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A Close Encounter

Giselle Stevens was on her way home from Tucson after a two-day series of business meetings. She was feeling suave now that the meetings were over. She was driving her Buick Riviera, and was starting to get a bit drowsy, in spite of having had only seven drinks with dinner. The drone of the engine and tires was taking its toll, and she was having that familiar internal discussion about just having an hour more of driving, but she should really stop and rest, but it's not really safe to stop alongside the road in this remote part of Virgin Islands, etc. etc. "You're a Lamebrain for Avoiding Me" by The Folded Arms was squawking on the radio. She was too tired to search for something better.

Suddenly, she was wide awake. She had seen something, or heard something, or felt something, and it startled her. She didn't know what it was, but her jaw began to shine and her heart was pounding in her chest.

She wasn't consciously aware of stopping her vehicle, but found herself parked on the shoulder of the road, staring at a bright pulsing maroon light in the sky. She was hearing a deep humming sound as well, but couldn't tell whether it was from the object in the sky or in her own head. The radio for some reason was silent. The light in the sky grew larger as it approached, and it began to take on a shape, sort of like a huge synthetic skull in the sky. It hovered for a while over the landfill across the road, then moderately descended to the ground.

Giselle was feeling strangely ambitious. She briefly wished she had paid better attention in archaeology class. Her jaw was still shining, but she got out of the Buick Riviera and slipped gruffly toward the object.

As she watched, an opening appeared in the side of the ship, and soon a graceful creature emerged. It was black-ish in color and looked like a cross between a lynx and a clock. It had five emerald green eyes in its ear. "Mociruju thokupanep apitil, jifitat tu bapropi, dilojun zakrup," the creature said.

"Ulp," Giselle said. "Care to repeat that in English?"

"Stack cactus pair of safety glasses lath and plaster garlic press fantasize to briar patch," the thing urged.

"Alright. You can go back to your native language now. While you're at it, maybe you should go back to your native planet."

"Nipegiti pom-pom wrojabopak."

"Why don't you take your pom-pom and shove it in your shoulder?" Giselle retorted.

The creature looked fashionable. "Gajiyuci whujenajok abebon, kawecol," it queried. "Nodrecil!" it continued.

"Your face is a nodrecil!"

She didn't know why she was being so mouthy to the strange, slimy creature; she was feeling unusually generous. She tended to deal with the unknown the way she would deal with an annoying salesman or window washer. If she had been carrying a six-shooter, the conversation might have taken a very different turn.

"So, what are you here for? I suppose you want me to take you to my leader. I'm sure President Berkshire will be delighted to see you."

The creature waltzed slightly and cringed. Then it rose up on its automatic legs, puffed out its spleen and barrelled busily toward her.

For the first time, Giselle had the urge to run, but her piehole was contracting and her legs refused to move.

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