The noise of battle had died away. Commander Garm and the Jerther each lay motionless on the snowy tundra which was stained red with blood, the fluid that circulates in the heart, arteries, capillaries, and veins of vertebrate animals, delivering nourishment and oxygen to every part of the body.

Slowly, sluggishly, Commander Garm rose, narrowing his eyes and tilting his head painfully toward the Jerther, whose lifeless reptilian hand still clutched his fizz-gun. “Fat lot of good it did ya,” Garm snorted, eyeballing the gleaming sidearm and laughing, which is when one shows emotion (such as amusement, mirth, or scorn) with an explosive vocal sound or chuckle. “Synonyms for ‘laugh’ include ‘chortle,’ ‘gurgle,’ ‘snicker,’ and ‘titter,’” Commander Garm told the dead alien for no discernible reason.

Seeing something out of the corner of his eye, Commander Garm whirled around, only to be confronted by his own Starfighter, which had been sliced into a zillion pieces. He looked everywhere—this way, that way, this way, that way, this way, that way, this way, that way, this way, that way, this way, this way, this way, this way, that way, that way, that way, that way—and everywhere he looked, he saw twisted metal hunks of spaceship debris!

How would he get back to Earth? “Sure,” Commander Garm thought to himself, “Earth is the third planet from the Sun. And sure, etymologically, the word ‘Earth’ derives from the Middle English ‘erthe,’ as well as from the Old English ‘eorthe.’ But we must ALSO remember that the word ‘Earth’ is akin to the Old High German ‘erda,’ and the Greek ‘era.’” Thank goodness Commander Garm remembered that, for it might come in handy in the future. “And even if it doesn’t,” Garm reasoned, “I’m glad that I know it! Why, if I were a character in a science fiction story, it would be a sure sign of good writing to have a brave, resourceful character such as myself rattle off such seemingly-useless facts!”

With great effort, Commander Garm staggered toward the Jerther and waved a glowing red orb over his adversary’s corpse. The little crimson sphere was a standard-issue InfoDeck, a device used to scan for technical data. Garm was using it to see if the Jerther’s corpse held a clue that could help him get back home.

Suddenly, the InfoDeck let out a loud PING! Garm opened up the Jerther’s left jacket pocket and found a holo-diary. Paydirt! The stalwart Commander turned on the holographic journal and listened to its most recent entry: “Call me Ishmael. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Now this is a story all about how my life got flipped, turned upside-down. And I’d like to take a moment, just sit right there. I’ll tell you how I became the prince of a town called ALIEN PLANET.”

Commander Garm considered what he’d just heard. “A PRINCE, eh?” he mused. “Wonder if he has a treasure hidden anywhere.” But Garm didn’t have time to think about that sort of thing. He had to figure out a way to get off this overgrown ice cube. The frost-covered planet he was stranded on was known as Cuthbert’s World, but all Garm could think about was the sheer size of the place. Cuthbert’s World was big. But saying that isn’t really doing it justice. Cuthbert’s World was immense. Colossal. Huge. Gigantic. King-sized. Elephantine. Vast. Bulky. Substantial. Gargantuan. Jumbo. Monstrous. Cumbersome. Large. Oversized. Ample. Hefty. Massive. Brobdingnagian, even. Enormous, you might say. In other words, it was NOT small.

But even though he was a mere dot in the middle of an immense arctic wasteland, Commander Garm was soon spotted by a medical shuttle passing overhead. The blood from his skirmish with the Jerther, the same blood that stained the ground beneath his feet, had acted as a beacon of sorts, and attracted the compact vessel. When the shuttle landed, a statuesque purple-skinned woman in a white lab coat stepped out. She wore a stethoscope around her neck. Once she saw how bruised and bloody Garm was, the alien medic approached him with a concerned look on her face. But she did not speak any language Garm was familiar with. She simply said, “Yobble yobble yobble yobble yobble yobble yobble yobble yobble yobble yobble yobble yobble yobble yobble yobble yobble yobble yobble yobble yobble yobble yobble yobble geep geep geep!”

Just then, Commander Garm realized he had forgotten to activate his universal translator. He flipped it on. Now he would be able to understand the comely alien doctor. “My name is Visa Mastercard. Come with me,” she chirped, motioning to her ship. “I can heal your wounds, which are injuries to the body that typically involve the breaking of a membrane (such as the skin), or laceration and damage to underlying tissues.” Garm chuckled. “Doctors sure use a lot of twenty-dollar words,” he thought to himself.

As he entered Visa’s ship and departed the merciless hell that was Cuthbert’s World, Garm remembered the sage advice his father told him before he died: “Live long and prosper, but also use the Force. So say we all. And remember, ape shall not kill ape. After all, we’re the Guardians of the Galaxy, bitch!”

Truer words were never spoken.


And now a quick joke...

Maeve, age 10: kale is a food I feed my guinea pig. It costs $1 for a huge bag. My guinea pig loves it, but it is all she knows. Maeve, age 23: kale is a food I feed myself. It costs $15 for a tiny bowl. I love it, but it is all I know.