County Lines by Bob
I found an alien space baby in a doughnut. I named it Glazed because
I was eating that kind.
After gulping down the doughnut, I left the waitress a tip and
placed Glazed in my Go Gators sports bag.
The other engineers where I worked carried briefcases. Not wanting
to be mistaken for a lawyer, I didn't.
When I got to work, I placed Glazed next to a paperweight on my
I was showing Glazed how to use a slide rule when Jim walked into
my office. Jim was the owner's nephew. He hadn't passed the state
boards to become a professional engineer, although he had tried
Having gained most of my knowledge of engineering by working in
the field instead of sleeping in college, I passed the first time.
That irritated Jim.
"How's the bridge job coming?" Jim said.
"I already designed it," I said, "and sent it on."
"You double check your calculations?" Jim said.
"Yep," I said. "When are you taking your state boards
Jim's face turned red. Perhaps I should lay off him, I thought,
before he has a heart attack and I have to step over him to get
coffee in the break room.
"Maybe I'll get my uncle to send you to that Amazon bridge
project," Jim said. "How'd you like that?"
"Anywhere that far away from you," I said, "would
be a nice place."
Jim pointed at Glazed. "What's that?" he asked.
"An alien space baby I found in a doughnut," I said.
"Get rid of it," Jim said. "Pets aren't allowed
"I wonder why," I said.
"And get some normal clothes," Jim said. "Baggies
and flip flops don't look professional."
"I wonder why," I said.
"Your attitude is reprehensible," Jim said.
A big word for such a little brain. "Thank you," I said.
"Time for you to leave my office, dude."
After Jim left, I picked up Glazed and carried it over to the window.
"Look out there," I said. "That's the Atlantic Ocean.
On the other side is Africa. If you went through Africa and kept
going, you'd end up back here. That's called a circle."
Glazed smiled or maybe not. With alien space babies it's hard to
"Come on Glazed," I said, "let's go surfing, then
we'll get something to eat."
I didn't take Glazed to a fast-food hamburger joint when we finished
surfing or any time after that. I fed it good Earth food.
Glazed developed a fondness for fried chicken, mashed potatoes,
gravy, collard greens, and Milky Way bars, but only one a day. I
didn't want Glazed hyped up on too much sugar.
Not knowing which mythical belief system would benefit Glazed the
most, I introduced it to many religions. We spent a lot of time
in churches, temples, synagogues, mosques, and tent revivals.
Glazed enjoyed tent revivals the most. When someone rolled on the
ground and spoke in tongues, Glazed would squeal and clap its feet.
Doubting spiritual knowledge could be gained from such displays,
I read to Glazed from books by Nietzsche and Gurdjieff, from the
Upanishads, from the Gospel of Thomas found in the Dead Sea Scrolls.
When Glazed turned five in Earth years, I asked it to make a decision.
"You can't continue going through life as an it," I said.
"You need to decide if you want to grow up as a he or as a
she. While in-between sexes are entertaining to those with limited
intelligence, the Jerry Springer Show isn't real life. When you're
an adult, you'll need to be a man or a woman."
Glazed asked what the differences between the two were.
"Most women are smarter than men," I said, "even
though most men pretend it's the other way around. Women usually
get paid less for doing the same jobs as men. Men play poker, drink
beer, smoke cigars, and grow mustaches. Some women do too, but most
Glazed made his choice.
When Glazed was six, I sent him to public school, but not before
teaching him to box.
Before noon on his first day in school, Glazed was suspended for
beating up five bullies, three crossing guards, his teacher, and
Worried that Glazed might have an inbred tendency for violence
that could lead him to a military battlefield, I told him what I
knew about war. "There is only one truth about war: People
Without public school as an option, I formed a firm educational
foundation for Glazed with lessons in language and math.
I taught him music and poetry by reciting verses while beating
out the tempo on my bongos.
I instructed him on manners. "Always hold the door open for
a woman. If you see a man assaulting a woman, break his nose. Remove
your hat before going inside. Be kind to the elderly. Say please
and thank you."
When Glazed was 12, he asked where he came from. "I found
you in a doughnut," I said. "You're from outer space."
When Glazed was 18, he stowed away on a deep-probe spaceship. When
NASA launched the space craft, Glazed highjacked it and headed toward
I thought I would never hear from Glazed again until I received
the following E-mail:
Although we're light years apart, you'll always be the coolest
old dude I've ever known.
Excuse me please. I have to dry my eyes.
Overton County News
415 West Main Street
P.O. Box 479
Livingston, Tennessee 38570