Take Me To Your Leader

Submitted into Contest #210 in response to: Set your story after aliens have officially arrived on Earth.... view prompt

31 comments

Funny Science Fiction

“Greetings! We come in peace. Take me to your leader.”

James “Dinky” Murray stood motionless with his jaw dropped and mouth agape at the eight feet tall man towering over him on his front porch. Being seven years old and two-fifths the size of the stranger, caused him to strain his neck trying to look up at the man’s face, and the more he strained, the more his face distorted and stretched into a look of unintelligence.

“Mom!” Dinky shouted – without breaking eye contact. “It’s for you!”

“Who is it, dear?” Dinky’s mother shouted from the kitchen where she was preparing dinner.

“He’s some big Mo-Fo selling world peace or something.”

“James Alabaster Murray, where did you learn that word?”

“From Dad.”

“I’ve never heard your father speak like that?”

“Yeahhh! He does that when watching the Internet.”

“Greetings!” Repeated the stranger at the front door.

“Hi,” Dinky replied nonchalantly. “What do you want?”

“We come in peace.”

“Mom, I think he’s one of those Jehova Witness assholes, dad’s always tellin’ to get lost.”

“Young man. There’ll be no more of that kind of language in this house,” Dinky’s mother scolded. “I don’t care what your daddy calls them. You are not to use profanity.”

“Greetings, Earthling,” the stranger repeated. “Take me to your leader.”

“She’s in the kitchen,” Dinky explained. “Making me my dinner.”

Stooping low to avoid hitting his egg-shaped head on the mantle of the doorway, the stranger gently brushed past the small human, but was quickly halted with a tug on his long cobalt-coloured cape that loosely dragged behind him.

“My mom says I shouldn’t talk to strangers.”

“What is your name, Earthling?”

Dinky. On account of my size.”

“Well, Dinky on account of my size. I am Five Magger Orit. A name earned on the number of maggers I own. Now that we’ve been introduced, you may talk to me. From what I have studied in the great hall of cosmic wisdom on the customs of your people, upon introduction, strangers become friends. So, I am no longer a stranger to you.”

“What’s a magger?” Dinky innocently asked.

“It is what you would call, a starship.”

“Like, in space?”

“Where else, Dinky human?”

“How many have you got?”

Five. But I already explained that to you, small brainchild.”

“You talk funny.”

“That is because I do not come from here.”

Attempting to continue his advance into the house, the stranger was once again halted by another tug on his cape.

“Where do you come from, then?” Dinky wanted to know.

“Five parseps and three wormholes from here.”

“Is that far?”

“It is - when the solar wind is against you.”

The interstellar and intellectually distanced conversation was abruptly halted by the crash of a glass bowl smashing on the dining room floor. Dinky’s mother, Alice, had come to investigate the unfamiliar voice in her house. Seeing a giant man with an odd-shaped head wearing a gold jumpsuit and a richly deep blue coloured cape flowing from high on his neck to his feet and one shoe size further, shocked her senses beyond reasonable acceptance. However, the smashing sound of the glass contacting hard floor, snapped Alice out of her momentary trance.

“Who… who who are you, mister?” Alice demanded to know.

“This is Ori, Mom.”

Dinky devilishly laughed as he finished his jovial introduction.

“He says he’s from where they eat parsnips and worms.”

“No, that is not what I said, small Earthling,” the stranger tried to correct the boy.

“Can he stay for dinner?”

Turning his attention to Alice, the stranger greeted her, repeating his earlier introduction.

“Greetings! We come in peace. The young sapling here, says you are his leader.”

Thinking the wide-eyed woman’s similar expression to her son’s earlier agape mouth was an Earth greeting custom, prompted the stranger to mimic her look of surprise, revealing a disturbing view of a third eye in the middle of his throat. Panicking, Alice swiftly clutched at Dinky, pulling him into the protection of her arms.

“You better be gittin’ mister. My husband is due home any second now, and he don’t like canvassers, salesmen, or bible thumpers knockin’ at our door.”

“Husband?” Asked the stranger.

“Yes, the man of the house. The bread winner.”

“You are not the leader?” The stranger confusedly asked, lowering his chin to conceal the extra eye.

“Dad’s the leader,” Dinky volunteered. “He bakes bread and brings it home to eat.”

“Then, take me to your leader, Earth midget.”

“Alice?”

“Ray!” Shrieked Alice at the sight of Dinky’s dad appearing at the front door.

“Dad! Come meet Ori. He wants to talk to you.”

Placing a basket of baked goods onto the couch, Ray cautiously entered his own home.

“Listen, Mister. If you’re selling something, we’re not interested.”

“Greetings, Leader,” the stranger reiterated. “We come in peace. There are many things to be discussed,” he tried to explain.

“Can Ori stay for dinner, Dad? He’s been eating worms and parsnips and sounds hungry. Maybe, you could give him some of your cakes from your shop?”

“That true, Mister? You homeless?”

“That is a term I do not comprehend. I have a home. All my people have a home. I am but a simple traveller passing on a message from the stars, who has been tasked to bring you great news. We would like to share our technology with you that will end all hunger, poverty, and war.”

“Oh, I get it,” Ray realised. “You’re from that new church in town. The one with the science name. Oh, what is it?”

“Scientology, sweetheart.”

“That’s it. The Church of Scientology. Well, I can categorically tell you, Mister?”

“Ori, Dad.”

“Mister Ori. We don’t have the kind of money your people require to join your little space club.”

“We desire no recompense. I come bearing gifts.”

“Yeah, heard that one before, ain’t we, Alice.”

“Uh huh,” Alice concurred. “Like that time Waylon Huckstable down at the bank, offered us an interest-free loan that needed to be paid back before we could afford to. Then, the bank added twenty percent interest compounded daily. It was about all we could do to pay it off before it ruined us.”

“Don’t no-one get somethin’ for nuthin’ in this life,” Ray added. “There’s always a price to pay. We may live in the backwoods of Tennessee, Mister, but we’ve got the Internet now, and we read a lot of its free knowledge on that there Wikipedia web site. So, we ain’t no fools.”

“Cept, it ain’t free, is it, Hun. We still have to pay for access to it.”

“Fair point,” Ray agreed.

“Yeah,” Dinky interjected. “My daddy has to pay for some of the things he likes to read on the Innernet. Specially, that one called Hooters, Hooters, and More.”

“Dinky, that’s not what I’m talking about, and you shouldn’t be spying on people.”

“Ray?” Alice’s one-word chastisement made its point.”

“He didn’t see anything bad.”

“You know I don’t tolerate cussing and immoral behaviour in this house.”

“Come on, Alice! You ain’t with the Baptists no more. Free your mind.”

“Earth Woman, you would be wise to listen to your leader,” the stranger advised.

“Listen, Mister. He ain’t my leader. He’s just my Hornery husband and nuthin’ else.”

“But I was led to believe that…”

“Who said he was my leader?” Alice defiantly asked.

Without replying, the stranger turned to look at Dinky, then stretched a very long index finger in his direction.

“Shucks, Mister Ori,” Ray half-apologised. “He’s only seven years old. That’s a very impressionable age, and Dinky here is like a sponge soaking up information without processing it. Everything just gets thrown into whatever bucket he wants to fill. He then interprets it with the minimum of experience and with hardly any knowledge to make any real sense out of it.”

“If that is what you Earth people call an analogy,” the stranger derided. “It fell several parsecs short of the planet Logic.”

Trying to decipher the stranger’s criticism that bore an alien style of facetiousness, Ray felt a pang of impertinence course through him.

“Where you from, Mister?”

“Now that I have discovered you are not whom I seek,” the stranger’s dismissive reply rang out. “I am bound by intergalactic code to offer no further information until you take me to your leader.”

“I work for myself,” Ray adamantly pointed out. “I am my own boss. I lead myself and I am led by myself.”

“It is contradictory terminology to be your own leader,” the stranger emphasised. “The Proletariat must have guidance. It is a universal understanding.”

Ray paused a moment, searching his head for the unfamiliar word just mentioned. With raised eyebrows asking Alice for a little help, Ray was enthusiastically enlightened.

“He means, the working class, Ray,” Alice nudged. “I think he’s a Socialist.”

“What religion is that?” Ray ignorantly asked.

“It ain’t no religion, Ray. It’s a movement. A kind of downtrodden and repressed social class of people who have lost faith in their leadership, and struggle to find a way out of their oppressed predicament.”

“Your female cook displays wisdom beyond her menial position in your small kingdom,” the stranger opined.

“Yeah,” Ray proudly agreed. “She’s a college girl with two years of sociology under her belt. Had to drop out early due to getting in the family way. Heck, it was either baby or education, weren’t it, Alice.”

“Uh huh. This cook got brains, Mister,” she defiantly stated, prompting Ray to bring the explanation to a close.

“We just couldn’t afford both.”

“Poverty does not exist amongst my people,” the stranger boasted.

“Yeah?” Ray belligerently snapped back. “Then, you must be from another planet, coz it’s a way of life among our people, bub!”

“But that is why I am here,” the stranger insisted. “I bring the knowledge to end misery and suffering and…”

“…and you’re beginning to sound like one of them-there preacher men. Did you not see the sign on the door?”

The stranger turned to Dinky for a sign of affirmation - that came in the mimicking gesture of Dinky pointing an index finger at the front door.

Curious as to Ray’s double-negative question, the stranger glided over to the door like a skater on ice, smooth and without modulation, to read the small notice pinned above the door knocker.

“I see a written scroll in a script unlike any other I have witnessed since the advent of hieroglyphics,” the stranger pointed out. “What is this language?”

“It’s American, Ori,” Dinky’s clarification shouted out.

“It looks like sanskrit scribble,” the stranger critiqued.

“I’ve always said, my Ray has got doctors writing,” Alice explained.

“I spend so much time sending emails and texts,” Ray clarified. “That my fingers have forgotten how to write cursively,” he sheepishly explained - embarrassed by his identified shortcoming.

“Translate, please.”

Joining the stranger at the door, Ray read the note.

“It says, No salesmen, No canvassers, and strictly No religion on threat of insult.”

“I am none of those. I am a messenger. An apostle of redemptive technology. I bring forth great news.”

“You keep sayin that, Mister. But you ain’t volunteering anything more than promises.”

“It is only for your leaders to hold the knowledge of power.”

“But knowledge in the wrong hands can corrupt,” Alice pointed out. “Plus, this is just one country society in a variety of social structures, that make up a nation, that belongs to a group of like-minded nations - that make up a global family of cultures, that we all call home.”

“Yeah, that’s right, Hun. We’re just one big global village of similar ilk,” Ray added. “So, if you need to pass on this groundbreaking knowledge, then it must be shared with all the world’s leaders. Not just one. That’d be dangerous.”

“You have more than one leader?” The stranger obliviously asked.

“Heck, Bub. What rock have you climbed out from under? Every country has a leader.”

“But there must only be one supreme leader,” the stranger argued. “It is what our system needs to work perfectly.”

“Then, it is a flawed system, Mister,” Alice’s evaluation dented the stranger’s enthusiasm.

“Yeah,” added Ray. “And if it’s flawed, no-one will be interested in listening to you. But you know who will? All those trees out there in the woods,” he chuckled - like a dismissive country hick laughing at his own joke. “Now, if you don’t mind, we’ve got things to do, so…”

Attempting to guide the stranger to the front door, the mention of trees that listen, tweaked his interest.

“Trees? But are they not just mere inanimate limbs of the Earth? How do they communicate?”

Like a lightbulb suddenly switching on inside Dinky’s head, a trigger word compelled him to speak out.

“My teacher at school, Mrs. Updike, says trees are living beings and that they listen all the time for pollution to eat. She says without trees, we would choke, because we’d have no air to breathe, and that trees have been here long before us. Mrs. Uptight says….”

James…” Alice’s displeasure at any form of bullying, strictly corrected him.

“Mom, that’s what everyone calls her – including Principal Jones.”

“I find that hard to believe but go on.”

“My teacher… okay?”

“That’s fine.”

“…Says that trees and plants like it when we talk to them. It stim-lates em’ into growth, is what she says.”

“Fascinating,” the stranger pondered. “If trees are the pre-dawn of humankind, then they must hold a wealth of knowledge.”

Gliding out onto the front porch, the stranger bid the family farewell.

“It appears that I have taken up too much of your time already. I came in peace. I now leave in peace. Farewell, Ray and Alice, and small human that is known as Dinky on account of my size.”

Heading into a clump of local trees, the stranger illuminated an area with a bright beam of light hovering above his position.

“Is he comin’ back, Dad?”

“No, I reckon he’ll be busy out there for a while, son. Then, who knows. Peculiar fella. Seems a little lost in life. Poor guy.”

“Right,” exclaimed Alice. “Ray, did you get a pumpkin?”

“On the porch, Alice.”

“Well, you best get to carving it, then, while I get Dinky here into his costume.”

“Yeah? What are you gonna be this year, son?”

“Buzz Lightyear. To infinity and beyond!

Stepping back into their house, Ray shut the door behind them, and had only taken a few steps, when the door knocker announced another visitor. Thinking it was the stranger returning, Dinky rushed to open the door, only to be disappointed by the sight of his school friend, Joey, standing at the door dressed as Batman.

“Trick or treat,” Joey recited. “Better get your costume on, Dinky. Don’t want the candy to be all gone. The old folks’ll be handing out pennies, and you can’t eat pennies.”

For a reflective moment, Dinky looked over to the woods, where a strange light hovered from tree to tree. He could just make out a voice repeating the same sentence to every tree that the light stopped at.

“Greetings,” it repeated. “We come in peace. Take me to your leader.”

Inviting Joey and his parents in, Dinky shut the door and rushed upstairs to put on his costume.

Later that evening – when candy collecting had turned into whimpers of sickly stomachs trying to digest the collective gorge of sugared delights, a light emerged from the woods illuminating the stranger gliding below it. As soon as he cleared the trees, he lifted his right arm and began speaking into it.

“This is Five Magger Orit to Mothership One. Do you read?”

“Report, Orit,” was the reply travelling through the airwaves.

“My initial efforts to find and communicate with any leadership on this planet,” the stranger continued. “Have failed to identify any office of singular leadership. This world is fragmented into insulated primitive conclaves of idealistic governance and is not ready to receive our gift of Utopian bliss. The only valuable information able to be gathered, has been from wooden appendages that bind this planet’s atmosphere and surface together. However, they possess no form of leadership, nor are they willing to bend in their responsibilities to the planet. It is my opinion that we postpone project Earth for one thousand more revolutions of this planet’s trajectory around its nearest star. Perhaps then, they will be ready to listen to what we have on offer.”

“Affirmative, Orit,” announced the voice. “We agree with your assessment and will consider your request. We now need you to proceed to Proxima Centauri b in the Alpha Centauri binary system, where there is a single-led society claiming to be all-knowing and all-forgiving.”

“That sounds like trouble,” the stranger’s concern beamed to the upper atmosphere.

“Affirmative. You need to investigate if that all-knowing claim has not fallen into the wrong hands, because…”

“…Knowledge in the wrong hands can corrupt,” the stranger unthinkingly quoted.

“Precisely, Orit. You are very wise.”

Remembering where he had heard that snippet of logic earlier, the stranger looked toward the quiet house where the small human and his family now lay sleeping. With a tinge of remorse, he pressed a button on his sleeve to activate his extraction from the planet.

Goodbye, Dinky on account of my size.”

 He felt an odd but familiar connection to the boy and his family, and for one blink of a parsec, he wondered if a one-thousand revolution wait was a bit over-exaggerated. However, before he could process that thought, a bright beam of light flashed from the sky and transported him off the planet, leaving a sleepy hollow in backwoods Tennessee to carry on evolving, and a small boy - soon to become a small grown man, to dream about Hooters.

“James Alabaster Murray! There’ll be no dreaming of hooters in this household.”

“Okay, Mom…”

“Now, go back to sleep!”

“Affirmative!”

 

 

August 07, 2023 05:22

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31 comments

Amanda Lieser
23:53 Aug 24, 2023

Hi Chris, Have you ever seen that kids cartoon film, Mars Needs Moms? This story made me think of it since we get to enter on a kitchen scene. I especially like that Dinky’s instinct is to point the alien to his mother-the leader in so many homes. I loved the debate with this story and the desperate need to make sense of the unexplainable visitor. It was a great take on the prompt and the overall idea of aliens. Nice work!!

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Chris Campbell
05:14 Aug 25, 2023

Amanda, I've not seen the movie but have since looked it up and will definitely watch it. Women always rule the roost and mothers normally control it. A leader for me, is someone people look up to and make you proud to follow their example. If aliens ever come to Earth, they should seek out the less corruptible to make first contact. A mother would be a wise ambassadorial choice. Thanks for reading and commenting.

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Arthur McNamee
21:56 Aug 16, 2023

Great story and I can see it going down like that. The satire used in this story was not lost either. Maybe in a thousand cycles Earth will be ready for the great news. Thanks for the opportunity to read this story.

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Chris Campbell
00:14 Aug 17, 2023

Arthur, Thanks or your great feedback. Glad you recognised the satire.

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Fernando César
20:56 Aug 16, 2023

Ah! I was expecting some more iteration between Ori and all the people in Halloween customs: “That looks like my cousin, from four parseps”, or “yes, I’m the Big Giant Head, supreme leader”. Funny story!

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Chris Campbell
00:19 Aug 17, 2023

Thanks, Fernando. Perhaps, Ori needed to say, "Take me to your heart" and looked to winning the people over before wanting to take it straight to the top. I'm sure the trees showed him the way. So happy to have made you laugh.

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Delbert Griffith
12:58 Aug 16, 2023

Dude! This tale is as funny as it gets, with a lot of relevant truths scattered throughout. I especially liked when the father explained Dinky's mental processes. That could really be a great way to explain a lot of human behavior. Great, great stuff, my friend. The tree bit was also funny and telling. The most important life on earth, and we tend to dismiss it in favor of Hooters and Halloween. LOL Another amazing tale from Chris Campbell. You have a gift, my friend, and it comes through strongly in this amazing tale. Cheers!

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Chris Campbell
14:32 Aug 16, 2023

Thanks, Delbert. I did put a few subliminal messages in there. Well spotted. Thank you for taking the time to read my story, mate.

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Soleil Tron
17:15 Aug 15, 2023

Chris, I loved this story so much! Fantastic job.

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Chris Campbell
01:00 Aug 16, 2023

Thanks, Soleil. So glad you liked it.

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Marty B
05:33 Aug 15, 2023

He should have followed Dinky's advice and spoke to the trees- they are the wise old ones, we just have a hard time 'listening'. This sounds like how many of our political leaders think! 'Everything just gets thrown into whatever bucket he wants to fill. He then interprets it with the minimum of experience and with hardly any knowledge to make any real sense out of it.”

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Chris Campbell
12:39 Aug 15, 2023

Marty, Thanks for getting that little subliminal message. So glad you liked it.

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Kelsey H
09:37 Aug 14, 2023

This was a very fun read, love the idea of an alien turning up to an average family and trying to explain his mission to them, while being misunderstood and dismissed. Lots of great dialogue, I liked all Dinky's interactions with Orit, and also how he kept spilling dirt on his dad!

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Chris Campbell
14:34 Aug 14, 2023

Thanks, Kelsey. Out of the mouth of babes, hey? Thanks for the great feedback.

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Russell Mickler
15:49 Aug 13, 2023

Hey there, Chris! WOW this kid’s got a mouth on them! Actually, most kids I know these days all have a mouth on them. This does sound a little SNL :) egg-shaped head, cobalt cape … Loved the naming convention on the alien; the distance, solar winds comment was funny; the tech that ends all poverty, hunger, and war - great; socialist, great; female cook, cringeworthy. The ending is fun and horrifically accurate - humans don’t deserve utopian bliss and we’d probably kill each other if we had it anyway. A fun read, Chris! R

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Chris Campbell
03:02 Aug 14, 2023

Russell, Thanks for the great feedback. I agree that it does sound a bit SNL with maybe a smidgen of Monty Python added. The cringeworthy comment from the alien hints at a hierarchical structured society on his home planet - possibly teetering on the edge of misogyny. Or perhaps he's just a juvenile himself projecting his own household's family structure on the humans. His mother cooks and his father heads the family, so, to him, all women are cooks and all men are leaders. Either way, he seems to be learning on the job. So glad you like...

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Ellen Neuborne
20:51 Aug 12, 2023

Funny and poignant. You have to wonder if more advanced life has contacted us and we blew it off. I liked Dinky as the character most willing to be open minded to the visitors.

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Chris Campbell
03:24 Aug 13, 2023

Thank you, Ellen. I often wonder what that first contact will be like and I think Halloween would be a good time to show themselves. They'd fit in right away.

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Ty Warmbrodt
19:22 Aug 12, 2023

You have a wonderful imagination, Chris. I'm glad you share it with us.

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Chris Campbell
03:25 Aug 13, 2023

Ty, Thanks for the great comment. All these years as an only child must have helped.🤣

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Michał Przywara
22:34 Aug 10, 2023

Ha! Amusing, and it seems the alien even learned a lesson, so it still worked as a cultural exchange. I suppose if we do have anything to offer the galactic community, it's an abundance of examples of groups of idealists going too far and ruining things for everyone. So yeah, certainly quite a bit of danger in supreme rulers. "Then, you must be from another planet" :) Thanks for sharing!

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Chris Campbell
00:12 Aug 11, 2023

Thanks, Michal. A slight political undertone, but sincerely meant to be all tongue-in-cheek. I can't help but wonder though, if the alien's mission is his first in the real universe. Perhaps, a juvenile ambassadorial apprentice sent to look for a left-handed hammer, with a written script of the standard alien greeting - as his introduction to the human race. He may have come in peace, but I'm sure leaders of government would soon intern him to extract the technology one way or another. My advice would be to just keep talking to the trees...

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Anna W
15:19 Aug 10, 2023

Another hilarious story, Chris! I loved the light hearted humor of Dinky. Thanks for sharing this one!

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Chris Campbell
03:26 Aug 13, 2023

Anna, Thanks for the great feedback. Glad to have made you chuckle.

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Mary Bendickson
13:42 Aug 07, 2023

The light hearted touch this subject needed. Would like some of what he was offering,though🤔👽👑.

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Chris Campbell
14:52 Aug 07, 2023

Thanks, Mary. Yes, me too.

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Kevin Logue
09:04 Aug 07, 2023

Mum it's for you - just set the comedic time for all that followed. This was so good Chris, so many laughs. I was wondering why the Dad was so calm on seeing the alien, then you close with the -did you get a pumpkin? Brilliantly done. Honestly thought you could have ended it there it was such a aha moment. But the meta closing with the mother commenting on the narration was a chuckle. A lot to praise in this, dialogue as always top notch, the miscommunication-hilarious, the social/political debate genuinely interesting. If I can a tiny ...

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Chris Campbell
14:56 Aug 07, 2023

Kevin, Thanks for the great feedback. I got this piece in early to get some valuable feedback, so I could re-work it during the next several days. Yes, Ray's calmness was due to the fact it was Halloween, so the costumed visitor didn't seem out of place to him. Thanks for the grammatical suggestion. I've now re-worded the beginning. So glad that it tickled your funny bone.

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Kevin Logue
15:06 Aug 07, 2023

Getting something early...that sounds amazing, maybe someday I'll be able to experience it hahaha. That's reads well to me, glad I could help.

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Chris Campbell
00:46 Aug 08, 2023

It just flowed out of me. I normally submit around Thursdays. I had thought about following a different prompt that would have been a lot darker, but I opted for humour instead with this prompt.

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Kevin Logue
12:54 Aug 08, 2023

I hear that, same thing happen me with the road tripping prompt. Had these sci-fi pirates entering a intergalactic gas station but it was empty and abandoned cause of an alien attack, but it just wouldn't take. Then took a completely different route and went silly and for the first time wrote a funny story but it just flowed, I had a lot of fun with it in stead of trying to me overly complicated. Humour for the win, ha!

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