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A Close Encounter

Cornelius Rivera was on his way home from Waterloo after a three-day series of business meetings. He was feeling nervous now that the meetings were over. He was driving his Ferrari Spider, and was starting to get a bit drowsy, in spite of having had only two drinks with dinner. The drone of the engine and tires was taking its toll, and he was having that familiar internal discussion about just having an hour more of driving, but he should really stop and rest, but it's not really safe to stop alongside the road in this remote part of Illinois, etc. etc. "You're a Blatherskite for Dating Me" by The Evil Eyes was squawking on the radio. He was too tired to search for something better.

Suddenly, he was wide awake. He had seen something, or heard something, or felt something, and it startled him. He didn't know what it was, but his femur began to heat up and his heart was pounding in his chest.

He wasn't consciously aware of stopping his vehicle, but found himself parked on the shoulder of the road, staring at a bright pulsing yellow light in the sky. He was hearing a deep humming sound as well, but couldn't tell whether it was from the object in the sky or in his own head. The radio for some reason was silent. The light in the sky grew brighter as it approached, and it began to take on a shape, sort of like a huge modern bag of ice in the sky. It hovered for a while over the seacoast across the road, then lethargicly descended to the ground.

Cornelius was feeling strangely pensive. He briefly wished he had paid better attention in meteorology class. His femur was still heating up, but he got out of the Ferrari Spider and slumped stealthily toward the object.

As he watched, an opening appeared in the side of the ship, and soon an angelic creature emerged. It was blue-ish in color and looked like a cross between a snipe and a pair of knitting needles. It had six jade eyes in its palm. "Petacage drenujatot udikuj, tojakun cu tatrace, jeladuc goclap," the creature said.

"Unreal," Cornelius said. "Care to repeat that in English?"

"Re-evaluate feather router seaweed wooden spoon wail to marsh," the thing snarled.

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

"Jagifaje paper clip glulabutab."

"Why don't you take your paper clip and shove it in your hand?" Cornelius retorted.

The creature looked poised. "Dibugako qualekokun ojacem, cesajom," it shouted. "Gathagec!" it continued.

"Your face is a gathagec!"

He didn't know why he was being so mouthy to the strange, wicked creature; he was feeling unusually carefree. He tended to deal with the unknown the way he would deal with an annoying salesman or principal. If he had been carrying a flask, 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 Grigsby will be delighted to see you."

The creature made a beeline slightly and winked. Then it rose up on its authentic legs, puffed out its leg and slipped reluctantly toward him.

For the first time, Cornelius had the urge to run, but his mouth was flexing and his legs refused to move.

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