Stranger

by Torn MacAlester

Photo by Christian Fridell from Pexels

Alex handed the customer his whiskey in the Lunar-strawed cup, expecting to have a reaction. All the tourists reacted. “Why not a proper glass?” They would ask, not knowing that it was impossible to drink most liquids from a regular terrestrial glass. This man did not. He merely accepted the glass without comment.

“I understand there was a prospector that tells stories here,” the well-groomed man said, not even bothering to try the whiskey first.

“Yeah,” Alex answered. “Nils hasn’t been here in months.”

“Oh,” the man looked confused.

“Sorry. Did you need a story?”

“No,” the man shook his head. “I was hoping to share one with him.”

“That’s a first,” Alex laughed, wondering about the strange man. “This is the first time any Earther came in here claiming to have a story.”

“Probably,” the man said. “I represent some old interests that need some explaining. I was told the storyteller here could illuminate some things. Can you ask him to send a message to this address when he arrives?” The man handed Alex a card. Reading it, Alex noted the physical address—somewhere in Athens, Greece.

“Sure,” Alex answered, putting the card in his pocket. “At least you didn’t ask to speak with Morgan.”

“That would be impossible,” the man said, setting some currency on the bar.

“Sure,” Alex said.

“Friend, I didn’t get your name.”

“I didn’t give it, since it’s irrelevant.” The man left.

Alex cleaned the bar, wondering about the strange man.

“He’s looking for aliens, I tell you,” said another patron, one that Alex knew and could safely ignore.