The Ceremony

Clive elbowed me hard.  Reluctantly I got up, went to the stage, and took the microphone.  I searched hard in my head for the right thing to say.  Millions of eyes were watching me.  I had never spoken in public before, not even for my high school events, and I felt like I was about to swoon.  I cleared my throat.

“Thank you,”I said perfunctorily, “for accepting me.”  I was about to return to my seat when I heard Clive in my head telling me to repeat him:  “I am honored to carry on my duty as a Brumba.  I promise to fulfill my duty to serve this nation.”

The audience stood and applauded.  As I returned to my seat Clive gave me a nod.  The MC said something in Makumban, which the translator skipped translation.  Attendees roared in laughter.  Clive told me, “The MC said that humans are ugly but you are exceptionally handsome because you’ve breathed Makumban air for over two weeks.”

Whatever, asshole, I cussed in my mind.

Clive went up the stage and began to speak in Makumban.  No translation this time either, which made me feel insulted.

I promised myself to relinquish my duty later.  Then again, I might as well keep the job to expose myself to high-ranking government officials for my advantage; it might open an opportunity for me to return to Earth.

(from THE SPACE HERMITS)

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