Category: Alien Encounters

An Odd Playdate

One morning, Jeremy came to breakfast holding the hand of a strange little kid. The kid had one eye and three arms and blue fur. Kari knew that wasn’t normal. Mom just smiled. “Great costume,” she said.   “What’s your name?”

“Ummmm…Greg,” Jeremy said. “His name is Greg.”

“And how long will he be over to play today?” Mom asked.

“All day,” Jeremy said. “What’s for breakfast?”

“Cereal,” Mom said. “Greg can stay, as long as he helps you with your chores. Next time remember to ask first. Do his parents know where he is?”

“Yes,” Jeremy said. He got out two bowls and spoons and poured cereal for himself and Greg.

“All right. I’ve got to go get started on the laundry,” Mom said.

As soon as she was out of the room, Kari leaned forward and looked at Greg.   “His name isn’t really Greg, is it?” she asked.

“No, I think he said it’s Glug,” Jeremy said. “Or something like that.”

“He’s not really wearing a costume, is he?” Kari asked.

“No, he’s not,” Jeremy said. He finished pouring the milk into the bowls of cereal. Glug took a cautious bite and then spit it out. He poured the milk and cereal out onto the table and started to eat the bowl. Jeremy sighed and tore a bunch of paper towels off the roll and started to mop up the milk.

“Where’s he from?” Kari asked.

“I found him under the bed this morning. I think the monsters left him behind by accident,” Jeremy said. “I think he’s pretty young.”

Kari looked a little closer. The strange kid was small. He had the obnoxious table manners of their younger cousin Paul, who was two.   “Greg?” she said. The kid didn’t look up. “Glug?” she said.

The kid looked up. “Glug!” he said. He smiled a wide, sharp-toothed smile. Bits of milk and shards of bowl dribbled from the side of his mouth. “Glug, Glug!”

“I’m Kari, it’s nice to meet you,” Kari said.

“Glug, Glug!”

Kari looked over at Jeremy and frowned. “I see what you mean. What are you going to do with him?”

“I figure there isn’t a way for him to go back home until it’s night time.   I couldn’t just leave him there; he was crying,” Jeremy said. “When it’s bedtime, I’ll hide him under the bed, and he can go home.”

“So, until then, he’s over for a playdate?” Kari asked.

“Yeah. Mom said it was okay. Can you help me keep an eye on him?” Jeremy asked.

“Sure,” Kari said. She looked at Glug or Greg or whatever his name was. He’d finished his bowl and was eyeing the table. He opened his mouth wide. Kari handed over her bowl, and he ate that instead. “This is going to be interesting,” she said.

Glug liked helping to sweep. He liked wiping the bathroom mirror clean and eating all the toilet paper. He really liked folding clean laundry, but he kept eating all the socks. At that point, Kari took him outside to play.

Glug did not like the bright sunlight. He ran under the large shade tree and scampered up the trunk. He hung upside down in the shade of a large branch and whimpered. Kari got out an umbrella and coaxed him down. He clung to her and was happy to go back inside.

At lunchtime, Glug ate some silverware and then curled up under the table and fell asleep. “I guess it is the middle of the night for him,” Jeremy said. “After all, monsters like to wander around at night.”

“Do you see a lot of monsters in your room?” Kari asked. “I’ve never found any monsters under my bed.”

“I think my closet is a monster bus stop,” Jeremy said. “I’ve gotten used to them.”

“They don’t try to eat you?” Kari asked.

“They never pay any attention to me. I don’t think they eat meat or vegetables or normal things,” Jeremy said. “I wonder what kind of eater that makes them.   They’re the opposite of an omnivore.   Is that an anti-omnivore? An unvore? But they do eat.”

“Who knows?” Kari said.   “Should we put him up under your bed?”

“Yeah. Can you help me?” Jeremy asked.   Together they carried the little monster up to Jeremy’s room and put him under the bed.

“Glug,” he murmured in his sleep. He smacked his lips and curled up under the blanket.

“We can check on him later,” Kari said.

They checked on him several more times, but the little monster slept soundly for the rest of the afternoon and evening. Their mom asked about him at dinner. “He got tired,” Jeremy said.

Mom nodded. “You’ll have to invite him over again sometime,” she said.

Just after dark, they ran up to check on Glug again. He was gone. “Look, they took the blanket too,” Kari said. “Maybe they’ll eat it.”

“That’s all right,” Jeremy said. “I’m just glad he was able to get back home.”


Mara was walking home from Amy’s house through the park. When she started out, the sun was shining and she could hear birds singing. Somewhere there were wind chimes playing a new melody as the breeze blew. It lifted strands of Mara’s hair and threw them into her face.

A gust of wind blew past and the leaves shook and whispered. The world went grayer and Mara looked up. Dark clouds were moving quickly across the sky.   Where had they come from? Mara shivered. She wished she’d brought a coat.

The wind blew through even stronger. Mara kept tucking her flying hair behind her ears. The wind chimes clanged an urgent tune. She couldn’t hear the birds any more. Mara started to walk a little faster. As she left the park, she felt the first raindrop.

And then, it poured. It rained so hard that Mara couldn’t see clearly. She was still two streets away from home. She hurried a little faster, rushing through a blurry world that she couldn’t really see, continually blinking the water out of her eyes.   Left turn and then right turn.   She should be almost home.

As suddenly as it began to pour, the rain gentled. Mara looked around. She had no idea where she was. She’d never been on this street before. She would remember that stump carved to look like a bear if she’d ever seen it before. Or that dark purple house.

Mara stopped walking and looked around again. She was cold and wet and it was still raining and she had no idea where she was. She turned around and tried to walk back the way she came. Nothing looked familiar. Should she knock on the door of one of those houses? She wasn’t supposed to talk to strangers. Besides, it looked like no one was home.

There were no lights on in the houses, even though it was overcast and rainy.   There weren’t cars in the driveways.   Was she alone in the world? Did the rain take everyone away and leave her behind? Her eyes stung and she blinked away the tears. Her nose started to run and she wiped it on the back of her sleeve. She’d change out of this shirt as soon as she got home anyways.

Mara began to slow down. Would walking around help when she was lost and alone? Shouldn’t she wait for someone to come find her? But would they know where to look? She shivered and rubbed her hands together.

The bushes in front of her rustled and a black cat stepped out. It looked at her than tilted its head to the side.   Then it turned, and tail up, it walked down the sidewalk a few steps and stopped.

The cat turned and looked at her. “Meow?” it said.

“Am I supposed to follow you?” Mara asked.

The cat turned and walked a few more steps and turned and looked at Mara again. She took a step forward and it turned and started walking. This time it didn’t stop. Mara followed it. She didn’t have any better ideas.

The cat turned and walked down a path between two houses. Mara hadn’t seen it until they’d turned off the sidewalk.   It was bordered on either side by chain link walls that fenced in the yards on either side. Some sort of leafy vine wove in and out of the fence, making them seem more like hedges. Mara looked close and could see morning glory blossoms, closed tightly against the dark and rain.

The cat continued walking forward, without pausing or looking right or left.   The rain stopped and the sun came out.   Mara started to feel a little warmer.   And then they turned a corner and she knew where she was. If she turned the next corner, she’d be able to see her house.

She sprinted forward and then paused and turned. She needed to thank the cat. But, the cat was gone. She looked around, turning in a circle. She couldn’t see it anywhere. “Thank you for helping me,” she said anyways. Then she turned and ran home.

Vegetable City

“Zorg,” the alien mother said. “You need to eat your metal flakes and pebbles, or you won’t get any Citha floss.”

“I don’t wanna,” Zorg said. “It’s yucky.”

“It will help you grow big and round and strong like your daddy,” the alien mother said.

“Don’t wanna,” Zorg said. “I wanna stay little.”

“Zorg,” his father said. “You need to eat your structables. If you eat three bites, you won’t have to eat any more. You can do that, right?”

“I won’t!” Zorg said. “They’re too yucky. I won’t eat them.”

“Then you’re going to bed early,” the alien father said. “Go get your pajamas on.”

Zorg stomped out of the kitchen. But, he didn’t go to his room. He snuck out to the shuttle bay and crept into the spaceship. He entered a random string of numbers and letters and cheered when the ship took off. He would find a place where there were no structables. Maybe they would build everything out of Citha floss?

The light above the communications device started to flash. His parents were trying to call him. Still angry, Zorg refused to answer it. Instead, he watched the monitor. It was displaying pictures of the blue and green planet he’d be visiting soon. Was it made of water? Gases? He suddenly wished his parents were here. They would know.

He realized that he was alone far from home and he didn’t really know where he was going. He considered picking up the communication device after all, but just then the ship landed with a gentle thunk. The monitor displayed his surroundings. It was so green and strange.

There were no swirling gas vapors like at home. He tugged on his environmental suit and went outside. The light was so bright it was nearly painful. The ship was in a green cloud thing at the edge of a small flat green area filled with tall strange animals.   High above, they were surrounded by towering buildings made entirely of structables.

It was a city made of structables. Did they live in them and eat them too? Surely there was something else edible here. Zorg watched a large fluffy animal chew on the green stuff. Zorg plucked a piece of the green stuff and took a small bite. It burned his mouth. He spit it out quickly.

That was terrible! Was he going to die? He waited for a moment. Nope, he seemed to be okay. He watched the fluffy thing come closer. He looked up at it. Did the fluff taste like Citha floss?

Feeling brave, Zorg reached out and grabbed a few of the fibers and pulled.   They came loose with a jerk. The fluffy thing made a high-pitched noise and then turned grumbled. Zorg backed up a step just as it snapped its sharp teeth at him. Zorg turned and ran.

He reached the green cloud place just before the fluffy thing caught him, but it had been a near thing. It had caught the edge of his suit at one point, but its teeth slid off.   Zorg clutched the fluff to his chest as he fumbled at the door mechanism with a shaky hand.

There was a whistling noise, and the fluffy beast huffed and turned away.   Zorg watched it go. He popped the fluff in his mouth. It was flavorless and terribly chewy. He spit it out in disgust. He was ready to go home. He’d be happy to leave the lifetime supply of structables far, far behind.

He entered the ship and took off his suit. Then, with a sigh, he picked up the communications device.   “Mom? Dad?” he said

“Zorg?” his father said.

“I wanna come home,” Zorg said.

“I’ll give you the numbers. Are you ready to enter them into the navigation system?”

“Yes,” Zorg said. He entered the numbers as his father said them. The ship leapt back into space. “Am I going to be in trouble when I get home?” he asked.

“Yes,” his father said. “You broke one of our safety rules.”

“What will happen?” Zorg asked.

“Early bedtime and no Citha floss for a week,” his father said.

“Do you still love me?” Zorg asked.

“Your mom and I will always love you,” his father said. “That’s why we want you to be safe and healthy and happy.”

“But you make me eat yucky structables,” Zorg said.

“They help you to be healthy,” his father said. “You know that.”

“I know, but I don’t like them. Can I have Citha floss when the week is up?” Zorg asked.

“If you eat three bites of structables every day before that,” his father said.

“Okay,” Zorg said. “But only three bites.”


A New Old Calendar

The humans watched with satisfaction as the aliens finally retreated. The century-long war to regain mastery of the planet was finally over.   Now it was time to move forward and pick up the pieces.

So much had been damaged and changed. The initial alien attack had been so sudden and so deadly. At least they had managed to keep their hidden communication lines intact. It didn’t take long to send out a message, but it would be a month until the world leaders would be able to gather and make any decisions.

They met in a large museum, one of the few large buildings still standing after the wars.   Paintings and sculptures and books were finally taken out of hiding and given places of honor for the event.   They served as a reminder of the lost knowledge and culture that they hoped to regain.

The leaders looked at each other for a long moment. No one was used to the idea of meeting out in the open, and they had all been taught never to share names with strangers. Each waited for someone else to speak first.

“We’ll need to start at the beginning,” the leader of Southern Continent B8 said at last.   “We need to decide what date it is today. I refuse to use the Overlord Calendar.”

“Don’t call them that!” The leader of Middle Continent C10 narrowed his eyes and folded his arms. His large muscles made the pose extra menacing. “They weren’t lords of anything. They were usurpers, nothing more. Criminals.”

“Fine then, all the more reason to reject the Usurper’s Calendar. So, how do we decide what day it is? It is a historic occasion and the date should be remembered,” The leader of Southern Continent B8 said.

“I second the motion,” the leader of Southern Continent A3 said. He bounced in his seat and grinned. “Isn’t that what we say? I’m sure I heard it somewhere.”

The woman next to him, from Northern Continent A2, rolled her eyes. “Shouldn’t we find some history scholar or something? I have no idea how the old calendar worked.   It’s been over a century since it was last in use. They didn’t exactly teach it in our Usurper-mandated schools.”

“Are there any history scholars left?” An older man, leader of Middle Continent B2 asked. “I don’t think it will be easy to find them. Trying to preserve our history and traditions was heavily punished.”

“So, call today year one day one. We can work out the details later,” the young leader of Southern Continent C1 said.   She looked bored.

“The Usurper departure should be the first day,” the leader of Southern Continent A3 said.   “That’s when we were finally free to start over.”

The leader of Middle Continent C10 stood and glared. “Those Criminals had no claim over us. I refuse to pretend that our lives didn’t begin until they left. Time did not stop and start just because they willed it so.”

The leader of Middle Continent B12 cleared her throat. “We are surrounded by the knowledge of our ancestors. Surely we can find something that will tell us about their calendar.”

“I propose that we recess for one hour in order to go over the new material,” the leader of Southern Continent A3 said. “Does anyone second the motion?”

The woman next to him rolled her eyes again. “Let’s just do it.”

After careful search they found a farmer’s almanac, a budget record, and several journals from the initial alien occupation. It took some work, but they were able to calculate how the ancient calendar worked.

The leader of Middle Continent B2 did the more complicated calculations to match the ancient calendar to the newly named Usurper Calendar. With delight, they calculated their birthdays and other significant events.

“So the Usurpers left on April First?” The leader of Southern Continent B8 asked. “We can call it Independence Day.”

The elderly leader of Middle Continent B2 pointed to the farmer’s almanac. “It was a holiday of some sort in our ancestors’ time too.   It does seem fitting.”

The leader of Middle Continent C10 nodded. “It is acceptable if it honors our ancestors as well. I think all celebrations should be focused on the old ways and not the Usurpers.”

The leader of Southern Continent C1 picked up the almanac and leafed through it. “Today is May First?” she asked. “That was also a holiday. They called it May Day, and it was some kind of spring festival. It seems appropriate, new life and new hope and all.”   She shrugged and put down the almanac.   “Happy May Day.”

“Happy May Day,” everyone echoed.


Country Reports

Justin was very excited about the country reports they were doing in school. He’d spent a lot of time drawing pictures and diagrams.   He’d even done extra chores so that his mom would buy a small treat at the store for him to share with the class. His report was going to be the best one in the class. Did they have a trophy for that?

“Who would like to go first?” Mr. Armstrong asked.

Justin half-stood and waved his arms wildly in the air. “Me! Me! Pick me!” he yelled.

A few other students had their arms raised, but mostly everyone was staring at Justin.   “All right then,” Mr. Armstrong said.   “Justin, why don’t you go first?   I appreciate your enthusiasm.   You must have an awesome report to share with us.”

“Oh, mine is the best. You may as well give me the trophy now,” Justin said. He smiled hopefully.

“There isn’t a trophy,” Mr. Armstrong said.

“A certificate with a gold seal?”

“No,” Mr. Armstrong said.

“A ribbon?”


“A hall pass?”   Justin asked.

“We’ll see,” Mr. Armstrong said. “Why don’t you give us your report now.”

“All right,” Justin said. “Prepare to be amazed.”   He pulled out the map of Finland.   “This is the site of one of the first alien landings on earth. Over two thousand years ago, fishmen landed and settled there.” Justin pulled out his fishmen drawings. He was rather proud of them.

“Justin, I’m not sure where you got your information, but humans live in Finland, not fishmen,” Mr. Armstrong said.

“Oh, I’m sure that some do, but it’s mostly fishmen,” Justin said. “They’re not exactly trying to hide it. It’s in the name. They wear disguises so that they blend in, but I believe that they’re proud of their heritage, and that’s why they named their country Finland.”

“Justin, I don’t think this is correct. Did you look up your country in an encyclopedia?” Mr. Armstrong said.

“Of course I did.   Then I had to account for human bias.   Did you know that some people refuse to believe that Abraham Lincoln was really in contact with Alpha Centauri?”   Justin laughed.

“All right,” Mr. Armstrong said. “Why don’t you go ahead and finish your report.”

Justin smiled.   “Great. So, the fishmen had the same troubles on earth that they did on their home planet. The rival fishmen in Sweden conquered them in the 12th century, and then the humans came in from the west in the 1800s. They won their freedom again about a hundred years ago.”

“So there are fishmen in Sweden?” Mr. Armstrong asked.

“Of course there are,” Justin said. “Haven’t you heard of Swedish Fish? In fact, I have some to hand out to the class now.” The class cheered as Justin handed out the small packets of candy.   “Of course, it’s mostly narwhals in Norway. They’re more peaceful.”

Justin unrolled his timeline. “I’ve projected their future expansion when Russia and Canada get flooded due to global warming and have to be evacuated. There is some concern that the fishmen are causing climate change in an attempt to terraform the earth to their preferences. They are able to think long-term like that, and now that they are willing to work with the fishmen in Sweden, future generations of humans may see a global Finnish Empire.”

Justin displayed the flag he’d drawn and a poster with the words to Finland’s national anthem.   “To prepare for this almost inevitable future, it would be a good idea to remember this flag and anthem to make the transition easier. I’ll hum the tune and then we can all sing it together.”

After the class finished singing the anthem and then sang it again as an encore, Justin asked if there were any questions. Every hand in class shot up.

Mr. Armstrong came to the front of the class and stood next to Justin. “Class, this has been a unique and interesting presentation.   But, in order to have more time for the other presentations, I think we’ll have to stop here. Thank you, Justin.”

Justin smiled as the class clapped enthusiastically and then gathered his posters. “Now, about that hall pass…” he said.

“We’ll see,” Mr. Armstrong said.