Kali is moaning in breathless staccato bursts. We are on the verge of fortissimo now. There is nowhere else to go, no further world to conquer.

The music of the spheres rushes through us both in a timeless, spaceless shudder. And I collapse exhausted on the amber pillow beside Kali’s golden, pleasured form. My self-belief is vindicated.

And tomorrow I will tell the Prof, ‘The Answer is right there in her eyes! What Luthanian man in his right mind would go off to war …?’

Of course, that creates a problem. How would we Earthlings ever replicate those golden starbursts in the eyes of our own females? DNA tinkering? Doctored contact lenses?

Kali props her head up with her elbow on the amber pillow. Her starburst eyes regard me steadily. I wait for some feminine compliment. (‘Are all Earth males as capable and potent as you?’)

But no compliment comes.

Instead she says, “Will you be ready again soon?”

I am thunderstruck. Confused.

I say, “But haven’t you … Didn’t you …?”

What term do they use on Luth? Will she understand if I ask her bluntly: ‘Didn’t you come? Didn’t you climax? Reach the Big O? After all my hard work and effort!?’

Now Kali is the one who looks confused. Her eyebrows meet in a frown above her starburst eyes.

“Of course not. Surely you know that? Don’t you Earthlings know when your women …?”

She obviously doesn’t know what term we use here on Earth.

I find a measure of comfort in thinking about the sexual vocabulary. I need comfort. I need to take my mind off my sense of hopeless failure and inferiority. Why hasn’t she reached orgasm yet? I have let down males everywhere: Zulu males, African males, Earth males.

I can hear my sister laughing even though she is far away in Soweto. And lover-less as well as tree-less. And pet-less.

Manfully I launch into a fresh attack, there on my amber sheets. I am on a mission and the entire manhood of Earth relies on me. I march through my entire repertoire, every trick Mama Dlamini taught me. Da Capo – from the beginning of the piece once more. I soldier on, battle-worn but unbeaten.

I switch the light off. At least in the dark I will not be confronted by those demanding, irritating, never-satisfied eyes.

“Wowee!” exploded my five-minute wonder Melissa. And no, it was not a fake explosion. I long for her with a desperation that rips through all the muscles of my abused body.

I am inadequate, useless. I am a disgrace to my species. Who did I think I was, so confident and cock-sure? So damned cock-sure!

I am a pathetic amoeba, helpless in a vast ocean. A single note of a triangle, lost in a massive symphony.

And I hate her, I think. I hate this throbbing, grabbing alien beneath me. I want to smother the gasping, grasping mouth with my amber pillow. I want to rip the translation choker from her throat so that I will never understand another word she says.

Stupid bitch! Why the hell can’t she just fake it? Just pretend she has climaxed? Why the hell can’t she just join the sixty per cent Earth actresses and salve my male pride? What would be so difficult about that?

The grey light of the early morning Cape Town steals into my flat.

“Aah yes, Josh. Aah – aah yesss. There we go. At last!”

Kali’s eyes open now. Wide.

And it is the most amazing sight. I am an experienced man of the world – well, this world at least. But I cannot believe what I am witnessing. I lean back on my aching arms, staring in awe. Dumbstruck.

As she reaches her long, long-awaited orgasm, the eyes of this Luthanian female beneath me suddenly turn luminous red!

Is it a rush of blood? Is it some form of plankton ebbing through her optic blood vessels? Her eyes shine out into the greyness like coloured headlights, twin circles of crimson that spread their glow across my amber pillows. Unmistakable. Beyond pretence. Thandeka’s statistics have no possible reference here. This event would be impossible to fake.

“Aah, Josh. At last, at last!”

Slowly, gradually, the red orbs fade beneath me. De-tumescing.

And I have found the Answer, for sure. I understand why Luthanian men do not go off to war. I know why they have not an ounce of aggression within their souls. Why there is not the slightest hint of violence on their planet.

Poor unfortunate, emasculated, overwhelmed, insecure, exhausted bastards!

So, that is the full story of the night of 16th September 2041.

In the end, I didn’t report it to the Prof. What’s the point? We Earthlings could never reproduce this strange ability amongst our females. And trust me, we bloody well wouldn’t want to! Our Earthly male pride couldn’t cope with this!

The Luthanians have left our planet in disgust.

“You people are beyond hope,” the commander announced. “You are not worth saving.”

Li Li has moved in with me now. But we do not spend much time making love.

We have to save our strength for night-time when we scurry out into the streets searching for a little food, a little water to get us through the next day. Then scurry back before we are mutilated or murdered.

Sometimes Li Li gets a violent look in her eyes – and then I lock myself in the bathroom for a while. For safety.

I can’t get hold of my sister Thandeka. Landlines no longer work, cell networks are blacked out. Is she still alive?

Once in a while I touch the keys of my Steinway piano. But they are mostly false now, badly out of tune.

It’s just a waiting game now. Soon life as we know it will come to an end. The last two humans left will no doubt slaughter one another.

And Earth will be just one more uninhabited planet, spinning pointlessly in the vast dark Universe.


Tell us: How did you like the mischievous dark twist at the end of this sci-fi tale?