Directions (Flash Fiction)

Bob’s red tractor lurched to a stop. The blazing midday sun beat upon his leathery arms. He wiped his brow and stepped down while gnawing on a long piece of straw. He had seen the strange flash of light but thought it was just the heat. Summers were getting harder in his old age.

But there it was, a brilliant silver saucer straight from the Saturday morning cartoons. It landed directly in his path, although he didn’t hear any sound or feel any wind. It was a lot smaller than he imagined it would be. He chuckled as he spat a loose piece of straw. It reminded him more of his sister-in-law’s Japanese Prius than a spaceship.

The side of the craft melted like an ice sickle as the wall became a walkway. The alien that stepped out was just like the cartoons as well, just tiny. The golden wheat shimmered with its approach as if being split by a land shark. Bob chuckled again as he remembered some damned fool story from the tavern about shark tornadoes. It was a stupid story but it sure had everyone rolling with laughter. Then the little man was before him with his gray-green skin and empty black eyes.

“Mirp.”
Bob pulled the straw from his mouth. “Mirp?”
“Mirp.” The little man produced a small orb and held it in his delicate hand. The orb spun to life and levitated. An array of stars were scattered before them. Bob looked on inquisitively.
“Mirp.”
“Mirp huh? The hell is this?” Bob asked.
The little man seemed perplexed and signaled at the stars. The map of the galaxy zoomed in.
Bob roared with laughter. “You mean to tell me you ain’t got no Jap GPS on your electric fancy-mobile!?” Bob laughed and laughed, loud enough to scare off a crow from the nearby oak tree.
“Mirp!” it shouted.
“Yeah, yeah. Mirp.” Bob pulled down his straw hat and gave the 3D map a hard look. He couldn’t believe how many stars there were. He felt lost in the infinite beauty of creation. The orb twitched in the air, zooming in, zooming out.
“There,” Bob said, pointing the end of his straw.
“Mirp?”
“There, I said. Mirp. Now git! I got work to do.”
The little man scanned the field, turned, and sifted his way back to his craft. He was gone in a flash. Bob put his hat back on his head and his butt back on his tractor.

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