Typos

Don’t you just hate them? Last night I found two in a manuscript I have recently submitted to a publisher.

One was ‘thought’ instead of ‘though’ – easy to see what happened there. The other was three words in the wrong order – the dyslexia kind of thing. I have read through this manuscript a million times and haven’t found them. I’m starting to think they are deliberately inserted by aliens.

Consider this. A bunch of aliens are watching some archeologists at work. They look at each other with those big oval shaped eyes and a bit of thought transference passes between them. They get into their space-pod and land on earth, let’s say several thousand years ago, and start giving the primitive locals a bit of a head start.

A bit of alien technology enters the tribal sphere, such as flint arrowheads instead of bone. Nah, tell you what. They give them metal arrowheads. Teflon coated stainless steel arrowheads. Or titanium, that’d do it. That multi-coloured titanium you get from heating it with a blowtorch. That’s what they give them, colourful titanium arrow heads. Then these aliens, they get back into their space-pod and scoot back to Alpha Centauri.

So now we’ve got one tribe with the high-tech stuff. The tribe over the hill can’t handle it any more and are all killed in battle. The titanium tribe gets their land. Without the enemy in the next valley the men get a bit lazy. They don’t go to war. They mooch around doing nothing. The women kick them out of the house. “Go fishing or something,” they yell at them. The men go off to drink beer and wait for somebody to invent football and television.

The women find these lovely coloured things. “Oh, look,” says Mrs Ogg, “these two match each other.” She threads wire through two arrowheads and uses them as ear rings. There are just enough arrowheads to go around, two for each women. One for each ear. It is as if the aliens had counted them already.

Fast forward several thousand years. The archeologists are digging up a stone-age burial site in a secluded valley. Suddenly one of them straightens up and calls for the others, “Hey, come and look at this!” He’s uncovered an arrowhead. It’s metal.

“What the heck is that doing in there?” they all ask. Nobody answers. Nobody answers because they don’t know.

They dig a bit more through the grave and find another. There is one on each side of the skull.

“They’re ear rings,” somebody says. “Even got little loops of wire.”

“Looks like titanium.”

“Titanium? Can’t be.”

“My teenage daughter wears ear rings like that,” says one. The others look at him. His eyes widen a little, just a touch defensive. “She couldn’t have put them in there, she’s at home doing her homework.” It sounds a bit lame but it’s the truth.

They all stand looking at the titanium arrowheads. Nobody speaks for a long time.

The aliens can see them on their intergalactic Skype-Screen. The aliens have no sense of humour, they are interested in science for science’s sake.

And that is where typos come from.

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One Response to “Typos”

  1. Marsha Says:

    You’re right–we don’t make typos, it’s the work of aliens–or, as I think of them, as gremlins who know to wait until I’m tired of reading and re-reading my latest draft. Then somehow, between my last read and my hitting the ‘send’ key, they strike!

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