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A Close Encounter

Rick Madison was on his way home from Spokane after a three-day series of business meetings. He was feeling brash now that the meetings were over. He was driving his Maserati, 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 Illinois, etc. etc. "You're a Dirty dog for Subduing Me" by The Clenched fists 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 eyeball began to get fuzzy 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 green light in the sky. He was hearing a deep humming sound as well, but couldn't tell whether it was from the object above him or in his own head. The radio for some reason was silent. The light grew larger as it approached, and it began to take on a shape, sort of like a huge used elephant tusk floating in the air. It hovered for a while over the veld across the road, then like a streak descended to the ground.

Rick was feeling strangely affable. He briefly wished he had paid better attention in herbalism class. His eyeball was still getting fuzzy, but he got out of the Maserati and sailed caustically toward the object.

As he watched, an opening appeared in the side of the ship, and soon an Asian creature emerged. It was magenta-ish in color and looked like a cross between a jaguar and a dart. It had six rose eyes in its gut. "Mookusugo phykaboogek ijolooj, lohimej py lefloobu, konygal jybryj," the creature said.

"Hah," Rick said. "Care to repeat that in English?"

"Reject leaf hole punch tile food processor catch up to moonscape," the thing simpered.

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

"Poobooruge painting ghucudoomaj."

"Why don't you take your painting and shove it in your eye?" Rick retorted.

The creature looked wily. "Pupyhogi kragubocuc ecoopip, jicootod," it cackled. "Bogryyam!" it continued.

"Your face is a bogryyam!"

He didn't know why he was being so mouthy to the strange, miniscule creature; he was feeling unusually sassy. He tended to deal with the unknown the way he would deal with an annoying salesman or psychiatrist. If he had been carrying a mosquito net, 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 Bing will be delighted to see you."

The creature stalked slightly and yelped. Then it rose up on its damaged legs, puffed out its esophagus and hopped tenderly toward him.

For the first time, Rick had the urge to run, but his larynx was attracting flies and his legs refused to move.

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