Ratings by K. A. Williams

K. A. Williams

“They’re not that bad,” said my booking aide.

“Yeah, that’s what I heard from the lighting guy who’s one of their fans. I don’t happen to like that kind of music though, and why do they have so much hair?”

My aide shrugged. “They were recently on the ‘Daily Show With Art’ and his ratings skyrocketed.”

“Do I really have to talk to them after the show?”

“Just a few words, that’s all.”

I frowned as my aide pushed me gently out on stage. The usual applause that greeted my monologue amplified when I introduced the tall, thin musicians with their oddly shaped stringed instruments. I never understood the importance of the interspecies cultural exchange act and I couldn’t understand the audience’s enthusiasm for this alien band. I wished I’d worn ear plugs as I endured the strident notes sung and played by these performers.

After the song, which was thankfully short, and the tremendous applause, I came onstage to meet them. I painfully formed the words of their language with my mouth. “Nice song.”

“Thanks.” The leader bared his teeth in what I now knew was a friendly expression among his kind.

Another part of that species’ customary greeting was the clasping of hands. I held his unpleasantly warm five-fingered right hand in my three-fingered right hand briefly before letting go.

Backstage I shook my hairless head in wonderment. Who knew they would be such a success? “I would love to have them back on the show. Book them again as soon as possible,” I told my aide.

As they say – anything for higher ratings.

The End

Previously published in The Fifth Di… Anthology in 1998.


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