It is a little known fact that, although they’ve been purported to be perfect killing machines, if you get up under their big-ass bobbly heads and get your hands around their throat, you can choke-out a space alien in just a couple of seconds. Now, that might not be pertinent to your own personal life, but it’s one of those facts that you should fold up and stick in your back pocket. You know… just in case.
It was another beautiful evening in the Hill Country of Texas. The temperature was sitting quietly in the early seventies, the stars were big and bright…
…. yes… Deep in the Heart of Texas…
And it was pretty damned quite. Peaceful like. It was the perfect spring night to sit out on the cement porch with some friends and reflect on life and such. And that’s exactly what we were doing… the four of us… Diane, Curtis, Mrs. Holmes, and me. Diane was drinking a glass of wine, Mrs. Holmes was drinking some concoction that her family had sent her from Minnesota, and me and Curtis had just opened a new bottle of Jack Daniel’s.
It is on warm nights like this that storytellin’ happens. It’s how culture is passed down in these parts. YouTube might be good, but the interwebs are never going to replace the wisdom passed on during a good Texas storytellin’ session.
About a mile and a half down the valley is the main road, and this is the preferred road for youngsters to blast their souped-up cars and motorcycles down the highway. It irritates some folks around here, but it always reminds me of a fun part or my life, so I find the occasional noise kinda nostalgic and pleasant. So pleasant, in fact, that I thought a story about that time would be a good subject for storytellin’….
“Yeah, I can remember those hot summer nights… me and my buddies drinking beer and fixing an engine. Tired, half-drunk, and up to our armpits in grease.”
Curtis interrupted, “You had your arms in buckets of grease?” I always cut Curtis a little slack, him being a space alien and all, because he doesn’t always understand the subtle nuances of the English language.
“No. We didn’t have our arms in buckets of grease. When you’re working on an engine, you get grease all over yourself. It’s just an expression.”
“So… you’re up to your armpits in grease…”
Curtis interrupted again, “Oh, I just thought you were going to tell another exciting adventure about how you can fix shit.”
“I do know how to fix shit, Curtis. And it ain’t my fault that your species ain’t technological.”
“Heavens no! You’d never rub it in that you’re smarter than I am.”
“I ain’t rubbing nothin’ in! I’m just trying to tell a goddamned story!”
“It’s a boring story. Fake news.”
Women… especially women who are married to older men… have a calmness about them that I’ve always admired. I wish I could do it.
Diane and Mrs. Holmes just sat in there rockers… sipping their drinks and watching the old guys go at it. I do believe that both of them had little smiles on their faces.
I really wish I could do that.
“Well fuck you! You got a better story?”
“Yeah, I do.”
“Well let’s hear it, Mister Dumber than a Sack of Hammers.”
“I’m a Christian now.”
“Yup! Jesus has saved me!”
“You can’t be a Christian.”
At this point, Diane had to step in… “Boys! You knock that shit off right now!”
“So why can’t I be a Christian?”
“Well that’s pretty simple. You’re a space alien, and space aliens can’t be Christians.”
“Where does it say that?”
“In just about every book of the Bible, that’s where. You’re not human, so you got no immortal soul to be saved.”
“It doesn’t say that.”
“For God so loved Mankind, that…. see? Mankind, not alienkind. Not everybody. Just Mankind. Not you.”
“Your soul can’t be saved if you don’t have a soul in the first place.”
Curtis was starting to look a bit worried. He glanced over at Mrs. Holmes, who gave him a shrug and said, “He has a good point, ya know. I think my Papa would have agreed with him.”
Curtis looked back at me… “But you’re not a Christian?”
“Nope. Got no use for it.”
“But you have a soul?”
“That’s the story.”
“So you get a choice?”
“That too is the story.”
“Well that just doesn’t seem fair.”
“Life ain’t fair, Curtis.”
“So I’m not a Christian?”
I was feeling a bit sorry for the poor fella… “Heck, Curtis. You can be a Christian if you want. I mean, none of it is real, and nobody actually has a soul, so you’re safe. Go be a Christian. Have fun.”
“You’re making fun of me, ain’t ya?”
“Yeah, a little.”
“Goddamn! I am tired of you making fun of me!” And with that… he jump off of his stool (he can’t sit in a regular chair… on account of his long space alien tail) and started snarling at me. I was not going to be intimidated by a giant insect, so I jumped out of my chair and dared him to make a move.
(just as an aside here… remember when I talked about putting a certain folded-up fact in your back pocket? Well, it was time to unfold that fact)
He started swinging his tail, but before he could stab me right through the heart with that pointy thing on the end of his tail, I jumped in close and grabbed him by the throat. He started screeching, and I started screaming. No doubt, it was going to be a Fight to the Death. But then… one of the most powerful forces in the universe stepped in… Mrs. Holmes said, “Boys! Y’all stop it right now!”
“Now you two boys shake hands and make up.”
We did. We didn’t like it, but we did.
Things settled down after that. We were all enjoying the peaceful warm silence of a Texas night, and then Curtis said, “So, Riley. You were talking about fixin’ an engine?”
“I was, Curtis. I was… I can remember those hot summer nights… me and my buddies drinking beer and fixing an engine. Tired, half-drunk, and up to our armpits in grease.”
It is life out here in Texas, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
Have a day.
primum vivere, deinde philosophari.