Back in June I was fortunate enough to be part of the Flashdogs second anthology. I wrote four stories that were split across two volumes, Light and Dark. You can find out more about the anthologies here. I wanted to wait a reasonable amount of time before I shared any of the stories I wrote for the anthologies, but in the hopes of encouraging a few more people to check them out here’s one of my entries. The anthologies are jam packed full of excellent flash fiction based around the picture below and three others.

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City of Lights By See-ming Lee (

The Ritual

SETI Record #11092006
Message Intercepted: July 16th 2011
Decryption & Translation completed: February 20th 2014

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From: Klaxar the Wise
To: Vergon Mission Control

I have completed my analysis of the micro drone footage from Terra and I believe I have made breakthrough discoveries regarding the humanoid mating ritual. If we can find a way to disrupt this process on a wide scale we can diminish their population and enjoy an easier invasion in 2052.

The ritual begins with the female trying on every available skin sack she possesses. This does not end until she returns to the original and decides it is the best one after all. She then proceeds to disguise her face with eye powder and coloured lip juice, presumably to fool the male into thinking she is someone else. If her hair is curly, she will spend considerable time straightening it. If it is straight, she will attempt to curl it, before giving up and straightening it again. This preparation procedure takes four to five hours and several glasses of fermented grape juice.

The male preparation procedure involves locating the pair of undergarments that have been worn the least since the bi-annual laundry ritual. This is achieved by sniffing each pair to determine cleanliness. The male then puts on whatever skin sacks are closest, before dowsing themselves in a pungent aromatic juice made from whale ambergris. This is used to stun the female. The sum total of time taken is four to five minutes. The males liquid of choice is fermented oats.

Humanoids prefer to consume their nutrition in alternative locations to their domicile during the mating ritual. Despite the considerable options available the female will always select a curved receptacle filled with vegetation. The male selects singed bovine flesh. The subjects then converse about a manner of topics regarding each others societal standing, although I can find no correlation between the answers given and reality. For example, the male exaggerates the importance of his daily drudgery and the financial renumeration he receives for it. The female will pretend to be interested in a variety of organized team recreations involving inflated spheres. Deception plays a primary role in this ritual.

Once sufficient sustenance has been consumed an invoice is produced. A new ritual begins, where the female insists on paying an equitable share while the male insists on paying the entirety. Neither side appears to actually want to win this argument. If the female accepts the males offer she becomes a ‘free loader’, although why she would conduct such manual labour for no renumeration is unclear. If the male accepts the females offer he becomes a ‘cheap skate’, but again I can find no correlation between this and inexpensive wheeled footwear.

Upon leaving the establishment a side by side amble is the preferred method of travel to the females domicile. Note that it is always the females domicile as the males is in a constant state of disorder. The female may attempt to hold the males hand in an attempt to restrain him and prevent his escape. If the atmospheric conditions are suboptimal the male may remove his outer skin sack and offer it to the female. He will then pretend as if the arctic winds have nominal affect on his core temperature. I conclude from this that females prefer males with a high core temperature and I have observed several conversations between females confirming their preference for ‘hot men’.

When the females domicile is reached a new phase begins. If the male has been unsuccessful in the courting phase she will now abandon him by retreating inside her domicile, using the false promise of electronic voice contact at a later date as a ruse to escape. If the male has been successful the female will pretend as if this is not the case and an elaborate dance ensues involving hints so subtle as to be imperceptible to the male humanoids senses. Eventually a hot beverage of ground up seeds is offered, which the male eagerly accepts, although no such drink is ever produced.

I will cover the process of mating in a separate communication as there seems to be a wide variance in both steps and duration, ranging from a matter of seconds to several days. Once the act is complete the male now attempts to escape while the females role is to prolong the duration of this proximity using something called ‘cuddling’. The male eventually uses the same ruse of scheduled voice communication to effect his retreat.

If all the steps were completed correctly this entire process is then repeated regularly until the subjects agree to a formal contract of monogamy, upon which it ceases entirely.

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