The alien craft exploded invisible to the human eye. The inhabitants had exited over an hour ago, running amazingly fast past the animals lying lazily on the sun scorched land who barely gave them a glance, such was their speed.
Marsha's mom said a second rosary just before going to bed after the long and happy day that was Marsha's wedding. She had never believed that her plain yet loving daughter could have made such a good match. Tom was not only clever, strong and good looking but he was such a homely man, loved helping with the farm, crops...
He smoked pipes, ate limes, ate the gnats he swiped from the air. The lions lounged in the front yard. He chose lions because of the theme of pride. He had a rudimentary but certain understanding of pride. He stood at the front window staring at the lions, locking eyes as often as he could.
The doorbell rang. He turned quickly, spilling a squall of wine on the hardwood floor. The lions didn't stir. He heard a knock on the door. The lions stared at him.
On the fourth day of the invasion, the defenders opened the gates of the zoo. Let those bastards contend with lions stalking them, rhinos charging at the sound of gunfire. Make them fight in a storybook, where hawks might dive down on them, and elephants would trumpet victory for the city.
That was the idea certainly. But these were zoo animals, most born in the zoo far from any jungle, and the rest had not stalked since they were young and foolish. They yawned in the heat of the day and wondered when the man with the feed would come....
"I hate everyone today," he said.
"Everyone?" she asked.
"Well, except you."
"Glad to hear it."
"I hate everyone else, though. And everything else."
"Do you hate black people?"
"Well, no - I mean, yes, but no more or less than anyone else."
"How about Indians? Or Lithuanians?"
"I hate everybody equally. I'm not a bigot or anything."
"But I still hate them. I hate all of them."
"That's nice, do you hate animals, too?"
"Yes. I hate animals, too."
"Um ... I guess. I hate them all."
"Well, that includes kittens. How...
Never before had he witnessed such decadence. In every direction he sees strangers from a planet he has not lived on. They do not share his world. Humongous flashing screens paint the slopes of this urban valley with a grotesque LCD glow, electrifying the smoggy night and blotting out constellations he was accustomed to observing. A foreign land indeed.
They had told him about these men, and their women and children, of their social clubs and religious events and twenty-four-hours-a-day informational overload. He had watched the training videos explaining how to communicate in their language, how to mimic their gestures...
The safari proved to be the biggest mistake of the Henderson family's vacation. First, a rhino attempted to mate with their station wagon, then an enormous elephant slung an entire tree at them. What really topped off the misery, though, was what happened with the lions.
I'd tell you all about it, but I just got called into my boss's office, so just know this: teenage girls equal big cat Meow Mix.
Okay, look. I had this idea that this was going to be a nice relaxing trip.
And we were going to come out here --
And enjoy ourselves --
And not have to deal with stress. Do you understand?
Yes, of course.
And now, what do you see?
What do you mean?
What do you see here?
I don't know... Trees, blue sky --
Stress. It's stress. Every direction I look is stress.
Okay, look, you need to just take a breath. Remember what they said at the clinic. Deep breaths.
Stop it. I...