Tom Baylor, Space Therapist

He helps extraterrestrials get their shit together.

what I wrote when writing the serious monologue took too long

a radio play

The scene is a small, dim, comfortable room in Space Station #5r4, hovering 5 miles over a Martian mountain range, near the Senal Timegate.

(Relentlessly cheerful, positive voice.) Sit down, Orslax. I'm so glad to see you here again. (Sound of Orslax sitting down.) So...did you draw me that picture of yourself?

(Low, gravelly bass.) Mworgg othwan borthgot. (Rustle of paper.)

That's great! Thank you. (Pauses.) This is very interesting. You have some real talent, Orslax.


No, you really do. You shouldn't say otherwise. (Pause.) I really recognize this person. He's very sensitive, and a little shy, but he can still easily destroy an entire planet's worth of debt-ridden Arugian whistling dogs. Although--I can tell from your eyestalks here, he's likely to cry afterwards, and when his parasitic slave Druug comes over with Sunirthian megaspice, he just pushes it away, along with its shivering pleasure tendrils. Am I right about this?


Sure. Now, what is this coming out of your ear?

Rombivere go rachu.

Really? So your half-sister is a symbiotic brain-leaching rat creature from planet Errug?


I didn't know she had passed away. I'm sorry. Did she always live in your ear?


Did you feel strange with other children, with your half-sister hooked into your cortex?

Nrsl. Urggh brub snabbrt.

I see. Well, children often attack what they don't understand, especially Bonithian Raider children. Did you stand up for her?

Brmmtrm, ruhgsh brish, brugglens.

Orslax, your thorax just turned mottled pink. You're distressed. Do you want to tell me what happened then?

Bragh or murr, Trank snurrut. (Begins crying.)

And, Orslax, now look at me. Did you blame yourself when a mud creature from Trank devoured her trying to get into your soft brain tissue?

Nrrr! Grlip trimula, deronj.

Yes, she probably did save your life. Do you think she would have wanted it any other way?


You know, Orslax, I need to ask you this--there are these wavy lines around her eyes in this drawing, and that usually means something, and I can tell you're upset by the motion on your eyestalks. What kind of relationship did you have with your rat-being sister? Was it in any way unusual?

(Long, sad pause.) Brrg.

And did you blame yourself for her being attacked on Trank?

(Bursts into tears.) Kraj! Kraj! Arraj! (Continues to sob.)

Oh, Orslax, I'm so sorry. I can't tell you how many times I've seen this, you understand me? Rat-beings have a resonant frequency which your neurotransmitters are primed to listen to that overrides the species-centrism of your mating urge, and since you were only six brux cycles old, you were entirely primed.

Snibuluj de goranda tanaj!

No, it wasn't. It wasn't your fault. I've seen this a lot, buddy, you're not alone. (Pause) Can I give you a hug, Orslax? Would that be okay?

(Deep rattling breath.) Grummh, grummh. (Pause.) Slebj. (Keeps crying, long resonant sobs.)

Okay, now just try not to excrete on me, you're poisonous. I'm going to grip your abdomen with one hand and the back of your left tendril with my other, okay? (Pause) There you are, buddy. There you go. It wasn't your fault, you know.

There, ignore the buzzer, it can wait. My next client uses time as food; she won't care if we're a little late. Orslax, we're going to work this through, guy. We're going to make this okay. I want you to come back next week, all right?

Tanaj, Baylurg Etom! Tanaj grib edabu! (Sniffles.)

You're completely welcome.

Come back next week when Tom explores the hidden story behind a Ranadraskan Polyslug's anger towards Bog-rutting Homocats.




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About the author: I've been running this website from 1997. For a living I write stories and essays, program computers, edit things, and help people launch online publications. (LinkedIn). I wrote a novel. I was an editor at Harper's Magazine for five years; then I was a Contributing Editor; now I am a free agent. I was also on NPR's All Things Considered for a while. I still write for The Morning News, and some other places.

If you have any questions for me, I am very accessible by email. You can email me at ford@ftrain.com and ask me things and I will try to answer. Especially if you want to clarify something or write something critical. I am glad to clarify things so that you can disagree more effectively.


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© 1974-2011 Paul Ford


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