“You see the aliens needed my piss to get their space ship goin' again” he said.
There was a long pause and the man with the clipboard looked up, smiled and spoke calmly,
“Ok, why don’t we start from the beginning.”
“I’ll start darlin', you’ve had a hard time” said his wife. “Two weeks ago we were vacationing in Arizona. Both of us 64 years old and never seen the Grand Canyon. Can you believe it? Anyway, Bill had just retired, 42 years at Ray’s Auto Recovery if you can believe it, and so we drove out, all the way, from Fort Wayne, Indiana, if you can believe it. 1,840 miles but oh, the scenery...”
“Mrs Dale, please. Just what happened to your husband.”
“Ok, ok. But it was lovely, you should try it some time. Anyway, on the day we got up late because those beds in Max’s Motel were so hard, you know the ones, you just can’t believe them, and we arrived at the Grand Canyon North Rim Visitor Center at 11 o’clock. Or was it 11:15? Anyway, it was already over 100 degrees and I was wearing a lovely yellow, wide brimmed hat, can you believe it, and Bill wasn’t wearing a hat at all! So I said to him....”
“Oh, shut up woman” Bill barked, awaking from his stupor.
“We got to the Grand Canyon about 11 in the morning and it was already hot. Texas chilli hot. For some reason, after 3 days in the car driving across the country with my wife, I decided to head off on my own and explore. Start enjoying the “quiet life” as soon as possible.”
The man with the clipboard quietly made notes and smiled.
“I’d been walking for about an hour and was getting pretty tired. But I’m still wide awake and there’s nothing wrong with me, ya hear. I stop for a sit down, drink my bottle of water and just take in the scenery. That’s when I sees it. A metallic shine coming from one of the isolated canyons. Now, I’ve been in the rescue business for a long time and if you see something like this you report it or investigate. As I had no phone signal, I went down for a closer look.”
“Now this next part is a little... you know, nutty. But stay with me now. It takes me about 10 minutes to get down there, I turn a corner and there is this small spacecraft and 4 little, green men standing beside it. As God is my witness. And, then... oh Lord!”
“Yes? Please do go on.”
“Well, one of them, I took him to be the captain or leader.”
“Why was that?”
“He has a little captain’s hat on. You know, like them airline pilots.”
“Well, he steps towards me and says, clear as you and me right now, ‘Thank you for coming so quickly.’”
“I was frozen still but, in the end, replied: ‘You’re welcome’. But that made things worse.”
“Really? How so? And how did he know what you were saying?”
“I’ll get to that. But it made things worse because he asked if I was welcoming them to our planet or if he should be thankful for me arriving at their crash site. I didn’t know so I just said ‘Both I guess’. Then my rescue training kicked in because I asked him what seemed to be the problem.”
Bill takes a drink.
“Seems their nitrogen fuel tank ran dry on the way from Venus to Europa. His partner forgot to fill the ship up before the family left on vacation. It’s him, his wife and the kids. You know, they were off to the splash park in Europa’s deep oceans. I don’t know about space stuff but that’s what he said. But without enough fuel they broke down on Earth. Thing is though they see Earth like we all would a dangerous inner city. Friend of his stopped here a few years back and had his ship stolen for some secret government project. A bit like that time we went into Indianapolis and I had my hubcaps taken. Remember that honey?”
“I sure do, Bill. I couldn’t believe it then and I still can’t believe it now.”
“Ok, ok. Mr Dale, please.”
“Oh sure thing. So he asks me if I can urinate into a hole in the side of the spacecraft. Can you believe it? The nitrogen in my piss powers the ship. Like nitroglycerine, I suppose. As I’ve just drunk a heap of water it was easy. So there we are, I’m taking a leak and he’s standing beside me so I ask him about his English. And, wouldn’t you know it, his answer was ‘Friends’! His wife watches it all the time. He can’t stand it but he’s learnt enough English to get by.”
“Yeah, you know the tv show?”
“Yes, I know it. After your little urinal chat, was that it?”
“Yeah, pretty much. Although he said how nice the place looked now. Earth he meant. A lot of the Dilurian race left the planet after their grand-parents ruined the environment a few years back. Hunted lots of the animals to extinction, pretty much wrecked the place. His parents joined the ‘white flight’ out to Venus. But he said he’d tell his friends and they’d come back soon. Maybe on the way back from their holiday. Then they got in their ship and flew off. But the blast off must have knocked me over and I woke up here.”
Bill sits back in his chair, exhausted. His wife strokes his head, kisses him and walks away alongside the man with the clipboard.
“So what do you think doctor, can you believe it?”
“Well, it could be temporary psychosis caused by dehydration or concussion. It is quite a detailed fantasy though. I see your husband worked as a break-down mechanic for over 40 years and, if what you say is true about his love of government conspiracy theories, then he could have combined the two in a full, mental breakdown. The only thing I can recommend is he stays here, at Pescadero Mental Facility, for at least 6 months.”
“Do what you think is best, doc... oh my God, is that... is that... a flying saucer?”