By Ken Poyner
The alien, in what is likely his finest environment suit, walked over the ridge in the road, and I stood there watching him disappear from the bottom up. When he was out of sight, I ran to the rise and could see him again, ambling unconcerned past the private cemetery and further toward the little league baseball game, where the boys playing had not yet noticed him. When they see him, it’s half a bet they run away, half a bet they crowd at the fence closest, gawking. All I know is he plodded past me as I stumbled on the sidewalk, taking no notice of me at all. I thought maybe he would greet me with signs, or wand me with some pseudo-magical device to collect the data surrounding me, a skull-shocking device that I then did not know might exist, but which his culture likely prizes. Little bits of information collected that made his voyage here worth the wait. I imagined his spaceship and wondered if I would get to see the inside of it, be led through alien corridors, meet the captain—if he himself is not the captain—perhaps even get ferried in a short hop out and around the moon and back. Maybe. But he walked right past me. No measuring device, no universal welcome or commanding threats. If he had asked me to take him to our leader, I would have likely walked him to the fire station, as at the police station, they would probably overreact. But he just walked by like I was an advertisement for fresh jelly doughnuts, or a worn intersection street sign. I bet that is what he is going to do when he draws even to the baseball diamond. The boys will run or gawk, and he will continue on the road centerline, not looking their way, no alternatives hinted in his posture. Lucky for him, or for us perhaps, there are few cars to bother this stretch of road at this time of day. Farther into town, he is going to find some scattered-breed porch dogs that don’t like the unfamiliar. Big, lazy dogs that lie on the porch with their heads hanging free, akilter on the last of the porch steps, watching. It isn’t far along that way. The town gets thicker. Perhaps I should tag along just behind a bit to see what happens, to be the someone who knows the sudden story, start to finish. He might need me as proof of intentions, or lack of them.