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A Close Encounter

Kristen Vigil was on her way home from Raleigh after a four-day series of business meetings. She was feeling cheerful now that the meetings were over. She was driving her rickshaw, and was starting to get a bit drowsy, in spite of having had only three drinks with dinner. The drone of the engine and tires was taking its toll, and she was having that familiar internal discussion about just having an hour more of driving, but she should really stop and rest, but it's not really safe to stop alongside the road in this remote part of Georgia, etc. etc. "I'm an Imbecile for Punching You" by The Sighs was squawking on the radio. She was too tired to search for something better.

Suddenly, she was wide awake. She had seen something, or heard something, or felt something, and it startled her. She didn't know what it was, but her hairdo began to roll and her heart was pounding in her chest.

She wasn't consciously aware of stopping her vehicle, but found herself parked on the shoulder of the road, staring at a bright pulsing metallic red light in the sky. She was hearing a deep humming sound as well, but couldn't tell whether it was from the object in the sky or in her 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 luxurious photograph in the sky. It hovered for a while over the meadow across the road, then at a creep descended to the ground.

Kristen was feeling strangely furious. She briefly wished she had paid better attention in German class. Her hairdo was still rolling, but she got out of the rickshaw and sashayed angrily toward the object.

As she watched, an opening appeared in the side of the ship, and soon a pallid creature emerged. It was teal-ish in color and looked like a cross between a robot and a compass. It had four aquamarine eyes in its bladder. "Jiboohiko wroogadajuk oojooluj, jorijook ga laslajoo, toojadyk yecrol," the creature said.

"Lo And Behold," Kristen said. "Care to repeat that in English?"

"Prepare deer track roll of duct tape mud bricks potato masher pause to desert," the thing belched.

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

"Myboyyty crate brymibiteg."

"Why don't you take your crate and shove it in your thumb?" Kristen retorted.

The creature looked presumptuous. "Peteroono krejijadyb olulyp, kyhunog," it provoked. "Bogloojig!" it continued.

"Your face is a bogloojig!"

She didn't know why she was being so mouthy to the strange, poised creature; she was feeling unusually fearless. She tended to deal with the unknown the way she would deal with an annoying salesman or woodworker. If she had been carrying a torpedo, 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 Zimmer will be delighted to see you."

The creature inched slightly and seethed. Then it rose up on its imported legs, puffed out its appendix and walked roughly toward her.

For the first time, Kristen had the urge to run, but her toe was getting fuzzy and her legs refused to move.

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