“Thanks for coming by,” Plucky said as she let me in. “I haven’t been doing so well lately.” Gloomy is a word I have never associated with Plucky, but I can’t think of a better way to describe her as she motioned for me to have a seat. “What’s wrong?” She sighed then replied sardonically: “What could possibly go wrong when I have Deadpan as a lover?” She paused, as if looking for words; then she wiped a tear and stated: “I’m pregnant.” When Lmao witnessed a birth, he said it was a once in a lifetime.
Plucky and I are managers. Not in any formal sense of course, but over the years we’ve assumed a division of duties that works to maintain Alien Resort on an even keel. In a nutshell, she takes care of the technological and interpersonal issues and I manage the business matters and outside communications. Sometimes I don’t see her for a few days but we nonetheless maintain contact in one way or another throughout the course of the day. Recently I became concerned because she hadn’t responded to my emails; I decided to pay her a visit. I asked Lmao what his first day on the job was like. He says they showed him who’s the boss.
Deadpan and I visited Marco in the jail beneath the pier. Marco admitted he was making gunpowder, and told us he intended to use it for fuel to power my spaceship. I replied that if he could get that to work, then he must be some kind of rocket scientist, because I’ve been stranded here for three hundred years. He said he was desperate; he states that if we sent him to the mainland, they would lock him up for being delusional, and he would never get back to his own dimension. He agreed to allow Plucky to conduct a psychological exam. I told Deadpan about my idea for a miniature flying saucer; he said it sounds like a pie in the sky.
“Marco’s in jail,” Deadpan said. “I arrested him.” I invited Police Chief Deadpan in and he told me how he had discovered Marco at the beach campsite stirring a large kettle. Beside the kettle were piles of ground match heads, charcoal, and cat poop, which Deadpan recognized as ingredients for making gunpowder. He then arrested Marco on suspicion of threat to public safety. I told Lmao that I can’t ever win at violent video games. He said stop beating yourself up.
The king emailed me to say that he was unable to come up with a missing persons report that might shed light on the identity of our guest. Marco didn’t seem bothered about not knowing his own name but instead he was interested in finding out exactly when the king’s ship would arrive to pick him up. The mystery deepened this morning when Deadpan knocked at my door, early and out of breath. Lmao says they once had a new guy who never said anything; they wondered if he might be a plant.
Because Marco had become such good friends with Lmao, Plucky invited him to stay with her and Lmao. I emailed the king and received a disappointing response: the naval fleet was tied up in a mission and wouldn’t be able to pick up the delusional human for another week or two. In the meantime we were forced to listen to how he had always wanted to be an astronaut and how he volunteered for the secret mission to visit another dimension. When I asked Lmao what it was like being cloned, he said at first he was just a bundle of nerves.
“I’m an astronaut,” Marco began. “I was part of a secret mission. I blasted off from Earth but that was in another dimension. I splashed down, and ended up here, in this dimension.” I looked around at the others; they appeared to be hanging on his every word. My thoughts were: “Come on everyone, he’s either a nut job or a con man.” I couldn’t wait to notify our landlord the king and have him picked up. When I told Deadpan that my carrier promises unlimited voice calls, he said talk is cheap.
Marco stood up as we approached his campsite: Plucky, Lmao, Susan and me. He had the look of a sailor: muscular, tanned, and coarse. He didn’t seem at all surprised and motioned toward some rocks for us to have a seat. “Lmao told me there were others.” He looked at Susan. “Are you human?” I thought the question sounded personal, and my response, for me, was curt: “We’re the ones asking the questions.” I asked Deadpan what he would do if he were rich and he replied: “That’s the million dollar question.”
“Tell us about the Earthling.” It was around noon and Lmao had just gotten up and stepped out onto the patio. Looking a little surprised, he glanced at Plucky, then nodded to Susan and me. “We’re such good friends,” he began dreamily. “He’s from another dimension. I named him Marco, because he doesn’t remember his name. I found him bobbing in the ocean. He was in a life jacket.” Lmao used to wear an expensive suit; he says he had it made.
Plucky asked Lmao about his nightly disappearances and he told her that he was out getting exercise. “I’ve known Lmao for two thousand years,” she said to Susan and me. “Getting exercise is at the bottom of his list.” We decided to follow him, just to make sure nothing was wrong. He headed for the dunes, and just beyond the dunes we spotted a campfire. He stopped, and I rubbed my eyes. In the light of the campfire an Earthling was waving for him to approach. I asked Deadpan how the exercise class was going; he said he hasn’t learned squat.
We’re gathered backstage at the pavilion. Susan, flanked by ladies-in-waiting sent by the queen, is talking to her father, and Lmao is giving me honeymoon advice. Best man Deadpan, accompanied by canines Jett and Toby, pulls out his police chief handcuffs and offers them to Susan. “In case he tries to flee,” he joked. Susan laughs, then looks inquisitively at me, and then everyone laughs. The music begins.
My groomsman’s name is Dan Rosandich, the owner of Dans Cartoons. You may remember last year when Dan helped Alien Resort out of a tough jam. The Beacons of Night had intimidated our newspaper editors into withdrawing our comics, and Dan stepped forward to offer us a spot in his extraterrestrial cartoon section. The editors followed his lead and we became prosperous again. Dan says he’s honored to be in the wedding, and everyone at Alien Resort is humbled by the visit of a legendary figure. When I asked Lmao how his art class was going, he said: “I won’t paint you a pretty picture.”
Tonight Susan and I are sitting on the patio of Plucky’s spaceship where we just finished a great dinner that Susan cooked. Yesterday I proposed to her on bended knee. I began by saying I loved her at first sight but that I’m no prize. I told her how I negligently crashed my spaceship, an event that sometimes still leaves me with feelings of unworthiness. She replied that Plucky already told her about the crash; then she hugged me and said she wants nothing more than to love, honor, and obey me. I asked Deadpan if he ever thinks about the stars at the edge of the universe. He said they’re the furthest things from his mind.
I met Susan’s father at the barrier and asked for his daughter’s hand in marriage. He looked me in the eye and said that Susan’s well-being was a great concern of his. I replied that in this marriage, Susan’s concerns are the only ones that matter to me. He blinked; then he sighed and extended his hand, which I shook. He confided that he may have been overprotective through the years, and added that he’s thankful that his daughter’s happiness has fallen into the hands of someone so capable and loving. I asked Deadpan why he wasn’t at the solstice party; he said it had been a long day.