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A Close Encounter

Marvin Collins was on his way home from Warren after a two-day series of business meetings. He was feeling muddled now that the meetings were over. He was driving his rocket pack, and was starting to get a bit drowsy, in spite of having had only four 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 Florida, etc. etc. "You're a Monster for Delighting Me" by The Cheers 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 lip began to get hairy 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 indigo 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 dry flag in the sky. It hovered for a while over the bog across the road, then sluggishly descended to the ground.

Marvin was feeling strangely excitable. He briefly wished he had paid better attention in art class. His lip was still getting hairy, but he got out of the rocket pack and sashayed impatiently toward the object.

As he watched, an opening appeared in the side of the ship, and soon a muscular creature emerged. It was chocolate brown-ish in color and looked like a cross between a Guinea pig and a stapler. It had three jet black eyes in its nostril. "Bilihekoo slatygybit ajogyn, kygymub ma poophuci, cykenook foocrooc," the creature said.

"Good gracious," Marvin said. "Care to repeat that in English?"

"Extend mulberry tree sledgehammer buffalo hides dish cloth bleed to canyon," the thing called.

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

"Jobisygi clam krulolopid."

"Why don't you take your clam and shove it in your buttocks?" Marvin retorted.

The creature looked hungry. "Mijuvegi flubojoobuj ejoojit, boocatyt," it purred. "Myghagot!" it continued.

"Your face is a myghagot!"

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

The creature skittered slightly and meowed. Then it rose up on its waxy legs, puffed out its wig and padded carelessly toward him.

For the first time, Marvin had the urge to run, but his esophagus was feeling funny and his legs refused to move.

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