Culture Clash




            “That was truly disgusting!”


            “Hey!”  Melissa exclaimed as she hastily wrapped a towel around her soaking wet naked body.  “What are you doing in here?!  You almost gave me a heart attack!”


            “I was just watching you waste water like it was sand.”


            “I was just taking a shower.”  Melissa calmed down a bit and adjusted her towel so it would stay up on its own.  There really was no reason for modesty when she thought about it.  “I take it they don’t have much water where you come from.”


            “It is our most limited resource.”  Trevary stated almost proudly.  He turned his head to the side to get a better look at his new companion.  “I didn’t realize that your outer layer of pigment came off so easily, I was a little distressed when you peeled it off.  Will it grow back?”


            “What are you babbling about?”


            Trevary pointed at the crumpled pile of clothing on the floor with a slender finger.


            “Oh, my clothes.”  Melissa said finally catching on.  “No, they aren’t really a part of me, they are manufactured.  I just put on new ones when I’m clean.”


            “More waste.”  Trevary clicked disapprovingly.


            “I’m not just going to throw them away, I’ll wash them and wear them again.”


            “I suppose you’ll wash them in more water.”


            “Of course, what else?  Oh, sorry, I keep forgetting where you’re from.”  Melissa laughed suddenly.  “Although I don’t know how that keeps slipping my mind.  I mean, just look at you!  It’s hard to be believe!”


            Trevary looked down at his sinuous scaly body with a critical eye, which left three eyes to keep looking at Melissa with.  “What’s wrong with the way I look?”


            “Well you’re not exactly human now are you?”


            “Perish the thought!”


            “All I meant by it was that it is weird how I keep forgetting that you’re from...where was it that you said you were from again?”




            “Right.”  Melissa thought about that for a second, all she knew about Denibi was that it was several light years away, according to Trevary.  “How is it that you speak English?”


            “Telepathy, of course.”




            “You don’t have telepathy?”






            “Anyway, I’m going to be late for work, so out of my way.”  Melissa moved over to the sink and pulled out a toothbrush and paste.  When she saw Trevary’s disapproving eyes (both sets) she turned off the running tap, she never really thought about the fact that she usually just let the water run while she brushed.  With so much water on Earth it hardly mattered.


            “What are you doing now?”  Trevary questioned, she appeared to be jabbing at her soft mouth parts with a stick.


            “Ushing ma teeet.”




            “Brushing my teeth.”  Melissa repeated after spitting.  On an impulse she bared her froth covered teeth at the alien.  He backed away with a liquid like motion and clicked his horny beak in acute disapproval.


            “Why?”  He asked. 


            “To keep my teeth from rotting, I’m not sure quite how it works, something about the fluoride....”


            “Fluoride?!”  Trevary cried in obvious alarm rearing back on the hind legs of his centaur-like body.


            “Whoa!”  Melissa, foaming at the mouth, put her hands up in self defense.  The bathroom was crowed enough without a panicking Denibian.  “What’s wrong?”


            “Fluoride is a deadly poison!”  Trevary had backed as much of his body as he could into the shower and was rapidly drawing air through the gill-like slits in his long throat.


            Melissa stared down at the messy toothbrush in her hand.  “Well, the tube does warn against swallowing, but I don’t think...”  Melissa suddenly noticed that Trevary’s eyes were turning a milky blue color.  She wasn’t sure if he was just panicking or if he was really reacting to the toothpaste, but he wasn’t looking very healthy all of a sudden.


            Thinking furiously she decided to rinse out her mouth and brush and send the evil fluoride down the sink.  The change in Trevary was immediate, and although he had crumpled to the floor his eyes were clearing up and returning to their original orange color.


            “I never thought that everyday oral hygiene could be so dangerous.”  Melissa mused half jokingly.  She was just glad that Trevary was going to be okay.  He had been marooned on Earth by his political enemies only yesterday, but she had already grown attached to him.


            “I want to go home!”  Trevary wailed.