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My Alien

By @S F Brooke

The Story

Zooculoo hissed as his friend shoved down the baseball hat further onto his head. “Watch it!” He snapped, as his friend shushed him. 

Tarren looked around the corner of the grocery store. “Okay, we’re clear,” He whispered, before grabbing Zooculoo by the shirt and pulling him forward. 

“Why are we here so late?” Zooculoo asked, his iridescent eyes blinking his third eyelid, the same one that he came to find out many birds and reptiles on Earth shared. 

Tarren huffed and turned around towards his friend. “Because people won’t notice you!” He waved his hands at Zooculoo’s body, brown eyes wide. “It’s kinda hard to hide a six-foot ten, yellow person.” He lowered his voice. “You look like you have severe jaundice.” 

Zooculoo’s furred ears twitched, “What’s jaundice?” 

Tarren rolled his eyes, “Never mind, let’s just check this out.” 

Zooculoo grinned, his pointed canines pricking his bottom lip. He’d always wanted to go to the alien’s food market. It looked so strange and archaic. They were no vendors, no meat sellers, or people screaming the best prices. He wondered how they knew what to buy or what to sample. Tarren had been his alien for years. He met the boy when he was a tiny one. After many years Tarren seemed to age each time Zooculoo visited, but Zooculoo did not. He saw many of the boy’s greatest achievements, his struggles, and had even gone to his Earth school where there were no battlegrounds or training. Nor any steeds to ride other than a large yellow contraption Tarren had called a bus. Zooculoo often wondered why things called English, Math, and Science were more important than learning about poisons, battle defense, and riding. Zooculoo often visited around the time of his planet’s second rotation, around the warm celestial being called Nussipu. The Earthians called it the Sun. It was almost his alien’s birthday. Tarren was turning seventeen “Earth years” tomorrow. He was practically still a baby to Zooculoo’s people. However, just like every year, Tarren promised Zooculoo an adventure. He wanted to show him something Earthian’s did. Zooculoo had been to a park, a movie theater, and something called a bookstore. This year it was the food market, but Tarren called it a grocery store. Humans had strange names for things. 

“Zoo, hurry up!” Tarren called, his hoodie up and covering his face. “It’s getting late and soon they’ll close the store.” He motioned for Zooculoo to come into an area where there were lots of fresh greens and other things that looked bright in color. 

“How can you distinguish anything? It all looks the same,” Zooculoo said to his alien. 

“What are you talking about?” Tarren asked, picking up a strange red fruit with a small white sticker on it. “Look, this is an apple.” He picked up a circular, orange-colored thing. “This is an orange. The difference is the color, shape, taste.” The teenager chuckled. “Apple to oranges, as they say. It’s called fruit.” 

Zooculoo tilted his head, not understanding. “But everything looks so similar, where are the spikes, the square shapes, you have no purple-” He trailed off to make a word in his alien language that Tarren couldn’t understand. 

Tarren stared at him,  his face slightly disgusted and confused. “You have spikes on your food?”, He asked, slightly alarmed. 

Zooculoo nodded, picking up a stem of small green balls. “Everything looks so…alien,” He ended up saying, his cartilage tail coming up and poking at the odd item. 

“Says the alien,” Tarren said sarcastically before he scrambled to stuff the tail back into Zooculoo’s large jacket. “Dude! Put the tail away, and stop touching the grapes.” 

Zooculoo repeated the foreign word on his forked tongue, “Gr-a-pesss.” 

Tarren snorted, “Yes, grapes. Now pick up some things that you want to try and let’s go before the manager starts looking at us weird.” 

The large being picked out what Tarren called strawberries, grapes, asparagus, cilantro, and something round and striped called a watermelon, which only confused Zooculoo further. “There is only water in it?” He asked, as he shook the watermelon strongly. “But it doesn’t sound hollow.” 

Tarren laughed and placed the watermelon in the basket on his arm. “Just wait until you try cookies,” He said, as he led the alien towards that aisle, scolding the yellow humanoid with a look, he told Zooculoo to select two choices only. They went with chocolate chip and vanilla flavored cookies. 

“Are you paying in blood or venom?” Zooculoo asked when they headed to the checkout. His Earthian’s eyes bugged out at him, which he had never seen Tarren do in the past.

“Dude!” He waved a hand, “You need to chill. We pay with money.” Tarren opened a thing called a wallet and pulled out the green paper with unknown faces on it. 

Zooculoo looked one of the pieces of paper over, took a bite out of it which made Tarren squawk in protest before handing it back. Tarren paid with the green tasty paper and they went back to his small alien’s house. Zooculoo carried Tarren on his shoulders as he climbed his way up to the roof. 

“Here, try this one first,” Tarren said, removing the skin of the orange-colored fruit. 

Zooculoo took it and swallowed it whole, liking the flavor of the acidity that made its way down his throat. Tarren laughed and leaned back on the roof, watching the stars and the night sky. 

Zooculoo’s ship was near one of the many stars Tarren was fixated on. He pointed it out to his alien and grinned at the boy’s awestruck face. 

“Your frigging ship is the freaking moon?!” Tarren asked, his eyes amazed at what his friend had told him. 

Zooculoo nodded, “It is the best camouflage. We go in cycles. When I am here with you, your moon, as you say only has the faintest outline.”  

Tarren laughed a little breathlessly and leaned back again. “You’re something else, my alien.” 

Zooculoo grinned but nodded anyway. “As are you, my alien,” He said, smiling as Tarren’s laugh was heard again. They’d been calling each other ‘my alien’ since the boy was eight, having just learned the definition of the word. Zooculoo preferred the term extra-terrestrial but obliged the boy. Tarren had again shown him the beauty and wonder of the Earthian’s home planet. Zooculoo would never willingly stop visiting the boy, if he could help it. He was his friend. He’d heard other people tease, calling Zooculoo the ‘imaginary friend,’ the ‘monster under the bed,’ and ‘a horror story’, but in reality, he was just Tarren’s alien. He leaned back against the roof, the tiles creaking under his weight. Zooculoo’s tail handed Tarren a grape cluster and together they watched the stars twinkle. The pair of aliens could hardly wait for next year’s adventure. 

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