County Lines by Bob
On the way into town from where he touched down, a vehicle pulled
up beside him. "Hop in," the driver said. "It's too
hot to be walking. You could fry eggs on the pavement."
"Fry eggs on the pavement," he said. "Fry eggs on
He watched the driver shift gears. "What type of vehicle is
this?" he asked.
"A Ford," the driver answered.
"Ford," he said. "Ford."
"That's right," the driver said, "a Ford. You got
a problem with that?"
"No problem," he said. "What makes Ford go?"
"Gas," the driver replied.
"Please," he said, "be more specific."
"Are you pulling my leg?" the driver asked.
"I am not pulling anything," he said. "Want to know
what makes Ford go."
"Rods," the driver said, "attached to pistons inside
cylinders. Is that specific enough?"
"Yes," he said, "now I understand. Ford is propelled
by internal combustion engine. We no longer use those where I am
"Where's that," the driver asked, "Mars?"
"Much farther than that," he said.
The driver laughed. "Just my luck, try doing a good deed and
I end up talking to a nut case."
"Nut case," he said. "Nut case."
When they reached town, the driver swung into a parking place.
"Time to get out, buddy," the driver said. "Time
to get out, buddy," he said. "Time to get out, buddy."
He looked at the vehicles parked around the square. "Fords,"
he said. "Fords."
He followed a line of people into a building, up the stairs, and
into a room. He sat beside a female with blond hair and watched
what was happening up front. Must be a theatrical production, he
Turning to the blonde, he said, "Where are we?"
"In a courtroom, silly," she said. "Hi, I'm Thelma,
my nickname is Blanch, but my friends call me Midge. What's your
name?" "Buddy," he said.
"Buddy." "Nice to meet cha," Midge said.
"Nice to meet cha," he said.
"Nice to meet cha."
"What kind of charge you here on?" Midge asked.
"I don't understand," he said.
"Why are you in court?" Midge said. "What'd the
cops charge you with?"
"Nothing," he said. "I am here to observe your species."
Midge arched her back and popped her gum.
"We'll have none of that in here," the Judge said.
"That man sounds angry," he said.
"He'll get over it," Midge said. "Get over it,"
"Get over it."
He observed the action up front. "Who are the ones who talk
but don't listen with the strips of cloth knotted around their necks?"
"They're lawyers," Midge said.
"What do they do?" he asked.
"Not much," Midge said. "But they get paid a lot."
"A similar kind once inhabited where I am from. But they disappeared."
"How'd that happen?" Midge asked.
"They were prohibited from breeding."
"You're cute," Midge said. "Let's go to a bar and
get a few beers when I'm done here."
"How will we go?" he asked.
"Drive," Midge said. "How else?"
"I don't have Ford," he said.
"That's okay," Midge said. "We'll take my Toyota."
"Toyota," he said. "Toyota."
On the way to the bar, he studied the Earth woman. Only two eyes
and one nose. Not as beautiful as the females back home. But he
could get past that with enough spurkles in him. He wondered if
the beer Midge spoke of was anything like spurkle.
When they walked into the bar, he saw an electronic device with
a slot for depositing some type of cylindrical objects. Music and
a voice singing about somewhere called Dixie blared out of the device.
"What is that sound?" he asked. Midge said, "That's
Hank Williams." "I like Hank Williams," he said.
The electronic device switched to another song. The sound reminded
him of the howl of the meezlemert, a carrion eater that had to be
muzzled during mating season.
"What is that sound?" he asked.
"That's Wynnona Judd," Midge said.
"I don't like Wynnona Judd," he said.
He sat next to Midge on a bar stool. The barmaid walked over to
take their order.
"Hi," he said.
"Glad to meet cha." "Glad to meet you too,"
the barmaid said. "What'll it be?"
"A pitcher of Bud," Midge said.
"A pitcher of Bud," he said. "A pitcher of Bud."
The barmaid placed three pitchers of Bud on the bar. "Want
to run a tab or pay for it now?"
Pay, he'd almost forgotten.
He pulled out a wallet, opened a compartment marked Earth-USA,
removed five $100 bills, and handed them to the barmaid. "Keep
one for yourself," he said, "and keep pitchers of Bud
When he regained consciousness the following afternoon, he heard
Midge screaming, "Where are we? Where are we?"
He looked around. They were in his room on his planet. The howls
of meezlemerts must have frightened her, he thought. Almost mating
He removed a bottle of spurkle from a drawer beside the bed and
handed it to Midge. "Sip this," he said. "You will
Midge gulped a big swig. She felt herself drifting away on a cloud
of angel feathers. "I think I'm going to like it here,"
"Do not feel out of place when you meet my mother and sisters,"
"Why would I?" Midge asked.
"You will see," he said. "You will see."
Overton County News
415 West Main Street
P.O. Box 479
Livingston, Tennessee 38570