A Manner Appropriate To Their Customs, Part III

Continued from Part II.

The intensity of the hug did not abate, and Mr. Carol started to feel faint, then in considerable pain, and then his legs buckled. He fell to the ground, smothered by the uninvited cuddling monstrosity as it toppled over on top of him. His head spun and for a moment the music from the parade seemed distant. Then his faculties returned as blood was restored to his head and, patience now exhausted, he snarled and roughly levered the imitation irritation off his bruised limbs. He rose unsteadily and took Anthony’s hand firmly.

“What on earth do you think you are doing?” he seethed at his attacker. “This is a young children’s event and adolescent pranks of this nature are completely inappropriate. I shall complain to your management immediately.”

The green dinosaur righted itself and gazed forlornly with surprising expressive eyes, probably animatronic. Yet the lips and tongue that shaped the apology also seemed very life-like, down to the glistening saliva that covered the teeth.

“My deepest regrets,” said green, as its pink partner placed a tender claw upon its shoulder. Its voice seemed several tones too wrong and not to be emanating from a human throat. “I have committed a social error. Were the chocolates not sufficient?”

“That was fine,” began Mr. Carol. “It’s just…”

“I then engaged in physical contact. Is that not the method?”

“Just take care next time,” said Mr. Carol. “Don’t they train you?”

“This is my training,” said the dinosaur. “I apologise for failing at contact.” The pink dinosaur took green by the hand and they walked away into the crowd.

Odd, thought Mr. Carol, and looked down at his son.


Fifty years later, President Anthony Carol hugged the Ambassador and shook its soft green hand, welcoming the first official visitor to Earth.

The End


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