By the time I reached spaceport security I'd taken to smiling idiotically in all directions so as to give the cameras the impression I was innocent. According to my screenwork, I was headed to Saturn to conduct "research" for the science corporation where I worked. In actuality, I'd registered with an underground, interplanetary dating service. Along with getting arrested, I worried the alien creature from Saturn with whom I'd been retina-messaging all week — her name was Z)(Z — was actually a he, or worse, a kidnapper looking to sell my body parts to some illegal market.
Sex with a female from this particular region on Saturn allegedly bordered on the implausible. In the last message, Z)(Z had explained that on her planet group sex was common. While she'd never done it with one mate, the prospect of it excited her greatly. I'd never had sex with a group, I'd messaged her. It's not that great, she messaged back. What I hadn't told her is that since my marriage of twelve years ended, I couldn't stop obsessing about my soon-to-be-ex wife; and that I was hoping an alien might free me from this affliction. I was removing my Molar PC, no longer worried about getting caught when the security guy's wand beeped near my buttocks. "Oh that," I laughed, "it's my iPod."
"I'm afraid we're going to have to scan your pants, sir."
"Look, I realize you're just doing your job, but I if I don't make this ship, my . . . my boss will kill me."
A younger security guard walked over and said, "That the new iPod Hemorrhoid?"
"How is it?"
"Great," I said, my heart rattling, "I mean, a little weird at first, but once you get used to the vibration it's . . . cool."
"Cool?" the older guard said, "what're you — some kind of Democrat?"
"Nah," I laughed, annoyed, "my nephew says that word a lot. It's back in fashion, I think." Re-inserting my Molar PC, I was tempted to tell him my grandfather had been one of the last Democrats who had died during the revolution. I kept quiet and hurried for the gate, anxious to leave this godforsaken planet.
Once I settled into my seat on the ship, thoughts of my wife resurfaced. I called her. When she answered, I thought, "Hey."
"Oh," she thought back, her tone somewhat muted, "hi."
"You with him?" I thought.
"Why are you torturing yourself like this?"
"Why are you answering then, huh?"
A high-pitched ring triggered in my head.
"Sir!" thought the steward, "the Pilotor has alerted us that we are about to launch. You are violating PAA code."
"Sweetie!" I thought. She was gone.
"Don't call me sweetie."
Prick. I pressed the call button and another steward rushed over to my seat. "Excuse me," I said, "can I have the medicine dispenser . . . I mean, like, right now?"
Seconds later, she dropped a dispenser on my lap. It was much smaller than most spacelines but whatever, I typed: "escape" and watched little Pf spin around until it said, "Try again. Sorry." I typed: "pining after wife . . . horny sad lonely thirsty worried
I reached over and touched her thigh; it was the size of a tree, the skin slippery.
forehead sweat." The little Pf spun around on the screen and then a purple pill slid into the tray. The purple kind always made me ill. I swallowed it, anyway . . . and awoke to the Pilotor speaking in my head: "Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Saturn."
The spaceport looked like any other spaceport, really. We were escorted by your basic robot through a hallway whose walls seemed to emanate an astonishingly comforting light. We were led to another craft whose seats came equipped with medicine dispensers. I immediately typed "escape." This time, the familiar pink pill slid into the tray and I ate it. Seconds later, I was a velvet blanket lying alone in sun-drenched field, just happy to be alive.
Z)(Z was approximately sixteen feet tall, with eyes the size of grapefruits, and skin covered in pastel spots that, although I couldn't be sure, may have changed shapes every so often. Instead of feet, her arms and legs came to an elegant point I found erotic. We rode in her little craft in silence. Frankly, I felt like a child in the gigantic seat. When we exited the tunnel from the spaceport, I almost fainted at the beauty of the sky. It was a lemon color infused with red veins that flashed intermittently. I began to weep uncontrollably.
"It's the air pressure," she said, peering down at me with her gargantuan eyes.
I nodded, convinced my sadness had managed to trump the air pressure. It suddenly dawned on me we were moving along water.
"My brother," she said, "works for the government, and often flies to your planet. It can be exhausting."
The structures we passed were infinitely high and supported by translucent beams that reflected the red veins of light.
"To be perfectly honest," I said, trying to sound inoffensive, "I guess I never considered the height factor a — "
"Yes," I laughed. "by the way, your translator mechanism is excellent."
"I sense you're feeling emasculated by my height."
"I don't know . . . I think I could be into it." I reached over and touched her thigh; it was the size of a tree, the skin slippery.
"I sense you miss someone from the past."
"Jesus, you sense a lot."
"Mostly, you worry she doesn't miss you."
I nodded, wondering why we were the only craft on the water. Maybe she was kidnapping me!
"Still," she went on, "with all this confusion in your head, you still want to sleep with me."
"It's okay. I'd like to sleep with you as well."
"Great," I said, worrying I'd be one or two yards shorter than what she was used to. "Your kind are very direct. I like that."
She pulled over to one of the beams whose top rose into the sky. After a distinctive click, we rocketed into the air so rapidly that my head began to expand.