Here’s one of your favorite scenes from my novel ‘House of Prension’.  Follow the link for the complete novel:

Not Jabbs  (From ‘House of Prension’, Chapter 14)

Some bolder Jabbs showed themselves the next morning: they’d watched the foreigners with trepidation during the Fog Hour from the safety of rocky nooks.  As the Prensioners stirred, the Jabbs apprehensively continued a vigil.  Pinkface slyly noted their surveillance as he rose, quietly shifted into a sitting position and made traditional placating gestures.  Aulic pointed out the dried eggplant squares, making motions he hoped would be interpreted as an invitation to try a sample.

After long minutes of this face-off, a few Jabbs cautiously skittered forward, offering stock greeting phrases.  Despite their strange appearance, they were quite fluent in Mervan.  A broad-faced specimen, an apparent leader, skittered about at the group’s front staring at the newcomers with the same motionless gaze of the others.  Pinkface made a diplomatic overture.

“Jabbs, we come with peaceful intent, almost as if we are people who might want befriend you.”  He coughed uneasily.  “Although that is certainly not strictly necessary.”

            The lead Jabb moved his head from side to side, which involved moving his entire body since the parts were continuous, appraising the visitors.

“You are not Jabbs,” he said at last.  His voice had the characteristic Jabb squealing sound of rocks scraping against a metallic surface. 

            “No, of course we’re not Jabbs,” said the Elder impatiently.  “Do we look like Jabbs?”

            Aulic rested a calming hand on Pinkface’s arm.  “We’re from a different tribe.”

            “A different tribe of Jabbs?” asked the Jabb leader.

            “No, we’re from…”

            “A tribe of people across the desert,” inserted Pinkface.

            “Perhaps a long lost Jabb tribe that has changed in appearance and manner so much as to be an entirely strange looking group of beings . . .” the Jabb leader began.

            “No, we actually have nothing at all to do with Jabbs,” Pinkface insisted.

            “Then you should not be here,” the Jabb reasoned.

            “We’re visiting,” said Aulic, before Pinkface could make an insult.

            “I see.”  The leader folded two appendages.  “Do you plan to poke in Jabb tunnels, find a luscious one for your own?  Excavate grub worms, uninvited?”

            “Absolutely not,” Pinkface assured him.

            “Then we can relent in our vigilance.  We invite you for grubs.”

            “I should remind you we’re not Jabbs,” Pinkface repeated.  “I cannot make that point too strongly.  Your grubs may be an inappropriate nutrition form for us.”

            The Jabb kicked with his stubby legs, as though acknowledging the Elder.  “I have eyes in my head,” he said.

Arvin squinted.  “Is he being rude?” he whispered to Pinkface.

Pinkface spoke out of the side of his compressed mouth.  “Not at all.  It’s a Jabb trait to make remarks on utterly obvious subjects.  It’s a recurrent meditative practice, a way to maintain their attachment to reality.”

The Jabb went on, gesturing at the desert.  “The rocks are dry today.  Dry for everyone.” 

Pinkface winced.  The Jabb speech tones grated on his ears like the skull of a long-dead hum squirrel scraping repeatedly on a jagged granite escarpment. 

“We spread our appendages to welcome you.”  The Jabb wiggled his upper limbs and extended them, stepping closer to Pinkface.

            “That’s a wonderful gesture, but we must move on speedily . . .”

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