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A short sci-fi story by Chuck Keyes



            There must be something wrong, thought Zaggit. The science team must have chosen the wrong type of lower life animal to bio-copy. Besides watching me forage for tree seeds, the humans pay no attention to me. Four times, I've approached the entrance to their dwelling, but they won't let me enter, and my close presence seems to provoke them in a bad way. At this rate, my study of human beings is going to take longer than my existence. Oh no, here comes that troublesome animal who keeps chasing me up the earth trees.

          The fluffy white angora cat stealthy ducked down in the green grass and crept toward Zaggit.

          I need to put a stop this! screamed Zaggit from within his mind.

          When the young playful cat charged toward him, Zaggit used his telepathic abilities to place an image of a Golapein Darth Creature in the cat's mind. Upon seeing the scary image, the cat's hair raised while it jumped up in the air with a loud frightful shriek, and then it ran off toward the human's dwelling. A young human female opened the backdoor to allow the cat to enter, and then she stepped out on the wooden deck and stretched out on a lounge chair to sun her body while reading her electronic book. 

          I doubt if that annoying animal will attempt to chase me again. The scientists must have messed up. I don't think I'm a cat. My gut feeling is telling me the animal I just scared away is a cat, and that's why the humans are allowing the creature to enter their dwelling. If true, than what type of animal am I? What can I do to become one of their family members? Zaggit inwardly asked himself these questions. I'm going to try a different approach.

          Zaggit found a little twig and placed the tip of it between his toes, making the twig appear as if it's stuck in the fleshy part of right front foot. He limped up the three steps onto the rear wooden deck and walked toward the young female. After realizing the human female is too engrossed with her electronic novel, he made a loud chattering noise.

          Leila screeched when she first saw the Texas red squirrel. It stood up to show her the twig sticking out of its right foot.

          "Oh, you poor squirrel," said Leila, "you have a sliver stuck in your foot."

          Surprisingly, the squirrel curled in three of his long front finger-like toes on his left foot, and pointed one toe at the wooden sliver.

          "Do you want me to pull the sliver out of your foot?"  

           Zaggit nodded his head.

          "This is unbelievable," Leila said with a bewildered expression. "Am I going bonkers, or did you actually nod your head to my question?"

          Again, Zaggit nodded his head.

          "I've been told squirrels can be vicious. You're not planning to bite me when I pullout your sliver?"

          Zaggit briskly shook his head.

          With fear etched on her face, Leila cautiously reached down and pulled the twig out from between the squirrel's toes. Leila deeply exhaled followed with a warm smile. "Does it feel better?"

          Zaggit nodded.

          Leila's forehead lined in thought. "Do you understand everything I'm saying?"

          The red squirrel nodded his head and briskly shook his bushy tail.

          "This is impossible. You're a tree rodent whose life span only lasts until you stupidly run out in the street to get run over." Zaggit startled Leila when he jumped up on her lounge chair and nudged his pointed snout against her hand.

          "Do you want me to pet you?" asked Leila.

          Zaggit nodded yes, hoping if she pets him, it'll help to form a bond of never-ending friendship, thus allowing him to become a member of her human family.

          Leila gently stroked Zaggit's head and back. "Wow, you're fur is as soft as my cat's fur."

          Zaggit curled up next to Leila's warm human body, and his tail covering his face, he fell asleep.


          An hour later, Leila gently shook Zaggit's little furry body. "Squirrel, you better wake up. My mother and brother will be home soon. I know they won't understand why I've befriended a wild squirrel, and if I tell them you understand everything I say, they'll think I'm walking around the dark with the lights on. Would you like to see my bedroom?"

          Zaggit nodded yes. He jumped up on Leila's shoulder and curled his tail around her neck.

          With her electronic book in hand, Leila entered the house and walked along the hallway to her bedroom. She gave Zaggit a tour of her room and her attached bathroom. "I wish the cat box was in here for you to use, but mother prefers to keep it in the utility room next to the washing machine and dryer." She paused to giggle. "Of course, maybe you'd rather use my toilet. I love to read, and right now I'm reading an awesome sci-fi fantasy about an alien whose essence is inside a special little Chihuahua dog. His name is Apollo, and he's a roman galactic police officer. He's super intelligent, he talks, and he knows how to do his business in a toilet. I'm certainly reading the appropriate novel for meeting a red squirrel who seems to understand everything I say. As you can tell from all my sci-fi posters, I'm a science fiction fanatic. My mother thinks I'm going to grow out of loving sci-fi, but next year I'm going to be senior in high school, and my love for sci-fi keeps growing, so I'm going to become sci-fi novelist. I've written many short sci-fi stories, and all my friends enjoy them. Do you like my strange sci-fi bedroom?"

          'Yes, I like your room. It's better than sleeping in an earth tree. At least you don't have to worry about rolling over in your sleep and falling to your death.'

          "Oh my God. Just like Apollo, you can talk!"

          'I am telepathically communicating with you.'

          "You're talking to me inside my head."


          "So I'm the only one who can hear you?"

          'Yes.' Zaggit nodded his little head. 'I'm not supposed to be communicating with you, but my science class scientists bio-coped a squirrel instead of cat.'

          "Science class!"

          'I'm a student majoring in alien life. My science project report is going to be a case study about human beings.'

          "So you're a teenage alien who's mistakenly passing yourself as a squirrel instead of a cat, and I'm one of the human aliens you're going to study for your science project."

          So Zaggit can face Leila, he jumped off her shoulder onto her bed. 'That about sums it up.'

          "How far away is your home planet?"

          'My home planet is almost half way across the universe.'

          "Do you have a spaceship?"

          'Spaceships are obsolete. I can travel through the time layers of space within a static beam of negative light.'

          "Wow! Scotty beamed you here."

          'I'd appreciate it if you don't tell any other humans about me. I'm not even supposed to be in this section of the universe. If my father learns what I've done, he'd probably ground me for twenty planetary revolutions around our twin suns.'

          "Why aren’t you supposed to be here?" enquired Leila with a puzzled expression.

          'This section of the universe is off limits. All the aliens who live in this section are considered primitive until they can travel beyond their solar systems.'

          "Yeah, well we wouldn't be considered primitive if more money and technology was being placed into our space program. Most people are too doggone busy trying to improve their own existence instead of looking into the future to see our human race colonizing planets beyond our solar system. Every day it seems that more people are losing interest in our space program. When I become a well-known sci-fi novelist, I'm going to use my novels to help promote the space program. It's a known fact that our future technology is generally derived from our past science fiction."

          Zaggit shook his bushy tail. 'Being a young human female, your highly developed intelligence surprises me.'        

          "Thanks." Leila's cheeks blushed. "I'm curious about how you understand my English language?"

          'There's a…'

          "No, wait, I can answer my question. There's a linguistic translator built into your squirrelly brain."

          "That is correct."

          "Holy Star Trek! I guess reading sci-fi novels, writing sci-fi stories, and watching sci-fi movies have paid off."

          "What are all these strange pictures hanging on your walls?"

          "Oh, I'm happy you asked. They're famous sci-fi movie posters. 'The Lost World', 'The War Of the Worlds', 'Forbidden Planet', and 'The Core'," Leila said as she pointed each one out. "And on this wall is…'Them!', 'Avatar', 'The Day The Earth Stood Still', and 'The Incredible Shrinking Man'. I think I've watched each one these movies more than a dozen times. That's why my mother calls me a sci-fi fanatic."

          'What does your father think about you being a sci-fi fanatic?'

          "Two years ago my father died from stomach cancer."

          'I'm so sorry.'

          "Thanks…I miss him. He also loved science fiction, and he's the one who sparked my sci-fi interest when I was knee high to a ladybug."

          'What's your name?' asked Zaggit.

          "Leila Lin Jinkins. Do you have a name?"

          'I only have one name, and am called Zaggit.'

          "I love your name." Leila said along with a childish giggle. "Zaggit is a perfect alien name, and it's also a great name for a squirrel, since they like to zigzag all around the yard."

          'Leila Lin Jinkins is a superb alien name.'

          Leila chuckled. "I've never thought of myself as being the alien, looking from beyond my solar system at planet earth. Now that I think of it, 'This Alien Planet Called Earth' would be a fantastic title for a mindboggling sci-fi story. I've always known in my heart that life exists throughout the universe. I imagine God as being the grand artist of creation, and with the whole universe being his canvas; it wouldn't make any sense for him to paint just one tiny dot."

          'Oh…may I please use your bathroom?' asked Zaggit

          "Of course you can. Do you need my help?"

          'I can do my business on my own.' Zaggit jumped off the bed and scampered into the bathroom. He stood up on his two back feet and pushed the door partially closed, and then he jumped up on the toilet seat. After doing his business by holding on to the edge of the seat with the rear of his body hanging in the bowl, he jumped up, grabbed hold of the flush handle, and hung on it, but he didn't have enough body weight to pull the handle down. He ran back into the bedroom. 'Sorry, Leila, but I will require your assistance to push down the flush handle.'

          Leila giggled. "No problem, Zaggit, I have to use the bathroom anyway."

          Zaggit jumped back up on Leila's comfortable bed. He rolled up in a ball and used his bushy squirrel tail to cover his eyes.

          A nine year old boy strolled into Leila's bedroom. He surprisingly noticed the ball of reddish fur on the bed, so he grabbed a Sci-fi magazine and rolled it up to use as a weapon. As he approached the bed, Zaggit heard him, and he managed to jump out of the way just before the magazine hit the bed where he had been sleeping.

          "Okay, I won't hurt you," yelled the boy.

          Leila ran out of the bathroom. "David, what are you doing to my pet squirrel?" she screamed.

          "The tree rodent spoke to me!"

          "How many times have I told you to stay out of my room?"

          "I'm not kidding! Your pet squirrel spoke to me. His voice was like an echo in my head."

          "David, you've flipped out. Squirrels don't talk; now get out of my room."

          "I came in to tell you Mom called me and said she's going to be working late."

          "Okay, you told me, so now make like a futuristic space cadet and beam your butt out of my room!"

          "Where did you get the tree rodent?

          "Don't call him that!"

          "If you don't tell me the truth about your mysterious talking squirrel, then I'm going to tell Mom about him."

          'Leila, as usual, I messed up, so you may as well tell David the truth.'

          "Oh, alright! I'll tell you, but you must first promise to never tell anyone."

          "Okay, Sis, I promise."

          "If you break your promise, every night while you're deeply sleeping, I'll put earthworms and cockroaches in your bed."

          "I won't break my promise…so tell me already!"

          "The Squirrel's name is Zaggit, and he's an alien teenager who's here on earth to study our human race for his science project."

          David exploded with a belly laugh. After he regained his composure, he voiced, "Sis, you've finally gone beyond being a sci-fi fanatic to being a sci-fi Looney tune character."

          'David, Leila is telling you the truth.'

          "Wow! He does speak, but his voice is strangely echoing."

          "That's because Zaggit is telepathically talking to us, like broadcasting directly into our brains."

          "This is unbelievable. Maybe you were destined to meet an intelligent telepathic alien squirrel."

          Zaggit chattered as if he's laughing. 'I'm not an alien squirrel. In reality, I'm on my home planet. This bio-squirrel body contains a downloaded copy of my essence.'

          "So you're in two places at once?"

          'That is correct. I'm the one who came up with the idea. I can safely study humans and transfer the information back to myself.'     

          "Zaggit, why are you a squirrel?" asked David.

          'I was supposed to be a lab grown bio-cat, but my friends in my science class transferred the wrong genetic information from your planet. Being a stray cat would've made it much easier for a human family to accept me as a family member.'

          "Zaggit, what does your alien body look like?" asked Leila.

          'Well, I look somewhat like your human race. Except, My head is larger, rounder, and there's no hair on my body. I have six fingers and six toes. My eyes are larger, my nose is smaller, and my ears are bigger.'

          "Holy Star Wars," excitedly snapped Leila. "From your description, your race may be highly evolved humans, which would make us related."

          'Yes…yes, this is what I too believe,' Zaggit's words passed into Leila and David's brain while his bushy tail rapidly danced with excitement. 'This is why I want to study your human race. I want to prove we are truly related. Many millions of planetary revolutions around my twin suns…my ancestors may have used light-speed ships to visit your planet earth.'

          Leila laughed. "This is amazing! The concept does explain why there's a missing link in our evolutionary process. There's also millions of years missing between now and when the dinosaurs became extinct, which nobody ever talks about. If we can prove our races are related, and in the future when a first contact does occur, most of my human race will have a great deal of trouble accepting the relationship concept."

          "Yeah," chimed David, "It'll shift the roots of everybody's family tree to Zaggit's planet."

          'I assume we're going to work together on my science project, and I'm going to become a happy member of your family?' asked Zaggit.

          "Yes," Leila replied with a wide smile and nod. "Although I still need to explain you to my Mom, but that shouldn't be a problem. She loves strange animals."

          "Sis, don't you mean Mom loves strange animal customers because she's a manager at Walmart," chimed David, followed with a silly giggle.

          'That's fantastic! I wasn't too happy about eating tree seeds and living outside in an uncontrolled climate.' Zaggit stretched his squirrelly body out on the bed. 'I learned how to act like a squirrel by watching the other squirrels, but the problem is I'm scared of heights. Leila, I do like your soft bed. I'm also going to enjoy living inside your climate controlled dwelling.'

          Leila giggled. "Our races must be related. You can have the whole foot of my bed for sleeping on."

          'Thanks! Is the machine on your desk some kind of communication device?"

          'Oh, that's my desktop computer, and the Internet would be a great tool for you to learn all about my human race.'

          'Leila, can you please show me how it functions?'

          Leila pick up Zaggit, sat him down on her desk in front of the keyboard, and then she showed him how to enter a query into the Google search engine. Within fifteen minutes, Zaggit is dancing the keys like a pro typist.

          David shook his head. "Sis, this is the strangest thing I've seen in my nine and a half years of life. A squirrel using his feet to surf the Internet like a professional hacker."

          "Yeah, it is pretty strange, and I love it. Our new family member, along with my sci-fi writing skills, are going to change the face of the world. We're going to reopen the door for an optimistic unity of developing space travel, and we're going to prove to everyone that God didn't paint only one tiny dot on his grand canvas of the universe."

          'Excuse me,' telepathically said Zaggit to Leila and David. 'I was wondering when we're going to sit down for a wonderful family meal that does not include tree seeds.'

          David and Leila exchanged comical expressions. "Sis, are you thinking what I'm thinking?"

          "I think so."

          "Then I'll go make Zaggit a peanut butter sandwich."



The End!

© September 2011


          The pleasures about writing science fiction is I can allow my imagination to jump out of the box of logic and fly off in any weird and wonderful direction I wish. The further my imagination flies away, the more creative my stories can become.

          In reality, our human lives are made up of many more unanswered questions than answered questions. Any belief without explicit proof is an unanswered question. These countless unknown answers haunt many of us like menacing poltergeists, and many people go through life accepting logical answers from scholars, religious prophets, and people who think they know it all.

          The enjoyment of writing science fiction is to offer readers off-the-wall answers for these unknown questions. Personally, I require my answers with unquestionable proof; therefore, I know our moon isn't made of cheese.


The Chuck!

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