Places To Go, Things To See by Richard D. Key

Richard D. Key is the 2nd place winner in Streetlight’s 2021 Flash Fiction Contest
Photo of viewing maching
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

In this episode of PTGTTS I’ll be talking about Earth, a little planet out at the edge of the galaxy, not to be confused with Erth-Ra, the much larger and more popular planet destination that you may be more familiar with. Earth (pronounced URTH) is off the beaten path, but worth the effort if you’re headed in that direction.

Time on Earth is divided into “months” based on the one orbiting satellite, called “the moon.” Most of the inhabitants believe that months last about thirty days, but truthfully, there are only three divisions to each month—the beginning, the middle, and the end. This is why the inhabitants always feel like they get nothing done, and why time seems to whiz past at extraordinary speed. For your visit, try to stay a whole “month” if you can.

Humans are the dominant life form, and you will be amused how naïve they can be. But don’t let your guard down, as about two percent are totally nuts. You needn’t worry about fitting in. Just be sure to have your translator, a good hat, and some kind of outer garment. My usual advice applies here as elsewhere: Act like you know what you’re doing. Look like you know where you’re going.

You may want to carry a supply of food provisions with you. Earth’s food is inconsistent and you won’t want to spend half your stay expelling something that disagrees with you. For the most part humans eat lower lifeforms such as sheep babies, chickens and their eggs, ground up cow meat, and some rubbery substance they call “cheese.” Take a variety of energy bars if you don’t have an adventurous palate, and carry a water purification filter with you at all times.

The best places to land your craft and set up camp are the two poles and any large desert. The American southwest has always been a favorite spot for tourists, but the Gobi desert and central Australia are also good choices. You’ll most likely have the place to yourself. Things to see: The Cerne giant and Stonehenge in the UK; In Africa, the Egyptian pyramids; Uluru in Australia; In North America, Devil’s Tower, Fenway Park, and any Bass Pro Shop.

Suggested activities: Make it into the FBI’s unexplained aerial phenomena file by buzzing a jet or two and changing direction suddenly; Break into an observatory and try to locate your home world using ancient technology; Get your picture next to David Bowie at Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum; Find E-T’s home in California and tell the owner you need to phone home.

Helpful Hints: Resist the urge to abduct someone; If your nasal passages begin to burn, spend a day in your craft—it’s the high nitrogen; Beware of germs. Earth is crawling with germs. UV everything before leaving.

If you need mechanical assistance, I recommend Lee’s Universal Vehicle Repair in Albuquerque and Abe’s 24-Hour Garage on Long Island. Mention this bulletin to get twenty percent off.

Richard D. Key
Richard D. Key was born in Jacksonville, Fla., but now lives in Alabama where he works part-time as a pathologist. His writing has appeared in Adelaide Literary Magazine, American Writers Review, Bacopa Literary Review, The Broken Plate, Carbon Culture Review, Crack The Spine, Edify Fiction, Evening Street Review, Forge, Hawaii Pacific Review, HCE Review, The Penmen Review, Storgy, Streetlight Magazine, THEMA, and Tusculum Review. Find more of his work on his website:

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