Author: David Henson

Richard teeters to his pig. Made of a hard, shiny material, it’s pink, sports a green tux, and is about two feet tall and five feet long.

Steve scoops the pot into his pile of poker chips. “You OK, Richard?”

“Not OK,” Richard slurs. “Wife left me. Girlfriend dumped me. Daughter hates me. Living in this crummy apartment. Zap me away, pig.”

John winces.

“Actually,” Harry says, “there hasn’t been a verified incident of vaporization except for failure to stroke at midnight.”

The poker buddies have focused on the game but can no longer restrain themselves:

“We don’t know that people are vaporized.”

“I heard a cult believed the pigs are sending people to some utopian planet and got zapped on purpose.”

“I still can’t understand who would put billions of pigs here.”

“Stan’s brother was sick. Couldn’t get to his pig when it squealed at midnight. Got zapped even though his wife tried to stroke for them both.”

“At least parents can stroke for their kids.”

“What about people who got zapped before we figured out the rules?”

“I heard we nuked one and didn’t scratch it.”

“Maybe aliens are watching us … like a kind of reality show back on their world.”

“Maybe like in that old show,” Richard mumbles, “the aliens are eating people.”

“On that happy note,” Steve says, “we should settle up so we can be home to stroke our pigs at midnight.”

After everybody leaves, Richard downs a glass of whiskey then lurches to bed. He’s passed out when his pig squeals at midnight.


Richard wakes up in the bedroom of his house, not his raunchy apartment. He hurries to the kitchen. There’s his wife, Rose, and daughter, Lilly.

Rose kisses him on the cheek. “You overslept, Honey. Better hurry.”

“Daddy, remember you promised to give me another driving lesson after you get home from work.”

Lilly hasn’t gone off to college? He’s been zapped to the past? To before his girlfriend, Lucy? Before the pigs? He’s being given a second chance. To not take up with Lucy. Not destroy his family. The pigs are good. He gives Rose a long kiss.

“Easy,” Rose says. “I love your sentiment, but not your timing.”

He hugs Lilly.

“You’re weird this morning, Daddy. Don’t forget my lesson.”

“Do it right after work,” Rose says. “Remember we’re taking my new friend from the office out for a drink this evening. Lucy. You’ll love her.”

No! It’s the day he first meets Lucy. Richard recalls her tight skirt, feels that familiar rush of blood. Don’t give in this time, he tells himself. “Maybe I’ll pass, Rose. You go out with her.”

“Don’t be silly. I want you to meet her. I think Lucy and I are going to be great friends.”

After Rose and Lilly leave, Richard lingers in the kitchen. Maybe he could be more careful. Not get caught. No! He pictures Lucy’s breasts. Don’t! He finds a bottle of whiskey and swigs half. He mustn’t give in again no matter what he has to do. He opens the knife drawer.



“Oh, no!” Zandy says as the closing credits roll. “Do think he’s going to cut off his —”

“You never know with these crazy earthlings,” his mate, Zobby, says. “This is the best series yet.”

Zandy clambers to his feet. “Think I’ll get ready for bed. I have an early appointment at the mud bath tomorrow.” He and Zobby touch snouts, their curly tails twirling with affection.

“I’ll wait here,” Zobby says.

“OK, Sweetie. I’ll be back out at midnight for us to stroke our cow.”