“Sir? Hello?”

“zzzzzzzz… Huh? Wha?”


“Hunh. Must have dozed off. Big lunch… What can I do for you?”

“The man at the bus station said I could get some money here for a bus ticket. I’ve got to get to Devil’s Tower in Wyoming.”

“From Area 51 to Devil’s Tower, huh? You some kind of extraterrestrial fanboy?”

“I’m not sure what a fanboy is, but perhaps I am.”

“Well, that’s a thousand-mile trip, my friend. What have you got on your person that’s worth the price of the ticket? And how much would that ticket cost?”

“$184. It’s a twenty-four-hour trip, the ticket seller said, on the big gray dog. He told me I could pawn or sell this. See?”

“Do you want to sell it or pawn it? Are you going to want it back?”

“I won’t need it back, I guess. I won’t be around these parts.”

“Then you’ll want to sell it, not pawn it… What is it, anyway?”

“It has many uses.”

“Like what?”

“It is my principal weapon.”

“Oh, yes? It is one strange-looking gun… Is it loaded?”


“Will it shoot? Will it fire?”


“Then get out of the store, Pilgrim! No loaded guns in a pawn shop! That’s a firm rule everywhere. Take that thing outside and remove its bullets. Don’t come in here with ammo, for Cry-eye! Not in your pocket and not in your gun.”

“I’m sorry, Sir. I misunderstood. There are no bullets in this… this gun.”

“Then why did you say it was loaded?”

“Earlier today, I tried to buy a car. The man told me it was fully loaded. It didn’t mean there were bullets in the car.”

“Say, you speak English real good, but you aren’t from around here, are you?”


“You’re just in the U. S. to see Area 51 and Devil’s Tower and places like that?”

“Well, those are two popular sites, yes.”

“You didn’t buy the car?”

“No. The man wanted too much money. That’s why I went to the bus station. That’s why I need enough money for a bus ticket.”

“O.K. Well, give me the license for that baby. I’ll need to make a copy. I’ll pay you for the weapon and put it up for sale, and in case you might change your mind and want it back, I warn you, with all the sci-fi freaks around here, this baby will move fast.”

“A license?”

“Don’t tell me, let me guess. You don’t have a license. What is that thing, anyway? Where was it made? Is it military? Israeli? Rumanian?”

“Listen, it’s not a gun, per se. It has many uses. I just meant that, well, it could be used as a weapon, if need be. Please forget the gun appellation.”

“Say, what do you take me for? You want $184 for what? A toy? Give me something to work with here. What’s your name?”

“My name. Um. Brad.”

“Brad. You’re a Brad. Uh huh. Well, Brad, put that thing through its paces.”

“O.K… It can make food.”

“You’re kidding me.”

“Look. I press this, and…”

“What is that, a tomato? Hold on. I’ve gotta call my wife out here. Trixie! Trixie!”


“Come out here. There’s something you gotta see!”

“I’m watching my show in here!”

“Tape your show in there! There’s something you got to see out here! Get a move on!”

“What’s so important I gotta miss my show? This better be good.”

“Wait, look. I press this doohickey here…”

“What is that, mashed potatoes? All over the counter? Are you nuts? Don’t call me out here again unless it’s a stickup or you won the lottery.”

“Aw, baby… She didn’t get the point, Brad. Like, how did these mashed potatoes get here, you know? Hold on while I pile them up… I can make… I want to make…”

“You’re making Devil’s Tower.”

“Oh, yeah? I’ve never seen it.”

“Let me clean this up…”

“Hey, my tower… At least you left the tomato. Say, that thing is amazing. What else can it do?”

“Music, like d e c c g… Re, me, do, do, so.”

“Oh, yeah? That’s the music from that space movie, right? What else can it do? What about that thingee there?”

“Time travel.”

“How does that work?”

“I’ll show you.”

“What about that thingee there?”

“Time travel.”

“How does that work?”

“I’ll show you.”

“What about that thingee there?””

“Time travel.”

“How does that work?”

“It’s hard to demonstrate, I guess. Let’s skip that one. This one over here lets you read somebody’s mind. It’s not half as much fun as you would anticipate.”

“Can I try it out on you?”

“No, I don’t have a mind, not the way you would think.”

“Hey, Babe! Get out here!”

“I’m not comin.”

“I mean it! I’ll horsewhip you!”

“You and what army, you old fool? Alright, what is it?”

“Hold on while I press this button… Lordy, Mister. You were right. It ain’t much fun after all. Go on back to your show, Babe… How about this slider, Brad?”

“It predicts the future.”

“How often does it get it right?”

“It’s never wrong.”

“Let’s try that one, then. Hang on while I call my man in Reno… Jose? Put a hundred down on… hold on… I slide this doohickey over… and more… a hundred down on Drizzle Foot in the fourth. Going off at eighty-to-one.”

“Be careful with that slider. If the evil-doers find out you never miss in your predictions, they’ll descend on you in a flash.”

“Don’t worry about that. I ain’t greedy. What about this thingamabob?”

“Don’t touch that one! Only touch that one when the environment is maximized for reproductive activities.”

“That would be never. You saw what I have to deal with.”

“I assure you, press this button in the dark of night, alone in your bedroom with your spouse, and serious, furious congress will occur. Repeatedly.”

“Hang on. Let me get this cash drawer open. I’m giving you $200 for the thing. That’s enough for your bus ticket and some meals along the way. Have a nice trip.”


2 Responses

  1. I am washing out my mind.

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