Toke Shemoya could keep a secret. In fact, privacy laws didn’t exist on his home planet. He explained as much during his first full body massage on Planet Earth, which certainly stood to amuse Arnold Toulet beyond the local “happy pores” baking hour.
Arnold himself was an adult learner when it came to overpopulating his weekly appointment book like a true American dolt, but he refused to feel overwhelmed. He went about his work, clipping human hair and shaping overrun fingernails as if there was nothing truly alien about the polite Asian man sitting before him. Not his cascading lies. Not the distance in his fertile eyes as he gazed past Arnold’s flashing dental veneer.
Toke had an explanation for everything. Did everyone look like him where he came from? Not exactly, but if he had children he would never recognize them for what they were. Copulation didn’t exist in his society. All schools and nursing homes were situated underground. No one was ever too underqualified to take up a trade job. Disagreements never escalated to common acts of violence. No one ever went hungry, nor was a day’s energy ever wasted. In fact, the only reason Toke had decided to visit Earth in the first place was to rehab what appeared to be a broken ankle in his new human form.
Rather than misstep directly over Toke’s foot cast to see whether or not he was for real, Arnold asked the obvious question. Was there ever a better reason to embark on intergalactic space travel than out of sheer boredom?
Toke explained the real reason he had come as far as he had just for a full price manicure and “all of the above” muscle group rub. His given race, the Nobunagans, were a very passionate race. They only had the capacity to be moved by one thing, and that one thing was their home star. Not Helios, Aditya, Cyrus, Surya, or whatever humanity had deemed their sustaining life force in the sky this millennia.
Aira, orange god of the heavens, was Toke’s motivation for creating beauty in his world. A world without anger or promiscuity or even water, just the honest workday and the offbeat arts. At least this was Arnold’s opinion once Toke explained himself further. Had he damned himself to idle time on one good “tentacle” as earthbound westerners had deemed them under Aira’s miraculous starlight his heart would’ve surely exploded.
Arnold found himself rather perplexed by this new revelation. More likely than not, his latest client was a key playmaker for a local soccer club and was suffering from a serious case of heat stroke. Either way, he watched Toke limp his way back out into the only world he’d ever know before long. Rather than suggest that his new friend see the Eiffel tower at dawn or sail Venetian canals under starry moonlight, he simply set his mind at ease. If there was indeed life on other planets, they were high-functioning addicts. Addicts with no intention of learning how to conquer something that could never be extinguished, only burn slowly before swiftly fading out like Arnold’s old camarades back in Lille.
If only he could keep a secret like his new friend. Slave to the winking cosmos, not the daily grind.