The Trouble with Tybalt

Flash Fiction Month 2014, Day 19

Challenge #9: Write a science fiction story featuring at least one non-human character. It must also include the phrase “It’s life, Jim, but not as we know it.”

“What light through yonder window breaks?

It’s life, Jim, but not as we know it.”

“Beautiful,” whispered Splirda from the front row, dabbing a tissue to her eye with one of her many facial gnathopods. “He may be young, but I doubt there’s been such a moving performance since Lemon Nimrod originally took to the stage a thousand years ago.”

Splurg leaned forward, peering through his thick omnifocals. “I don’t get it,” he grumped. “Who’s that guy? What’s going on? Why is that battleturret made of plywood?”

Splirda sighed, exasperated. “That’s Romulo. He’s in deeply in love with Juliet, but they can’t be together because he’s a Montagen and she’s a Capulet: Montag II is stuck in a bitter war with planet Capule, much to the consternation of the United Federation of Planets. The plywood battleturret is part of a sacred Thespian tradition. They don’t use any hologimmickry in these performances.”

“O Romulo, Romulo, Wherefore art thou Romulo?

Deny thy D’era and refuse thy fame;

Or, if thou wilt not…”

“Why is the female Earth-creature flailing about like that?”

“It’s an all-human acting troupe. They’ve only got the two arms so they’ve got to move about a lot in order to convey the proper sense of drama.” She leaned in close. “If you’d gone to last week’s performance of Othello 2: Moore’s the Pity you’d know all about it. They held a very informative Q and A session afterwards.”

Splurg blew contemptuously through his five lips. “If you have to know all this stuff for it to make sense, it can’t be very good.”

Sprilda harrumphed and turned her attention to the play.

Things went on much as they had done before, and Splurg almost dozed off. But then something changed. There was a scuffle of activity on stage as the one known as Mercutron drew a raygun from his belt.

“Tribbalt, you rat-blaster, will you walk?”

“I am for you.” Tribbalt drew his too.

Romulo approached, his gently flailing arms perfectly illustrating his wish for peace. “Come Mercutron, put thy phaser up.”

But alas, it was in vain. Mercutron and Tribbalt lunged for one another, both weapons scattering really far away across the stage. As they began to grapple, blaring music rose from the orchestra.

Suddenly, Splurg realised that he was really quite enjoying this, and Sprilda knew it. “Okay,” he said reluctantly. “It’s not all bad, I guess.”

“I told you!” Sprilda beamed. “William Shatner’s the best playwright who ever lived!”


If you’ve enjoyed this story, you can find my work from Flash Fiction Month 2012 and 2013 collected in OCR is Not the Only Font and Red Herring respectively.

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2 comments

    • Damon Wakes

      Unfortunately, that play won’t exist until 2132, when the last surviving manuscript of Othello is accedintally placed in the same folder as the last remaining VHS tape of Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo as a result of the infamous Pudding Riots.

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