Summer of 83 – by Shanna L
It was the summer of 1983 and I was headed down the highway in my yellow VW bug. The sun was shining overhead, the wind whipping through my hair, and Cyndi Lauper was on repeat for the past 40 miles. It was just me, the open road, and the alien sitting next to me in the passenger seat.
I had picked up the alien a couple of minutes outside Albuquerque. I noticed him standing on the side of the road, his battered suitcase lying in the dirt, his thumb stuck out and pointed upwards as he waited for someone to slow for him. I felt kind of bad for the little guy; it was a hot day out and I knew his grey, scaly skin offered no protection from the sun. I pulled over and the alien hopped in.
He thanked me for the ride and told me his name was Fabian.
“Humans can’t pronounce our real names,” he said. “So us aliens often make up an Earth name to try to blend in easier.”
I nodded and thought to myself that it made sense. He told me he was trying to get to Montana and that he would appreciate it if I could take him as far as I was going.
“I’m meeting up with a buddy. But he won’t be there for another week so I have plenty of time,” he said.
I told the alien that I had just graduated from college earlier that month and that I was taking a road trip to celebrate my success. I had no destination in mind so I would be glad to take him all the way to Montana. Fabian thanked me again and leaned back in the seat. He turned his head to look out the window and watch the scenery as it passed.
The day had cooled and night had fallen when I pulled into an empty gas station. I shut the car off in front of the pump and looked over at my passenger. Fabian had fallen asleep a couple of hours ago; I guess he was worn out from all our talking. We had talked for almost an entire state, telling jokes and making up stories about the billboards we passed. I leaned over and shook his shoulder to wake him up.
“Fabian,” I said. “It’s time to wake up.” He slowly opened his eyes and looked around.
“Where are we?” he asked.
“I have to stop and get gas. Do you want to get something from the gas station store?”
Fabian squinted and looked over my shoulder at the store on the other side of the lot. He nodded and got out of the car and made his way over. I ducked out of the car as well and walked over to the gas pump. I unscrewed the gas cap and inserted the pump into the tank and watched as the gas flowed into the car.
I was putting the pump back and screwing the cap back when I heard a loud noise come from behind me. I whirled around and saw Fabian running towards me, a bag of Doritos in one hand and a huge Slurpee in the other.
“Let’s go!” he yelled. “We have to leave!” Fabian wrenched open the passenger door and jumped in the car. I looked behind me at the store and saw the cashier standing in the doorway, yelling and waving his arms. I jumped in the driver’s seat, started the car, and sped away from the station.
“Fabian,” I said. “Did you just steal those chips and slurpee from the gas station?”
Fabian looked at me and winced. “Yes,” he replied. “But you drove away without paying for your gas.” His wince turned into a smirk as we realized we both had stolen something that night.
“Well, are you going to let me have some chips or what?” I asked, as I stuck my hand out.
Fabian just smiled and plopped a handful of the cheesy triangles in my palm, as Cyndi Lauper wailed in the background and the wind rushed outside.