I AM PIRLI, YOU ARE OONA • by Sandy Parsons

I am Pirli. You are Oona.

Do not let the rippling of my parasol disturb you. It is large, but I am very old. I’ve been to many worlds and classified many beings, but few comprehend Pirli. Oona, I do not understand what this orifice is for, or why you have more than one. I have only one. Here it is below my resonance filter basket, which I use to catch and sort knowledge. I realize you do not understand me. How could you, with no filter basket? I suspect you have a filter basket analog, beneath this squishy shell. The pulses, waves and tones surrounding us are my language, and my hope is that if I describe what I am doing you will recognize something as communication. Let’s start with this porous layer. It is too soft to be of any use, and I cannot perceive what lies beneath it. I’m just going to peel it back. Hmm. It is quite firmly attached.  I will need to begin again.

 

I am Pirli. You are Oona.

You move around so much, Oona, that I wonder if that is somehow related to your method of communication. These longer appendages, perhaps, ending in a fringe of ten above and below. So adorable that each side mirrors the other. I am going to loosen the bindings on them, and see if I can make sense of you. Maybe more degrees of motion will provide a clue. No no, Oona, remain within the collection net. That area is not safe. Do you not sense the ion curtain? Oh. I suppose not. At least Oona’s are abundant on this world.

 

I am Pirli. You are Oona.

You have many openings. Some of them are connected. But it is stranger to me that you have so many things in duplicate. I do not understand that. Since this appendage is repeated on the other side, I’m going to assume it is redundant. May I remove it? I know you do not understand me, Oona, but I want to reassure you that I will return it when I am done. Oh, my. You are leaking more than expected. I will reattach it. Oona, stop squirming, you are scattering the sealant. Now, that’s better, Oona. Oona?

 

I am Pirli. You are Oona.

I have noticed a correlation in your orifices. When these two orbs near the top of the round appendage roll, the tissue around them tenses and a tone emits from the expandable orifice. You are a curious Oona, you have not shown understanding, but I think you are communicating with me. Hmm. A Pirli once told me they breached the gap of understanding by utilizing a rhythmic tone. That gives me an idea. When I spin the interior cups of my parasol I can make a very pleasant hum. It goes like this…Oh, how embarrassing, let me wipe that off. I always spray a little when I first get started. Oh my. I forgot how friable your soft outer shell is. But don’t worry; I have learned that you are not Oona without it. Now, back to the vibration. Yes, you are moving the rounded top appendage, the one I hypothesize houses your filter basket. Does that mean something? Repeat these sounds back to me: plink, pulse pulse tick. No, that is not it. Plink pulse tick. Oona, that is wrong, but your species is clever to alter the tissue around these little holes to produce tones. I will attempt to reproduce them with my resonance filter basket. Hehh..lll…pppuhh…suuttt…aaaa..puh. Such odd sounds, not like communication at all. Wait, Oona. Has the splatter from my interior cups damaged your porous shell?

 

I am Pirli. You are Oona.

You react in odd ways to the failed Oonas. Perhaps you would prefer to absorb them yourself, rather than let my room dispose of them? Here Oona, I will give one to you. There, go ahead and begin absorption. Wait, now, you cannot bend that way, as I well know, heh. I suppose you are not presently in need of nutrition. I’m sorry, I have a very large parasol so I rarely have to supplement my sustenance, and because of that I often forget the needs of others. Would you like to see my parasol ripple? Oh, heehee you like it too, don’t you, you are opening and closing the stretchy orifice on your filter basket casing. Oops, condensation from my parasol tends to drip. Wait, you like that? Oh you do. More? I love to ripple so this is a happy accident. Is it possible that you feed and communicate from the same place? There now, you have had enough, I see, as you are returning some of it. Let me ponder you, Oona. You are a fantastic puzzle. When I have parsed you I will share the entire contents of my filter basket.

 

I am Pirli. You are Oona.

I have constructed this tube so that you may control how much you consume of the runoff from my parasol, because I have exhibited poor judgment in that area. No, don’t worry, Oona, it is okay if my parasol caresses you. I have learned to appreciate how easily you can be damaged. What, that sound you are making with the orifice that receives sustenance? It tickles my parasol. Wait. Do that again. Oh my! The frequency is too regular, it can’t be random. No, no, Oona, do not shy away. I will try not to press too hard. Oh, I see. That is ‘yes’ when I give you the condensate but ‘no’ when I make this pressure. I am Pirli, you are Oona. That is yes. You are saying yes, I think. Yes. That is a good place to start.


Sandy Parsons writes in Georgia, USA.


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Rate this story:
 average 4.4 stars • 5 reader(s) rated this

Every Day Fiction

  • I giggled. I think that this might be SciFi-Humor instead of straight up SciFi.

    It is good to see a fellow Georgian.

    Thanks for the story!

    • I read this one out loud to my wife. She was giggling before the end as well. Very nice story.
  • I giggled. I think that this might be SciFi-Humor instead of straight up SciFi.

    It is good to see a fellow Georgian.

    Thanks for the story!

    • I read this one out loud to my wife. She was giggling before the end as well. Very nice story.
  • The exploratory is startling at times, orbs and filters indeed, and Pirli’s descriptions ARE creative. “The pulses, waves and tones surrounding us are my language”. The slapstick held humor, and I began to worry about Oona’s survival.

    Not sure about the repeated headline, distracting, and the ending unraveled (for me).

    Interesting.

    Strange.

    • Carl Steiger
      I'm afraid Pirli went though several "Oonas" before this was over. And I guess that would account for the repetitions of Me Pirli, you Oona.
      • That was my take as well. I think the part where Pirli mentions that it was a good thing that there were a lot of Oona's available to 'speriment with.
      • Lightbulb on, eyes unglaze, thanks Carl. I never ever saw it.
  • The exploratory is startling at times, orbs and filters indeed, and Pirli’s descriptions ARE creative. “The pulses, waves and tones surrounding us are my language”. The slapstick held humor, and I began to worry about Oona’s survival.

    Not sure about the repeated headline, distracting, and the ending unraveled (for me).

    Interesting.

    Strange.

    • Carl Steiger
      I'm afraid Pirli went though several "Oonas" before this was over. And I guess that would account for the repetitions of Me Pirli, you Oona.
      • That was my take as well. I think the part where Pirli mentions that it was a good thing that there were a lot of Oona's available to 'speriment with.
      • Lightbulb on, eyes unglaze, thanks Carl. I never ever saw it.
  • Alie Bell

    Oh, fantastic! I was laughing, I was slightly grossed out, I was hoping each Oona would fare better than the last…

    This is one of my favorites. Thank you.

  • Alie Bell

    Oh, fantastic! I was laughing, I was slightly grossed out, I was hoping each Oona would fare better than the last…

    This is one of my favorites. Thank you.

  • DrSuzanne Conboy-Hill

    Was it really intended to be funny? I didn’t see that so maybe I missed something. What I saw was the kind of gross cross-cultural misunderstanding that we have made repeatedly with other groups on our own planet, this is taken just one dreadful step further. Imagine being an Oona in the hands of this alien – it wouldn’t matter how benign it actually was, the result was the same – flaying, intubation, amputation – all without understanding of pain and suffering. I don’t know what an umbrella is but already I’m terrified of meeting one.

    • joanna b.
      yes, DrSuzanne, that's the way i took this story too. it was horror to me and not funny at all.
    • I read it again, with horror in mind. I see where you are coming from. When I first read it, it seemed to me to be a story like "Shaun of the Dead," "Gremlins," or "Tucker & Dale vs Evil." Dark comedy. It would be nice if to know if the author had some deep sociopolitical meaning behind the story.
  • Was it really intended to be funny? I didn’t see that so maybe I missed something. What I saw was the kind of gross cross-cultural misunderstanding that we have made repeatedly with other groups on our own planet, this is taken just one dreadful step further. Imagine being an Oona in the hands of this alien – it wouldn’t matter how benign it actually was, the result was the same – flaying, intubation, amputation – all without understanding of pain and suffering. I don’t know what an umbrella is but already I’m terrified of meeting one.

    • joanna b.
      yes, DrSuzanne, that's the way i took this story too. it was horror to me and not funny at all.
    • I read it again, with horror in mind. I see where you are coming from. When I first read it, it seemed to me to be a story like "Shaun of the Dead," "Gremlins," or "Tucker & Dale vs Evil." Dark comedy. It would be nice if to know if the author had some deep sociopolitical meaning behind the story.
  • Paul A. Freeman

    Very imaginative and thought-provoking.

  • Paul A. Freeman

    Very imaginative and thought-provoking.

  • joanna b.

    very good story. it was horror as much as sci-fi to me. it brings to mind the torture of humans by humans as well as one view of an alien invasion. it made me shudder with empathy.

  • joanna b.

    very good story. it was horror as much as sci-fi to me. it brings to mind the torture of humans by humans as well as one view of an alien invasion. it made me shudder with empathy.

  • Chris Fries

    Comedy or horror?

    “Hehh..lll…pppuhh…suuttt…aaaa..puh.” (“Help! Stop!”)

    Or maybe a little bit of both AND a story about how the quest for communication and understanding can overcome the unintended hurt and ultimately lead to a mutually-beneficial connection?

    I think that in time this Pirli will get things through his dense filter-basket and he and the Oona will eventually understand one another. I see a happy ending ahead…

    Very nice work, Sandy!

  • Chris Fries

    Comedy or horror?

    “Hehh..lll…pppuhh…suuttt…aaaa..puh.” (“Help! Stop!”)

    Or maybe a little bit of both AND a story about how the quest for communication and understanding can overcome the unintended hurt and ultimately lead to a mutually-beneficial connection?

    I think that in time this Pirli will get things through his dense filter-basket and he and the Oona will eventually understand one another. I see a happy ending ahead…

    Very nice work, Sandy!

  • MPmcgurty

    “…because I have exhibited poor judgment in that area.”

    I laughed through pretty much all of this, but underneath the humor was a somewhat charming Pirli. Even though it is clear that the abundance of Oonas make them expendable, Pirli didn’t intentionally harm or kill them, and is finally delighted with the Oona in the final encounter. (My mind jumped into the gutter at that point.)

    Magnificent. Five stars.

  • MPmcgurty

    “…because I have exhibited poor judgment in that area.”

    I laughed through pretty much all of this, but underneath the humor was a somewhat charming Pirli. Even though it is clear that the abundance of Oonas make them expendable, Pirli didn’t intentionally harm or kill them, and is finally delighted with the Oona in the final encounter. (My mind jumped into the gutter at that point.)

    Magnificent. Five stars.

  • Samantha Memi

    I couldn’t decide if it was funny or not, but I liked that indecision. Something to read again

  • Samantha Memi

    I couldn’t decide if it was funny or not, but I liked that indecision. Something to read again

  • I think this is highly entertaining and imaginative.

  • I think this is highly entertaining and imaginative.

  • James Z

    I really enjoyed this piece; I just read it three times. The author managed to write a compelling work of weird fiction, blending together elements of horror, science fiction, and humor, while avoiding having it sound like an awkward mash-up.

    To me, the repetition of the title worked. Of course, it signifies that the Pirli is going through many specimens in its quest for understanding. More importantly, it establishes a cadence in the reading that makes the acts–essentially the vivisection of lesser beings–seem automated and callous, despite the Pirli’s (faux) compassion for its captives.

    Stellar weird, 5 stars!

  • James Z

    I really enjoyed this piece; I just read it three times. The author managed to write a compelling work of weird fiction, blending together elements of horror, science fiction, and humor, while avoiding having it sound like an awkward mash-up.

    To me, the repetition of the title worked. Of course, it signifies that the Pirli is going through many specimens in its quest for understanding. More importantly, it establishes a cadence in the reading that makes the acts–essentially the vivisection of lesser beings–seem automated and callous, despite the Pirli’s (faux) compassion for its captives.

    Stellar weird, 5 stars!

  • Derek B.

    So wonderfully creepy! This has a really distinct and often funny voice and tone to it. Definitely a very clever piece of science fiction.I enjoyed it a great deal.

  • Derek B.

    So wonderfully creepy! This has a really distinct and often funny voice and tone to it. Definitely a very clever piece of science fiction.I enjoyed it a great deal.

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