Culture Shock

Humans are weird, if you think about it

Casey Lawrence
10 min readDec 10, 2021


Photo by Barbara Krysztofiak on Unsplash

“We have enough data to begin Phase Two of our hybridization project,” Crewmember Zezreckus announced animatedly as xe stepped into the eating chamber. Crewmembers Sidrockus and Petrarkas buzzed excitedly, waving their feelers to demonstrate their appreciation of xir news. “Where is Human Peter? I require his expertise to begin Phase Two.”

Crewmember Petrarkas moved xir feelers in the sadness motion. “The human crewmembers are engaging in sleep. You must not disturb them at this time.”

Crewmember Zezreckus descended onto a resting platform slowly. “Again? Did he not perform that ritual yesterday?”

Crewmember Petrarkas made the affirmative motion. “Humans must spend approximately one-third of each Earth rotation doing so in order to remain healthy.”

Crewmember Sidrockus began to click xir mouth-organ with confusion. Xe had little experience with the human species. “What is this?” xe asked. “Human nourishment time?”

Crewmember Petrarkas shook xir feelers vertically, the universal sign for ‘no’ among their species. “No, no,” xe said. “When it gets dark on their planet, humans go into a special room, put on special clothes, lie down and wait to become unconscious. Even in space, a similar routine is essential for their systems to function at peak efficiency.”

Crewmembers Zezreckus and Sidrockus began to click, so Petrarkas hushed them with a loud buzz. Being the medical officer on board, Crewmember Petrarkas was necessarily well-versed in the needs of all crewmembers. The three humans on board, Peter, Eva, and Sophia, had been the most difficult of all to understand, but xe felt as if xe finally had a handle on their unique requirements.

“It is true!” Crewmember Petrarkas told the others seriously. “While unconscious, their brains process the day’s information and store it elsewhere as long-term memory. They also replenish various essential neurochemicals and purge toxins from their bodies.”

Just then, the entrance panel on the far wall slid back to reveal Human Sophia, dressed in what must be her sleeping clothes, a soft, bulky article belted at the waist. In one hand, she held one of her eating…



Casey Lawrence

Canadian author of three LGBT YA novels. PhD from Trinity College Dublin. Check out my lists for stories by genre/type.