This story was inspired by a dinner conversation with my family. Therefore, it is also dedicated to them. In place of it holding any real significance, I will say that I hope meeting Erkel makes you a little less intimidated by the superior life forms from other planets that have been or are interacting with Earth. If, that is, you happen to be intimidated by that kind of thing in the first place.
Erkel never could quite get the grasp of doing fieldwork. He got good grades in the theory classes at Space University, but his practicum in Atlantis ended with no small disaster. Admittedly, Erkel had not been the sole problem with that particular situation, but it didn’t bode well for his future career. After graduation, all of his classmates were given state-of-the-art ships and sent to nice, warm, tropical locations on Earth in which to found civilizations and build giant megalithic structures. Erkel, however, graduated at the bottom of his class and barely obtained an assignment from Command Pantheon. After much deliberation with the panel, Sergeant Ankhor gravely handed him an info crystal and nodded. “Ok, Erkel,” he said, “We’ll give you a ship, but there’s only one assignment open for you, so you can take it or leave it.”
Erkel gazed into the info crystal. “Ohio?” he said, “Where’s Ohio? I don’t remember learning about Ohio.”
Sergeant Ankhor shook his head. “Nobody’s ever learned about it. Nobody else is in the area.”
“So, I take it that I’m not to be near the equator… like everybody else.” Erkel said.
“No,” Sergeant Ankhor laughed. “Nope. Definitely nowhere near the equator.”
“Uh,” Erkel swallowed back his disappointment, “I’ll take it anyway.”
“Good alien,” the sergeant said, slapping him on his narrow, grey shoulder. “I’m sure you’ll grow to like the climate.”
Erkel zipped to Ohio and got straight to work, but just couldn’t seem to catch a break. While all his buddies approached godhood and built structures and civilizations that confounded human beings for thousands of years to come, Erkel only managed to make a few dirt mounds. For a while it looked like he was on the verge of inventing a new giant alien-human hybrid species, but he hit a wall and the whole project tanked when his girlfriend, Neith, came all the way over from the Mediterranean for the first time in centuries just to break up with him. It was a cold and rainy night when she arrived.
“It’s not that I don’t like you Erkel,” said Neith, “It’s just that I tend to, you know, forget about you when you’re not standing right in front of me.”
“But, Neith,” he sputtered, “I love you!”
“Oh,” said Neith, “Well, this species you’re creating will love you. Don’t worry.” She winked and wandered off to see how things were coming along in the warmer southern continent.
You can imagine Erkel’s despair when his own hybrid race ended up in several massive boneyards a short time later. Yet, even the gravesites amounted to nothing. The Smithsonian never publicized anything about them. Nobody even remembered his civilizations, much less recognized him as a deity. By the time he was recalled by Command Pantheon, it was like he had never been on Earth to begin with.
After the failure in Ohio, Erkel didn’t catch another commission for a thousand years. During the interim, he made crop circles just for laughs, in a fit of frustration, but was matched by a handful of human pranksters with planks of wood and a few ropes.
Eventually, General Ankhor stuck out his neck for him again and got Erkel assigned to a tech crew position on a research vessel. It was his job to make sure the math was right so that abductions of humans through closed bedroom windows didn’t end in disaster. Abducting through windows was easier than abducting through walls, but it was still a delicate maneuver. To give Erkel credit, he had suggested altering all the human fire regulation manuals so that at least one window was required in every bedroom, but he unfortunately had the idea only several years after the humans started instituting this rule of their own accord.
Erkel managed to successfully abduct about half a dozen people before disaster hit at the house of Solomon Rupke. He had poor, terrified Solomon in the tractor beam and halfway through his second-floor window when it became apparent that something had gone wrong with the calculations. Solomon wouldn’t come all the way out, and he wouldn’t go all the way back in. Erkel's colleagues threw sidelong glances and got them out of there before Ripley's Believe It or Not showed up, leaving Solomon with his legs still dangling out of the window. Erkel’s handiwork was displayed all across the globe under the headline “Still Living Man Materialized Halfway Through Pane of Glass”.
“Well,” said his coworker, Nabat, over a cup of Ayahuasca, “At least you’re finally getting your media attention. Even if it is while you’re on a covert operation.”
Erkel sniffed. “The National Enquirer doesn’t count.”
After that, Erkel was reduced to janitorial work on deck. His sole legacy to humanity was a hairy, hardy creature that ran around barefoot in the mountainous western region of North America. It was an inbred and devolved descendant of his failed hybrid species. It didn’t even have language capabilities.
No, Erkel never quite got the hang of doing fieldwork. It was a long few millennia.
"Well, you'll just have to sleep in a bedroom without windows. It's against fire regulations, but they're really just a conspiracy started by the aliens." --Cousin Jordan on how to avoid being abducted by aliens.