The little black beads shimmered in the fluted dish settled in a bed of crushed ice in another, larger fluted dish on a mahogany table. A tall, green bottle stood beside the dish along with two bulbous glasses. Behind the table, small doors were open and little bottles of amber liquid stood at the ready along with a bucket of ice, complete with silver scoop.
Harvey wasn’t sure what the beads were except that they smelled like fish. The management assured him that caviar was the perfect thing for the occasion. “Nothing but the best for our guests.” Harvey didn’t know what an occasion was but smelly food was apparently in order. He wasn’t going to try it, that’s for sure.
He waited. The fancy chairs in the front room were too small for his imposing size. He sat on the white couch, sinking down in its plush softness. That was apparently a mistake because he was trapped in it now. This made him uneasy. Maybe coming here was a bad idea. He managed to extricate himself and walked to what the short man in the maroon jacket with gold trim had called the balcony. The city shone in the night, its multicolored lights blinking on and off, horns honking as vehicles moved through the night. Figures moved long the dirty wet walkways in droves as he watched.
Harvey turned as a key rattled in the door lock. It swung open and several dignitaries poured in. Harvey was a little taken aback at the number of them. They carried devices with lights that blinded him and small objects that they stuck in his face while shouting in strange languages. A small table toppled in the melee, the glass ornament on top tumbling to the carpeting below and rolling across the floor.
The shouting continued as men in camouflage uniforms came and herded the dignitaries out. Two men in suits came in followed by men with fancier uniforms with little ribbons pinned in rows on their torsos. A younger man with less ribbonage, (Harvey was still getting used to the strange variation in the language and wasn’t sure if that was even a word) went to the bar and began pouring the amber liquids into glasses with small blocks of ice and passing them out.
A white haired man took a glass and settled into a chair. “
Sit down, son,” he said to Harvey. “You’re causing us no end of trouble here.”
Harvey remained standing. None of the remaining chairs fit his big frame. He declined the liquid the young man offered. It smelled sour and tart. Perhaps they planned to end the trouble by poisoning him. The white haired man showed his teeth. Harvey found that to be very disquieting.
“Look. It’s this way. You’re the first alien we’ve seen here for sure. People always talk. You know how that is. Now, all the foreign governments want one. We’re not so sure they need one. We’re the good guys here on this planet and we don’t need your kind passing out new weapons or technology to the rest of the world. Changes the balance of power, you know.” He paused, sipping the liquid in his glass. He showed his teeth again.
Harvey was definitely growing uneasy now. They had taken his ship and put him in this building in what they called a luxury penthouse suite. Nothing but the best for him was their claim. He wasn’t sure any more that was the case.
“So what we need to know is whether there are any more of you here. Are you a scout? Are your kind planning to invade?” the man with the most ribbons asked.
“Bill, you are too blunt sometimes,” the white-haired man said with a sigh. “Listen, son. We’re not here to harm you. We just need to get some information. Keep the planet safe is all we’re trying to do.” His voice was soothing.
Harvey waited, silent. It seemed to be his best option. Besides, one did not speak before the Elders at his age. He didn’t understand why they demanded that he speak. He wasn’t old enough to speak.
“He won’t talk.” The man with the ribbons seemed angry about it.
“Bill, maybe he just doesn’t understand us.” The white-haired man said calmly. “Do you understand us, son?”
Harvey nodded. The man with ribbons stood up, slamming his glass down. “He understands all right. Let me get the interrogators in here. We’ll find out what he wants.”
“Now, Bill . . .” the white haired man began.
Harvey wasn’t waiting any longer. Before they could move, he ran back to the balcony, and then crawled up the wall. A blonde woman was sitting on a balcony just above the one he came from. He grabbed her in his large hand. She fit perfectly and Harvey thought he would be safe as long as he held her. He reached the top of the building, holding onto its spire with one hand, the woman with the other.
Small double-winged aircraft flew around him. The woman screamed. He sat her down on the ledge so he could swat at them. She screamed again, and then fainted, leaning against the building.
The aircraft began firing at him. He was hurt; blue fluid oozed from his sides. He fell to the ground very far below, cracked his head on the cement and everything went black. Uniformed men rescued the woman while others moved Harvey’s body to a secret place where he was cut up and examined.
People began to lose interest; they believed the government when it said it was a publicity stunt for a movie. The President and the generals had only been involved as props.
A year later, a new film featuring a giant gorilla, the Empire State Building, and a beautiful blonde woman appeared in theaters. Harvey lay in pieces, forgotten in a government facility, his parents on a faraway planet wondering where their boy had gone.