On a whim I decided to call MUFON, the Mutual UFO Network, and report last night’s encounter.
“Are you sure they weren’t gray?” their rep asks after I finish telling him my story. “Could they have been little gray dogs?”
“No, they were definitely not gray,” I say.
“It was dark, maybe the dim light just made them look some color other than gray.”
“They were brown, brown as mud.”
“Mud can be gray too.” There’s a pause on the line. I imagine the rep making a note of gray mud. “So did these grayish brown creatures have large almond shaped black orbs for eyes?”
“No, just normal, brown dog-eyes.”
“What about hands? Did they have four long skinny fingers?”
“Well, dogs have four toes on a paw if you don’t count the dewclaw which is often removed.”
“Now we’re getting somewhere. Let me recap what I have. You were woken by a bright light shining through your bedroom wall, then discovered a craft in your yard and encountered two four fingered grayish brown intruders. Did they carry paralysis wands ready to strike so they could abduct you aboard their ship and perform horrible exam procedures on you?”
“They were brown, they were dogs, and there’s no way I would’ve fit inside their ship.”
“But their ship was gray, right?”
I knock on my desk, imitating a knock on the front door. “I’ve got to go. My gray neighbor is here to borrow my black orb polish,” I say and hang up.
Fleegle appears underneath my desk.
“Go on,” I say. “Tell me you told me so.”
“It’s not that. Look out the window. There’s something you should see.”
Outside, running down the middle of the street are last night’s visitors, their shiny coats looking somewhat worse for wear this morning, and pursuing them at a leisurely pace like a couple of cats toying with a pair of mice, are the two neighborhood coyotes Fleegle thinks are timber wolves.
Fleegle whines at the sight of them. “Timber Jack and his girlfriend are going to eat them.”
I quickly open the window and whistle in the same way I heard the dog call the other out of the ship last night. Both dogs change direction as if on command and beeline it for the window, leaping and tearing through the bug screen before I have a chance to move it out of the way.
The coyotes have grown bold living in suburbia, but not so bold as to enter a house, let alone leap into the unknown. They pull up on the front lawn and stare at the picture window. I stand up and stare back, and after a moment a leaf blower fires up nearby and they trot off. I shut the window.
Fleegle nose bumps my hip and looks at our guests, standing back to back on guard, probably for George the rooster. “Give them the cookie test.”
“So you’re back,” I say and offer each a half cookie.
They eat the cookie and don’t ask where the rest is.
Fleegle rolls his eyes at me. “I told you so.”
“What were those creatures chasing us?” one of the shiny dogs, now covered in dirt and brambles, asks.
Fleegle whines a little and says, “Those were timber wolves. They were going to eat you and feed you to their puppies.”
“But you have the chicken,” the other dog says. “That must scare them away.”
Fleegle gives me a look. “On this world chickens are about as low on the pecking order as you can get, even vegetarians eat chicken.”
“We landed our ship in the woods,” the space dog says, “and were speaking to the leader of your planet, a squirrel that wanted to be addressed as Governor, when the timber wolves ambushed us and got between us and our ship.”
“Seeing the Governor dart up the nearest tree,” the other says, “we took off running, thinking we would outsmart them by doubling back to our ship.”
“Coyotes are too clever for that,” I say. “They’ve probably gone back to your ship to wait for you there.”
“If you’re lucky, they’ll pretend to play with you first, like they’re your friends, then eat you,” Fleegle says. “I have a friend that followed them into the woods because they acted like they wanted to play. He barely got away alive. He had a bite mark the size of Godzilla on his backside.”
“Godzilla? Does everyone get eaten on this world?” one of our guests asks.
Fleegle tilts his head to the side to think. “Yeah, pretty much. On television, I’ve seen every known species get eaten, except manatees.”
“They’re endangered even though man evolved from them.”
This could go on for a while so I interrupt. “If you can remember where the woods are where you landed, we can give you a lift there.”
“You have a ship too?”
Fleegle rolls his eyes at me with a look that asks how dumb can these two be. “Everyone has a ship here, some even more than one, and they’re a lot bigger than yours.”
“Come on, it’s in the garage,” I say and lead the way.
“What about the timber wolves and coyotes? Maybe you should bring the chicken just to be safe.”