A short story by Moshe Sipper
As Stewart was about to descend the final rung he heard a shout on the helmet radio:
Which engendered the unfortunate consequence that the first words uttered by a human being on Mars were:
“Who the hell was that?”
Years of planning. Months of travel. This was not how things were supposed to unfold, thought Commander William Stewart as the realization sank in: he was standing on the planet surface. On Mars. A small step, et cetera, he brooded. Damn.
Stewart was about to unearth (unmars?) his would-be comedian crew member, who would sorely regret the day he was born, when he noticed in the distance a rapidly approaching cloud of red dust.
Totally defenseless, there was nothing at all Stewart could do — so he just stood there and waited. A few tense minutes later the dust cloud settled neatly a few feet before him. Quickly it cleared — to reveal a sleek, black Corvette, inside of which were seated two men.
Men, that is, if you ignored their greenish complexion.
The Martians stepped out of the car. “Hi William,” said the driver, his voice somehow transmitted over the radio link. He was grinning broadly, like a Cheshire cat.
A green Cheshire cat.
Commander Stewart was as solid as they came. It was the first — and last — time in his entire adult life he literally fell flat on his ass. All he could finally mumble, after several minutes, was, “A black Corvette ... A black Corvette ...”
“See, he doesn’t like it,” said the second Martian, the one who had been riding shotgun. “I told you we should’ve replicated a Porsche 911, but would you listen? Nooooooooo.”
Communication from his shipmates in the Marslander had in the meantime confirmed Stewart’s sanity — there really were two bona fide Martians about. He pulled himself together.
“Where have you been all this time? Why have we never discovered you? We scanned every damn —”
“My, my,” interrupted the green driver, “aren’t we inquisitive. All in good time.”
“But first thing’s first,” said the second Martian, as the first one looked eagerly on.
“Do you happen to have a set of four original Corvette hubcaps? Preferably chrome-plated!”
Copyright © 2012 by Moshe Sipper