“They pretty much hit the ground running,” explained Frank the Planet Monger, speaking at an alien convention, shortly after returning from a 4-eon sabbatical in the Milky Way, in which he encountered an odd blue planet. One inhabited by even odder residents.
“It’s the strangest thing. Many of the little buggers are up and walking in less than one of their planet’s years, despite their parents appearing to have no interest in eating them, and generally going to enormous lengths to protect them from the elements and starvation.”
Garbling to a group of co-residents of the planet Xanax, who had gathered to hear if there was anything worth eating in the next-closest galaxy – having consumed most everything in their own – Frank continuously rotated his oblong form on the open stage, as per the habit of his cannabilistic species, who spend their extremely long lives trying to eat each other. They also dislike any form of information that doesn’t involve rare meat – though it cannot be said they hate learning, as they are incapable of strong emotions, and only know a relentless, devouring hunger. Frank’s crowd grew restless.
“Don’t worry, I’m getting to the good part,” he said, waving his tentacles and passing around a fresh batch of his own children for the crowd to snack on. “So, incredibly for beings that live for about the same length of time that your last inhale of sulfur dioxide took you, these Earth-bags insist on living their exceedingly short lives according to incredibly complex codes they call ‘morals,’ and ‘ethics.’ And arguing over the definitions and nuances of those intricate systems.”
The planet monger went on to tell his aghast audience how the distant species of bipedals also spend enormous amounts of time worrying about the impact their existence has on their home.
“Imagine that?” Frank chuckled in mild amusement, which is the Xanaxian equivalent of dying of laughter. “What is this? Our 800th planet? I’ve lost track. All those wasted orbs full of carcasses and decay start to blur together after awhile, amirite?”
Tepid laughter rippled through the crowd, and Frank was passingly pleased with having brought the habitat down with his humour.
“From my observations these Earthers have a heck of a complex, and are forever trying to convince themselves that they’re an awful, horrible race that isn’t getting much accomplished,” he said, pausing to take a sip of distilled arsenic. “But I have to say, I have never, in my many epochs of mongering, come across another race that gave as many shits. While we all know there is no god, I tell you what, if there was one he would be proud as hell of those weird little people, and all the trying they pack into 70 or 80 blink-years.”
Seeing that his audience was growing increasingly antsy, and having run out of offspring to feed them, Frank threw out a few more fascinating factoids about the distant species before wrapping up.
“They have something called pets, which appears to be a thing where – rather than just eating them – they train wild animals to live in their homes, purely for the purpose of something called ‘company.'”
“And they fight so passionately amongst themselves. They hate each other, and they love each other, and they despair for not knowing what to do with each other. Whereas we, of course, just eat each other.” The crowd nodded their large mouths of enormous teeth in approval, and looked at one another with shared suspicion.
His time up, Frank turned the discussion over to questions from the audience.
“When do we eat them?” asked a particularly large, walking orifice.
“We leave as soon as this talk is over.”
“Will all these ‘feelings’ affect the way they taste?”
“We’ll find out.”
The roomful of Xanaxians were about to start rolling towards their space invaders, when a small voice from the back of the room broke in.
“Will they mind? Being eaten that is?” asked a minor mouth, fresh out of ingestiversity.
Frank peered past the spotlights.
“Probably. Does that matter?”
“No. I guess not. But maybe it should.”