Although the sight of the two aliens had rendered me speechless for a moment, I had to reply to my friend’s idiotic comment.
“I don’t know what you mean, Frank. They look perfectly human to me.”
Frank shook his head, then gestured nervously towards them.
“What are you talking about? That guy is covered in fur and has four legs!”
The short, bald alien clicked and chirped to his pal, who grunted back. Then they started walking towards us, slowly but with purpose.
The three of us froze. Before we knew it, it was too late to leave through the oval entry of the spaceship. We retreated further into the dimly lit interior, until my back hit the side of one of the seats. The two aliens stepped through and stood there bathed in blue light, staring at us. The furry alien’s eyes glowed like a cat’s.
My mouth was dry, and I felt dizzy. The hairs on the back of my neck stood up. I think the three of us friends were frozen in place, unable to move or speak. My heart pounded fast, because this was the first time I’d seen aliens, and they were both terrifying.
I could barely make out very wide, narrow eyes behind the tinted lenses of the bald alien’s aviator glasses, but I could tell he was glaring at me. His face was a mess of either wrinkles or scars, or a combination of both.
“Is this your spaceship, by any chance?” the short alien said in a voice raspy like an old man’s.
I heard Betty gasping, but I was relieved. Of course, these guys were so advanced and civilized that they had to speak English.
“Wait, doesn’t this spaceship belong to you?” Frank asked, bewildered.
“Yes, it’s our spaceship,” I said. “We came here from Alpha Centauri. It’s a planet far away, beyond the galaxy.”
The bald alien’s eyes narrowed even further, and his large nostrils flared.
“No, it’s not. It’s our spaceship, the one we landed here a short time ago. Which means that it isn’t yours, and you shouldn’t be wandering into other people’s property!”
I was startled by how hostile he sounded, although his intimidation factor was lessened because he had to look up at me. The tall, furry guy merely looked at us with his coin eyes, emotionless, but we needed to pacify the shorter one, who seemed in charge.
“Okay, okay,” I said, trying to sound confident and mature. I stuck out my hand so the bald alien would shake it. “I’m Sam.”
The short alien’s expression remained grim. I looked down at his four-fingered right hand, which ended in long claws, but he didn’t move it, and more importantly, I recognized a gun holster attached to the belt of his black uniform. I could make out part of the grip.
As my blood ran cold, suddenly the tall alien stepped forward and shook my hand firmly. I felt a slight pain in my wrist. It felt like shaking a dog’s paw, if the dog had human-like fingers. I could barely dare to look up at the tall alien’s furry face, which lacked a nose and ears. His mouth opened wide, revealing rows of pointed teeth and a tongue that looked as if it was covered in tiny hairs. He was so close that I could feel the heat from his body, and I smelled a strange odor coming from him, a mix of rotten meat and something sweet.
“It’s bad manners to leave someone hanging,” the tall alien said, with a deep, gravelly voice that sounded like a bear growling.
“Ah… Much appreciated.”
I never thought we’d encounter such an extraterrestrial creature, let alone speak to him, but I was excited to discover something that nobody else had seen. That’s how young and adventurous I was back then.
“So, who are you guys?” Frank asked nervously, but with a look of determination.
“You are avoiding to tell me why you three came into our spaceship without permission,” the bald alien said, “but I’ll tell you: we are extraterrestrials, as in from another planet, and we have advanced technology, which is how we ended up coming here.”
“W-what’s your name?” Frank asked.
The bald alien sighed.
“My name is Krayt X-9.”
“What a stupid name.”
Krayt X-9 gasped and snapped his head back, appaled.
“Can I call you Krayt?” I asked.
“I don’t care what you call me,” the bald alien grumbled. “Who the hell are you humanlings supposed to be?”
Frank pointed at me.
“This is Sam. He’s the best friend I’ve ever met.”
“I don’t care,” the bald alien said. “You all look dumb.”
“We look dumb?!” Betty snapped behind us. “You two are the ugliest people I’ve ever seen!”
The taller alien, who was twirling fur on his left hand with his other one, stared at Betty through his round, flat, shiny eyes, and answered calmly.
“Every species looks ugly to everyone else.”
“That’s not true,” Betty insisted. “Cats and dogs are beautiful, but you two are like space rats.”
I wanted to bonk my attractive friend in the head. We were already trapped in the spaceship of these two alien freaks, which made me sick and anxious, and I had a gut feeling I wouldn’t like what would come next.
“You in particular look like a cross between a deformed monkey and a bear,” Betty said to the furry alien.
The furry alien shrugged.
“Not the monkeys,” I said.
Betty pointed at Krayt X-9 with a trembling finger.
“And you, I think you’re the most repulsive looking thing I’ve ever laid my eyes on. I mean, I know it’s rude to say that about a person from outer space, but I’m just saying.”
I put my hand on Betty’s shoulder and begged with my eyes for her to shut up, then turned my head to address the aliens.
“In any case, don’t pay much attention to Betty’s insults. She has a good reason to despise aliens, having lost one arm because an extraterrestrial bit her in her youth, before anyone in the neighborhood knew how dangerous the world truly was.”
“I don’t think your species can regrow limbs,” the furry alien said. “Anyway, I am called Yash.”
“But Sam is right,” Betty said, “and you two don’t seem dangerous, even though you are hideous.”
The bald alien seemed about to complain, but Frank spoke over him.
“You’re crazy! Didn’t you hear my dad? The aliens killed a guy with a hammer!”
“That’s just a story. And even if it’s true, they haven’t done anything to me besides damage my eyes with their ugliness.”
“They have a gun,” I whispered in Betty’s ear. “A ray gun, probably. They could kill you in a second.”
“If we let them.”
Yash shifted his weight in his four legs.
“Why did the three of you humans come here?”
“We were exploring,” I said, trying to sound calm.
“Exploring? You mean spying on us?” Krayt X-9 asked.
“This planet has already been thoroughly explored,” Yash said.
I felt a chill run through me. It was true. We weren’t tourists. This wasn’t an ordinary trip, but a mission.
“No, no, we didn’t spy on you!” I said as I raised my hands to pacify them. “We saw you guys flying the ship into the forest, and we figured we would come and take a peek around. There might have been something interesting inside.”
“What, to steal?” Krayt X-9 insisted with contempt. “Very appropriate for a species descended from apes!”
“They think we are animals,” Betty whispered in my ear, which made me shiver. “My mom says that sometimes human beings look like animals to other people. She also said that some of her relatives are part cat.”
I looked at the aliens, and spoke as firmly as possible.
“We aren’t thieves. We’re explorers, scientists, who want to learn more about your culture. We are not the same kind of people that the Nazis or Communists would be.”
Krayt X-9 snorted with disdain.
“Whatever. Now you idiots have realized that there’s nothing of interest in our ship. Is that correct?”
Betty and I nodded, and Frank shrugged his shoulders. I wasn’t sure what we had expected to find.
“Then,” Krayt X-9 continued, “I’m sorry you wasted your time with such a pointless task. We suggest you leave immediately.”
“Why did you land?” Betty asked. “I bet I know why.”
The bald alien scowled at Betty.
“Oh, I’m sure you do.”
“Don’t you dare say it,” I whispered angrily.
“You two needed to pee,” Betty said.
I could feel my face turning red. Frank looked away, embarrassed by our friend’s comment.
“What a preposterous notion,” Krayt X-9 said. “We did away with those means of disposing waste long ago in our evolutionary line. Your species is the one who is always handling pee and shit.”
“I’m afraid that’s true,” Yash said. “Humans have to carry their own excretions.”
“So why did you land, then?” Frank asked, curious.
“We were just tired of spending so much time sitting in our ship,” the furry alien, Yash, answered. “We wanted to stretch our legs, take a walk in peace.”
“A peace that has been broken by three stupid humans breaking into our ship,” Krayt X-9 added.
“I don’t think you should talk about us like we’re animals,” Betty said, her voice shaking slightly.
“You are animals, but most importantly, your species is a bunch of monkeys. You’re all descended from the ape family. You have no right to speak of intelligence when you can’t even speak properly.”
“We don’t need to explain ourselves to you. And you are not very polite.”
I stopped facepalming and took a deep breath.
“We didn’t break in, we just opened the hatch. You two aliens are the ones who didn’t lock your spaceship.”
The bald alien fixed his narrow gaze on me.
“Don’t you understand how coming into a ship that doesn’t belong to you can be interpreted as a violent act?” he asked, sounding increasingly irritated.
I shrugged my shoulders and tried to look nonchalant. I was still scared of these two aliens, but I hated when people told me I couldn’t explore some cool place.
“We thought that maybe you guys had landed because you were lost. So we came over to see if you needed any help. That’s all.”
“You are just changing your story now.”
Someone touched my shoulder suddenly, which startled me. It was Betty’s hand, and feeling her warmth through the thin fabric of my shirt made me warmer. But she had put her other hand on Frank, so it wasn’t an intimate gesture.
“Hey, it’s already gotten late, and the five of us are friends now,” Betty said. “We can sleep inside the spaceship until tomorrow morning, right?”
“What?” Krayt X-9 asked in disbelief, his raspy voice turning high-pitched. “Of course you can’t!”
Frank’s face lit up with excitement.
“That sounds amazing! If only we had brought a picnic basket, so we could have lunch inside the spaceship.”
Betty let out a noise as if she suddenly remembered something. She grabbed the backpack, which was hanging from Frank’s shoulder, and she opened it.
Krayt X-9 took a step forward, suddenly nervous.
“Hey, what are you doing? What are you pulling out?”
It was the box full of sandwiches. She opened it, and the scent of bread and jam made me salivate. She stretched her arms holding the box towards the crabby alien as if presenting a gift.
“We offer you a meal!” Betty said sweetly. “I suggest you two eat quickly before your food spoils.”
Krayt X-9 stepped back and grimaced at the sandwiches.
“Don’t push that disgusting human food towards me.”
Betty gasped, then hung her head low. Tears started accumulating along her lower eyelids.
Frank’s dad was right: these aliens were dangerous. If Krayt X-9 weren’t an alien and he didn’t have a gun, I would have punched his stupid face. I grabbed two of the sandwiches and I took bites of each of them, stuffing my mouth.
“Don’t listen to this prick, Betty!” I said angrily, showering her with crumbs. “He’s from another world, he has no manners and he doesn’t know that one never rejects a sandwich from a girl! And they are delicious, see? I will always be glad to eat your sandwiches!”
I shot Krayt X-9 a challenging stare. He looked away in disgust.
Yash turned his furry hands up.
“Our digestive systems can’t process human food.”
“Say that, then,” I said.
“What do you eat instead? Poop?” Frank asked. “Nevermind, I forgot you guys don’t poo like normal animals. You just poo in a special place.”
“I’m going to ignore you from now on,” Krayt said in a thin voice, barely glancing at Frank.
This was a problem, though. If these aliens couldn’t handle our sandwiches, we didn’t have bargaining chips for them to let us go peacefully.
“Sorry, sorry,” Frank said. “But now that we are here, can we make some sort of deal so you explain how this technology works?”
“You don’t listen, do you? And what kind of deal are you possibly talking about, little boy? Your species has already invaded our ship and tried to steal from us!”
I lifted a hand to pacify the bald alien.
“There was no stealing going on. Listen, we are big enough to admit our mistakes, and I apologize if we caused you harm by trespassing on your spaceship. I also forgive you for making Betty cry.”
Krayt X-9 snorted at me contemptuously.
“Apologize? We are not interested in such a cheap apology, and we have no interest whatsoever in hearing you admit that you made an error.”
Frank had wandered back towards the control panel installed in the wall in front of the smallest seat, which I guess belonged to Krayt X-9. My friend was running his fingertips across the weird gauges.
“Hey, do not touch anything!” Krayt X-9 complained.
Frank shrugged his shoulders in a way that suggested he was not intimidated by the warning.
“I’m curious about what kind of power source this ship uses, and whether it is nuclear or solar powered. Are there any solar panels? I would love to examine them in detail, and find out if they are able to produce electricity without relying on fossil fuels. Not that there’s anything wrong with fossils.”
“As if we were still primitive beings without manners nor intelligence! Fossil fuels! Don’t bother me with nonsense, we aren’t going to tell you anything about how our ship works. You humans cannot be trusted with any advanced technology! You would endanger the safety of everyone else.” He points at the long stick I had rested against a wall. “And what is a part of a tree suddenly doing in my ship?”
“That’s called a walking stick,” I said casually, “and it was given to me by my parents as a gift because they know that I am fascinated by nature and the outdoors.”
“Your parents gave you a wooden toy. That doesn’t mean you can bring it inside the ship.”
“It’s a walking stick, and it’s made out of wood. It’s harmless and won’t hurt anyone. In fact, I’ve used it to help me get around when I was exploring the forest near our house. If you want, I will show you how I use it. I have been using it for years now, and my dad taught me how to care for it properly.”
Frank was kneeling on the floor to rummage through his backpack. He pulled out his camera and started fiddling with it.
“At least we can go home with pictures of aliens! A few shots will suffice. Nobody else would believe us otherwise. Betty, can you pose next to the furry guy?”
Krayt X-9 let out a noise of indignation, but Yash was quick to approach Frank and lower my friend’s hand as he was about to snap a photo of the bald alien.
“Can’t let you take photos, sorry,” Yash said. “We aren’t even supposed to be here, nor be seen by human beings. It’s how it works.”
I raised my eyebrows.
“According to who?”
Yash turned towards me and shrugged.
“It’s due to the quarantine thing.”
“Quarantine? What are you talking about? Is there a virus going around?”
Krayt X-9 snorted and shook his head.
“Yes, exactly that. This whole place is just a festering virus.”
“Are you aliens going to get infected by the viruses we have, like it happened to the Indians? Because if so, you might want to be careful. There are diseases in this world that can kill a person in a matter of minutes.”
“No, you moron. You human beings are the virus! They put the quarantine in place because your species is as violent and irrational as they come, and the Coalition can’t allow you to get out of your nest unless you get your shit together. Which you never will! You’ve been like this for hundreds of thousands of years.”
“You’re wrong. We have evolved a lot in recent centuries, and we are much more civilized than you think. For example, we haven’t fought a war in a few years.”
Krayt X-9 rolled his eyes.
“So why did this Coalition send you here, then?” Frank asked.
“We were just taking a break,” Yash said.
I hadn’t stopped staring at the short alien’s tinted glasses.
“You act all uppity, Krayt, but you two are probably criminals who came down to our home to steal from us.”
Krayt stared at me coldly as he stood motionless, except for the slightest flicker in the muscles under the skin.
“What the fuck did you just say to me?”
“Cool it. You are going to make Betty cry again.”
“I’m fine,” Betty said.
“I know all about you aliens,” I said as I jabbed a finger at the bald prick. “You’ve been kidnapping humans and doing weird experiments with their butts for years! And you call us uncivilized? I’m sure you have dissected many of us for fun!”
“The extraterrestrials who kidnap humans are another group, and they aren’t on our side either,” Yash said. “Don’t lump us together with them.”
When I looked back at Krayt, he had stepped closer to me, and was staring as if he were containing himself from strangling me.
“Let me tell you something about your species,” he said coldly. “Years ago I was part of a team that came to this planet to study its soil and to try to figure out why it’s so toxic. It’s nothing but garbage compared to the planets we know about. Suddenly we found ourselves being shot at by uniformed men, and two of my crewmates got hit. Luckily, we managed to escape, but my mates died on the ship.”
“That’s terrible,” Betty said.
Krayt X-9 was confused for a moment about Betty’s sympathy.
“Yeah, it was horrible. But the worst thing is that we couldn’t save them. It was a terrible mistake, coming here in the first place. Human beings are dangerous creatures. They have an inferiority complex and a tendency to attack others for no reason!”
“Well, we weren’t the ones who hurt anybody,” I said. “We were just curious about your ship. And we knew nothing about a quarantine.”
For a while, Betty had been having trouble to breathe properly, maybe because of the fear, and she started having a coughing fit. Krayt X-9 snapped his head towards her.
“Yes, you’re right.” Betty said in a thin voice, then coughed and took deep breaths as Frank patted her back. “We shouldn’t be here, but it’s too late now.”
“It’s not just about some individual humans,” Krayt X-9 insisted. “There were also these guys we know who came to this nasty planet to have a good time. They landed on a long strip of paved ground. That was the very first time they visited you. But one of those primitive, toxic vehicles you call cars stopped in front of the ship, and its occupants yelled at the extraterrestrials for blocking the road. Then the humans got out of the car and started beating our guys up! They hauled ass out of this wretched planet and pledged to never return!”
“Yeah, there’s no way that ever happened,” I said. “And they shouldn’t have blocked the road anyway.”
Krayt X-9’s fists were trembling as Betty doubled over in an asthma attack. She hacked up phlegm.
“Shit, Betty! Did you bring your inhaler?” Frank asked, worried.
Betty nodded, but she couldn’t talk through the coughing. She pointed at the backpack. As Frank was shoving his arm inside, Krayt X-9 walked up to Betty, grabbed her arm and started dragging her towards the oval entry of the spaceship. My friend couldn’t even let out a noise of surprise without coughing more.
“That’s enough! I won’t have a diseased human messing up my ship!”
“No way!” I shouted. “You don’t grab girls like that!”
I jumped at the bald alien and punched him in the face. Krayt X-9 stumbled backwards. He stood there for a long second and a half, until pink, liquid worms started pouring from his huge nostrils. He covered his nose with one hand, and the liquid dripped between his fingers.
“You are trying to start a fight with us,” Krayt X-9 muttered. “Well, we can’t have that.”
Frank realized it was on. He pushed the bridge of his glasses up, then turned around and threw a punch at Yash. However, the furry alien caught Frank’s fist, who complained inarticulately, and then Yash pushed my friend. Frank fell on his ass.
Betty scrambled and coughed her way to the large stick resting against the wall. She picked it up, twisted around and hurled the stick at Yash, who was turning his palms towards the ceiling when the stick bonked him in the head. It snapped back. When Yash lowered his head again, he stared at Betty expressionless, but then again his eyes were lidless and uniformly pickle green.
“Hey, don’t do that.”
I felt a warm sensation at the base of my neck. Something metallic was pressing into my skin. Krayt X-9, bleeding profusely from his nose, had unholstered his gun, which I could barely see from this angle. As I opened my mouth to speak, the bald alien kicked me in the abdomen. I staggered backwards. My heel hit the lower edge of the oval entry, which caused me to somersault onto the grass of the clearing.
Krayt X-9 walked out of his spaceship, still gripping his futuristic gun. He stepped aside to let Yash pass, who was holding up both Frank and Betty, as if they weighed as much as puppies. Frank was too stunned to complain, and Betty kept coughing. Tears were jumping from her eyes. Yash dropped my friends carefully on a bed of tall grass. As soon as he released them, they pushed themselves back.
I tried to stand up, but Krayt X-9 closed his hand around my face. His long claws scratched my scalp. His fingers were cold and clammy; they reminded me of a spider’s legs. He pushed me back. I got a still shot of the chest of his uniform, which was stained with pink blood, before Krayt X-9 lifted his right hand to point with his gun at my head. The white lines around his mouth got creased as he smirked.
“You got your chances to talk. Either you die, or I will kill you.”
I noticed the tendons in his shooting arm contracting, but Yash knocked the gun from his pal’s hand as I heard a sizzling discharge. A red beam had grown in my vision for a split second, and had struck the ground near my head. A patch of grass had disintegrated. What remained in the edges smelled like it was burning.
Krayt X-9 grimaced angrily as he looked up at the furry alien. The bald alien chirped in his language, but I understood his disbelief. Yash shrugged calmly and grunted in response.
I could have sworn that I lost consciousness for a moment as the phrase ‘this ugly alien just fucking shot me’ echoed in my mind. The next thing I knew, a bunch of human adults were shouting at us from different directions, and very close.
“Drop the gun! Drop it now!”
As I tried to stand up with my trembling legs, I saw Krayt X-9 paralyzed in the act of crouching to pick up his ray gun. We were surrounded by three nervous cops who were pointing their standard issue pistols at the murderous alien as if they couldn’t wait to blast a dozen holes through him.
Krayt X-9 was shaking, but let go of his gun. When he straightened his back, he opened his mouth to speak. The nearest cop lunged forward and tackled Krayt to the ground. The human landed with a thud on top of the alien’s shoulders, who struggled and kicked at the air in desperation.
After one of the other cops kicked the ray gun away, they approached the tall, furry alien cautiously. Yash merely stared at them as his arms hung by his sides.
“Put your hands behind your back,” one of the cops said. “Don’t try anything stupid.”
Yash sighed, turned around and obeyed. The cops handcuffed him.
One of the cops handling him, a guy in his forties who had a ketchup stain near his moustache, furrowed his brow as he stared at Yash’s alien face.
“You are one odd lookin’ fella.”
“Hey, you also look weird to me.”
While the cops led the three aliens out of the clearing towards the path, Krayt X-9 kept struggling and yammering something about the Coalition, but I could barely make out what he was saying over Betty’s coughing. One of the cops bothered to address us.
“Go home soon, kids. Your parents are worried about you.”
“Sure,” I said, stunned.
Once the adults were gone and I ceased to hear Krayt’s complaints, I went straight for the spot where the ray gun had fallen, but it was gone. I guess one of the cops took it.
Frank was kneeling next to Betty as he grabbed her inhaler out of his backpack. I ran to Betty’s side and I held her head. Something about the way she pursed her pink lips around the mouth of the inhaler sent shivers down my spine. She coughed a couple of times before finally taking a deep breath and blowing the contents of the device into her lungs. Her face relaxed. She wiped her tears with the back of her hands.
“Are you okay?” I asked her.
“I’m sorry,” Frank said to me. “This is all my fault.”
I wasn’t sure what he was referring to.
“You are forgiven, Frank.”
I took deep breaths. My brain was rattled. I guessed there was a parallel universe in which that ray gun put a big hole through my head.
“My lungs feel like they’re burning,” Betty complained in a pitiful, raspy voice. “I’m really glad those fucking bastards left us!”
“That was amazing, though,” Frank said. He stood straight and stared up at the huge spacecraft. “Those aliens looked like dinosaurs.”
“Damn it, Frank,” I said. “They looked nothing like dinosaurs. Stop it.”
“Are you okay, though?” Betty asked my way.
When I looked down towards her, she was staring at me with her big brown eyes. Her pigtails were resting on the chest of her dress. I knew, even though I had never held a girl in my arms like a man holds a woman, that this was the moment when my old friend Betty and I should kiss passionately. I felt my face getting warmer.
“Yeah, I’m fine,” I said as my heart jumped on my chest. “Why wouldn’t I be?”
“Because that ugly alien almost killed you, Sam. And you punched him because he had grabbed me…”
“W-well, I had to defend my girlfriend, didn’t I?”
I bit my tongue so hard that it hurt for a while. When I dared to look at her in the eyes again, Betty had blushed.
“Your girlfriend? Since when?”
Betty averted her gaze, and fiddled with the hem of her skirt.
“You can’t just decide that unilaterally… You are a weirdo, Sam.”
I kept staring at her while my heart cooled down, as I imagined that she would lift her gaze again and face mine, but she didn’t. When she lowered her head and coughed, I walked a few steps away from my friends.
I don’t know how much time passed before any of us spoke again, but Frank changed the subject.
“I bet we could get a lot of money for the alien spaceship. Maybe we could sell it to that guy at the auto plant and use the cash to finally buy a car.”
“You idiot,” Betty said, deflated. “That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. And you would regret it later when you have to pay taxes on that kind of income.”
Frank was holding a cigarette between his lips while he struck a match. He lit the cigarette and inhaled deeply before blowing the smoke into the night sky.
“I know it’s risky, but the ship must hide some kind of advanced technology, right? We could try to pry open the wall, pull out some cables or whatever. Forget about a new car, we could even buy a boat so we can sail around the world.”
I sat down wearily on the grass. My chest hurt, I wanted to go home.
“That’s nothing but another empty dream,” I muttered. “There’s no way we are getting rich off aliens.”
After a few seconds, Betty let out a long sigh.
“The government people will come and take it away. We’ll never see it again.”
I lifted my gaze in the direction of where the cops led those two weird guys away. I guess they’ll end up in some holding cell next to thieves, burglars, and drunk men who hit their wives.
I couldn’t stop my hands from trembling. I feared for the future of my species.
“I knew that the aliens were dangerous, but I never thought they’d be evil,” I said in a thin voice.
Frank huffed and wheezed. I noticed Betty standing up and patting the skirt of her dress.
“Let’s just go home.”
I had been hoping for an adventure that would make us feel special. I think that was why the three of us had been exploring around since we were children. We were fifteen years old, we weren’t supposed to be scared of anything. I wanted to experience new and exciting things.
It’s been many years since the last time I faced violent poltergeists or armies of robots, visited space stations, was pursued by giant monsters, or punched an alien. But whenever I feel like my life has been reduced to bills, long commutes, mortgages, and a body that only gets rustier, I can close my eyes and remember my old friends Frank and Betty, and all the good times we used to have.