That day
(Translation: Daniel W. Koon)
Axxón 128 – July 2003

          That day…
          That day 64 year old Li Chan Huao graduated in Architecture from the University of Beijing; the Party congratulated him. That day 1526 children died of AIDS in Africa. That day another antigrav experiment failed at Bell Labs; the company spokesperson declared that the theoretical objectives had been 100% fulfilled. That day the Colombian lawyer Jorge Domínguez could not find any reason not to fire the revolver resting against his forehead; boom. That day 60 Pakistani and 70 Indian soldiers died in a skirmish in Kashmir; each government blamed the other for the incident. That day 16 year old Bulgarian Irina Korometieva tried cocaine for the first time in a pub in Soho, London; forty minutes later she was no longer a virgin. That day Snow, the albino raccoon at the Los Angeles Zoo, died of old age; she was 12 years old. That day Liberal delegate Shiro Mashimoto declared his homosexuality in front of the Imperial Japanese Diet. That day the Norwegian Daag Svensen set a new Guinness world record by opening 156 consecutive bottles of beer with his teeth; Colgate signed him up as a spokesman. That day the Belgian pedophile Jean Louise Lambert, 54 years old, was sentenced to life imprisonment; he was convicted as a result of evidence discovered on the Internet. That day Cameroon sorghum farmer Mvamba Obango looked into the heavens and asked God why he was so poor; God did not answer him. That day the European parliament continued its discussion on the legalization of marijuana; there was no consensus. That day gay porno star Jeff Stryker announced his retirement; an official day of mourning was declared in San Francisco. That day German stuntman Rutger Ender fell from his motorcycle while attempting to jump over the Grand Canyon; he suffered minor injuries. That day 6 year old Morivangsin Anaragaragh learned his first letter in Dakka, Bangladesh.
          That day, in other words, nothing particular happened, until, suddenly….
          They appeared.
          Unidentifiable blips appeared on the sonar of the Russian nuclear submarine Minsk. Fifteen metallic parallepipeds six meters tall appeared moving slowly down the Champs d’Elysées in Paris. Mauve clouds appeared over Ulan-Bator in Mongolia; it rained frogs and live fish. The Loch Ness monster appeared before spectators who were following a regatta on the Scottish lake; but even this time they failed to get his picture. Five unusual pyramids of brilliant quartz appeared next to those of Cheops, Gizeh and Micerinos, and nobody could touch them; they were surrounded by a strong repulsive force field. Some prolate forms kilometers across appeared in a photo of the asteroid belt taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. Billions of tiny blue insects appeared in the Echeverrías’ living room in Guayaquil, Ecuador; when Gloria, their native servant, tried to sweep them away, she received a powerful electrical discharge along the length of her broom. Two bills of one million dollars each appeared in the safety deposit box of a respectable bank in Lausanne, Switzerland. Ten leafless trees appeared out of nowhere in the Saharan oasis of Sidi-Al-Fayum; they measured nearly 300m in height. Six identical Colonel Ulrich Ohms appeared at the Tempelhof military airport in Germany; each one swearing to be genuine. Red stains in the snow appeared outside the Russian Station Mimi in the Antarctic; in a matter of minutes they spread, turning the entire surroundings scarlet. Millions of homing pigeons appeared above the skies of Wisconsin; they had become extinct more than a hundred years previously. Several strange wheelless vehicles appeared floating 6 inches above the surface of a parking lot in Ginza, Tokyo.
          So many things and beings appeared and appeared within such a short space of time, that all human beings, at once, came to the same conclusion: finally, they had arrived…
          The extraterrestrials…
          The extraterrestrials who settled with their ship in Central Park in New York were humanoids of bluegreen skin; with perfect English, they claimed to have come from the Andromeda Nebula and said that they wanted to see a Broadway musical. The extraterrestrials who traveled in the immense prolate ships detected between Mars and Jupiter watched from a distance without even approaching Earth. The humanoid extraterrestrials with large heads and oblique black eyes that entered Simón Waleska’s store in Iquitos, Peru, asked in horrible Spanish for a bottle of Graujanga, well chilled and, because he didn’t have any, Simón gave them Coca-Cola; they spat it out in disgust. The arboreal extraterrestrials rising up around at Sidi-Al-Fayum did not react to either the cries or the gunfire of the Bedouins but in a matter of minutes drank up all the water in the oasis and flowered. The extraterrestrials who materialized in the Gobi desert were bipedal tongueless reptiles which communicated only by gestures, but the Mongol shepherds nevertheless offered them the kumis (mare’s milk) of hospitality; this delighted them. The extraterrestrials that rose laughing to their floating vehicle in the Ginza parking lot and who might have passed for human children if it weren’t for their large batlike ears, played tag for hours…walking through a wall every once in a while. The titanic extraterrestrials and pyramids in Egypt did nothing, but neither did they let anyone near. The red extraterrestrials of the Antarctic turned out to be colonies of intelligent bacteria which distributed themselves over the snow forming letters, words and sentences, all written in Sanskrit, which nobody who was present could read; although, from the starmap that they drew, one geographer calculated that they had come from Proxima Centauri. The extraterrestrials who impersonated Ulrich Ohm began to change in an ever accelerating manner; before the eyes of the real, astonished Ulrich Ohm and his military colleagues there appeared rapidly and successively 5 Madonnas, 2 Hitlers and 3 Mussolinis, 4 Mahatma Ghandis and one Umberto Eco and finally, again, 5 Ulrich Ohms. The very short extraterrestrials who resembled angry black dwarves who teleported into the plexiglass booths in Amsterdam were received with shouts of horror by the women who were exhibiting their scantily clad bodies there; seconds later one could hear only intense moans of pleasure. The two extraterrestrials who resembled million dollar bills ate all the money in the vault of the small and respectable Swiss bank; their appearance changed then into bills of 100 million dollars apiece. The extraterrestrials who emerged from the sewers underneath the immense Avenida Libertador in Buenos Aires resembled gigantic praying mantises with spacesuits; there were so many, so very many, that they began to parade along the boulevard, and neither the police nor the Argentine military dared to lift a finger … even when thousands began to die in plain view on the street. The aquatic extraterrestrials who surrounded the Russian nuclear sub Minsk did not even bother to communicate with the crew; but they engaged all the whales and dolphins within miles in a lively conversation.
          Extraterrestrials of all types, sizes and origins seemed to have invaded Earth at once, and humanity held its breath, waiting. But, aside from a few minor annoyances, the aliens seemed only interested in one thing: watching.
          They saw…
          They saw pornography and electronic credit cards. They saw the Ganges River in front of the holy city of Benares and the Spanish steps in Rome. They saw Michael Jackson and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington. They saw war and contact sports. They saw Macchu Picchu and Victoria Falls on the Zambezi River. They saw Sergei Bubka and Tom Clancy. They saw polyester shirts and family 4x4 utility wagons. They saw the Kalahari desert and Lake Tanganyika. They saw underwater fishing, divorces and psychiatric hospitals. They saw the smoking crater of Mount Vesuvius and Ascension Island. They saw firearms and frozen dinners. They saw AIDS and the Wonderbra. They saw a sermon by Father Constantine at Mount Athos and a Britney Spears concert in Moscow. They saw inline skates and crop rotation. They saw a retrospective of Picasso and they saw Cristo wrapping the Sydney Opera House in polyethylene. They saw Komodo dragons and the bones of the last Dodo on the Mauritius Islands. They saw acrobatic parachuting and mass suicide. They saw the maelstroms in front of the Scandinavian coast of Lofoden and Mammoth Caverns in the USA. They saw the Rolling Stones performing live and the mummy of Elvis Presley. They saw the birth of twin giant pandas at the Shanghai Zoo and the failed transplant of the first human brain. They saw cable TV and bicycles. They saw Saddam Hussein and Pamela Anderson. They saw the Faroe Islands and the International Space Station. They saw offshore oil rigs and discotheques. They saw a videogame of Batman vs the Joker and another one of Christ vs Satan. They saw scenes of cannibalism in Uganda and a palace on the Unter den Linden in Berlin. They saw Pennsylvania coal mines and a Finnish circus artist whose act consisted of blowing smoke out of her vagina. They saw the Auschwitz concentration camp and the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur. They saw a debate between the Republican and Democratic presidential candidates in Philadelphia and the elections in Iceland. They saw an execution by lethal injection in a federal prison in Cincinnati, USA and the ritual self-castration of a Brahmin fakir in Calcutta.
          They saw so many things that one could almost say that they had seen all the Earth. And, when humanity was expecting the worst (like, for example, to be judged, condemned and exterminated),…
          They left.
          The intelligent red bacteria and the bipedal reptiles and the immense pyramids left. They left and the song of all the whales in the Pacific Ocean changed. They left and the servant in Guayaquil refused to sweep again, while dozens of young women in Amsterdam sighed nostalgically. They left and thousands of cults, sects, and churches appeared, which spoke of the Cosmic God and the Sacred Landing, and thousands of others disappeared without a sound. They left, leaving behind two extra tickets for Cats on a flattened circle of grass in Central Park in Manhattan and 200 million fewer dollars in a Swiss bank. They left and the UN, NASA, the European Space Agency and the Pentagon unleashed a frenzy of secret meetings. They left, leaving behind hundreds of thousands of insectoid cadavers along Avenida Libertador which the Argentine sanitation workers refused to clean up, a little puddle of Coca Cola next to Simón Waleska’s shop in Iquitos and a dry oasis in the Sahara. They left and X-Files TV show ripoffs multiplied like a plague. They left and some were so moved that they did not want to believe that they had gone, and others began to distrust all their neighbors and even themselves. They left and there were waves of marriages, the birthrate went through the roof, and people started to talk about a baby boom. They left and painting and music experienced an explosion of vanguardism under the banner of “Postvisitation”. They left and the Spanish parliament banned dog fights as cruel and inhumane, and the death penalty was instituted in Islamic Yemen for the consumption of alcohol. They left and millionaire Rufus Wallace announced his plans to construct a private space fleet to go into the cosmos to hunt for them. They left and three days later a typhoon devastated the Philippines. They left and some sighed with relief while others cried in disappointment. They left and the Monster of Florence killed once more. They left and the majority of people shrugged their shoulders and tried to carry on as before… and some even pulled it off. They left and scientists speculated about the reason that they had left; some said that they were afraid of humankind, others that they felt guilt; the third group that they felt disgust; and the fourth, simple envy…
          Everyone discussed, everyone hypothesized… Every human being seems to have his own theory and a thousand proofs to support it. But everyone asks the same question:
          Will they return?
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