Strangers in a Strange Land

“Hi, what’s your name?”

“You can call me John.”

“I haven’t seen you here before, John.”

“I’ve heard good things about the drinks they serve. I thought I’d try it.”

“I’m Julie. Where you from, John?”

“A little place very far away.”

“Me, too,” said Julie. Casually, after putting down her glass, she moved her hands so that three fingers on each were up and one down. The motion lasted only a second.

John responded in kind.

“My goodness,” Julie said. “Where are you from?”

“I think the star charts have it listed as AB44763Z,” John said.

“I don’t believe it. Small universe. I’m from AB44764Z.”

“What a coincidence. Our love of apple martinis has brought us together. What are you doing here on Earth, Julie?”

“I suppose it’s ok to say now. I was a mole, sent in advance of an invading force. After waiting for years, I just heard that the invasion has been called off.”


“With the environmental degradation accelerating here, the planet’s not worth conquering anymore. Henceforth, it’s to be treated as a combination antique store and junk heap. What are you doing here?”

“Same as you. But with all the great writers and artists gone, and the movies aimed at fourteen-year-old boys, Earth has been reclassified as culturally deprived. The invasion is off.”

“So we’re stuck here,” Julie said.

“Yep. But the drinks are still good. You’ve also chosen the shape of an exceptionally hot human female.”

“You’re no slouch yourself, you big lug.”

“Want to come back to my place?”

“Have you got it tiled up to deal with jellied pseudopods?”

“You bet. I get so tired of beings with only two arms. It’s like making love to that Venus de Milo statue.”

“Let’s see how you cope with twenty-four of them, baby.”

“I think I’m falling in love.”