by Doug Hawley
creature came to my door at ten PM last night. He
was a little over five feet tall, colored a light
blue with a bald dome. I say he, but I
wasnt really sure at first because he
had no obvious male muscular development, but
didnt have any hips to speak of either. Somehow
he reminded me of someone but I couldnt
think of whom.
I think that I mouthed a soundless WTF when I
first saw him.
Before I could think of anything to say, he said
Im Zan from the planet Xanthos
in a robotic voice. I immediately
thought of Hes Jake from State Farm,
but Zan wasnt wearing khakis. As
a result I burst out laughing, then out of
curiosity, I asked him how to spell Xanthos. After
he cleared that up, I finally came up with
something else to say.
Come on, somebody from Burger Biggie put
you up to this. Those guys on the last
shift are always trying to prank me while Im
trying to take orders.
No, I am what I said, but if you dont
believe me, try any of your electronic devices. They
have been turned off from our spaceship.
Now I was concerned, but I foolishly did not take
him up on his offer.
OK, Zan from Xanthos, what do you want?
Rather than try to convince you of our
purpose, I have recorded a speech from the
Secretary of the United Nations.
He clicked on something that looked like a tape
People of earth, a powerful liaison from
the planet Xanthos has landed on the earth to
research our planet. They have
temporarily stopped the earth from spinning until
they have finished their research. If
we cooperate, they will leave us by tomorrow
morning and restart the earth. If we
do not cooperate, they will not restart the earth,
and the planet will be destroyed within a year. I
beseech all of those that are subjects of the
Xanthos project to cooperate in order to save the
Wait a minute Zan, shouldnt I be able
to tell that the earth isnt spinning?
Are you educated in the physical sciences?
Then dont question superior beings.
OK, another thing. How do you
We have monitored your airwaves.
Crap, I should have known that. OK,
I guess that you are legitimate. What
do you want to study?
My task is to investigate the earth people
Do you mind answering a question that has
troubled me for a long time? I always
knew that we werent alone, but why do you
look sort of human, but not exactly?
Simple. Earth was populated by
beings from our planet like all of the inhabited
planets. All the people of the
universe resemble Xanthosians, but have mutated
as they adapt to their resident worlds.
OK, that makes sense. Do you
mind if I to go to bed?
I took him into my bedroom and pointed out a
chair he could sit in while I slept.
No, I must be in the bed with you.
That night Zan investigated my brains out. Id
never been investigated that thoroughly and well,
and I was very happy to do my part to save earth. Zan
was gone the next morning much to my regret. I
was surprised to find my skin colored light blue
by some powder. When nobody anywhere had any
idea about the Xanthos research, I had to
conclude that I had been subjected to a complex
prank. This wouldnt have
happened to a high school graduate.
I discovered that my phone and TV worked. Had
I been bluffed last night or had Zan
figured out a way to turn them off temporarily? I
guess Ill never know.
I thought that I was done with the Zan
prank, until a few days later when I was buying
gas. Pat, who always pumped my gas,
only had stubble where long, beautiful hair had
been. I may be mistaken, but I think
Pat winked at me as I drove away. I
may be seeing Pat for more than gasoline now.
in Story Shack