AUGUST 8, 2005

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By Robert Isenberg

QAJAOG: Greetings, Captain Zabujek.

ZABUJEK: Your eminence, Emperor Qajaog, I am honored by this private audience.

QAJAOG: Captain, word of your exploits has reached the farthest reaches of the Federated Republic of the Empire. Is it true that you have ventured to the planet called Earth?

ZABUJEK: It is true, Your Sliminess. We have journeyed millions of light years and returned safely to report our findings.

QAJAOG: Go on.

ZABUJEK: As you know, our study required two simple, working-class humans from a small, remote mountain town. Men, of course, preferably gullible and childless and mildly alcoholic.

QAJAOG: Yes, of course.

ZABUJEK: As we orbited, our Stealth Field activated, we zeroed in on the human settlement of Stone River, Idaho, which sustains a population of 215 humans and harvests nearly 500 tons of potatoes a month.

QAJAOG: Potatoes, harvested? Barbarians!

ZABUJEK: I’m aware of their folly, my squishy, amorphic highness, but they know not what they do. Wounded by their inhumanity, I’ve since adopted three potatoes from the Spud Kennel. They seem happy in my home.

QAJAOG: But back to your study.

ZABUJEK: Yes. Our sensors located two ideal specimens: Larry and Doug, two out-of-work loggers who were going on a platonic friendship-affirming camping trip that weekend, during which they had planned fruitless fishing and many back-slapping hugs.

QAJAOG: How did you apprehend them?

ZABUJEK: We sent down one of our colossal flying saucers, thinking they would confuse it for an airplane or a bird. They were busy tossing back a couple Bud Lights and trying to pitch their tent, and at first didn’t notice us looming over the trees.

QAJAOG: Didn’t notice you?

ZABUJEK: As we soon discovered, humans need – heh, heh, you’re gonna love this one – light radiation in order to see.

QAJAOG: Light radiation! What the hell?

ZABUJEK: Ha! Ha! Can you believe it?

QAJAOG: Ha! Ha! Ha! Oh, my God, I’m oozing.

ZABUJEK: Priceless.

QAJAOG: Ha! Ha! Ho. Wow. Wow.

ZABUJEK: Hooooo. So, yeah.

QAJAOG: Yeah. So. You were saying?

ZABUJEK: So we waited until they could see us. Because what’s the sport in catching them while their backs are turned?

QAJAOG: True that.

ZABUJEK: So suddenly they turn around, and bam! We hit them with a big, bright light.

QAJAOG: Oh, perfect!

ZABUJEK: Scared the living crap out of ‘em. And they’re all like: Oh, my God, it’s the aliens! And we’re all like: How’d they know? And they’re screaming and losing their shit as we pull them into the starship using the gravitational fetching beam.

QAJAOG: Couldn’t you just have grabbed them?

ZABUJEK: Yeah, see, Togath in engineering really, really wanted to use the beam, and who wants to argue with Togath? Once that guy gets pissy, he locks himself in the slimatorium and pouts. We figured, okay, fine, make Togath happy. Then maybe he won’t be such a baby.

QAJAOG: So what did you do with the humans?

ZABUJEK: Well, we shackled them to an uncomfortable slab of metal surrounded by lots of needles and sharp implements. I don’t want to be mean, but Larry was a little on the hefty side, so we had to rummage through the closet to find a bigger slab of metal.

QAJAOG: And then?

ZABUJEK: Everybody’s favorite part, of course.

QAJAOG: Ooh! Anal probe?

ZABUJEK: Hell, yeah.

QAJAOG: I love it. So what did you find out?

ZABUJEK: Not much. Mostly just the contents of their recta, the length of their respective intestinal tracts, and a bunch of microorganisms helpful in the digestive process. But check this out: It turns out that most of their neurological activity occurs in their heads.

QAJAOG: No way!


QAJAOG: So that’s what the human brain is for.

ZABUJEK: Go figure.

QAJAOG: You released them, then?

ZABUJEK: Oh, yeah. They’re negotiating their contract with Sci Fi Network movie as we speak.

QAJAOG: Cool. Who’s playing you?

ZABUJEK: Duh. David Duchovny.

QAJAOG: Thank God. That guy needed a break.

ZABUJEK: Anyway, that should do it for now. I’ll let you know when we get the rest of our test results.

QAJAOG: You know what, don’t bother. I’m probably going to get the Intergalactic Navy to destroy the Earth, city by city, using apocalyptic laser beams and savage hand-to-claw combat, anyway.

ZABUJEK: Woah, you feeling okay, Your Highness?

QAJAOG: Just one of those weeks, I guess. Anyway, I’ll check you later, Zabujek. Or should I say, Captain?

ZABUJEK: Oh, Emperor. You’re make me secrete protoplasm.

QAJAOG: Just don’t let it go to your mandibles. Okay, seriously, I have to go. Have to go walk my potato.

Robert Isenberg is a freelance writer and actor. A columnist for Pittsburgh Magazine, his fiction and humor have appeared in The New Yinzer, Deek, and McSweeney's. His sixth play, 20 Questions, will receive production in August.

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