And now, Scary-Crayon presents...
The Native and the Foreigner
by: Wes

Said the native to the foreigner, "You'll find our customs strange at first, no doubt. Nevertheless -- in time -- I'm sure that you'll grow acclimated to them."

"I hope so," replied the uneasy foreigner. "Again, I really appreciate your hospitality."

"THINK NOTHING OF IT AND SAY NO MORE!" bellowed the native, suddenly clapping his guest on the back with what some might have described as an overenthusiastic gesture of conviviality. Others might have called it an alarming display of violence.

The visitor winced and staggered forward. Moments later, his voice still reverberating from the force of the blow, he said, "S-so... w-what will we be d-doing tonight?"

"Tonight!" hissed the native. "Tonight, tonight, tonight." He narrowed his eyes and rubbed his hands together with an air of malevolence. "Tonight, we will be having an old enemy of mine for dinner." A wicked grin broke out across his face.

"An enemy for d-dinner!" squealed the foreigner in shock. Then, "You mean... you mean to kill and eat him?"

"Deplorable heavens, NO!" cried the native, bursting into peals of laughter that carried on for the next five and a half minutes. When his mirthful spasms finally subsided, he wiped his eyes and said, "Do you take us for savages here?"

The foreigner said nothing.

Irritably, the native repeated, "DO-YOU-TAKE-US-FOR-SAV-A-GES-HERE?"

"No," said the foreigner at length. "I don't take you for savages here."

"You'd best not!" snapped the native. "Because I assure you, though our customs may seem strange to you at the moment, we are not now -- nor have we ever been -- savages. Can your people make the same claim?"

The foreigner responded that they could not, whereupon the native nodded. "Your honesty is refreshing," he said. "But something still troubles you. I see it in every aspect of your appearance -- in your moist, quivering eyes, in your dejected posture, even in the sight of the stones stuck in the grooves of your tennis shoes when you cross your legs and turn one foot just so to stand upon its toe. Speak your mind!"

"Well," began the foreigner nervously, "you mentioned that we will be having an enemy of yours for dinner -- and your tone suggested a certain prevailing malevolence in your attitude towards the whole affair. And though you've said that you don't mean to kill and eat your guest, I can't help but assume that you do mean to harm this enemy in some way." The foreigner paused. "Forgive me for speaking so candidly about the matter."

"HA HA HA!" roared the native. Once again, he violently drove his huge palm into the space between the foreigner's shoulderblades, this time causing the foreigner to yelp and pitch forward onto his knees. The twisted grimace on the foreigner's face only made the native laugh harder.

"Oh," howled the native, "you foreigners really are too much! But then, I've heard you were a suspicious lot. That's good! You'll fit right in here."

Rising on tottering legs, the foreigner did his best to feign a congenial chuckle, but the sound still came out frightened and weak. He croaked, "Do you m-mean to suggest that... that here, one has reason to be suspicious of one's neighbors?"

The humor drained abruptly from the native's face. This time, he was the one who remained silent.

Ignoring the native's sudden mood shift, the foreigner returned to the subject of the dinner guest's fate. "Do you mean to poison him? Is that it?!" The foreigner sprang away from his host and, sighting a chair in the otherwise barren living room in which they stood, positioned himself on the opposite side of it.

At once the native resumed his mirthful fit. Even if there was, in fact, no danger -- even if these people really were too civilized to murder an enemy in cold blood over a hot bowl of beef and scallop stew -- the foreigner was suddenly glad that he had placed this distance between himself and his host. Watching the way the native joyfully swung his arms to and fro, the foreigner was certain that, in fleeing, he had just saved himself from a paralyzing spinal cord injury.

"POISON!" trumpeted the native, still laughing. Then, quieting, he said, "No, I don't intend to poison my enemy. I intend to invite him over, feed him a sumptuous dinner, drink to his health, and then send him home with a smile on his face and a slight stumble in his step." Noticing the foreigner's arched eyebrow, he added, "From inebriation -- not from a swift kick to the shin or a rough shove off of my doorstep."

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