A short novel by Patrick O’Leary

So aliens look like tomatoes.

They land in the Super Bowl

at half time

terrifying the crowd.

They are gunned down by security forces.

They try again.

They land near the pyramids.

The Egyptian Air Force bombs them.

They try again.

They land on the moon. Nobody notices.

They try again.

They land in Iowa near the primary.

One democratic candidate meets them and they explode covering him with red juice.

This sinks his campaign for reasons ineffable.

Finally one of them lands on top of

Mt. Rushmore

and asks for a translator: specifically

a schoolteacher from Detroit, Michigan.

Kamika Edwards. She is terrified of him.

She tells the press he talks in her mind.

(They don’t believe her but they keep the cameras rolling.)

What does he say?

It’s not a he, she says.

What does she say?

It’s not a she, she says. They are fruits. Ovaries full of seeds.

So it’s a girl?

No, it’s a fruit that was genetically enhanced with consciousness. How stupid are you people? You want them to wear pink so you feel more comfortable? They’re aliens, motherfuckers!

(Kamika is having nobody’s shit).

Do they have names?

Tammy? Do you have a name?

After a pause, Kamika turned to the press and said, No.

You just called her Tammy.

It’s a nickname. I got tired of saying, “Hey, You.”

Then how do you tell them apart? They all look alike.

Why don’t we call her “Tomato”?

Why don’t you go fuck yerself?

Why are they here?

They got lost.

They’re not explorers?

No, they took a wrong turn on the way to another planet. They are escapees.

Escapees? From what?

It sounds like a prison.

So they are criminals?

No, they are non-comformists — I guess the word is.

And that’s a crime?

It’s the only crime for a tomato.

How many of them are there?

Tammy is the last tomato, so, hands-off. Wait — she wants me to warn you.

About what?

Please, they say. Don’t lie.

They? I thought you said she was the last.

They is their chosen pronoun.

Why can’t we lie?

She says you can. She said just don’t lie.

We’re journalists. Why would we lie?

I probably shouldn’t repeat what she said. And she probably should not talk to Politicians.

Why?

Well, she’s like allergic to politicians.

Like that Democratic Senator?

Exactly.

Ok. So Tammy isn’t a woman but she’s allergic to Democrats?

At this point Kamika called the news conference to an end.

And went to the bar.

Aliens, it turns out, are complicated.

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