Tarpot Jinglesbottom slouched in his sofa and belched. It was four o’clock Wednesday morning and he had been watching his television for five and a half hours. When he moved his eyeballs they ached, and yearned to return to their natural position staring blearily at the screen. A few hours earlier he had masturbated to a softcore porno called “Tales of the Conquistadors.” The show featured blurry clips of actors sacking Tenochtitlan and ravaging native women (“more like Tenoch-tit-lan,” he had chuckled to himself). It was voiced over by an ancient British man who sounded like God. At least he thought it was a porno. It was pretty early, and he had made mistakes before…
He would have to show up for work at the sanitation department in two hours. He knew he should begin the arduous process of getting up from the couch now if he wanted to get there on time. Tarpot grimaced and slowly, epically arched his back in an orgasmic stretch, cracking the gaps between every single one of his vertebrae and releasing a flood of endorphins throughout his flabby frame. He gave himself a few minutes to recover from this before attempting anything further, flopping lazily over the sofa like a walrus in post-coital ecstasy. After a few minutes had passed he did a quick sort of jangled stretch and plopped himself down on the floor. Years of experience hat taught him that all of this was just a warm up-the real stretching had not yet begun.
As he shuffled toward the kitchen to bake his breakfast cake, he noticed a faint purplish light edging its way in through the back window. It perplexed him into a standstill, but after a second he could feel his stomach tapping its feet impatiently. “First things first,” he decided hungrily. He continued his ten foot sojourn into the kitchen. One more minute of travel got him successfully to the halfway point, when the sound of muffled footfalls reached his ears-another unwelcome sensation from his back door. Tarpot again slowed to a stop and gave it some thought. His neighbor’s kid, Catfish Ranglesohn, had a Basset hound who liked to escape one a month or so and try to impregnate all the spayed neighborhood dogs. Six year old Catfish, who didn’t understand the workings of doggie hormones, always assumed that his dog had died, and that his parents were just telling him that Miller had run away to keep him calm. The poor kid always snuck out of his house the nights after Miller escaped and dug around in his backyard, trying to find closure in his dog’s corpse. When he had scoured his own backyard he hopped the fence and did the neighboring houses. The violet light, Tarpot decided, must be the black-light Catfish used to check for dog blood. Tarpot liked the kid and would keep him company on those lonely nights. Of course, it was odd for Catfish to be doing this in the morning, but Tarpot didn’t give it too much thought. After breakfast he would head out and shoot the bull with the kid. He resumed his cake-bound shuffle.
“Tut tut tut” sounded the door.
“Fuuuuck!” yelled Tarpot. Yelling “fuck” was a nice way for him to deal with most problems. He had heard that some people vent by writing angry letters to people who pissed them off, but slip them into an angry-letter box instead of sending them. Months later these people would read their letters and chuckle to themselves and thank god they hadn’t sent them. Tarpot preferred to scream “fuuuuuuuuuuck” at the top of his voice. Not at all angrily, but steadily, with determination. It calmed him down nice and quick, and made him feel like kind of a badass at the same time. He turned around reluctantly and headed towards the back door.
“Tut Tut Tut!” Catfish knocked louder this time, but Tarpot was incapable and unwilling to move any quicker.
“Reee!” said the old door as it swung open. Tarpot flinched and readied his indignant face. But to his shock it wasn’t Catfish who hustled into his living room. It wasn’t Catfish’s parents, or his other neighbor Ingert or his bubby or the milkman or the pizza deliver boy or anyone else Tarpot knew. This person was eight feet tall and wore a suit made out of storm-shutter aluminum. The visitor had six or so noses but no eyes, and the patches of skin you could see through gaps in the dingy metal were paper-white. He had no smell whatsoever, and rode a Segue scooter. Clanking in its dull suit, it zoomed right up to Tarpot and pointed a few of its noses at him in what was clearly some type of nasal grin.
“Excuse me,” the whatsit said, “avert your eyes, bro-magnon man!”
A flap opened in what a human would have called its chest to reveal a writhing fleshy hole, glittering all over with what looked like yellow glitter. The stranger made a few grunting noises and the tight hole spread open as a block squeezed out of it and plopped onto Tarpots carpet. It was a gold ingot. Tarpot stared numbly at it. His mind began reacting to what was happening, and he stuttered hysterically at the visitor.
“What? Fwah… What!” he tried. “What are you? Holy shite, is that gold? For me? What’s going on?”
“Keep it, Bro-ver Cleveland,” replied the thingy, “there’s plenty more where that came from.”
“Bro-ne structure!” shouted a voice from out back. “Are you finished in there yet?” The voice was exactly the same as the one coming from the creature in front of Tarpot.
“Goodbye, Bro-man Polanski,” the generous stranger said to him, “take it sleazy.”
“Wait,” Tarpot managed, “what’s this gold for? I don’t even know what to do with a bar of gold, pawn it? I’m in sanitation!”
At this the tin man sneezed in laughter. He whipped his Segue around and sped out the back, chuckling the whole way. Tarpot heard him say “did you hear that, Bro-bot?” Then a flash of the violet light and quiet.
Tarpot fell down then. It took constant concentration to make his legs support his monstrous body, and in the confusion he had forgotten all about them. So down he fell, down next to the still warm ingot. He stared at it and decided not to go to work that day. Once he was on the floor it was only a matter of minutes until he fell asleep. He snoozed gently there on the floor, clutching the alien’s gift. That night, and for most of the next day, he dreamt that he was a conquistador. Beautiful Aztec women covered him with gold and threw themselves at his feet.
“Bro V. Wade!”
Tarpot tiredly opened his eyes as the restless whatsit bumped into him with its Segue. For the moment before he remembered yesterday’s happenings he reached a level of confusion never before recorded in a human being. He peaked at 13 PCLs (“Pug Confusion Levels,” 1 being the level of confusion constantly experienced by Pugs), a normal reading in horses having their testicles cut off. He got his mind back together in time to notice another warm ingot fall next to last night’s gift.
“Hello, Sir!” he shouted in surprise, “Thank you so much! What do you want me to do? What are you?” Tarpot stared in wonder as the aluminum flap slammed shut over the alien’s gold-bringing miracle-hole. He was still at 4 PCLs.
“My uncle told me this was a good place. Normally I’d go to the bank, but this was an emergency. Sorry about this, Josh Bro-lin.” It zoomed out the back door and up the ramp of a glowing purple saucer, which presently jumped into the sky.
Tarpot waddled up to the door and looked around for more of them. His backyard looked like the surface of the moon, all cratered with holes dug by Catfish. He could see Miller through the chain link fence shuffling up and down, searching for structural weaknesses.
Ingert, his neighbor on the opposite side, was busily welding panels onto a gigantic iron contraption. It was a time machine, he had once secretly explained to Tarpot, which he had been working on for the past 15 years. He was chief of the Tacota tribe, which had a reservation outside of town, but he chose to live here because it was closer to the hardware store. The time machine was a tribal project. Once it was up and running they would use it to travel back to Spain in 1491 and sneeze on Christopher Columbus. They were big on irony. Then they would cross the ocean and give the Arawak Indians a pile of handguns they had collected over the years. Ingert smiled good morning at Tarpot and waved. Clearly he hadn’t noticed the space-car. Tarpot considered him to be his best friend in the world. They had gone to Middleton Community College together, and went to the movies every weekend.
“How’s it going, ‘Pot?” hailed Ingert.
Tarpot was too out of it to accomplish anything more than a nod. He stumbled back into his house, and remembered that he hadn’t eaten for almost twenty-four hours. He spent the next hour baking cakes, which he gobbled down as he nervously polished his pair of ingots. He looked up the value of gold and had to throw out the boxers he was wearing. Tarpot hoped feverishly that the Segue-riding aliens would make more appearances, and even made a banner out of his bed-sheet which he hung across the wall facing the back door. On it he had written “WELCOME MY DEAREST FRIENDS!” in sharpie. Space was more limited than he thought and the letters trailed south toward the end, but he was too excited to care much. He set a plate of cookies on a table and sat there in his sweat, panting nervously.
Sure enough, at midnight his back door burst open and a pair of them excitedly whirred up to him. This time he had a speech ready.
“Welcome, my noble visitors! I wish I had more to offer you, but I… Ummm…”
The blind whatsits had already popped open their chest hatches and begun squeezing out precious metals. This time they didn’t stop after one. The alien on the right released three ingots of gold, which Tarpot quickly gathered up, but the real haul was the pile of glistening diamonds excreted by the other.
“Oh, nasty, Bro-tofascist!” shouted the one to his right, “Diamonds?!”
“It’s that flippin’ chili” replied the other. “Big time.”
“Oh my god, bro-rschach, I’m gonna…. Oh no…” Anguish swept over the creatures marshmallow-white face, and it curled over the handlebars of its Segue to vomit up four silver ingots.
At a reading now of almost 7 PCLs, Tarpot stopped picking the shiny diamonds off the floor and looked up at the source of his fortune. The quivering sphincters were practically covered in gold at this point, and every once in a while they would release air with a hiss or a burp. The aliens were attempting to cover as many of their noses as they could, but with only five arms they couldn’t manage it. They pointed their faces down at him with what was undeniably pity.
“Look, little Bro-anoake, we’re really sorry about all this,” said one of them, “I know you don’t really understand, but trust me, this is flippin’ disgusting.”
“What do you mean? I’m so thankful, I must be one of the richest men on this planet now, thanks to you! I don’t know how to thank you enough. If you don’t mind my asking, though, why are you being so generous? Where does all of this come from?”
They turned to each other and exchanged meaningful sniffs.
“Well,” the one on the right said, “You should be thanking Taco Bell, and their new Cheesy Crunchwrap Supremes-“
“Damn, Bro-tanical garden, we’re not supposed to tell them! Just shut up and let him think what he’s supposed to think.”
“No, this is nasty, I feel terrible. We’ve pooped all over this little guy’s house, I’m ashamed of myself.”
“Sirs,” whimpered Tarpot, “I’m sorry, but what’s going on? Did you guys poop? Don’t worry about it, I’m gonna buy a nice new house with all of this stuff, you guys feel free to poop wherever you want.”
“Look, bro-letariat, all of that is our poop. To be honest, I didn’t even know you guys could talk. I’ll pick it up now, I’m sorry. This whole system is horrible.” He pulled out a raggedy old fifty and gingerly wiped some of the gold dust off his chest.
Tarpot thought about this for a second, and set down the giant diamond he had been wiping off. He looked from one to the other, and said “What system? You guys poop gold?”
“Normally, but we haven’t been eating right. Sorry about all that…silver…” muttered the left one.
“We used to come here all the time. In fact, we built this planet as a port-a-potty,” reminisced the one on the right. He started circling Tarpot on his Segue thoughtfully. “But it got pretty stinky, so we made you guys to clean it up. It’s all locked away in safes and banks, where we can’t smell it-top notch work. You guys have gone above and beyond the call of duty.” He snorted with a few of his noses, and his friend covered his face. “So I’m really sorry to come in here and poo all over the place… Its just that…we’re both pretty drunk and we didn’t want to risk flying all the way to Fort Knox.”
Tarpot slumped in his chair. His blubberous frame shuddered as a chill racked it. All of human society was… sanitation for aliens. Economics was just the study of plumbing. He looked up at them, close to tears.
“You mean,” he muttered, “we’re just-“
“You’re pooper scoopers,” the right one cooed soothingly. “Sorry.”
“I wish you had been Catfish,” Tarpot muttered.
“More like scatfish,” the left one gently offered. “Well, we gotta go. Its galactic taco night.”
They revved up their Segues and zoomed out of the room, disappearing in a flash of ultra-violet light. It was night outside now. Tarpot breathed out and walked to his backdoor. Catfish was walking out of his house carrying a shovel. He waved morosely at Tarpot.
“Geronimo!” Ingert shouted. Tarpot glanced to his right just in time to see his dancing friend triumphantly slam down his hand on a pulsing blue button.
/ / / / / / / / / / / Sciddley -Bop Achoo Scatat-at / / / / / / / / / / /
Tarpot’s house disappeared. Tarpot was gone. His backyard wasn’t riddled with holes like the surface of the moon anymore. Catfish’s house was gone too, and Ingert’s house had been replaced by an enormous marble statue of him. It was surrounded by gigantic steel and glass tee-pees. American businessmen, with braids and feathers in their hair, rode robotic horses down the street at tremendous speeds. Down the street in little Europe underage Indians used fake ID’s to get into a British casino. And behind that casino, in a dark alley, bizarre aluminum-clad white giants sped down the gangway of a violet saucer and pooped out a small fortune.