Noises awoke Thomas.

He was a little embarrassed by that. He’d been pleased to find “Unforgiven” on the streaming offerings. This dovetailed with his recent thinking that being an alien’s pet wasn’t that much different from being retired. There were some restrictions, like he wasn’t allowed to travel, and he missed his coffee shop and going to the movies and concerts, but on the other hand, he had no money worries, and his health seemed better than it had in years.

Yes, there were no people around, but he’d never been a people person, as the phrase had been popularized. People seemed like energy vampires, draining him of some essential, personal essence. The trend had grown worse as he’d aged. They seemed so shrill, and had such flawed thinking and expressed it poorly. That trend developed a new practice for him of avoiding people. So the lack of people now was…not…bad.

Bottom line, this life wasn’t that bad. He’d decided to enjoy it.

So he’d broken open a bottle of California red wine, found some Colby cheese and crackers from the supplies they’d given him, and watched “Unforgiven,” in the middle of the day. And he’d fallen asleep, right when William Munny was coming into town after Little Bill because Little Bill had killed Ned Logan. In other words, close to the end.

The movie was over. Now, there was this. Noises.

The noises were coming from above. Disconcerting. He’d never heard anything like them. He went out into his yard to investigate.

What he saw was two of the grey-green aliens with yellow eyes. His master — or mistress, if the alien was female — or should he bother with such sexist distinctions? — was standing to one side. “Thomas,” she said.

Thomas nodded, and waved. “Hello.”

She and the others made the noises that Thomas had indexed as laughing.

She held up her hand. In it was a female.

A young one, by appearances. Perhaps a teenager. He wasn’t competent when guessing others’ ages.

“Oh, no,” Thomas said. Understanding was rising. They were removing the top to deliver a new person to his set. The new person was a female.

Yes, on the cusps of that understanding, the top was raised, and a small, white girl was hand-delivered to the yard not far from him.

“No,” Thomas said. “No. I’m gay.”

Laughing and talking, the aliens returned the top to the cage. Fucking alien morons. 

Thomas looked at the newcomer. She looked as angry as a feral cat.

This was going to be fun.


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