“The Pensioner and the Alien” by Pavel Pepperstein (from his book “Spring”).

An alien from another planet appeared at a pensioner’s place. The alien was strong, with green, glowing eyes and he just walked straight through the wall. The pensioner would probably have been frightened to death, but all this happened in the evening, after nine, and at nine the pensioner always took his anti-anxiety and sleep medication: stugeron, zinarizin, nootropil and nitrozepam. Since the medicines had already started taking effect, the pensioner reacted calmly.

The alien sat down on his bed and struck up a conversation. He told the pensioner that everyone on the planet Earth could be changed for the better, that it was possible for people to live contentedly and not be ill, never be distressed and never suffer any unpleasant feelings at all, that everywhere could be clean, neat and tidy.

“But what can I do?” the pensioner asked. “You don’t really need my help, do you?”

“Well, generally speaking, no. Don’t worry about it,” the alien politely reassured him.

The pensioner went to sleep, unable to resist the effect of his sleeping pills any longer. Left with no one to talk to, the alien walked around the room a bit. He saw a tin box with a picture of a building with a spire, and on the spire there was a star, framed in a wreath of leaves and ears of wheat. The caption under the building said: Supreme Council of the National Economy. He opened it, and inside there were some buttons, reels of thread and prescriptions.

“A petty trifle, but it will still be some kind of souvenir from these parts,” the alien thought, and he put the little box in his pocket and set off back home.

© Pavel Pepperstein, 2010

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