måndag 23 januari 2012

En novellett på engelska, av Ludvig /A short story in English, by Ludvig

Följande novellett skrevs från i torsdags tills i söndags.Varning för töntig epilog. Här kommer en översättning, om någon stackars engelsk person skulle råka ramla hit. Nämnas bör kanske att min engelskalärare trodde, när jag lämnade in denna novell som uppsats, att jag hade snott den från denna blogg. Onekligen underhållande!

TRANSLATION:
I began to write the following short story last Thursday, and finished it the following Sunday. Warning for the dorky epilogue. Here, I wrote text in swedish which I won't care to translate. You're welcome.

The Unparrot

”Enough already!” Dopey the parrot exclaimed in an uncannily non-coarse way.
Damien glared at his caged pet bird. He had bought the floridly coloured parrot on a garage sale some three months ago. It was of that kind which had a knack for imitating human speech. At least, he’d been so told by its former owners. No matter how hard he had tried, though, it hadn’t made a single sound, not the tiniest little squawk, during its time of residing in Damien’s apartment. He had therefore named it Dopey, after the mute dwarf from that movie about Snow White.
And how he had tried! Encouraging it with delicacies especially bought at the grocery store, even buying a radio and placing it adjacent to the cage powered on while he was at work, the results had been poor: only one time had he thought he’d heard a chirping sound. He suspected however that the parrot had teetered slightly on the swing it throned upon, producing the sound with the single purpose of mocking him.
He glared at Dopey the Bird some more, then shoved the index finger of the hand not holding a slice of kiwi as parrot treat, into the appropriate ear canal with the intention of prodding out some potentially hallucinatory earwax. Nothing. He turned his head to see if the TV was on. It wasn’t. He stared skeptically at the bird. “Come again?” he said, planning to say “I didn’t think so” as a response to the silence he expected to follow his query. Unfortunately, the bird wasn’t aware of his expectations. “I said: That’s enough!”
“I didn’t think—whu..?”
Little Dopey tilted its head to the right, flapping its flamboyant wings impatiently. Damien closed and opened his eyes four times in slow succession, trying by sheer force of eyelid to wash the situation away from reality, like a dead bug from a wind shield.
“You humans sure are slower, or perhaps just more reluctant to embrace new ideas – such as that of a parrot suddenly talking – than we expected.”
By this outburst of non-parroty and articulate speech, Damien began to get himself together. As his cognitive functions precautiously searched his mind for mental injuries, it sent a thought through his cerebral systems to be processed vocally, just to see to that he had evaded any sort of brain damage these kinds of experiences could summon. This test subject of a thought sounded like this:
“You— you are talking about parrots as if – as if you’re… Something else. You said… You said ‘a parrot’, not ‘parrots’….?” Unable to phrase the last part of the thought, Damien let the silence form a question mark, which Dopey, strangely enough, successfully interpreted. It responded:
“Fortunately, you are right. I’d hate to be such a wimpish creature. Not that I’d have known anything else, but you get the point.”
“But, what are you then? Why aren’t you a parrot?”
“Oh, just a simple mistake, really. When you think about it, it’s quite funny, in fact. Not for your dear Dopey, of course, but that can’t be helped. About two weeks ago, I received orders from the mothership—“
“The mother-what?” At this moment, his subconscious gobbled up the biggest piece of shock any subconscious had ever gobbled up in the history of man, the consequences of which being an increased risk of fatal brain tumors by 4%. Fortunately for Damien though, his genes provided him with good enough prerequisites against that kind of tumors, to cancel out the increase.
“Mothership. Well, to sum it all up: we mistook your parrot Dopey for a human spawn. Our mistake is justified by that we only listened for voices pitched in an educational frequency, considering that’s the way human beings talk to their spawns 90% of the time, which is rather derogatory in my opinion, by the way. Why would anyone treat their spawn like morons just because they’re relatively new to this world?
“However, it was your voice that we recognized to be the most accurate for our target frequency. You really sounded like a retard, you know.” The parrot, which was somehow not a parrot, and definitely didn’t go by the name of Dopey anymore, chuckled.
“So, yeah, a week ago I was sent to this place to take residence inside this thing – which wasn’t a human spawn, as I’ve come to understand – to learn the way of humans. We could’ve done it by listening from our ship, of course, but since 90% of your communication isn’t verbal, we decided it would be best learning from scratch.”
“So you’re saying that my Dopey is dead because of you?” Damien was far behind the unparrot in the dialogue.
“Technically, not yet. All its bodily functions are operating as we speak. But since I’ve replaced its brain with my own, it will be as soon as I return to my ship. Oh, don’t look so heartbroken, this thing wasn’t very clever to begin with. Not nearly as clever as other creatures you humans tend to keep as companions, anyway. Like turtles, for example.”
There was a short silence.
“Turtles?”
“Yes, turtles”.
“But…Let’s say you found a child instead of a parrot. Would it have suffered the same fate as Dopey?” He felt nauseous from the mere thought.
“Yes. But no one would’ve noticed the difference. Usually, we are rather competent in mimicking the basic behavior of our temporary hosts. By benefitting its cerebral nutrition, we get rather educated in its needs and wants... However, patience isn’t one of my virtues. At the end, I simply couldn’t endure your retarded attempts in making me beg for cookies. Oh, was I being insensitive?”
  When Damien had realized what the benefitting of cerebral nutrition meant, his daily quota of what he could stand was exceeded. As a result, a bodily abomination climbed its way up his throat and casually settled itself on the naked floor with a delighted “splash”. The eruption of stomach acids and undigested hamburger took both the unparrot and Damien by surprise.
“Oh dear” said the unparrot.
Damien spat on the floor, trying to get rid of the taste in his mouth.
“It seems like I have offended you.”
“… Yes. Yes, I guess you can say that. You’re… You’re an – an alien, right?” He straighted up from his bent-over puking-position and glanced at the caged thing. A distinct feeling of annoyance filled up the space formerly occupied by his lunch.
“From your point of view, I guess you could say that. I’m not of the local—“
“And your ‘experiment’ failed, right?” The unparrot flinched at the sternness in Damien’s voice, and decided not to provoke the human with more articulate answers.
“Sadly, that’s correct.”
“So… You’ve no reason to stay here. Correct?” The puddle of puke grew slowly colder, seeping into the rug out of boredom and loneliness. Damien noticed heavy drops of sweat making their way down his neck. All he could think of was how badly he wanted Dopey out of his life, and how he would take a bath as soon as this mess was cleared up.
“Point taken, human. I'll leave you alone."
"Really?" He was quite surprised about the – Thing – complying so easily. Had he played the character of an agent in a thriller, for example, Damien would've been sure the intruder would leave some sort of spying gear hidden somewhere. But now, when the situation was more alien than that, he had completely forgot about the concept of suspicion.
"Really. If you'd just have seat right over there, I’ll be on my way.” The unparrot made an unnatural pointing gesture with its wing toward the kitchen table, which made Damiens arm and neck hair stand on end. He turned around and stepped unnoticing in the cold puke on his way to a chair by the table. Halfway there, the unparrot said “Oh, and don’t bother consuming this thing when I’m gone, you’ll find it… unhealthy from my week-long stay”, followed by the sound of a feathered body hitting the floor of a cage, a strange humming sound, and then… Silence. He seated himself and looked around the apartment. A dead bird. A ruined rug. An open window. A bathroom door, which concealed a, at the moment, very appealing bathtub.

Three weeks later, a new rug was spread over the floor, and an aquarium had replaced the cage. Damien had no idea why he had bought a cage, for he hadn’t any memory of having a bird… Oh well. Now there was a perfectly healthy turtle resting on a rock instead. Much better than a bird could’ve been, he thought.

___________________________________________________________________________

EPILOGUE

Agent Z was seated comfortably inside his docking vessel. As he headed for the clouds of planet Earth, he switched on the communication relay.
“Agent Z reporting in. Mother, are you there?”
“Mother here. How’ve you been, Zed? Haven’t heard from you for days. Been busy, or what?”
“You guessed it, Kay. You know those funny looking flying creatures? Turns out they aren’t the spawns of human beings at all!”
“What? You sure?”
“’Course I’m sure! Been inside one since the day I left! Who could’ve known, right?”
“Right. So your mission was a… Failure? Gimme some details here, man!”
“Chill out for a sec’ will ya. I’ve been inside a cage for a week, so don’t strain me. And the mission wasn’t a complete failure. I managed to deliver the message the ambassador wanted us to. I told him about the turtles.”
“You did? What did he say? Was he surprised? From what I’ve heard from the ambassador, their kind is rather neglected by humans.”
“Well, he was probably a little startled to begin with, realizing his pet had been possessed and all that. But I think he got the message. Maybe not consciously, but that doesn’t really matter when it comes to his kind. Weird creatures, them humans. Their mind’s so fragile it even has a way of protecting it from itself!”
“Wow. That’s some sci-fi right there, I tell ya.”
“I know! I saw it myself – he seemed to be partly consumed mentally from within just to prevent him from fainting or going insane. I got so curious that I couldn’t resist borrowing a book on the subject by some fella named Freud from his bookshelf.”
“You think it’ll be more interesting than that Voyager-thing we first picked up?”
“Yeah, definitely. They really have a knack for underestimating all other species than their own. But I guess the ambassador is proof enough for that. Speaking of him, when’s he going back to Earth?”
“Probably as soon as he hears about your report. Maybe you’ll see him in the hangar!”
“I hope not. I’ve had enough of this planet already. See you on Mother, Kay. Tonight I wanna make up for a caged week.”
“You said it, man. I’ll be waiting in the docking bay!”

Agent Z switched off the com-relay and dimmed the windows. The clouds beneath him covered all he never wished to see again. Not in at least 200 years, anyway. Soon he left the atmosphere, setting the course for the moon of planet Earth, apparently called Luna. Disregarding the name, it was the most boring celestial body he had ever laid his gaze upon. As he rounded its grey surface, he caught sight of the Mothership slowly ascending from behind the lunar horizon. The best thing about moons with synchronous rotation was that it made avoiding unwanted attention so much easier.

/Ludvig