Never thought I’d be fishing with a tobacco-chewing alien but here I am. He hawks a cheek-load over the side of the boat then turns to me,
“You know what you need, Greg?”
“For shit’s sake Albert! You say that every time we meet, what do you want me to do, walk to the farmer’s market and punch one in the face?”
Albert tugs on his reel. “Nope, wouldn’t want that. That wouldn’t be very eloquent now, would it mate?”
This is typically how conversations between me and Albert go. He tells me what I need to do, I tell him why it’s not that simple, he responds in some ill conceived accent because he’s an alien and doesn’t know any better. The guy can’t even catch a fish let alone linguistic subtlety. Though, for learning English by bootlegging satellite TV on-board his mothership, he’s halfway decent at it... and a big fan of the X-Files.
I met Albert a year ago when I was drunk in a 7-11 parking lot. I recall making love to a bag of flaming hot Cheetos, wiping the powder on my pants, really not giving a shit, and I must have looked a hot mess, which lo and behold, is exactly what Albert’s type think of the human condition. This made me a prime candidate for study. Now, in the movies abductions are always something awful - two youngsters making out in a car, dude inches away from handy, radio tuner goes haywire then boom! Homeboy's on a cold steel table getting shapes shoved up his ass. This was nothing of the sort.
When I was abducted, I came-to in a decorated room. A lava lamp glooped eggs next to an ashtray of burning sage, Persian carpet covered the floor, crystals and candles illuminated an altar beneath a Radiohead and X-Files poster. I’m no interior designer, but I felt I might need an extra thick condom. Suddenly from behind I hear a voice say, “Mmm, flaming hot Cheetos... may I try one?” So I turn around and the rest is history. I'd imagine most would blow a hole in their pants after facing a four foot ‘visitor’ with a mound chud poking out his cheek but I can’t say that I did. He actually just felt like a really long lost friend and it didn’t hurt he looked adorable with his tiny yellow football head and shiny black eyes. Aliens can smile, you know.
So we’re in the middle of the ocean for our monthly fishing trip. Don't ask me about logistics. Just picture it. We chew the fat, usually about life on our planets, or in this case, he reminds me how of lonely I am because apparently I forgot.
“Greg," he says, "as an ambassador to my stah system, I'm gonna be honest. You seem rather lonely mate. Do you ever cry yahself to sleep?”
“Wait Albert, hold that thought.” I pull out my cell phone, instruct Siri to record, then hold it to his mouth. “Okay Al, say that again, but this time, tell me how you really feel.”
“You know I don’t like repeating mahself but I’ll say it again. Greg, as an am-"
“Shutup Albert, I heard you the first time.”
Albert nods in acknowledgment, “I'm just saying mate, I picked you of all people to learn about humans. But you're not like others. You are withdrahhn. I'm just saying, you should put some bait on that pole my son.”
Add some bait to my pole? My son? Did an alien just metaphorically criticize my pick-up game as if he were Jesus?
"So what are you saying Al? I'm throwing off your study? That I'm so different from others, I'm a statistical wrench in your perverted alien bell curve on the human species?"
Al hawks another side of chew overboard and responds, almost gloatingly, "A little bit - yeah mate - pretty much. We're friends but I still have a boss. Maybe if you found a nice woman to have a tussle with I'd have something good to repahht."
Albert's trying to be funny again but I point to my sealed lips. It should suffice to say that I want love. I wouldn't mind settling down. I temper that thought by suggesting everyone is batshit crazy. Just give me the word and I'm moving to the woods. I'll become Lord of the Squirrels, I don't care, because holy shit, what is wrong with you people?
Albert's planet is literally a utopia. No war, no poverty, no religion - just love. I imagine them plucking grapes from ornate golden bowls, fanning themselves with palms leaves, orgies, free planetary wi-fi, a real amore fest. Albert claims it's not so polygamous. But I imagine those things anyways. I wish I could be there. I asked him to take me once but he refused, claiming I had a mission to fulfill here - that I chose to be here as a soul before I was born. I didn't know about that. I thought I just popped out the womb begrudgingly, blinded by bloody provender, a beer and cigarette in each hand. Hello world. Please spank me.
"I guess I'm just aware Albert. People think about stupid things. Care about the wrong things. I have white hairs Albert. Twenty-five percent of my scalp is white at the age of 32."
Albert looks at his watch, to his reel, back to me, then says, "What does that have to do with you being a lonah?"
"I'm not a loner!” I object, “I just don't like people much. They turn my hair white. I think I need antidepressants. I'm thinking about getting on Zoloft. You know Mike Tyson took Zoloft. He swore by it. It takes a lot of concentration to fight... You think he’d be that good depressed? Moping around in the ring? He’d have no head movement, no footwork. He’d drop his hands-"
"Yeah but he bit a guy’s ear off, mate. How do you explain that? Must not be all that splendid. A bit wicky-wacky, still - that man. Besides mate, you are all the anti-depressant you need."
"Awww, thanks Al. Nothing like spiritual mumbo jumbo to make me feel better. It's easy to say when you're eating grapes and getting blown all day. Life on earth ain’t that easy."
"I do not eat grapes and receive fellatio all day, mate. I told yah, its not like that. It’s more about bonding with anothah. Like, simply laying in a stasis chambah during warp drive, knowing the one you love is in stasis next to yah."
Albert spits out some more chew, but this time a line of saliva clings to it, lassoing it back into the boat. It lands neatly onto his lap. "Shit mate, I didn't power that one up enough. How bothahsome. Do you have a blanky?"
“Yeah man, I got you.” I set down my pole and reach into the cooler for a napkin when, out of nowhere, a large fish leaps out the water and lands directly onto Alberts lap, profusely sucking up the brown tobacco liquids, rubbing its gills in it like a horny cat on a sofa.
"Holy shit Albert, you caught a fish dude!"
The fish continues to writhe around in delightful asphyxiation.
"Look at him, he's loving it! I think he's getting buzzed, he's wilding out mate!"
"I think that's more because he's dying...” I report, “but look at that! You just caught a fish without even trying!"
"Should I toss him back?" Albert asks, concerned.
"No man, that thing would cost like 80 bucks at the market. I'm keeping it. Give it to me I'll put it in the chest."
I grip the slimy fish in the mid throws of death, demanding it ‘fucking relax’. At the same time, Albert lets out a shriek and points behind me. I turn in time to see my pole in the air, flying towards the water. It lands with a splash and zooms off at the behest of a fish.
"My pole!" I shout.
"That buggah!” Albert exclaims, “He's hauling off with yah your pole like an 18-wheelah mate!"
We watch as a murky non-descript body wriggles away with my pole towards the sunset, the sound of the reel ticking faintly into the silence of the ocean waters. Albert and I stand shoulder to shoulder, filled with cosmic bemusement.
"Albert," I say, "Correct me if I’m wrong, but did you just catch a fish with tobacco?"
"I think I just did mate.” he responds.
"And did a fish just run off with my pole?"
"Okay Albert, I suppose its time. Spit it out. Say something spiritual."
Albert rubs his chin, spits some chew, turns to me and says. "Well mate, I suppose life can be a bit bonkahs yeh? And things happen when you least expect. But as an ambassador to my stah system, I must say, hold on to your fookin' pole mate!"