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Dear 8B

Matt Mikalatos cares deeply about good manners in cross-species interactions. Links to more of his short stories are here at Daily Science Fiction, and you can also check out his blog at norvillerogers.com.

Dear 8B,
I may have accidentally laid eggs in a human. What is the proper way to inform him of his impending role as my children's first meal?
--Baby Momma
Dear Baby Momma,
"Accidentally?" I suppose you "accidentally" built a warp drive as a child. Nevertheless, what's done is done. Take care when explaining the situation. Your initial faux pas strains the boundaries of good manners, and humans are notoriously vengeful. He may try to destroy you, or remove your eggs. Remind him that the needs of the six dozen outweigh the need of the one. A well-crafted apology can only help, so have one ready. Best of luck and congratulations!
Dear 8B,
My herald recently introduced me to a planet lush and full of life, and I would like to eat it. The inhabitants claim to be sentient but honestly, I think they're exaggerating. What should I do?
--Not Galactus
Dear "Not" Galactus,
Earth is a hip destination for many young aliens, so although you have no respect for human life, try to show some for the rest of us. Don't eat more than a fifth of any one generation. Also, kindly tell your herald to do his job. I know for a fact this is the fifteenth time he's taken you to Earth in as many years.
Dear 8B,
I moved in with an Earth boy several months ago. He's great, but has a few niggling defects. He's overly emotional, he doesn't obey my mental commands, and he often fails to replace the toilet paper roll. So I made a pod version of him. When he found out, he went crazy. He even killed his duplicate! He won't listen to anything I say. Help!
--Almost Perfect, Except for All the Murdering
Dear Almost,
Have you tried turning his boss or an unpleasant family member into a pod person? He needs to see for himself the benefit of a perfected double. On the other tentacle, can you see that making a genetically superior double may have inadvertently communicated a lack of affection for his core self? Sounds like you owe someone an apology.
Dear 8B,
I'm trying to nap but the Earthlings keep waking me with their incessant chanting. How can I politely let them know I need my beauty rest?
--Sleepless in R'yleh
Dear Sleepless,
Every time you rise from the depths to show your displeasure, you encourage more interaction. I suggest teaching them some "white noise" nonsense phrases. Then you can snooze in peace, lulled to dreamland by the very rituals designed to wake you.
Dear 8B,
Old people got in our regeneration pool and destroyed our cocoons. We're pretty mad but don't want to do anything illegal. Suggestions?
--Long Journey for Nothing
Dear LJN,
If I were you I'd tell the humans they could live forever on my home planet and once they were on board take them to the proper authorities for a trial.
Dear 8B,
Sometimes we feel like our planet is the center of the universe. Every other day it's invasion this, alien arrival that. It's getting old. We're wondering how to keep unwanted visitors from invading our planet?
--United Nations of Earth
Dear Earthlings,
You could do as your neighbors the Martians have done and pretend not to be home when unwanted visitors arrive. Should that prove too subtle it's always an option to move and leave no forwarding address. It is considered good manners to leave a note letting others know you are done with your planet in such a situation.
The End
This story was first published on Wednesday, September 16th, 2015

Author Comments

This story came about in one of the writing contests on Codex. I had just found out that "Dear Abby" writer Pauline Phillips had died (some time before, actually, but I had just discovered that fact). I wanted to write a sort of homage to her, and the first thing that popped into my head was "What is the polite thing to do if you've just laid eggs in a human?" I eventually cut some favorites, including the hunter who came to earth seeking human prey and the extraterrestrial tourist who got trapped on Earth and wanted to take an earth kid home with him. But there will be time to cover those important topics in 8B's next column. Rest in peace, Mrs. Phillips.

- Matt Mikalatos
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