By all credible accounts, the history of Amaryllian influence upon the planet once called Earth is without dispute. Any expert will tell you this. They will cite statistics on deaths by hippopotamus maiming, and so forth. This being so, it is also without dispute that the long relationship between the Amaryllians and the planet once called Earth has, until now, not been especially well understood.
I aim to correct any potential misunderstandings on the subject. To connect the dots, so to speak, so that I may fill my lungs with fresh air a final time.
It was not always so that the history of Amaryllian influence upon the planet once called Earth was without dispute. A hundred thousand years ago, no one would have believed this. Those professing secret knowledge about any of the four major Amaryllian visits to the planet once called Earth would have been immediately discredited. They would have been called crackpots or cranks. They would have been given a late night time slot on the History Channel.1
The planet once called Earth can be cruelly funny like that.
By chance, I had the opportunity to witness firsthand three of the four aforementioned Amaryllian visits to our world. More on this in a moment. The author must first clarify something of importance about himself: I am not, as one might describe it, a professional historian. I did not attend an accredited university nor have I ever acquired a legitimate degree in the field. My work, extensive though it may be, has been to this point pure amateurism. I, myself, have been called a crackpot and a crank and so on.
I do not resent such commentary. How could I? But it is also this type of misunderstanding that I aim to correct, if possible.
Back to the matter of my business with the Amaryllian influence upon the planet once called Earth. It was near on two years ago now. It was also a mistake. I should never have been given the opportunity to witness three of the four aforementioned Amaryllian trips to this godforsaken planet. It is possible the Amaryllians are efforting to correct this mistake.
Nevertheless, their error in judgement was this: They assumed I was a real, honest-to-goodness historian. As I have said, I am not. But Amaryllian emissaries to this world have never been particularly “up to speed” on human comings and goings. Much less the copyright specifics of a nine-volume, self-published magnum opus entitled, “A Short History of Anunnaki Mating Directives & Large-Scale Construction Projects in Ancient Sumer.”2
And so, when it came time for an Amaryllian cultural attaché to abduct his carefully selected historian from the planet once called Earth, it was into my small and woefully furnished home office he did appear.3
Consider now, for amusement’s sake, this altogether faithful reconstruction of our meeting:
INT. OFFICE – NIGHT
An AMATEUR HISTORIAN, a very old man aged in his mid-to-late 40s, works at a messy desk scattered with books and writing materials. He looks tired and sick, yet still heroic, despite everything. Out of thin air, an AMARYLLIAN dressed in a bright purple jumpsuit appears.
AMATEUR HISTORIAN (startled)
Jesus! Where the hell did you come from?
Good question. I come from Amaryll, a planet far from here.
Oh, you’re an Amaryllian. I know about you from the History Channel. Is it true you guys did the whole hippopotamuses thing?
What do you want with me?
You have been chosen for a mission of great importance to my people.
AMATEUR HISTORIAN (confused)
We require the assistance of a great historian, the finest this world has ever known, to set the record straight once and for all regarding the history of Amaryllian influence upon the planet once called Earth.
AMATEUR HISTORIAN (flattered)
I’m flattered. Wow. But are you sure you’ve got the right guy?
Are you not the esteemed author who penned “A Short History of Anunnaki Mating Directives & Large-Scale Construction Projects in Ancient Sumer?”
The AMATEUR HISTORIAN, coughing and out of breath, takes a book off a shelf. He gingerly blows dust from its cover and shows it to the AMARYLLIAN.
It says here I am.
Then you are to right a terrible wrong.
A short while later I was detached from spacetime for the very first time.
As for the Amaryllian cultural attaché who contacted me that night, he disappeared into nothingness upon conclusion of our conversation. I have not seen him, save for a brief follow-up later that evening, in two years hence. But it was he, in fact, who sent me hurdling through spacetime that evening. My first stop, he said before disappearing, was to be the second Amaryllian expedition to the planet once called Earth. This occurred in the year 3000 B.C.
And thus was I detached from spacetime and sent hurdling.4
What was it like, you ask, to be detached from everything I have always known to be true and real about existence? This is a silly question.
It was sensational.
Moving on: The year 3000 B.C. was very exciting for me. The weather was beautiful. Just an absolute bluebird of a day. If you are reading this, then you have never experienced beautiful weather. You have never experienced any weather at all. You breathe synthesized air. You are sick.
Things are much worse now on the planet once called Earth than they were in the year 3000 B.C.
The Amaryllians, it seemed, were not as pleased with the experience. In silence,5 I observed their interactions with a group of sturdy-looking ancient humans.
“This is… fine,” one Amaryllian was saying. He looked disappointed. The thing he was talking about was the famed sarsen stonework monument known to the planet once called Earth as Stonehenge.
“I guess it’s ok,” another Amaryllian said about Stonehenge.
“But the dead bodies,” said another. “Now that’s interesting. That’s wild stuff.”
The ancient humans were discouraged.
“We think it’s pretty good,” one of them said in return, ignoring the comment about dead bodies.6 He lived not far from the dead bodies buried at Stonehenge in a hut located in what would later become Wiltshire, England and even later become a mountain of poison metal. He lived under blue skies. He breathed fresh and clean air every day of his life. He was not sick.
“It could be taller,” said the first Amaryllian again. “Imagine if it was taller.”
The ancient humans who constructed Stonehenge could not imagine such a thing. It was near impossible to conceive in the year 3000 B.C. on the planet once called Earth. And so this exchange went on for some time with little progress. The Amaryllians, clearly, were not impressed with Stonehenge. They were in search of something more. They were looking for what the Amaryllian cultural attaché would describe to me as “a real wow moment.”
“We’ll be back soon,” said an Amaryllian finally to the ancient humans. “Keep up the good work.”
At this, the Amaryllians did what they did best. They disappeared, taking the idea of ceremonial burial with them.7 And they would not return, I learned, for another five hundred years.
Consider this: Half a millennia is nothing to the Amaryllians. Amaryllians live for a million years. To the Amaryllians, five hundred years is roughly equivalent to just two weeks of a normal human lifespan.8 So when they said they would be back soon, they meant it. But those healthy ancient humans had been dead and buried at Stonehenge for a while by the time the Amaryllians appeared again out of sweet, fragrant thin air. This was inconsequential. Because when the Amaryllians appeared, they did not appear at the burial site at Stonehenge. When the Amaryllians made their third visit to the planet once called Earth, they appeared at a different burial site in Egypt.
Where else would they have gone?
You may at this point be wondering why I was not afforded an eyewitness account of the very first Amaryllian expedition to the planet once called Earth. The answer is straightforward enough: The Amaryllians, bless their souls, were too embarrassed to show me.
What could possibly have been too embarrassing for an advanced race of spacetime-detaching aliens to show to an amateur historian from a backwater and dying world? Well, you see, upon the very first Amaryllian visit to the planet once called Earth, every Amaryllian involved was completely without clothing. That is, they came along naked. The reason for this was Amaryllian society, to that point, had yet to develop any social customs about clothing. And since the Amaryllians could not detach themselves to move forward in time any more than they could detach their heads to see over an obstacle, they had remained blind to their own destined future as a clothes-wearing people. The Amaryllians, as one might guess, were very embarrassed to make first contact with clothed prehistoric humans and discover underwear was a thing they could be doing.
The idea of clothing, it turned out, was the very first thing the Amaryllians took home from the planet once called Earth. It was half of a very lopsided cultural exchange.
And so, I was not allowed to see the naked Amaryllians. I was disappointed by this. As consolation, I was told the first Amaryllian visit to the planet once called Earth was actually very boring. So I wasn’t really missing out on anything anyway, I was told.
I believe this to be the only time the Amaryllians knowingly lied to me. Those good-for-nothing hippopotamuses could not have appeared out of thin air on their own.
And now must the author return the reader to the warm sands of Egypt. Yes, and that delicate Nile silt which breathed life into a fledgling swath of ancient humanity. To that great necropolis, to the Pyramids of Giza and Great Sphinx, we now travel.
Once more I filled my lungs with natural air, and all was right. Once more, too, was I made an audience to the private conversations of ancient human beings and their Amaryllian guests. What did I observe this time, at the second Amaryllian visit to the planet once called Earth? Nothing short of a breakthrough. History!
“We love this,” proclaimed gleefully the same Amaryllians who had thumbed their noses at darling, little Stonehenge.
“This is more like it,” they cheered.
“This is a real wow moment,” they cried.
The Great Pyramid and its shining limestone brethren are, as all else, slathered in cold steel now. They are brutalist monuments to the slow death of the world. But on that beautiful Egyptian day in 2500 B.C. on the planet once called Earth, these ancient wonders were beyond glorious. And suddenly, too, it was no wonder in my mind, no wonder at all, as to why the History Channel had so fervently believed ancient structures of this kind to have been secretly constructed by an extra terrestrial super-intelligence.
Anyone would believe this. Which was precisely the issue, I was to discover.
“You must teach us your secrets of construction,” an Amaryllian said. She was moved to tears upon witnessing the architectural beauty at hand. “Please, oh please. How desperate we are for such masterful building!”
“Yes, you must,” pleaded another. “Our world is so boring. It is so devoid of spirit and elegance and style.”
An Amaryllian was sobbing now: “Please… we need this.”
The ancient Egyptians eventually gave in. They could not help but do so. These poor creatures, who had detached themselves from the very fabric of spacetime just so that they might grovel and beg at humanity’s feet, were pathetic. It disgusted the ancient Egyptians, master builders of the world.
“Fine,” said an annoyed Egyptian.
“Oh, thank you, thank you,” replied one of the Amaryllians. “By the way, how are the hippopotamuses going?”
The answer: “Not great!”9
And so it was that the Amaryllian quest came to an end. To more than a dozen inhabited planets had it taken them. And in fifty million years, only Earth and its ancient humans had provided useful results or worn clothes or buried their dead. Now, at long last, could the Amaryllians begin to build. Now, finally, could the Amaryllians begin to beautify and advance their world. Now, at the end, could the Amaryllians take home yet another of humanity’s most enduring ideas.
This was a mistake.
Oh, and what of the fourth and final Amaryllian visit to the planet once called Earth? Surely, the Amaryllians would have had something to gain from visits paid to the ancient Mayans or Romans or Chinese, and so on?
Yes. Of course. Don’t be silly.
But the Amaryllians did not visit the ancient Mayans or Romans or Chinese. This is because the ancient Mayans and Romans and Chinese, along with all other ancient peoples, were long dead by the time the Amaryllians made it back to the planet once called Earth.
How sad is that?
Allow me to explain: As it turned out, the Amaryllians had previously booked for themselves, as a nice treat, a wintertime vacation away from Amaryll. Amaryllian winters are famously cruel. Such was passage on a fancy cruise ship touring a paradise moon chartered. Tickets were non-refundable.10
And so, thousands of years quickly passed before the Amaryllians were able to make their fourth and final visit to the planet once called Earth. It was a visit they made with trepidation. While away on vacation, they had begun to hear things, very rude things, being said about the humans back on the planet once called Earth. When they finally appeared, looking refreshed and happy and full of life after their lovely cruise, they were appalled by what they found. I hardly blame them.
This was the year 3000 A.D. Though considered distant future relative to the ancient humans of Stonehenge and Egypt, it remains ancient past relative to you, the intrepid reader, and I, your humble author. Having once more been detached from spacetime, I was on hand to observe this ancient past. To see what the Amaryllians saw. To breathe what the Amaryllians breathed.
What filled my lungs now was the despicable air of my home. Your home. Our terrible, rotten, no-good home.
“What the hell is this?” Said one of the Amaryllians, clearing his throat with a hacking cough. He was looking at the mountains of poison metal that grew, grew, grew from the hidden soil of a place once called “Cleveland, Ohio.”
A dense smog hung beneath a rusty sky. Nothing green lived. The planet, which was no longer called Earth, was already dying in the year 3000 A.D. And like the Amaryllian corpses of old, it was being left to rot, very much above ground.
“This is terrible!” Shouted a wheezing Amaryllian.
“I hate this!” Moaned someone else.
Asked another Amaryllian: “What happened here?”
What had happened was this: Humanity.
I was returned to my study. A glance at the clock told me no time at all had lapsed back in good old familiar spacetime. I was happy for this, having feared the ramifications of a botched reattachment. But as I have said, the Amaryllians are far too skilled at spacetime manipulation for that.
My skilled guide, the Amaryllian cultural attaché, made another brief appearance, his last. Reproduced here, in full, was our interaction:
INT. OFFICE – NIGHT
The AMATEUR HISTORIAN, back at his messy desk scattered with books and writing materials, still looks tired and sick. Out of thin air, an AMARYLLIAN dressed in a bright purple jumpsuit appears.
Welcome back. Now you understand why we have chosen you for this delicate mission of such great importance to my people.
I’m afraid I don’t.
The truth must be told.
Which truth is that now?
The AMARYLLIAN goes to an old television set across the room and turns it on. He flips through channels before stopping on a fuzzy broadcast. A man with large, outrageous hair is speaking about Stonehenge and the pyramids of Giza. A logo in the bottom corner of the screen reads: THE HISTORY CHANNEL.
This cannot stand!
AMATEUR HISTORIAN (confused)
The Amaryllians are not to blame for the pathetic state of humanity! The truth must be told. And you, the greatest historian this world has ever known, must be the one to tell it.
AMATEUR HISTORIAN (confused)
For a hundred thousand years these terrible and stupid lies have been spread about the history of Amaryllian influence upon the planet once called Earth. We have been getting raked over the coals by just about everyone for this. It stinks! It’s not fair!
What’s not fair about it? You just showed me how the Amaryllians visited Stonehenge and and Egypt and—
We only did the hippopotamuses!
AMATEUR HISTORIAN (confused)
The AMARYLLIAN points across the room at a man on the television with badly dyed hair who is talking about chariots and fire.
AMARYLLIAN (still angry)
We did not do these things! Yes, Amaryllians visited the planet once called Earth. But we did not erect your stone monuments or build your pyramids. We don’t even build our own structures anymore after seeing what happened to you. And while we are appreciative of the warning, we demand it be made clear that the Amaryllians did not set humanity on this path to self-destruction. You have only yourselves to blame for your terrible world of poison and death!
Ok, I think I’m getting it now. But why me?
The AMARYLLIAN, visibly upset, returns to the old television set. On the screen, a group of spiritual deities called Anunnaki are giving mating directives to men and women living in ancient Sumer. The AMARYLLIAN shuts off the television.
Because idiots will listen to people like you!
As I have already said, I have not seen my friend, the Amaryllian cultural attaché, for nearly two years. But my mission was clear. And so, I have spent these two long years, perhaps the last of my life, at work. The writing is difficult, the weight of my burden heavy. I am in desperate need of a good editor.
Still I persist.
This much, I owe to myself. And this much I owe to the Amaryllians, I suppose. They have gotten something of a bad rap in all this. But do I really care about the interstellar reputation of a spacetime-detaching alien species that lives for a million years and takes tropical cruises for millennia at a time and infested the world with terrifying hippopotamuses?
No, I do not.
But I wonder still, as poison air chokes the life out of my shriveled lungs, what I stand to gain by compliance with the Amaryllians’ requests. Not much, perhaps. But I dream.
How I dream!
And how I write. I write because, if by some of miracle occurrence of a smash hit publication, if by some stroke of good luck the Amaryllians fail to realize their mistake, I wonder still if this amateur historian might win for himself one last detachment from spacetime.
For I would very much like to breathe again the fresh air and see again the forgotten blue skies of the planet once called Earth.
1 The History Channel was a cable television network back when the planet once called Earth was still called Earth. Available in of millions of households around the world, it aired such programs as “Swamp People: Serpent Invasion” and “The Secret of Skinwalker Ranch” and “Ancient Aliens.” The latter of these programs was especially popular with crackpots and cranks. Archival re-runs air to this day.
2 Signed copies available upon request.
3 To say the Amaryllian cultural attaché “did appear” is as accurate a statement as there is to be made on the subject. Amaryllians, of course, have no need for physical transportation by way of vehicles or interstellar starships. Even so, most Amaryllians recognize that to simply materialize out of thin air before lesser beings would be considered rude. Amaryllians are quite considerate in this way. I can only assume my unexpected guest that night was either in a great hurry or a real jerk.
4 A brief note on spacetime: Detaching oneself, it turns out, is incredibly easy. Just the easiest thing there is. It’s the reattachment bit that’s tricky. And this is where the Amaryllians really shine. They are masters of spacetime reattachment. But they cannot go forward in time. The Amaryllians can only move backward in time, you see, with a corresponding return trip to the present. It is thought travel forward through time into the future is impossible.
5 I could not have spoken to or interacted with anyone in the past if I had tried. I was invisible to them. By the rules of spacetime detachment, this is how it works. I realize now I should have included this in the above note on spacetime. The author regrets the error.
6 The Amaryllian cultural attaché translated this and all other speech automatically for me. Such wonders!
7 This was a major breakthrough for the Amaryllians, for whom death occurred so infrequently. The result was the Amaryllians having never developed any unified customs regarding treatment of the dead. Many of their deceased were simply left to decay, very much above ground. Spooky!
8 Per government data, average male life expectancy grew to 49.8 years last cycle. For females, the average rose to 51.2. Ask yourself: Is this progress?
9 Ancient Egyptians were terrified of hippopotamuses. They did not care for them at all. They hunted the hippopotamuses who destroyed their crops and attacked their boats on the Nile River. They made hippopotamuses into evil gods. You can look this up. I am not kidding.
10 The idea of a cruise was wholly novel to the spacetime-detaching Amaryllians. They would no doubt say they learned a lot about “living in the moment” and about how “the journey is the destination” and other things of that nature.
11 About the hippopotamuses: The Amaryllians, it turns out, are the ones responsible for bringing them to the planet once called Earth. They are not a native species. Which is to say, hippopotamuses are aliens. And the Amaryllians, who are also aliens, thought they were doing something nice by bringing them along during their very first visit to the planet once called Earth (which, again, I was not allowed to see because everyone involved was naked). But the Amaryllians were, in fact, doing something bad. Hippopotamuses, you see, are unable to be domesticated. The Amaryllians did not know this. They envisioned these mammoth beasts as the perfect combination of what horses and cows would eventually become for the human species. They hoped hippopotamuses would be a thoughtful gift to boost the development of human civilization. But, again, hippopotamuses cannot be domesticated. They cannot be raised for food and cannot be trained or ridden. Hippopotamuses are, in truth, very dangerous to humans. They serve no natural purpose on the planet once called Earth. I can only assume the Amaryllians would have left the hippopotamuses wherever it was they found them had they known just how easily hippopotamuses can kill a human or how easily the development of civilization can kill humans. Fortunately, only three hippopotamuses remain alive in a smelly metal zoo somewhere in the place once called “Cleveland, Ohio.”