"Earth. A tough place to live in." I told my old-new friend, Sal, at the bar.
And I told the truth.
I continued. "Especially when you are a bisexual alien from the planet Jupiter." And I swigged my vodka-and-lemonade drink. I could see the look of concern in Sal's face. For sure. He was tolerant. But you could tell not entirely. He couldn't relate. He'd never been in shoes quite like mine.
"Alien?" he said, nervous. "Huh - really hadn't noticed."
"Hadn't noticed? Jesus Christ. Man. You're so damned politically correct. How many humans do you know of with catlike whiskers and six eyeballs protruding their forehead?
Sal shook his head and laughed. "I must not be very observant, is all."
Oh yes he sure as hell was. He had known since I first landed on Earth. Or rather, on his taxi cab. Jupiter is a fairly conservative planet. I learned that the hard way when I was exiled for my lifestyle by Lord Garthian. Reporters had unearthed evidence I was having an affair with his then defense security, Moopy Lambert. Garthian was up for re-election (the populace is allowed to vote every million years.) He was a wise politician. He got rid of me - and covered the Moop Scandal brilliantly...
But that was ten years ago today. And not much has changed since my traumatic landing. Thanks to Sal I got a job at Tino's Family Fun-Center.(Tino was Sal's uncle.) I pounded the hell out of the pizza dough with my huge tentacle-fists, and with them was able to shove up to four pizzas into the ovens simultaneously. New recruits beheld my pizza-making prowess incredulously. I'd become a minor star.
But still I wasn't happy. That is what I am explaining to Sal today: thanks for helping me with everything and all - thanks for getting me the job, especially. But I still hurt. I am still mocked every time I walk the goddamn streets. Little girls cry when they see me; boys pull at my whiskers, taunt me, and spit in my face; women shriek wildly: "MACE! I GOT MACE! GET THE FUCK AWAY FROM ME!" And even the pastors want nothing to do with me - labeling me a "manisfestation of wicknedness" rather than a "manisfestation of some other planet."
Finally. Thinking of this. I broke down in the club. Going nuts. I cried. Sal looked scared. As did the rest of the club. Some old tourist with one of those change-purse belts kept gazing at me, so I whipped him in the head with a tentacle when no one was looking, killing him instantly.
I told Sal what I wanted to do.
"But why do that to yourself - it's dangerous!"
"I don't care. I am tired of looking this way."
"Are you sure there is no other way?"
Next morning I visited Dr. Sowell. He said you've come to the right place. I said really? He said sure. He handed me a Cuban cigar. I'd gag, he'd puff. I'd gag, he'd puff. Together we'd make the perfect lung - though I had five to his two.
"One of my patients said she got these from Castro," he said. "But she might be full of shit."
Then he talked to me four hours about the "virtues of communism..."
"But back to the procedure," I asked. "How much will that cost?"
"Twenty-thousand dollars," he said.
"I don't have that kind of money."
"Don't worry," he said. "I'll do it for free. Here. Just read this." And he handed me a leaflet on Marxism.
"I should tell you," he said. "There is a fifty-percent chance the surgery will not be a success. In fact, you may even die. I am not well-acquainted with your type of anatomy." He showed me an X-ray of my body. "Underneath your tentacles may be some major arteries. While removing them you may bleed to death."
I told him I'd take the chance. He grinned. I then asked about my purple skin tone. "Could I be turned maybe white, or black or brown or yellow?" Anything but this goddamn, nasty purple!
"I wouldn't be concerned," he said. "If Anybody's curious, just tell them you're a diabetic. He smiled.
Tonight I will try getting some sleep. Big day tomorrow. Please, Sal. Don't be mad at me.
"The Purple Alien from Planet Jupiter"
Copyright: © 2010 Jack Bristow
Jack Bristow graduated Long Ridge Writer's Group in 2009. He lives in New Mexico. His next short story, "Our Bus Driver, Fred" can be read in the upcoming issue Thirteen of Cantaraville: An International PDF Literary Quarterly.