“Clem! Where you been hidin’? Ain’t seen you in a month o’ Sundays!”
“Tell ya what Emmett, you buy me a Pabst an’ I’ll tell ya ’xactly where I been. You ain’t gonna believe it though. I barely believe it ma own self, an’ I was there for it.”
“Darrell, a pitcher o’ Pabst for me an’ ma good buddy Clem. This lyin’ cuss’s gonna tell us why he ain’t been down that mountain o’ his in a coon’s age.”
“Em, that pitcher’ll add another seven dollars to that tab o’ yours.”
“I’ll pay ya, Darrell, I just gotta get me a good payin’ remodel an’ then you’ll be the first one I take care of once the money gets right. Ya got my word.”
“I’ve heard your word before. Now, let’s hear your lies Clem.”
“This here ain’t no lie guys. I know it’s far-fetched, an’ it’s pro’lly more’n yer brains can handle, but it all started …”
On a cool October night, in the Rocky Mountains’ southernmost foothills, a small craft of obviously non-human design came to rest in a clearing used by off-world visitors for eons. All the way back to long before the Navaho immigrated. This clearing, and surrounding area, is almost mythical for its bountiful hunting.
But on this cool October night, a few things had changed.
Clem Deetlemeyer has “somehow or another,” which ain’t that just his way, managed to get the Bureau of Land Management to sell him a parcel that just happened to include the clearin’ that the inter-celestial craft set down in.
Clem, in typical Clem fashion, was quite upset about the abduction and subsequent rectal probin’ of his favorite cousin Neb. Who, as the whole county knows, weren’t never quite the same after. Clem could be heard sayin’ day an’ night: “Ain’t no man should cry out ‘No Mamma! Not the horse ’mometer!’ in the middle o’ the night. Ain’t right.”
And, haven’t we all had our fill o’ that story.
On this ’ticular cool October eve, a’ unsuspecting extra-terrestrial who fer the sake o’ expediency we’ll call “Bob,” was just arrivin’ in the area to celebrate his Spring Break and check on how his Senior Project was comin’ on. It just happened to be an Ag project concernin’ one more thing that just really, really chapped Clem’s ass a little bit.
It seems that ever’ time a sleek little shiny sliver of a’ alien two-seater visited the local terra-firma, the sheep went a little wonky. That there’s a technical term—wonky. An’ here’s why they went all wonky.
Bob’s Senior Project was to gene splice some o’ his native fauna to some o’ the local faunas. This is a time honored tradition in Bob’s neck o’ the woods, an’ who can fault traditions?
“Emmett, I know you remember what happened to Neb the last time we all went huntin’.”
“Clem, if you tell me you went an’ got abducted an’ rectal probed too, I’m gonna get Darrell here to ban ya for life. I can do that can’t I, Darrell?”
“You settle that tab, Em, an’ I’ll ban anybody you want me to.”
“Why’s it always about money with you, Darrell? Ain’t a man’s word on an issue good anymore? Cain’t ya just understand? Clem understand, even if he don’t come ’round no more. So, what’s all this got to do with Neb an’ the ‘space aliens’ and the ‘’xperiments’?”
“Emmett, that alien was real. I know he’s real ’cause I caught ’im and I put him to my own ’xperiments fer the last six months.”
“Clem,” asked Darrell, “if ya caught the alien, an’ kep’ it, I gotta know … whatja feed it?”
“I fed the little feller all them candied hog balls that Emmett gives out at Christmas time. It’s all I had that he didn’t turn his ‘nose?’ up at.”
“I ain’t gonna ban you like Emmett wants, Clem, but you boys are cut off for tonight.”
Now, anybody who knows anything at all about security knows ya ain’t supposed to use the same spot over and over.
It may work in other places, but these’re humans you’re dealin’ with ’round here. They may not know why they notice patterns, but they do notice ’em. Especially when you kidnap and corn-hole one of their favorite relatives with other-worldly tech.
Whereas old timey ancient humans would’ve stood in awe and revered the visitor as a god, modern folks’re different. Hell, most alien races’d be scared to visit Earth, ’specially if they’d decoded the electromagnetic leakage pumped out by the inhabitants. Instead o’ bein’ viewed as a’ angel or a demon, a visitor’d be lucky to get away with only bein’ dissected.
But poor ol’ Bob didn’t know none o’ that.
He’d visited before, all the kids’re doin’ it, and got an idea for his Senior Project from tall tales he’d heard some humans tellin’ ’round their campfire. Bob was so intrigued that he snatched the one called Neb and made a mix tape of his thoughts.
Now, in Bob the alien’s defense, he never rectal probed nobody. That ain’t what aliens do with their abductees—no matter what you’ve heard of their practices. The reason so many people talk about ’em doin’ something so impractical is sheer embarrassment. No pun intended.
When folks of Bob’s lineage visit this little marble o’ green, they’re just as curious about men as men would be of them if humans wasn’t predisposed to disbelievin’ in ’em. They wanna know what men’re thinkin’. But, due to the extreme sloppiness of human thought patterns, the raw data needs to be clarified.
Bein’ extree smart extree-terrestrial, they come up with a real effective solution.
Them aliens manufactured an ambulatory goop. It’s about the consistency of high pectin apple jelly. They apply it, a dollop at a time, to the exposed butt crack of the subject who needs clarifyin’. That there’d be problem enough for most folks. Everybody knows, ain’t nothin’ gives you pinpoint focus like some cold apple jelly runnin’ down your butt crack.
Add in the wiggle factor an’ that just refines the hell out o’ your synaptic functions.
“I ain’t drunk, Darrell! But, I did find out why the sheep go all wonky. Seems that the lil purple feller I grabbed and lots o’ others like ’im have been comin’ round for longer than we knew. Ya’ll remember the stories we was tellin’ that night?”
“Hell, we’s just tellin’ tall tales an’ lies. Don’t mean nothin’.”
“They wasn’t just any lies, Em. We was talkin’ ’bout Jackalopes.”
“Ever’body knows Jackalopes don’t exist. They’re fun to talk about, but, they’re a put-up.”
“They ain’t a put up no more, Emmett. Seems that Bob, that’s what I call the alien, he was avisitin’ an’ heard us jaw-jackin’ round the fire. Now all of a sudden, there’s a whole boofoo of Jackalopes up on the north face of ol’ Knobby Rock. An’ they all come from the sheep Darrell keeps up there.”
“Now I know you’re drunk. I ain’t got no sheep.”
“Not you, Darrell, yer brother Darrell’s sheep.”
“He thought it was awful strange that none of his ewes went into heat last year. Had some mighty pissed off rams, I’ll tell ya.”
Young Bob’s Senior GBA (Galactic Breeders of Andromeda) Project was to create unique creatures fit for the bloody floors of his home world’s coliseums.
Coliseums are a universal phenomenon. They mimic the first natural gathering places that any emerging race finds, which are meteoric craters. By the time a crater of any useful size cools enough to be approached folks are ready to gather and watch a show or some kind of spectacle. You could try the same thing with a volcanic crater but you may roast your kin. And wouldn’t that just be one more thing for ’em to moan about at the holidays. They’d say “Remember the time Atyl torched poor Aunt Zorn?”
Who needs that kind of anxiety?
Anyway, Bob’s project turned out to be all about makin’ Jackalopes a reality. To his culture, a rampaging boofoo of Jackalopes’d be utterly terrifying. Honestly, anything that could jump that far and crop grass that close! Goodness! That’d scare ’em dern near to death!
Bein’ a’ angst filled teenager, that was the effect Bob wanted. So, he slipped back to the “Taboo Planet” to complete his works. An’ yeah, “Taboo” means the same thing on Bob’s planet as it does on this one. But anybody knowin’ teens’ll tell ya that pronouncin’ somethin’ “Taboo” just draws ’em in faster. That’s one reason this old landing zone sees so much use.
Now, Bob’s people are brilliant geneticists (say that three times fast: brilliant geneticists brilliant genes … aw hell with it) but they ain’t warriors. Truth be told, they’re wousies.
There. I said it and I’m proud.
“So say we believe ya, Clem. We go up in the hills lookin’ for real live Jackalopes. I only got one real question. How did you, supposedly, abduct a super intellectual alien?”
“It was easy. We all seen them lights, right? I just followed ’em to where they landed. After the lil’ feller left, I just strolled up an’ fiddled with his carburetor.”
“So,” said Darrell, “spaceships got carburetors, do they?”
“Oh, Bullshit! Can’t you see he’s pullin’ our legs, Darrell?! Ain’t no spaceship got a carburetor! An’ even if it did, this idjit wouldn’t know where to look for it. Wouldn’t know what it was even if hedid see it.”
“Actually, Emmett, ever’thing ’cept rocks got carburetors. Even us. All that gumbo in our torsos are just parts of our carburetors. What really blew my mind was that the carb on his craft looked just like a Motorcraft 1019. So all I had to do was stuff the jets full o’ silly putty. You always made fun of me carryin’ that egg. Them clogged jets kept him busy long enough for me to whack ’im.”
“So you just snuck up an’ grabbed yerself a’ E.T. Then what happened?”
What first struck Bob when he tried restarting the craft was its reticence. It performed not one of the necessary ignition sequences.
Climbing back out and whining, which is in the Andromedan nature, he said: “I’m not even supposed to be on this planet today!” He had stolen Dad’s craft, and that wouldn’t go unnoticed. Possibly he would have gotten away with it if the craft weren’t equipped with ALL-STAR. Sadly, once he tried to start it the third time unsuccessfully, an automated call went out for service.
Poor, confused, very un-mechanically inclined Bob did all he knew to do.
He kicked the craft, which only hurt his “foot.”
He cussed the craft, which, sounding like a fresh spring breeze, momentarily confused some migratory birds napping above.
Then he fell over backwards and threw one ring-dinger of an Alien Temper Tantrum.
As he was gettin’ up and dustin’ off his fine, shiny, cerulean robes—Clem landed smack on him from above.
“I hid up in a big ol’ spruce that had its limbs hangin’ over his parkin’ spot. When he was good an’ through squallin’—I dropped.”
“You hearin’ all this, Darrell? You’re gonna sit there and tell us, the ones who’ve known ya your whole life, that you just up an’ tackled a space alien. You. The big dummy who won’t even step on a spider if ya can help it—tackled an alien.”
“I ain’t buyin’ it either, Em. Get him outta here. I can’t have you two scarin’ off my payin’ customers when they get here. Aliens and boofoos o’ Jackalopes. Sheesh.”
“It’s no problem, Darrell. We’ll go. Come on, Emmett. But, uh, can we have a case to go, D? It’s been a while since I been to town, ya know, tryin’ to keep the alien from escaping and all. Didn’t want him gettin’ out and worryin’ folks. He tried, you know.”
“Take a case and go.”
“What’s that mark on your neck? Did yer alien stab ya with a Phillips head screwdriver?”
“That? Oh, that’s nothin’.”
Many months later, on a warmin’ spring evenin’, a quiet, dented, and obviously rented craft of non-human design settled silently on a mountain clearing next to a shiny craft of similar make. Shortly after the rental’s door had hissed open, one huge purple sombitch stepped out. He too was wearing cerulean robes. His outfit however looked like a five pound bag tryin’ to contain 20 pounds of highly pissed off Andromedan.
If you guessed it was Bob’s daddy, you’d be right. And he weren’t happy. He whistled for his boy loud enough that local folks thought they’d started re-testin’ over in Trinity.
Nukes are things that get remembered through generations.
Exactly 63 seconds after that whistle sounded, young Bob tossed a freshly coldcocked and pre-jellied Clem Deetlemeyer over his shoulder. He whistled back, although nowhere near as loud as his pa. As he ran for the clearin’, he thanked his lucky schneeblefesters that Dad had come for him.
For the next two local weeks, Bob and his pa focused the snot outta Clem’s thoughts. They learned all the things—horrible things—that their kind had supposedly done to humans. They learned of the obliteratin’ fear humans had of bein’ probed “back there.” They learned of many other irrational fears that humans, as a race, held.
What you see on yer streets now, that ain’t Clem Deetlemeyer. That little mark on his neck denotes him as Clem Deetlemeyer 1.0.
How do I know all of this, you may ask?
I know because I observed all of it. I wasn’t physically there for all of it. That’d be awkward as hell. No, I am one of two Galileans sent to observe this planet. You just think I’m a big assed boulder in the middle of a mountain stream. And really, who am I to alter that perception?
I’ve been here what you would call “forever” watchin’ all types of animal claim to be the pinnacle of evolution. Which is HILARIOUS. I don’t care who you are, or think you are.
“Hey, Emmett, you want ta run out to the clearin’ an’ look at the landin’ site?”
“May as well. Now that you got us kicked outta Darrell’s, there ain’t nothin’ better to do.”
“’Tween you and me, they left somethin’ behind. Just wait till I show it to ya. It’s a gas, this thing. By the way, Em, how you feel about apple jelly?”