Calamoso had only hours to go before reaching his destination, Earth. He had been traveling for three months, eating the canned food provided for him by the computer (which was nothing to write home about). He was to offer the friendship of his home planet to the people of Earth. He was an ambassador, representing his home planet light years away. He had been a farmer on his own planet. He would inherit the farm when his father retired, as he was the oldest of his three brothers and sisters. When the old ambassador had died, he was the first to apply for the position, after all, he was getting paid to travel.
He was almost there now, the terrible suspense was almost over. He took these last few hours to review his English vocabulary and the American culture, for he would be landing in America. It had taken him almost three months to learn the English language perfectly, even with the new learning enhancer (a device used to increase the speed at which people learn.) English is such a difficult language, he thought. Especially with that stupid accent. It makes no sense.
"30 minutes until landing" the computer bleeped out in Calamoso's own language, which was nothing more than a series of different length beeps arranged in a certain order.
Only minutes now until I see what the Earth is really like, he thought excitedly. Other thoughts raced through his head like lasers.He thought of his parents back home, his home planet, what the Earth will be like.
"Fifteen minutes until landing, 5 minutes until entering Earth's atmosphere," the computer interrupted.
OK, I have to control myself, he thought, almost out loud. If they don't like me, what is the most they can do? Turn me away. And I have seen enough pictures of the Earth so that it seems as if I have lived there my whole life. He continued to control his thoughts rigidly to prevent fear. If he stopped, he would have a mental breakdown, His thoughts weren't true, though, as he had only been shown pictures of the landing site. But he was beyond the point of logic, overcome with the fear of rejection.
"Entering Earth's atmosphere," the computer bleeped. But he was too busy thinking to listen.
"Landing gear in place, landing in 7 minutes," the computer bleeped. In what seemed to be an eternity the craft set down on a small field just outside of the Great Falls, Montana International Airport. "Landing process complete," the computer beeped with no sense of satisfaction in its blips and bleeps.
Right. It is time to see what the Earth really looks like, he thought. As he stepped out of his craft, a broad smile was on his face to make a good impression on the Earthlings he believed were there to greet him. The broad sweeping landscape of Montana, the small Montana airport, the sweet city of Great Falls, the small farms dotting the flat plains where antelope and deer grazed would all have been a welcome sight to him.
Calamoso died earthtime January 16th, 2020, on a small planet they called Earth. n
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.