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Things I Realized on Finding an Alien in the Passenger Seat of My Car

Three and a half hours to interview, 270 miles to LA, 94 mph

  • The mass of writhing tentacles that slithered onto the passenger seat a minute ago probably isn’t a hallucination.
  • Correction: given that I had to blow into a tube to start this rental, it’s not an alcoholic hallucination.
  • This is seven miles per hour faster than I’ve ever driven before in my life.
  • A “guy’s weekend” in Vegas, when I had a job interview scheduled for Monday, was probably a mistake.
  • No matter how much Gary said I needed it.
  • Courting a tequila hangover last night was definitely a mistake.
  • There’s an iridescent purple ring on my left hand that I do not recognize.
  • There’s a matching ring on one of the tentacles.
  • There are at least four alien embassies in Vegas, and a hell of a lot of wedding chapels.
  • Three years of grad school did not prepare me for this.
  • I’m never going to Vegas with Gary again.

Three hours and seventeen minutes left, 251 miles to go, 50 mph

  • “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas,” is a damn lie.
  • They ought to put warning signs outside of wedding chapels.
  • All that brouhaha about legalizing alien-human marriages never seemed relevant to me.
  • Hey, that’s a whole twelve minutes when I didn’t think about Melanie.
  • If I don’t get this job, Melanie is never going to want to get back together.
  • If I’m married to an alien, Melanie and I can’t get back together.
  • Mom’s going to throw a party when she sees this ring. Then she’s going to throw things when she sees my spouse.
  • I guess I can see how some people find tentacles… enticing… but does there have to be so much mucus?
  • Geez, how much are they gonna charge me to clean this Corolla? That stain’s never coming out.

Two hours and fifty-eight minutes left, 235 miles to go, 79 mph

  • Not sharing a common language can make someone an excellent listener.
  • On the other hand, I have questions. Like how exactly could we have… consummated anything? I see four separate body segments, six to nine tentacles, and nothing at all compatible with my own hardware.
  • Do I even want this job? It’ll just mean more time in front of a microscope.
  • But if I want to work with alien biomaterials, Xenodyne Labs is the place to be. Even if Professor Rabinovitch says we’re only getting dregs and trinkets. We’re not going to be able to cope unless we make these technologies ours.
  • Whether I get the job or not, whether I’m married or not, Melanie has definitely moved on.
  • I would have hated driving home alone.
  • No matter what Gary says, we molecular biologists do just fine with the ladies. For a generous definition of “ladies.”

Two hours and thirty-one minutes left, 199 miles to go, 40 mph

  • Whoever packed for the alien put a cooler on the backseat; it just flipped over and dumped out a dozen live crustaceans.
  • I cannot catch crustaceans and drive safely at the same time.
  • The crustaceans are not the alien’s children.
  • They are definitely its food.
  • I’m going to have to have words with Gary later.
  • Dodging through traffic while catching crustaceans is a real adrenaline rush.
  • A police siren is like an ice bucket tossed on top of that rush.

Two hours and seventeen minutes left, 190 miles to go, 65 mph

  • When you get pulled over for something truly embarrassing, you always get a cute lady cop.
  • Traffic cops, cute or not, probably won’t accept “late for an interview” as an excuse.
  • I don’t think I want to explain that I was trying to catch crabs in the back seat of my car.

One hour and forty-seven minutes left, 189 miles to go, 0 mph

  • Most people in Vegas are familiar with Decapoids since the Centauri embassy there has been importing them as pets for the past year.
  • A cop who has to explain what a Decapoid is, to a tourist who thinks he married one, may not be able to stop laughing.
  • If you fail to recognize the purple control rings of an alien pet that’s been on every talk show, you may need to get out of the lab more.
  • Not married means the only thing at the end of my trip is an empty apartment.

One hour and thirty-two minutes left, 189 miles to go, 0 mph

  • If you throw your control ring into the tall grass next to the road, the Decapoid may get away.
  • A cop who lucks into a story about a tourist who thought he married an alien, when he actually bought a pet, is unlikely to keep that story to herself.
  • But a cop who stops laughing long enough to help you find your pet in the tall grass is worth a second look.
  • Gary was right. I do need to get out more.
  • Where the heck am I gonna keep a Decapoid in an efficiency?

Aaron DaMommio

Aaron DaMommio is a husband, father, writer, and juggler who came to Austin, Texas for college and never left. During the day, he tries to make the world safe for users of complex software programs via technical writing. Other stories he’s had published online include “Daughter of Mettle” and “The Van Helsing Women’s Shelter.”

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