May 26, 2017.
In a brittle issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction from November 1952, I stumbled across a short story entitled “Bem” by sci-fi author Charles T. Webb. His story so amused me that I decided to write my own using “Bem” as one inspiration and the 1897 UFO crash in Aurora, Texas as another. And without my knowing it, my prose fell into rhythm with rhymes and near rhymes, and to my amazement, I had the first two stanzas of a poem.
Any fans of sci-writer Henry Kuttner will see that I also took inspiration from his Galloway Gallagher story entitled “The World Is Mine” first published in Astounding Stories in June 1943 under the pseudonym Lewis Padgett.
The Thang: A Sci-fi Lullaby by Kent Gutschke
for my dog, Rusty
As the funny-shaped thang zips into view,
Ziggin’ now zaggin’ past Bill’s Greasy Spoon,
Earl roosts on his porch near his old, brown dog,
Sippin’ corn likker, his brain in a fog.
Earl and his dog watch with nary a scare,
As the silvery thang – spinnin’ in air,
Smashes his windmill and falters in flight,
Quietly flutters now softly alights.
Earl bolts from his perch a-howlin’ with glee:
“Off yer butt, Rusty! Le’s grab a look-see!”
With crashed UFO, Earl reckons on fun,
Grabs his corn likker and loaded shotgun.
But the funny-shaped thang murmurs and drones,
Sendin’ a chill to the core of their bones,
When outta the ship, an alien whines,
“On your knees, Earthmen! The world is now mine!”
Then a mess of eyes and pulsatin’ arms
Plops out of the ship—it storms through the corn!
Earl comically eyes this “bigheaded thang”
And pities the star from which it has sprang.
“Fools!” it shrieks, ”My keen teeth you’ll not defy!
You and your mongrel make ready to die!”
A-hootin’ Earl sez, “Ya ain’t foolin’ me!
Yer teeth are fer cud, not chewin’ on meat!”
The bug-eyed varmint then whimpers and whines:
“Are you telling me this world isn’t mine?”
Ponderin’ its trip ‘cross space and through time,
Earl proffers the drip a drop of moonshine.
The creep takes a slug; its mind starts to spin;
Wily Earl leans in then boasts with a grin,
“We’ve government men who circle this globe,
Who’ll fix yer rear to the end of a probe!”
The bug-eyed critter then jitters and chokes:
“A prick from a probe? That isn’t a joke!”
So droppin’ the jug, it stomps through the corn,
Now shinnies the ship by rubbery arms.
So the silvery ship takes to the sky,
Silently soarin’ except for a sigh,
Leavin’ Earl musin’ on wisdom homespun—
“Likker kicks harder than loaded shotguns.”
©2017 Kent Gutschke. All rights reserved.