The coming of Shnork.

Imagine… a Lego man. A wee character. Two blocks for legs. Single-bob pieces make a torso. A single piece with bobs on three sides for a head, and a smaller bit for a hat. He’s no more than two inches high.

With him, imagine two pieces, each a bowed almost-half-circle with two bobs, connected by a four-bob piece.

This is Shnork, and his desk. Shnork is an alien, from the solar system of the planet Goofidon, only not from the Goofidon planet (which is an Earth-like planet) but from their equivalent of Saturn. They have flowers, but not so many and not like ours.

Shnork is a small alien foreign exchange student/tourist. Imagine him as a piquant Twoflower. He is living with us for now and occasionally makes sketches at his desk, or writes postcards to his mama and daddy. He sends these through Interstellar Mail, which tries to eat him. Occasionally. It’s a little scary. (I imagine Interstellar Mail as a kind of Galactic Pneumatic-tube System. A GPS, if you will, by which Shnork’s mama and daddy keep an eye on him. He’s very small, you know.)

When he is not writing postcards, he uses his desk as a jetpack. Like you do.

I introduced Shnork to the wee guy yesterday morning. He fell for Shnork like gangbusters. Shnork’s postcards became more frequent (because his postcards are me “reading” them: “Dear Mama and Daddy, …”). But I explained to the Boy that for Shnork to have things to write about, G had to explain the world to Shnork.

We took him to Old Town (here in San Diego) and introduced him to all kinds of interesting 1850’s S. California life. We met a gathering of old-man trees, great big trees, gnarly and twisty with rough, ridged gray bark like it had been striated vertically with forks, and long, slender, twisted limbs and clouds of fern-like leaves, like fingers and hands covered by the fluffy hair that grows from the forearms and ears of very old men.

We introduced Shnork to mail wagons and a delivery wagon very much like Pa Ingalls’s wagon (so much so that it inspired a story–more later). He was impressed by horses. He wrote that they are “giants with shining shoulders who could step on us but don’t. They jingle and wear the skins of other beasts. Love, Shnork.” Shnork liked that I forgot my wallet when we ate and had to go back to the car for it. He wrote that I “forgot my currency in the gray conveyance and needed it for food.”

The idea was that Shnork has many questions and Geeklet was responsible for telling him all about the world. Who would have lived in the bedrooms of the hacienda museum? What were these wagons for? What is an outhouse? When the boy didn’t know, he asked me, and we talked about it–how wells were dug, what hurricane lamps were for, how to tell if someone was wealthy and what made them wealthy in those days. Why the outhouse would have been so much further from the house. Then he’d tell Shnork, and Shnork would reiterate it in foreign/visitor language (imagine a digitized E.T. voice talking about “Earth history”).

I think we’ll let him stay. He’s a lot of fun, he has a jet pack for goodness sake, and he encourages my guy to look around for interesting things to introduce to Shnork. And his room and board are minimal.


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