screen and she grins before adding,

“All humans fart.”  


Awesomely creepy
agirlnamedluna at 2014-04-27 19:10 (UTC) (Link)
The punchline was pretty funny and I liked the idea behind the piece, giving aliens an assignment about us sure must be peculiar to witness. I found that in the beginning information was a little too telephoned through the dialogue, as if these things would be known between friends and not shared so explicitly, or perhaps not in so much words so that the reader understands it too. A nice take on the topic :)
swirlsofblue at 2014-04-27 19:25 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, glad you liked that idea :).

And thank you for the input about the dialogue, I appreciate the concrit :).
penpusher at 2014-04-27 20:25 (UTC) (Link)
These humans are extremely confusing. I'm thinking Puirka maybe has some distant relation to them! She certainly acts strange enough to be!

This was a really amusing twist on the prompt and an effective one.
swirlsofblue at 2014-04-27 20:34 (UTC) (Link)
LOL, she is an odd one ;).

Thank you, glad you found it amusing :)
bleodswean at 2014-04-27 20:58 (UTC) (Link)
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! A funny and well-written take on the prompt. I really enjoyed these aliens and found the bits where she's sick to be really snappy and visual. Nice!
swirlsofblue at 2014-04-28 06:19 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, wow, I'm so so glad you found it funny, I was worried about trying comedy, so it's really nice to hear :)
solstice_singer at 2014-04-28 01:34 (UTC) (Link)
Hmmmm. I suppose we are all guilty of that. *Smile*
swirlsofblue at 2014-04-28 06:20 (UTC) (Link)
LOl, that we are *smiles back*
Didn't want to be
anyonesghost at 2014-04-28 14:37 (UTC) (Link)
This is fun. :-) I do agree with agirlnamedluna that the beginning is a bit too much of an information drop, but once the reader moves past that into the actual story, it picks up a lot of speed.

Nice work, and good luck this week.
swirlsofblue at 2014-04-28 14:39 (UTC) (Link)
Thanks, glad you liked it :)
eska818 at 2014-04-29 22:58 (UTC) (Link)
Oh, how I wish it wasn't true that all humans fart :P
swirlsofblue at 2014-04-30 06:23 (UTC) (Link)
lol :P
Laura, aka "Ro Arwen"
roina_arwen at 2014-04-30 01:11 (UTC) (Link)
Very amusing!
swirlsofblue at 2014-04-30 06:23 (UTC) (Link)
thanks :)
whipchick at 2014-04-30 14:06 (UTC) (Link)
Neat world! Cool to see the way their society works.
swirlsofblue at 2014-04-30 15:11 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, glad you liked it :)
kajel at 2014-04-30 14:44 (UTC) (Link)
Nicely done. The punchline was amusing.
swirlsofblue at 2014-04-30 15:12 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, glad you found it amusing :)
cheshire23 at 2014-05-01 04:13 (UTC) (Link)
"All humans fart". Wasn't expecting that as the conclusion! :)
swirlsofblue at 2014-05-01 05:04 (UTC) (Link)
Thannks :)
Teo Says
eternal_ot at 2014-05-01 11:27 (UTC) (Link)
LOL...what a conclusion !! that was FUN! well done!! liked how you shaped it up...:)
swirlsofblue at 2014-05-01 12:04 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, glad you liked it :)
itsjustc at 2014-05-01 15:01 (UTC) (Link)
Very amusing! I loved your last line :)

Edited at 2014-05-01 03:01 pm (UTC)
swirlsofblue at 2014-05-01 19:02 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, glad you found it amusing :)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors
halfshellvenus at 2014-05-01 23:12 (UTC) (Link)
The sticky liquids cracked me up (though I guess honey and syrup would fall into that category, though we don't usually drink them wholesale). But hornpaste? For the dull front horn? Hahahaha!

She was more different than I would have guessed, and I liked that.
swirlsofblue at 2014-05-02 05:37 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, so happy you found it funny :)
A Karmic Sandbox
karmasoup at 2014-05-02 00:35 (UTC) (Link)
This is thoroughly giggle inducing!
swirlsofblue at 2014-05-02 05:38 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, so glad you found it funny :)
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