I don’t know why this is probably my favorite of my science fiction stories, but it is. I wrote it last year for Story A Day May, which I plan to try again this year.
“Greenhorns” is slang for bird-like humanoid aliens in this piece. It’s part of my science fiction collection from Per Bastet Publications, OTHER EARTH, OTHER STARS.
The Sorriest Greenhorn — excerpt
by Marian Allen
Between the Earth American he’d learned and the Greenhorn whistles he’d taught me, we did okay on the farm. Harder for him than it was for me, though, because I always been a good whistler, and he had to make lip sounds without any lips.
“Man go,” he said.
“What man goes where?”
“Man-go. Mango.” He shook his racing form at me and handed it over.
There was a circle around a horse in this race – the last race – named Mango, at 11-1.
“Oo, too,” Pete said.
So far, I had picked my own horses and broke even, plus enough to buy us hot dogs and beers. Maybe that second beer wasn’t a good idea for Pete, because now he wanted to seal our friendship by sharing his hot tip with me.
“How about you bet on my horse?”
I could tell by the way he cocked his head, he’d sulk for days if I didn’t give in.
I whistled agreement and we put our money on Mango.
When they played the Call to the Post, Pete twittered laughter along with the other Greenhorns; seems that phrase was a smutty joke in one of their languages.
And the horses raced.
The one I would have bet on came in first. Mango is probably still running, if he ain’t died of old age.
You never seen a sorrier-looking Greenhorn than Pete, outside of molting season.
A WRITING PROMPT FOR YOU: A character goes to the races and takes a tip from someone else.