Author: Greg Roensch
With a slate of afternoon meetings on her mind, Alice Loverly, the long-time VP of Human Resources, hurried into the breakroom for another dose of caffeine. What she saw froze Alice in her tracks and erased all thoughts about meetings, coffee, or anything else. Though she couldn’t articulate her feelings, Alice sensed an immediate attraction to the long-fingered alien sitting at the table by the vending machines.
Crossing the room to introduce herself, Alice fought off an intense urge to run her fingers through the coal-black coif of wild, disheveled hair that gave the alien the look of a 1980s pop star – like one of the guys in Wham! or Duran Duran. What’s come over me? Alice wondered. I’m the vice president of human resources for Christ-sakes.
“Welcome,” said Alice. “Are you here for orientation?”
When the creature didn’t respond, Alice placed her right hand on its sinewy shoulder, her gaze lingering on those wondrous waves of dark, tousled hair.
“Don’t be afraid,” Alice said. “Everyone’s nervous on their first day.”
Alice patted the alien’s shoulder and watched in silence as its fingers twitched on the table. It reminded Alice of how Fritzy, her seven-year-old cocker spaniel, shook his leg involuntary when she scratched his belly just right.
“You’re in good hands now,” Alice said. “I’ll make sure you get to orientation on time.”
Though it didn’t speak, there was something in the creature’s look that let Alice know her words were not only understood but appreciated.
Without warning, the alien reached up and flopped its scaly hand on top of Alice’s. Though surprised, the VP of HR gripped the hand in hers and coaxed the alien to its feet. Now standing face-to-face with the creature, Alice noticed a dab of blue saliva on its chin.
“There, that’s better,” Alice said, wiping away the blue drool and wondering if the blue-saliva-soiled napkins should go in the trash, recycling, or compost bin.
As she led the alien out of the breakroom and down the hallway, Alice made a mental note of anyone who ran in the opposite direction. Looks like we need to ramp up diversity training again, she thought.
“Don’t mind them,” Alice whispered to the newcomer. “They’ll get used to you in time.”
Alice beamed with a sense of corporate pride as she pointed out the company’s state-of-the-art facilities – the recently refurbished cafeteria, the fully equipped gym, and the lush central lawn where employees flung frisbees at lunch.
“We’d better hurry,” Alice said after checking her watch. “I don’t want you to be late.”
The alien voiced its displeasure by emitting a loud gurgle.
“There, there,” Alice replied. “We’ll finish the campus tour later.”
Back in the main hallway, the alien wandered off toward the elevators when Alice stopped at the water faucet for a quick drink.
“Get back over here, you sneaky devil,” Alice called. “We’re going this way.”
When she pointed toward the orientation room, Alice saw one of her favorite co-workers duck behind a cubicle wall in the Accounting department.
“Hey, Max,” she said. “I want to introduce you to…”
Before the perky VP could finish her sentence, the well-coifed alien sprung with surprising agility onto a nearby desk and headed straight for Max Marsupolis. By now, a thick strand of blue saliva streamed from both corners of the creature’s mouth, a clear sign to anyone familiar with the species that the alien, its thin lips stretched open to reveal two rows of piranha-sharp teeth, was extremely hungry.
That one made me smile.
Oh dear, a sensitivity training course for the alien, I fear!