(Perth, Western Australia, Australia)
ALFRED THE ALIEN
When twilight came and went and night stepped in, when everyone was asleep and when anything could happen; Alfred from the planet Xerox waited for his instructions from his leader before he beamed out of the spaceship.
"Your mission is to collect as many different specimens from the planet before light returns," said the leader. He wanted to examine the different rock and minerals he thought Alfred should be able to find.
This was Alfred's first mission. In fact it was Alfred first time out of the spaceship.
"I won't fail you, great leader," said Alfred. He beamed into the night. But because Alfred was young in alien years, he was prone to make a few mistakes. His first mistake was to over-beam into Michael's room and land smack right on top of him.
"What's going on?" yelled Michael. "What are you doing in my room? Get off me."
"Sorry," said Alfred and scrambled from the bed. "I must HAVE over-beamed."
Michael sat up, sleepy-eyed. He saw a stream of bright light coming through his window and he blinked. He looked closely at the boy standing beside him. There was something strange about him. He had long pointy ears, pale white skin and a bald pointy head. Michael guessed he was an alien.
"What on Earth are you doing here?" Michael asked.
"I've been sent to collect specimens."
"That's boring stuff," said Michael. "The last time I collected specimens was for a flower project. I had to look up all their names. I hate flowers."
"Boring?" asked Alfred. He couldn't find a meaning to the word because aliens never got bored.
"You know, stuff you don't want to do," Michael explained and then the beam gave him an idea. "We can use your beam and I can show you the sights of town. Let's go and have some fun."
Alfred's eyes glowed brighter. "Fun." That sounded like a good word.
"But before we go, I think you had better get changed." Michael pulled open his wardrobe door and took out a set of clothes and a hat and gave them to Alfred. "Put these on, that way you won't look out of place."
Alfred changed out of his spacesuit into Michael's clothes. Then boy and alien climbed onto the ray of light and beamed out of the house.
They cruised through the sky. Michael soon saw where they could go.
"Down there. I see a fun fair. With nobody around we can go on all the rides. We won't have to line up," he said.
Alfred changed the beam from 'cruise' mode to 'zoom down' mode.
"Ouch," said Michael when they crash-landed in some bushes.
"Oops. I'll need to work on my landings." Alfred went and got his hat from the branches where it had landed and put it back on his head.
Michael looked around. He found a switch and flicked it on. The fun fair came alive.
"Come on." Michael grabbed Alfred's hand. "The Wild Mouse roller coaster is an awesome ride."
Michael pushed the button to start up the roller coaster. He grabbed Alfred's hand. Michael dumped Alfred inside a car and then leapt inside the one in front, just before it took off. The car chugged along the track. It went up the slope before slamming down the other side. Without warning, the car made an abrupt ninety degree turn. Alfred's hat flew into the air.
"The best is yet to come!" yelled Michael.
The car dipped down before gathering even more speed as it circled inside the loop. Alfred hung onto the bar in front of him as if his life depended on it. He didn't know he had to do up the seat-belt.
"I want to get off!" he cried. Alfred hung out of the car. He dangled towards the ground.
"Don't be a scaredy-cat. We're nearly at the end," said Michael. He never noticed Alfred dangling towards the ground.
Alfred crashed back down inside the car as they came out of the loop. The car continued to go faster and faster around the track. It only slowed down and stopped when it was time to get off.
"Wasn't that fun?" Michael helped Alfred untangle his legs before they exited the car.
"Fun," answered Alfred who had turned green. He picked up his hat and put it back on his head.
"What ride would you like to go on now?" Michael pointed. "Look a Ferris wheel. We can go on that."
Alfred's eyes widened until they were as big as frizbees. The Ferris wheel reached high into the sky. Seats were hanging all the way around. Alfred shuddered. "I'm feeling a bit hot. Maybe we can go somewhere else."
"Sure. I know just the place to go." Together they walked back to the beam.
Once on the beam and just before they left, Alfred shrank the fair. He placed it inside his specimen box which was hooked onto a belt around his waist.
"My leader will be pleased," said Alfred to himself. But he wouldn't be riding the roller coaster ride again.
"We can go to the aquatic center," said Michael. "It's not far from here."
Michael gave Alfred the name of the center. Alfred punched the name into his control system on his beam. He'd downloaded the names of the streets and the names of all the places from all over the world just before he'd left Michael's room.
Whoosh went the beam, and within seconds they arrived at the aquatic center.
"Wow, that was cool," said Michael and climbed off the beam. "I'll have to get one of those."
Alfred looked around and saw a few different sized weird looking large bathtubs filled with water.
"A quick swim will soon cool you down," said Michael and grabbed Alfred's hot hand. "Up here." Michael pushed Alfred from behind as they climbed up the diving pool ladder. They walked out to the end of the diving board.
Alfred wasn't too sure how they were going to get into the water because they didn't have swimming pools on his planet.
Michael bounced up and down on the end of the board. Alfred quickly lay down and held on tight.
"Yahoo!" screamed Michael as he bombied into the water.
Alfred crawled closer to the end of the board. He looked down and crawled even further. He suddenly over-balanced and hurtled head first into the pool.
"Nice dive," said Michael, bobbing up and down in the water.
Alfred shot to the bottom of the pool and bumped his head. When he re-floated to the top of the water he wasn't sure what to do next, because he'd never swum before.
Glug, glug, glug, he went as he sank back down. Alfred frantically waved his arms and legs under the water until he resurfaced again. He continued to wave his arms and legs around until he reached the edge of the pool.
"Is that how you swim where you come from? It's a very different swimming style," said Michael and helped Alfred out of the water. He was relieved Alfred hadn't drowned.
Alfred didn't answer as he was too busy emptying out the water inside him.
"Don't forget your hat," said Michael as he plucked it out of the water and placed it back on Alfred's head.
"Thank you," said Alfred and now felt cool. He sat on the edge of the pool and video-memorized Michael swimming. He'd be able to practice his swimming when he shrank the pool and took it back with him.
"That's enough swimming for one night. I'm feeling tired, it's time to go home," said Michael.
"Yes," agreed Alfred. "My leader will be waiting for me."
They returned to the beam. Alfred shrank the aquatic center just before they left. They beamed back to Michael's room.
"Next time you come, I'll help you to find some specimens to take back to your planet," said Michael when he was safely back inside his bed. He never noticed Alfred's specimen box.
"Yes, a few more specimens would please my leader," said Alfred who was glad to find a friend on Earth.
"Keep the hat. It suits you."
"Thank you." Alfred waved goodbye to Michael as he beamed back to his spaceship.
"I trust your mission was successful?" asked Alfred's leader.
"Yes. I found some things we don't have on our planet." Alfred opened up his specimen box. He immediately returned everything to its normal size. Alfred noticed the look of surprise on his leader's face. "I hope you're pleased," he said and grinned.
His leader had gone from a pale to a green colour. Then the spaceship began to vibrate.
"Yes, yes. But quickly re-shrink everything and put it back inside your box," sighed the leader. He wondered what'd made Alfred bring back all that junk that'd nearly made the spaceship go out of control.
Alfred felt sure his leader was proud of him. He hoped he would send him back to Earth soon on another mission.
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