Over the years some of my columns have featured my robot friend KB11.2 (Kaybe) and other space aliens with whom I hang out at the Enchantment, a dingy roadhouse north of here. I occurred to me that I’ve never introduced Kaybe’s family. I’d like readers to get acquainted with them this holiday season in a short story that is just “outta this world”!!
My Alien friend Kaybe looks like a giant tuna fish can. Erector Set arms sprout from the curved sides of his body. Three spindly legs drop from the flat underside of his stainless steel torso. He has ball bearing wheels for feet, and three sensor-eyes wave at you from the ends of floppy antennae on the top his lid.
Kaybe comes from the Alpha Centauri star system. Many years ago on a visit to Earth, Kaybe saved my marriage. We have been friends ever since. Kaybe communicates telepathically– his voice comes into your mind. When we speak English, Kaybe sounds like CNN’s Anderson Cooper. When we speak Spanish he sounds like the Mexican comedian Cantinflas.
We meet, as I said, in a back booth at the Enchantment where I spend quiet evenings sipping a soft drink. No one at the Enchantment pays any attention when Kaybe rolls up to my booth. Half the patrons are space aliens themselves, including the waitress, Four Finger Fannie, and customers Harry the Hulk and Miniature Mike.
Kaybe’s wife is named Zeeruba. They’ve been married for many an earth year. Zeeruba comes from Hebe, a minor planet in the Andromeda galaxy. She chose to keep her maiden name rather than become “Mrs. 11.2.”. Everyone calls her “Ms. Zee.” Zee is as square as Kaybe is round, but she has the same kind of ball bearing wheels for feet, and the same three sensor eyes that wave at you from the ends of floppy antennae on top or her lid.
Hebians communicate differently from robots on Kaybe’s planet. Hebians communicate with a pleasant musical tone I can best describe as series of beeps that microwave ovens make to tell you that your Pop Tarts© are warm. A room full of chattering Hebians is a very tuneful place.
Kaybe met Zeeruba at a singles dance one night when Kaybe stopped by the planet Hebe on a trip through the Andromeda galaxy. The dance floor was crowded but none of the couples were robots. Zeeruba looked lonely standing at the edge of the dance floor. Kaybe rolled up and gave her a big telepathic “HI”. Hebians don’t receive telepathic messages, but Zeeruba, was happy to see a familiar robot shape, and beeped a happy greeting.
Attracted to each other, but unable to converse, the two looked around the dance floor for a translation station. The Galactic Supreme Council’s Polyglot Communication Committee provides translation stations on virtually all planets except Earth. Kaybe and Zeeruba found a nook with a translation station, ordered refreshments, and began to chat as if they had known each other a long time.
By the time the evening was over the two agreed to meet again soon. Over time their friendship blossomed into robotic love and they sought out a clergy-robot. They had an official diode exchange in a beautiful ceremony attended by their loved ones. After a gala galactic honeymoon, Kaybe and Zeeruba found a little place on Hebe and settled down and were very happy.
After a while Kaybe and Zeeruba decided it was time to start a family, so they went to the local hardware store and picked up what they needed. A week later, Voila! There was Kay-Ruba 11.3. Everyone calls him Reebie. Young Reebie has some of Kaybe’s round features and some of Zeeruba’s square features, but young Reebie has four sensor eyes at the ends of the antennae that sprout from the top of his lid. He communicates both telepathically like his dad and with beeps like his mom. And boy, does he ever communicate! Kaybe and Zeeruba are certainly not taciturn, but you’d think they were when Reebie is around—your mind is full of telepathic messages and the air is filled with beeps. Reebie is very intelligent and he seeks inputs from all the galaxies. That’s how he came to learn about Christmas, here on our little planet in the Andromeda sector of the Milky Way galaxy.
“Hey Dad,” he said telepathically to Kaybe, and beeped to Zeeruba, “I want to celebrate Christmas.”
And so it was that a few days before Christmas, Emmaline and I heard a knock at the door. When we opened it, there stood Kaybe, Zeeruba and young Reebie Their Erector set arms were loaded with bright, beautifully wrapped packages. Some of the packages shone with a cosmic glow, while some others hummed, beeped or whistled quietly. We invited them to stay at our house for the holidays. After they got settled in, we all went down to the Enchantment for a soft drink. A big holiday party was in full swing. Four Finger Fannie took the night off from waiting tables and joined in the fun. Miniature Mike and Harry the Hulk and the other space aliens welcomed us. We sang (and beeped and telepathed, and in other ways communicated carols and songs of the holidays. And, cliché or not, the phrase fits: “A good time was had by all.” And that, in cosmic terms, is a great deal indeed.
Dr. Larry day is a retired J-School professor turned humor writer. His book, Day Dreaming: Tales From the Fourth Dementia is available for purchase via his website: http://www.daydreaming.co