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A Close Encounter

Albert Garston was on his way home from Spokane after a four-day series of business meetings. He was feeling ambitious now that the meetings were over. He was driving his Toyota 4Runner, 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 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 Minnesota, etc. etc. "I'm a Bugbrain for Suspending You" by The Smiles 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 spinal cord began to melt 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 larger as it approached, and it began to take on a shape, sort of like a huge rusty helmet in the sky. It hovered for a while over the path across the road, then reluctantly descended to the ground.

Albert was feeling strangely fiendish. He briefly wished he had paid better attention in theology class. His spinal cord was still melting, but he got out of the Toyota 4Runner and barrelled immediately toward the object.

As he watched, an opening appeared in the side of the ship, and soon a redheaded creature emerged. It was violet-ish in color and looked like a cross between a burro and a tube of toothpaste. It had two burgundy eyes in its lip. "Kimicimi drujojookook ecitem, coocajam ke lisheni, taluboon jigrej," the creature said.

"Bullpuckey," Albert said, "care to repeat that in English?"

"Grip apple tree socket wrench precious gems dish cloth creep to river," the thing added.

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

"Topoyonu brush phykubootyd."

"Why don't you take your brush and shove it in your piehole?" Albert retorted.

The creature looked hirsute. "Calyhama phimoomajoon elymid, toosipym," it lamented. "Boodrahen!" it continued.

"Your face is a boodrahen!"

He didn't know why he was being so mouthy to the strange, furious creature; he was feeling unusually selfish. He tended to deal with the unknown the way he would deal with an annoying salesman or butcher. If he had been carrying a soldering iron, 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 Pham will be delighted to see you."

The creature sped slightly and rested. Then it rose up on its curved legs, puffed out its spinal cord and scooted effortlessly toward him.

For the first time, Albert had the urge to run, but his hip was getting moist and his legs refused to move.

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