So, about three years ago (holy shit!) the above image was used in io9's concept art writing prompt series, and - at the time - I struggled to write a decent story for it. For some reason, it recently popped into my head and I managed to get something written and pop it on Facebook. So, for your reading pleasure, here it is. Hope you enjoy and feel free to share your own!
“For Christ’s sake!” screamed the director “could somebody move that fucking light?” He pointed towards the ceiling where a small, nondescript light bulb hung. Mr and Mrs Robinson were shocked. They’d heard vulgarity before, of course, but not inside their home. They didn’t allow it. They were decent, God-fearing folk and had only signed up to this television show to help pay the rent.
A nearby runner climed up a small step ladder and removed the offending light bulb. The lighting director then became very displeased that she had to set up more light sources to match previously shot footage. The team were in their ninth season and - rumour had it - weren’t due for renewal.
Mr and Mrs Robinson were sat at either side of their dining table. Both had to wear clothes that would sufficiently hide the microphone receivers that had been, Mrs Robinson thought, roughly attached. Sat at the middle of the table (and also the reason the light bulb had to be removed) was Glarxon: a 12 foot tall alien from the Adroxi Confederation of Planets.
This episode was especially difficult for the tired crew of GALAXY SWAP. NBC had slashed their budget, so trained translators were near impossible to find. As such, a lot of the footage of Glarxon in the Robinson household would - hopefully - have to be edited together to make some coherent narrative.
After about 20 minutes of setting and resetting, it seemed they were ready to start rolling again. The director piped up: “OK, Robinsons? You’re just having dinner - try to get Glarxon engaged, try to get a reaction.” Mrs Robinson raised her hand “But I haven’t made dinner.” “Don’t worry about it, we’ve had some prime beef steak brought in from… SALLY! Where’s this shit from?” A small voice piped up from outside “How the hell should I know?” The director looked at Mrs Robinson and shrugged.
“But what if it-he doesn’t like it?” Mrs Robinson politely asked. “Who. Gives. A. Fuck?” said the director through gritted teeth. “If he doesn’t, maybe we’ll actually get some decent footage!” Mrs Robinson looked down at the plate of beef steak. It looked unwell. Her thoughts briefly turned to her own son. He’d been transported to Adroxi as part of the swap. She hoped he was having a better time than she was.
“OK, check sound levels, roll cameras… Mr Robinson if you could stop looking at me, that would be fantastic and… action!”
Mr Robinson turned to face his wife. His look darted from her to Glarxon and back again. No one was eating. He motioned to Glarxon with his index finger and then to the food. Glarxon’s long neck craned down to Mr Robinson’s plate and back again. Mr Robinson began to sweat. He picked up the fork next to the plate and, along with the knife, cut a small piece of beef and slowly put it into his mouth. Glarxon watched all of this with great interest.
When Mr Robinson had finished chewing, he seemed to struggle to swallow, tears rushing from his eyes. From the look on his face, when the beef splashed down in his stomach, it looked like it was one the worst decisions of his life.
Glarxon’s six eyes darted from the food to the fork to Mrs Robinson to Mr Robinson back the food before finally settling somewhere between the Director and the wall opposite him. Then, in a single, smooth motion he scooped the entire beef steak in one clawed hand and shovelled it into his mouth. Rather than chew, it appeared Glarxon was digesting the steak in sacs along the length of his neck: fluids could be seen pumping, transferring the beef from one sac to the next.
What happened next happened very quickly: Glarxon rose from his seat and violently ejected the beef steak and the fluids from his throat all over the Director, the cameras and the lighting. Using all four of his arms he upended the table, scattering Mr and Mrs Robinson’s plates, uneaten food and cutlery everywhere. He then rose onto the tips of his toes and let out an almighty screech, causing the Sound Director’s eardrums to burst.
Flailing wildly, Glarxon sprinted from the dining room, smashed through the wall and out to the garden, screeching as he went. Mr and Mrs Robinson, now spreadeagled on their dining room carpet could only stare into middle distance. Sally, who had narrowly avoided Glarxon, went to comfort the disorientated Sound Director. Mr Robinson slowly looked towards the Director, who was already dialing the number to his producer, rehearsing his excuse.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the galaxy, young Billy Robinson had just been served to the Council of Adroxi and - by all accounts - tasted delicious.