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Marti Haykin drawing

Thinking back now, Bob could clearly see his mistake. It was all rather embarrassing really.

Bob had been off for a weekend alone at his hunting camp. Actually it was just an open glen in the mountains he'd found years ago where he liked to go and hide from the world. Still, living in a rural community, saying he was going hunting gave him a lot more "country road cred" than admitting what he really did. You see, Bob liked to go out in the back woods and get back to nature, all the way back, Dances With Wolves back. Mind you, he'd never found a herd of large herbivores to run with while naked like Kevin Costner, and he half figured he'd get trampled or culled from the herd by wolves or something if he tried, still Bob liked getting naked in the woods.

So there he'd been, relaxing in the early dusk by his campfire just inside the pine grove at the east end of the glen, enjoying his nakedness while the Deep Woods Off kept away all but the most desperate mosquitoes, when it happened. Have you ever noticed that life-changing events just love to sneak up and give you a swift kick in the butt just to keep you off balance? Well, to be honest, neither had Bob - but reflecting back on it from his high perch, holding a banana, Bob understood that to be the case.

Looking up sleepily at the first stars appearing in the summer sky, feeling small but comfortable with that feeling since it was Bob's closest companion, he was surprised to see one star pull itself free of the firmament and begin to swell in size. It grew from star size to planet size to moon size to Glinda the Good Witch's bubble size to Close Encounters of the Third Kind mothership size in no time at all. At first Bob was annoyed at the pedestrian nature of what must surely be a dream. Naked, alone, alien spaceship hovering overhead - all he needed now was the appearance of his high school history teacher, a frail sour man well past retirement age, in leather to make this dream complete. Then a log in the fire popped, an ember struck Bob's foot, he shrieked at the pain, jerking back and overturning the lawn recliner he'd been lying in. Sure, Bob liked getting back to nature but nobody relaxes naked in a pine grove without something to sit on. That would be damned masochistic and that wasn't one of Bob's faults. Disentangling himself from the recliner, which seemed hell-bent on pinning him like a zealous wrestler, it occurred to Bob that this was all too lifelike and painful for even his most vivid dreams.

Looking up again, Bob watched as a massive spiral staircase lowered into the very center of the glen. Bob was impressed, it was a nice touch. Usually, Hollywood motherships had ramps or transporter beams or such but Bob had never imagined a starship with a graceful, spiraling staircase. Very MGM circa 1940. And the massive alien woman who glided down that staircase, a full fifty feet of vertical elegance in motion, cape artfully billowing behind her, wow, what a touch!

Approaching Bob from across the glen, she smiled and batted huge, Betty Davis eyes at him. When she arrived, she knelt gently before him and spoke softly in that perfect English only aficionados of the BBC can cultivate. Bob was swept away by it all, enraptured.

"Hello Earthman," she said. "Come with me and I will make you a banana daiquiri?"

Well, she didn't have to ask Bob twice. He was flattered beyond belief. Nobody had ever offered Bob anything. So how could he refuse? Wondering how alien mixed drinks would taste, Bob allowed himself to be swept away by the voluptuous extraterrestrial.

Now, here he was, reflecting on the vagaries of the English language from his perch high atop alien glassware totally inappropriate for daiquiris (how gauche) in front of a tacky Thomas Kincaid motel art backdrop in what he believed to be an interstellar comedy club.

The only question that remained for Bob as his backside chilled to the temperature of crushed ice was, under the circumstances, whether Bob was performance art or - a beverage?

Big Brother

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