Below is a translation of an extract of a speech that Qhak’eot gave to the Breakfast Club on his home planet of Stex:
I can say nothing bad about Earthlings. They were kindness to a fault. Their hospitality was nothing but the best. I was treated like royalty.
Since I am by profession an artist – burning coloured acids into a metal board – I was taken from one famous Earth gallery to another. I went – among many others – to the David Zwirner Gallery of Art in New York, to a Vincent van Gogh exhibition in Amsterdam, to a John Constable exhibition in London, and to various Vatican galleries in Rome.
Naturally I didn’t let our Planet Stex down. I said all the right things, and ooh-ed and ah-ed in all the right places. The thing that amazed me the most – although I didn’t convey a thing on the matter – was how irrationally proud Earthlings are of their infantile ventures into the Arts.
Most of the paintings I saw were a complete mess. What the Earthlings didn’t seem to realize was that we see a far greater range of colour than they do. We have eyesight that not only perceives the familiar rainbow of colours but also parts of the ultraviolet (UV) spectrum that are invisible to Earthling eyes. Rather like birds on Earth. As well as that our eyes are like a bumble bee’s; multifaceted. And also, as you know, we can turn colours off and on which Earthlings are incapable of.
The Sistine Chapel in Rome was particularly disgusting with its vulgar colours of overweight angels flopping around some sort of ultraviolet muddled biosphere. I probably wouldn’t recommend a visit there. In fact I would recommend by-passing Planet Earth altogether. Their music is also simplistic. They have such a limited range of sound that I’d rather listen all day to a machine. I have no comprehension as to why Earthlings think their Arts are superior when they have such poor and limited sensory perceptions in all areas.
Hedwig always took the positive view of life. Her biggest challenge came when she lost her sight. It was a very difficult situation of course, made doubly worse by the fact that she was a professional typist. Mind you, she was a touch typist so she could still type transcriptions of audios.
It was a great help that her boss at work was in fact her first cousin. She said, “Hedwig, there’s no reason why you can’t continue to work here. And we shall begin with a short thankyou note I would like typed out that I have dictated on my phone. And make a copy.”
Hedwig typed it out in double quick time. It was easy-peasy. Hedwig’s cousin thanked her profusely. It looks like Hedwig’s job is secure. Here’s the copy:
Thanekypi sp ,icj gpt uypi ;eyyer pg vpmspo;emn cr/ Annie anmd O ertr gr;ohjkyrf up trvrobr oy smf oy jhwbn5 or ,ifj fp,t;67
Kind re4ghartd Dave
Hedwig’s cousin said she was delighted. She continued to employ Hedwig for years after.
My cat woke me at four each morning.
She would jump on the bed and claw the pillow
right next to my eyes.
I would wake, fearful for my sight.
Would I never again see the day slip over the hill?
Would I never again see the moon slip over the hill
or the barley field wave in the wind?
Perhaps by patting the cat I could doze a little longer.
Fourteen years ago,
on a night I could not sleep,
I rose from bed at four and fed the cat.
Breakfast at four became her rite, her right.
Last year she was sick.
The veterinarian said
“That’ll be one hundred and thirty dollars please.”
I gave up wine and stuff for a month to pay for it.
That bloody cat was more of a nuisance than I ever imagined.
Last week she died.
If she came back I’d let her scratch out my eyes.