Copyright 1991, Andrew P. Varga
My car door closed with a soft ca-thunk. Another happy day at the happy office was over, complete, finished, and somehow survived. Customer complaints, parts out of tolerance, a project that would take six weeks to complete if I hurried tossed on my desk by the boss on his way out to the golf course at noon, and a meeting with an unbearably verbose salesman bent on selling me unnecessary equipment at exorbitant prices.
I was glad to be home.
I was following the walk to the steps leading to my back door, my book-laden briefcase pulling at my fingers.
I took stock of the evening as I trudged toward the house. It was too late to replace the broken window in the garage. This morning's overflowing trashcan is still overflowing, let it go until tomorrow. Changing the oil in the car tonight was too much to even think about. Even the dust on my shoes could wait another day.
Sunshine dodged a cloud for a moment. This section of sidewalk needs replaced someday too, I thought. Something flashed, making me half-step and stumble to avoid it.
Obviously metal, it gleamed rainbow colors, like a small piece of well-polished stainless steel dipped in oil. Maybe it was something that had fallen from my daughter's bike.
"Oh goody," I said, "something else needs fixed."
Bending, I reached for it, to put it in my pocket so it wouldn't get lost before I reattached it, wherever it went.
"Honey!" I shouted, taking the back steps two at a time, my briefcase released somewhere in between. "Quick! I need an iron box! With a lid! And a lock! Do the kids have any miniature electronic toys?"
"Why no," she said, reaching into a cupboard. "Why?"
"Then we've been invaded!" I panted. "Probably extraterrestrials traveling on reduced fuel through self-miniaturization! I read about it once! Assimov or Vonnegut or somebody. Where's that iron box? Do we maybe have one lined with lead?" I remembered the words `death ray'. Orson Wells, maybe.
"Will this do?" She calmly handed me a quart canning jar and a lid.
"We don't have a very small lead-lined iron box with a heavy locking lid?"
"No, we don't."
"This will have to do," I bravely took the future prison of the interstellar invader.
"Let me see it," she said as I turned for the door.
"Stay inside!" I called over my shoulder. "I'll tell you when its safe."
Crouching low, I hunted it down the back steps, a not-too-easy feat.
It had traveled a few inches from where I had first seen it. Its iridescence orange, blue, green, and gold shone so, I swear that it glowed. Probably some new special super metal alloy, discolored by the heat of entry into Earth's atmosphere.
I moved to one side, carefully tilting the jar into its path. No little space ship's gonna lazer-zap me!
It stopped at the lip of the jar! I quickly gave it a nudge with the lid.
:Caughtcha!" I announced to my prisoner. It gleamed and glowed its little rainbow colors. Maybe its rays can't penetrate glass I thought.
"I've got it!" I shouted, proudly showing my wife. "Quick, call the papers! Call NASA! Call Mom!"
Looking up from the jar, she gave me one of those kind, understanding smiles like she does.
"And tell them what? That you've managed to bravely hunt down and safely capture a Japanese beetle?"