Saludos de la Tierra

The first time Tookar drank Earth wine, he was on his third mission to monitor increases in the planet’s carbon dioxide. His spacecraft landed in the northern Rioja region of what Earthlings called Spain, in a valley surrounded by white-peaked mountains faded blue in the sunlight. Rows of vegetation bearing bunches of tiny, globular fruit stretched as far as he could see. It was a peculiar site, but it provided the research his superiors needed to determine a course of action against the planet.

Climbing down from his craft, he stood upright on two of his six tentacles and began scanning the air and soil with his instrument. As he slithered up the road, taking samples along the way, he came across a large, stone domicile with peaked roofs and a tower.

He slitted his eyes in amazement. He’d never seen an Earth dwelling before. He was usually assigned the most icy, desolate regions of the planet. Though it was against regulations to contact Earthlings, he was curious to meet them. What type of creatures could readily destroy their home? he wondered.

Cautiously Tookar entered the domicile through an archway covered in leafy vegetation. Inside was a courtyard. The courtyard was empty but there were signs of intelligent life. A table was set with an odd array of provisions––round, red fruits of some sort, edible cultures with yellowish rinds, dried meats, small, green ovoid objects; and slices of a white, spongy substance with a crusty outer shell. Nearby were cutting instruments and flat, white disks and a glass container filled with native plants. There was also another tall glass with markings around it and a strange red liquid inside. A sample of this liquid was in a thin glass.

Tookar scanned the liquid. It had an odd composition of native fruits, spices, and alcohol. He sniffed it. Fruity, sweet like native blossoms. Strange. He wondered how it would taste.

Purely out of scientific curiosity, he began sipping the liquid with his long, brown tongue. Immediately his palate picked up a rich combination of flavors, many of them new to his senses. There was a sweetness to it, but an acidity as well, with a bit of refreshing coolness that reminded him of a plant he had studied on a previous mission. The combinations were odd, but they blended well in the most pleasing way.

A warmth radiated from the tips of his tentacles. The pleasure centers of his brains glowed brightly. An interesting response, he thought giddily. It had the same intoxicating effect as his tranquilizing capsules, but far more delicious and gratifying.

Tookar drained the glass, then poured some more liquid from the container. He drank and consumed all the food. Most delicious, and reminiscent of the ritual feasts on his planet.

He was licking the dregs at the bottom of the glass when he heard voices coming from the structure. The Earthlings were returning. Why not stay, he thought, and offer them his salutations?