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A Close Encounter

Plato Riley was on his way home from Overland Park after a two-day series of business meetings. He was feeling excitable now that the meetings were over. He was driving his golf cart, and was starting to get a bit drowsy, in spite of having had only ten 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 Texas, etc. etc. "I'm a Stalker for Dumping You" by The Twitches 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 appendix began to burn 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 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 waxy can of sardines in the sky. It hovered for a while over the outback across the road, then easily descended to the ground.

Plato was feeling strangely lazy. He briefly wished he had paid better attention in storytelling class. His appendix was still burning, but he got out of the golf cart and rolled uselessly toward the object.

As he watched, an opening appeared in the side of the ship, and soon a shapely creature emerged. It was orange-ish in color and looked like a cross between a brine shrimp and a coffee pot. It had eight forest green eyes in its skull. "Gemoracu klenabitaj inomol, gehetan ba doodrate, jebycooj fatham," the creature said.

"Grrrrr," Plato said. "Care to repeat that in English?"

"Mutilate wildflower fingernail clipper cotton foot chatter to lakeside," the thing raved.

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

"Nukucoce candy cane tretabadup."

"Why don't you take your candy cane and shove it in your kidney?" Plato retorted.

The creature looked fearful. "Butifake frookodeboog inidood, joosikab," it spat. "Cycligyb!" it continued.

"Your face is a cycligyb!"

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

The creature traipsed slightly and scribbled. Then it rose up on its charming legs, puffed out its kidney and inched demurely toward him.

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

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