“Suzette?” Dad’s head pokes in my door. It was closed but you don’t think he’dknock, do you? “Suzette, are you here?” Dad is in his late forties and has dark brownhair that is graying at the temples, which does look distinguished but it’s a little premature considering our heritage. His eyes are a deep brown. The chub on him makeshim seem warmer than he truly is and he stands out in our family because of it. We allhave leaner features.I close my book and sit up on my bed. “Weren’t you going to stay on the Islanduntil school starts?”“Change of plans. I have some good news that couldn’t wait. Artie’s whippingup a special meal as we speak.” He’s excited and it is a rare day that Stanley Russell letshis emotions show. Unlike me, Dad’s full Martian. I’d tell you to think Mr. Spock butthat analogy is a very limited one. His ears aren’t pointed, his eyebrows are normal, andalthough he’s aloof he is hardly clinical twenty-four seven. However the Mr. Spock comparison is right on the money when it comes to Martian views on feelings. Emotionsare determined to be weak and hence hidden. Martians pretend not to have any. Sincethey bottle them up, when they show, they show brightly. And Dad’s big smile is brightand shiny.The term
was adopted by our people in the 1950’s when science fiction peaked in popularity. We use it tongue-in-cheek. Earthlings never discovered our home planet before it died and the first Martian settlers communicated via telepathy, so wenever had a word for home or ourselves.
Other worldly being
sounded too dry andformal.“What’s the occasion?” Why do I bite? He’s stringing me along for a bigannouncement. Dad wants the anticipation to last.“At dinner. Artie will want to hear.” Told you he liked to play me and with thattantalizing teaser Dad leaves with a skip in his step.Artie’s full name is Artie Mann. Dad isn’t the most creative person on the planetand since Artie is an artificial man, he named him just that. If anyone, human or Martian,could tell Artie is robot, I’d be impressed. He is six foot exactly and has light brown hair and blue eyes that never get red or bleary. Other than not blinking enough and this weird