Author: Hillary Lyon

“So we’re outside, drinking on the patio like we do sometimes after work, when Ellie looks up at the sky and goes—”

“I said, ‘What is THAT?’” Ellie laughed awkwardly. From his seat next to the sofa, the interviewer, Mister Guest, leaned towards her, holding his small recorder. He wore a black suit and skinny tie, plain white shirt, and highly polished shoes. Very professional, Ellie thought.

“Continue,” Guest encouraged.

“Around sunset that day the clouds looked like buttered popcorn—and I’m daydreaming when suddenly this THING slips out from the clouds and glides, real slow, towards us.”

“Daydreaming?” Ellie could hear the puzzlement in Guest’s voice.

She sighed. “Like wondering what life would be like if I, I mean we, lived somewhere else, somewhere with exotic cultures and beautiful landscapes and fascinating histories.”

Listening, Guest tilted his head. His oddly-pointy ears perked up. “What did this ‘thing’ look like?”

“HUGE and silent. Triangle-shaped, dark gray. Color-changing lights on each corner—white to purple, then orange, then back to white. And in the very middle of this thing, there’s a big glass globe. Like a crystal ball.” She scrunched her eyebrows together.“You could see the sky and clouds through it, but they looked distorted.”

“Hell, I saw that, too,” Trent said, slurping his beer.

“What did it sound like?” Guest asked Ellie, ignoring Trent’s interruption.

“Nothing.” Ellie answered. “No engine roar or motor hum or propellers buzzing—”

“Speak for yourself,” Trent snorted. He was annoyed; this was supposed to be his interview. He’s the one who looked up Extra-Terrestrial Investigators, Inc., online. He’s the one who made the call to set up the interview.

“Oh?” Guest said, still pointing the recorder at Ellie.

Trent leaned in and spoke loudly. “I heard this ‘mmmmmmmm’.” Trent’s eyes became unfocused as he fell under the spell of creating his own fiction. “Like a heavenly choir holding one long note, getting louder and louder until it was rattlin’ my bones!”

Ellie put her head in her hands.

Trent took a long pull on his beer. “That UFO sent out sound-waves to hypnotize us! It was gonna beam us up to be probed or who knows what, if I hadn’t dragged Ellie back into the house. I’m the hero. That’s your story, mister.”

“Huh,” was all Guest said; he lightly touched Ellie’s shoulder. “You were saying?”

She looked up. “It hovered over us for a minute or two, then smoothly slipped back into the clouds and disappeared.” She shrugged.

Mister Guest clicked off his recorder. “Thanks for your time, and information.” He never took his eyes off Ellie. “We’ll be in touch.”

* * *

Back at headquarters, Mister Guest turned on his recorder. His supervisor, Director Cloak, listened closely, occasionally nodding. “So the male, though an absolute beast, was actually closer to the truth.”

“Yep,” Guest agreed. “He’s physically fit, steeped in Earth-culture UFO lore, and prone to gross exaggeration. No matter what we do to him, or how long we keep him, his peers won’t believe him.”

“An excellent find, then!” Cloak commended.“Well done.”

“One last thing,” Guest added.“My youngest has a birthday soon and, as this female is intelligent, docile yet adventurous, I think she’ll—”

“Make a good pet,” Cloak finished. “Go ahead. Schedule your follow-up interview.”

“Terrific!” Guest chirped. “I’ll wrap her up.”