by DIEGO LAMA (translated by ROSE FACCHINI)
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It had been night for several hours. Lucio and Arturo were sitting silently in the big, deserted park.
Lucio finished his bottle of wine. He hurled it a long way off, toward a bush, and missed.
“Fuck you,” he muttered, but not to the bush. Then he stretched out on a bench, covered himself with a newspaper, and closed his eyes.
“Night,” he mumbled to Arturo.
“Fuck you,” Arturo responded. Lucio was already sleeping.
For a few minutes, Arturo stood watching the stars, listening to the sounds of the park: a faraway cricket, leaves rustling in the wind, Lucio snoring. Then, all of a sudden, a blinding flash illuminated the hedges. Arturo looked up while Lucio continued to snore.
An enormous golden spaceship descended from the sky, landing gently in front of the bench. A large hatch opened and an all-powerful alien emerged.
After a couple of zeeps, the alien was fully capable of speaking all local languages.
“We’ve come here to offer you our assistance.”
“Fuck you,” said Arturo after a moment of hesitation.
“We’ve come here to save Earth!”
“To bring you wisdom.”
“To bring you understanding!”
“To open the doors of the universe for you!”
After a couple of long zeeps, the alien stepped back toward the ship.
“You’re a horrible species and you don’t deserve to be saved,” thundered the alien before closing the hatch. “Farewell. You’ll be banished from the universe. You’ll feel alone forevermore, while the universe will carry on, teeming with life and love, but without the likes of you!”
The alien boarded the ship and departed for the stars, which were never really all that far away.
Arturo raised his head and watched the light slowly fade away.
Lucio woke up.
“Who were you talking to?”
“One of these days I’m going to pluck out all your feathers,” muttered Lucio, hitting the cage with his hand. Then he turned over on his other side and covered himself with the newspaper. “I’m going to stick a skewer up your backside and eat you like a rotisserie chicken.”
“Tweet,” chirped Arturo, flapping his wings.
Diego Lama is an architect from Naples, Italy. He has won several literary prizes, including the 2015 Premio Tedeschi for his novel “La collera di Napoli” (Giallo Mondadori) and the 2015 Premio Gran Giallo Città di Cattolica for his short story “Tre cose” (Giallo Mondadori).
Rose Facchini is a Lecturer in Italian at Tufts University and the Assistant Editor and Italian Translator Editor for the International Poetry Review (IPR). She is an alumna of the Italian Middlebury Language School and participant in the Bread Loaf Translators’ Conference. Her work has appeared in IPR and Military Medicine.