Author: David Barber

My good lady and I love nothing more than the theatre, Oscar Wilde being a particular favourite of mine.

During the interval I queue for drinks, a small white wine for my wife and a single malt for myself. I make it clear to the girl behind the bar that I do not drink that blended muck.

Waiting, I notice the bald fellow from the row in front of ours, the one who rested his hand on the plump back of a woman I took to be his wife.

He is ordering a gin and tonic and a tumbler of water, but as he leans forward I realise my mistake.

Jirt are easy to spot because they can’t do hair. The starving, slime-skinned amphibians that poured out of that giant ship of theirs were so grateful and eager to fit in, they set about altering themselves, each new brood less and less like child-sized newts and more like us.

I don’t understand the details, but they can direct their own inheritance in some obscure way, knowledge apparently envied by our scientists, though much good it did them before they landed. In the documentary I watched that generation ship was an overcrowded slum.

The same TV program explained the Jirt we see are all males, their females confined to breeding pools hidden inside the ship. Which only goes to show.

It seems there are also limits to how much they can change, so they’ll never be as tall or strong as us, as I was explaining to my good lady wife the other day, something which bars them from much of the unskilled job market.

Still, they make excellent servants, willing to clean and cook and change nappies for little more than a roof over their head. It was that attitude to hard work that swayed my vote for them to stay.

This sleek fellow must be one of their latest. There was an article in Forbes recently saying how good they are with young children, easy-tempered, biddable and brimming with admiration for human women.

Now having proved so useful, this one is even accompanying someone’s wife to the theatre, while her husband is working late perhaps.

Of course, my good lady is free to go out with her friends, The Ladies Who Lunch, as I call them. I like to think humour is important in a marriage.

We have a Jirt of our own, and I have overheard my better half confide to her friends how pleased she is with what it does, though I can’t imagine allowing it to chaperone her to a play while I’m away on business or off playing golf.

Here are my drinks at last! The girl has taken her time about it and I tell her so.

Further along the bar, the Jirt is saying something to the other barmaid that makes her laugh.

Turning, the Jirt catches my eye and smiles, almost a smirk, its long, supple tongue flicking in and out.

The house lights dim, the next act beginning.