Guide to Moral Living in Examples: Grub

Two aliens came to earth, their ship hovering over a run-down diner in rural Illinois. It floated only a few inches over the sign, which simply read "Al's Grub." Its lights spun slower and slower as it came to rest beside a pickup truck that was half rust and half dust. The two aliens emerged. They were tripedal monstrosities, and except for their three legs they had tubes where there should be limbs and more tubes where there shouldn't be anything at all.

Walking with their weird, lurching gait, they arrived at the bottom of the small flight of steps leading into the diner. The tubes, which had been langorously waving in the air, became frenzied. The patrons inside paused, with their cups of coffee or forkfuls of peach cobbler frozen halfway to their lips. They watched the aliens.

After a few moments, one of the tubes on one of the aliens began spinning in one direction, winding itself up into a tight corkscrew, and exploded outward, ripping the concrete steps away from the front of the diner and embedding them as a hood ornament in the grille of a bright red sportscar.

The owner dropped his spoon into his soup.

Then the second alien spirited a wide metal disc out from among his tangle of tubes, set it on the ground, and it projected an ethereal set of stairs, identical to the ones that previously stood there, over the broken rebar. The aliens climbed up. They easily handled the door, and stood before the cash registers.

Humans! We mean you no harm! The voice echoed in everyone's head.

Nobody moved.

We didn't mean to startle you with the destruction of your stairs! We are short on time and don't have any to spare on learning how to use your bipedal contraptions! We also express regret for talking like this! It is the closest rendition of our thought into your language!

The eponymous Al came out from the kitchen, wiping his hands on his apron, which made it cleaner and his hands dirtier as the unspeakable food stains migrated like geese in winter.

Do you want some grub?

Please! In a styrofoam box! To go! I believe you call it pain grille francais!

You want some French toast?


I guess my French toast is pretty good.

That is not why we have traveled all this way! But since we were in the neighborhood!

You mean that you finished your mission?

Yes! To further stymie your attempts at nuclear fusion!

The owner of the sportscar stood up and threw his napkin on the ground.

I knew it! I'm a nuclear scientist and that makes me mad!

No, you are not! Young female human sitting with this man, he isn't a nuclear scientist! He has lied to you to get into your leg appliances! That male human, the one in the woven fabric sitting at the counter and operating the vessel of dry soil and iron oxides outside, he is the nuclear scientist!

It's true!

Your French toast is done. I put a slice of cantaloupe in each. Al handed the tubes each a package of styrofoam.

Thank you, Al! If we ever deem you ready for nuclear fusion and you use it to manufacture a Spinning Light Drive, please join us for a plate of OoOoOoLorx eggs on our planet!

I will, buddy. Don't worry about the stairs.


The aliens climbed back into their spaceship and zoomed off.

The young woman took her plate and went to sit next to the nuclear scientist. The aliens, out of courtesy, left the ethereal steps in place.

The Moral: Don't lie about being a nuclear scientist when you really aren't one, or else you'll be really sad when the target of your affection finds out from a pair of aliens.

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