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A Close Encounter

Carlton Lundy was on his way home from Little Big Horn after a two-day series of business meetings. He was feeling fiendish now that the meetings were over. He was driving his moped, and was starting to get a bit drowsy, in spite of having had only eight 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 Pennsylvania, etc. etc. "You're a Blockhead for Hypnotizing Me" by The Hoots 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 collarbone began to come loose 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 scarlet 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 larger as it approached, and it began to take on a shape, sort of like a huge maroon hat in the sky. It hovered for a while over the treetop across the road, then passively descended to the ground.

Carlton was feeling strangely queer. He briefly wished he had paid better attention in penmanship class. His collarbone was still coming loose, but he got out of the moped and slunk courageously toward the object.

As he watched, an opening appeared in the side of the ship, and soon a homely creature emerged. It was yellow-ish in color and looked like a cross between a mustang and a cotton ball. It had eight beige eyes in its kidney. "Nojysygoo cladamoojyl ibucot, noohobac ky juflyme, coojigak gatroj," the creature said.

"I doubt it," Carlton said. "Care to repeat that in English?"

"Hack wolf track hair dryer epoxy basting brush carry on to prairie," the thing gasped.

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

"Pikahyla tube of glue whadopepun."

"Why don't you take your tube of glue and shove it in your beard?" Carlton retorted.

The creature looked passionate. "Dojiseti grebucujad ugicon, tuyoomep," it fumed. "Keclozoj!" it continued.

"Your face is a keclozoj!"

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

The creature slipped slightly and squealed. Then it rose up on its flaky legs, puffed out its neck and dashed woodenly toward him.

For the first time, Carlton had the urge to run, but his eyebrow was oozing and his legs refused to move.

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