Author : Patricia Stewart, Staff Writer

“Cledus, why is the porch door open?” bellowed a heavy set woman wielding a flour covered rolling pin. “You’re lettin’ the flies in.”

“Relax, Thelma. I just put Duke out, and I didn’t want to git up to let’m back in. Now, hush-up, Junior is fixin’ to pass Kyle.”

As his wife headed back toward the kitchen, Cletus hear a soft voice from the other side of the sofa “Greetings, earthman,” it said.

Startled, Cledus turned toward the empty cushion and exclaimed “Who the hell said that?”

A second later, a miniature spaceman materialized next to the “I heart Elvis” throw pillow. “Sorry, earthman, I had forgotten that I was cloaked. I hope I didn’t cause you any distress.”

Cledus stared at the two foot tall alien wearing a shiny metallic spacesuit, and then glanced at the six empty beer bottles toppled over on the coffee table. “Damn, I must be hearin’ and seein’ things,” he said. “I have to start cuttin’ back,” he added as he finished off the seventh bottle and turned back toward the TV, “…tomorrow.”

“Excuse me, sir, but I could really use your assistance.”

Cledus rubbed his eyes and looked at the alien again. “Shoot, it’s real. What the hell do you want?”

“It seems that my spaceship sank in a swampy bog a few miles from here. I was hoping that you could use your tractor to tow it to dry land. I’d greatly appreciate it.”

Never one to pass up a potential opportunity, “What’s in it fer me?” asked Cledus with some degree of anticipation.

“What would you like?” inquired the little alien. “I can provide substantial compensation.”

“Kin you build me a contraption that will turn water into beer?”

“If that’s what you desire, consider it done.”

“Cledus,” yelled Thelma from the kitchen, “who y’all talkin’ to?”

“Quick,” whispered Cledus, “disappear until I gits rid of the misses.”

The alien disappeared and Cledus reached for another beer. “Uh, oh, no one sweetie. Just watchin’ the 500. Must have been a commercial.”

Thelma scowled as she approached her lying husband. “Don’t lie to me, you lying buzzard,” she threatened. “I know you’re up to somethin’.” Then she plopped down onto the empty side of the sofa.

“Aaagggghhh,” screamed Cledus as he jumped up and started pulling on her arm. “Git up you ornery cuss. If you squished him, I’ll…”

“Squish who?” asked the confused Thelma as Cledus finally managed to get her upright.

He scrambled past her and started feeling around the cushions looking for the flattened alien. “Don’t you never mind,” he snapped. “Now, git back to the kitchen and make my supper. And be fast about it. I’m gittin’ hungry.”

“Well, you’re just a dang fool,” replied Thelma as she indignantly hoofed off toward the kitchen. “I should have listened to mamma when she warned me… Now what’s goin’ on out there,” she said as she paused at the open front door. “It looks like, Beau and Duke are havin’ a tug-o-war with a ‘possum covered in tin foil.” As she watched the two animals rip the small creature apart, she suddenly realized what they had done. “Oh my God,” she exclaimed. “This is awful, Cledus, them dumb dawgs just stole the neighbor’s dinner right off the grill.”

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