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The Sixth Diplomatic Expedition

Lou J Berger's short stories have appeared in Mike Resnick's Galaxy's Edge magazine and in several themed anthologies, including Fiction River: Time Streams and UnCONventional. He maintains an author website at LouJBerger.com and maintains the Twitter account @WriterLJBerger. This is his first publication in Daily Science Fiction.

We proudly announce our sixth diplomatic expedition to Sol III with a scheduled arrival on their worldwide Spring holiday of revival.
Due to a curious lack of contact from the previous five expeditions, we are additionally sending four military ships as protection.
Despite being clearly sentient, our Sol III brothers and sisters breathe oxygen, which everybody knows is a caustic poison. To protect themselves, our diplomats will wear protective breathing apparatus containing stores of our life-giving gas, hydrogen sulfide.
Our Engineer Guild are as baffled as the rest of us about why the first five expeditions haven't replied. Although convinced the previous expeditionary fleets were more than suitable for the trip, they have fashioned a massive, ovoid vessel designed to withstand almost any dangers our fearless diplomats may encounter.
Finally, in an unusually brave move, our beloved Elder Four will accompany the diplomats in order to bring good tidings and welcome to our alien friends. They have agreed to wear the amethyst robes of their office as a tribute to the historic event that will, soon, unite our two planets in commerce and the shared intellect of two widely disparate worlds!
Dear Jess,
I know you was worried that this year's Easter BBQ was gonna be a bust, seeing as how we had not only our entire congregation in attendance, but them self-righteous sumbitches from the Ebenezer United Methodist Church.
It's bad enough, mind you, that they whupped us in last year's softball tournament, but I got steamed when they strutted in and started grabbin' paper plates and drinkin' up all the iced sweet tea.
I went to fetch mah axe handle, but Ginny asked me to stop, seein' how the Lord was Risen today and we were gathered to worship his blessed bounty.
You remember that the good Lord has, for five years runnin', seen fit to deliver us ten boxes of sky-meat, which has always been just enough to feed our congregation. This year, with the addition of those holier-than-thou Methodists, we needed a generous bounty, for sure.
And Jess, the Good Lord did provide!
Johnny spotted the Lord's bounty first and, just like last year, those shiny, whirrin' boxes full of sky-meat set down in the middle of the Little League baseball diamond. Jess, there were fourteen boxes, just what we needed to feed ever'body!
I yelled for Jimmy and he he'ped me drag a tarp over all them boxes, and we tacked down the corners just as pretty as you please, then commenced to openin' them up to see what the Good Lord had decided to give us, generous as He is.
Like always, the littlest boxes only took a coupla whacks with a tire iron. They hissed like they do, stinkin' of rotten eggs, but the wind blew that stank right away. Kelly ran the outdoor kitchen and had the entire Sewing Circle fryin' up the sky-meat lickety-split, unwrappin' the little fellers from their marinatin' sacks and poppin' 'em in the flour and then right into the deep fryers.
After we unloaded all the little boxes, I took a gander at Jimmy. He was scritchin' his head, glarin' at the last box, a big 'un, shiny and egg-shaped, with no seams. He whacked at it a coupla times with the tire iron, but it didn't open.
Just sat there, hummin'.
Finally, Jimmy fetched a welder's torch from his truck and cut that sucker open right around the middle. Inside, Jess, was more sky-meat than I'd ever seen!
I grabbed armfuls and took 'em over to Kelly, who pointed to four of them squirming in little purple sacks. "What's wrong with them?" she asked, and I shrugged. While she and the Sewing Circle ladies shucked the regular sky-meat, I opened up one of the purple-bags and waved away the egg-stink, wonderin' why they was different.
We fried up that little purple-bagged critter, and it came out tough and chewy. I was of a mind to toss the other three into the trash, but Kelly's eyes lit up and she said she had an idear.
She took the tire-iron and pounded them suckers flat inside their bags. She said it would tenderize 'em and she was right! She drug each of 'em, flattened and tenderized as they were, through the flour and fried 'em up as pretty as you please and, Jess, them purple-bagged critters was just pure delicious, with a little lemon juice and a square of cornbread on the side. Tasted just like gourmay chicken.
Next year, maybe you can come down and visit with us for Easter BBQ?
With Love,
The End
This story was first published on Monday, February 15th, 2016

Author Comments

I'm a member of an online writing community, and the author talent there is simply magnificent. Once a year, we conduct a contest, within our little community, entitled Weekend Warrior. I always strive to write the best story I can: literary, with a twist, and something that makes the reader go "wow!" This particular story came about after a previous week's entry was raked over the coals, justifiably so, by the other contest participants. I decided "aw, screw it" and wrote something I was convinced would only appeal to me: outrageous, wicked and dismissive. As long as it made ME laugh, I was fine with it.

You've just read the result of that attempt. If there's a moral to this story, let it be "sometimes one society's revered elders are another society's lunch."

- Lou J Berger
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