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Alien Realization

Bruce Boston's fiction has received a Pushcart Prize and twice been a finalist for the Bram Stoker Award (novel, short story). His stories have appeared in hundreds of publications, most visibly in Asimov's SF Magazine, Amazing Stories, Daily Science Fiction, Realms of Fantasy, Science Fiction Age, Cavalier, The Twilight Zone Magazine, and 100 Great Fantasy Short-Short Stories (Doubleday). Visit him at: bruceboston.com
By the time the government released the Alien for public consumption, he was already famous. Over the next several months--as he traveled, appeared on talk shows, at universities and public forums--his notoriety continued to grow. During this time the world through which the Alien moved was one of affirmation, ceremony and celebration: elegant parties, the finest food and wine, rides in limousines and flights in private jets. And always a rush of friendly words and smiling faces.
Here he was stranded light years from home, without the rapport of his soulmates, and he did not feel so stranded or alone after all. He began to think he could adjust to life in this new world, to accept its warmth and civility and the acclaim it offered him.
Then a strange thing began to happen, which was not so strange at all. Interest in the Alien began to wane. His naivete, even if it was genuine, could only be charming for so long. He couldn't say exactly where his native planet was in terms of our star charts. After all he was only a tourist. And when he spoke about that planet it was always in generalities. He never would reveal anything really significant about his native world. And perhaps most telling of all regarding his fading popularity, he certainly wasn't pleasant to look at: grossly pale, completely hairless, strangely wrinkled, with ears like mashed potatoes and not much of a nose at all.
There came a day when the Alien had more time on his hands than he knew what to do with. Naturally, he began to seek out the acquaintances he had acquired during his stay, those humans who had organized and managed his tours. Having been exposed to the Alien for nearly a year, they no longer thought of him as anything special. The warmth and deference with which they had once treated him was gone. And sometimes, more and more often, they even made him feel as if he were in the way.
It was then that the Alien began to see, beyond the ceremony and the sell, beyond the ready smiles and the easy affirmation, into the true nature of these creatures he had fallen among.
Only then did he begin to realize how alien he really was.
The End
This story was first published on Thursday, November 21st, 2019
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