By John McDonnell
Murphy awoke to the shock of cold water splashed on his face, and a very angry wife hovering over him.
“Cornelius Fergal Murphy,” she said, hands on hips. “I want to know what Kim Kardashian is doing, naked on my living room sofa.”
It took Murphy a few seconds to process this information, and he lay there blinking and moving his lips, but no sound came out. Finally, he remembered bringing the alien home last night.
“That’s just Larry,” he said. “No need to get upset, Dolores.”
“THAT is not a Larry,” Dolores said. “I don’t know what her name is, but it’s not Larry.”
“I can explain,” Murphy said.
“I can’t possibly imagine how,” Dolores said, “but I’ll listen.”
“Well, you see, he’s an alien. That’s not really his true form.”
“An alien. Now I’ve heard everything.”
“I swear, Dolores, it’s the truth. He came into the bar last night and had a little too much to drink--”
Dolores threw up her hands. “I should have known! Didn’t I tell you to stop bringing these lost souls here? I’m sick of taking care of these misfits from that hole-in-the-wall bar I told you not to buy.”
“This is different, Dolores. He’s feeling abandoned, and--”
“Let him see a psychiatrist then. I can’t afford to feed another mouth.”
“I don’t know if he has a mouth, actually. Although he likes pink fruity drinks.”
Dolores rolled her eyes. “I’m just glad my mother sleeps like a rock. If she had seen that naked woman on the couch--”
“Dolores, dear,” came a voice from downstairs. “We have a visitor. Come and see.”
Dolores cursed under her breath and ran out of the room, followed by Murphy, who ran downstairs in only his undershirt and boxer shorts.
Larry was sitting on the sofa, this time as a full grown silverback gorilla, watching a game show on TV with Dolores’ mother Edna, who was dressed in a turquoise off the shoulder gown, gloves, and a pillbox hat with a veil that would have looked chic in 1947.
“He’s got a perfect score in Jeopardy,” Edna said, grinning as Larry picked insects out of his chest hair.
“As long as they stay away from questions about particle physics I’m good,” Larry said.
“Dolores, this is Larry,” Murphy said.
Larry grunted, and Dolores stood there with her arms folded across her chest, sizing him up.
“You didn’t tell me we were having visitors, dear,” Edna said to Dolores. “I wasn’t properly dressed, so I went back and put on my dressy clothes.”
“I didn’t KNOW we were having visitors,” Dolores said.
“Larry, can I talk to you privately?” Murphy said. He pulled on Larry’s hairy arm and led him to the kitchen, where he closed the swinging door so Dolores wouldn’t hear.
“Listen, Larry,” Murphy whispered. “Dolores doesn’t handle change very well, and if you’re going to stay with us you have to find a form that works for her.”
“Oh, sorry,” Larry said, and in a flash he was Kim Kardashian again. “Interesting body dynamics,” he said, moving unsteadily on his feet. “Balance has to be recalibrated, because of added weight in lower extremities.”
“No!” Murphy said. “Not that form! Dolores won’t like that one.”
“Oh, yes,” Larry said. “Territorial human females. Primitive response. What do you suggest?”
“Well, first I would suggest that you move your lips when you talk, instead of doing that thought transference thing,” Murphy said. “Second, what about something cute and cuddly, like a--”
Larry transformed into a six foot tall Emperor penguin. He waddled back and forth, smelling of salt water and fish, and said, “Penguins are cute, according to a recent survey of human affectional impulses.”
“Jesus, Mary and St. Joseph,” Murphy said. “No to the penguin! Something else.”
Larry turned himself into Jesus, complete with a long white robe and a halo. “Is this better? You mentioned Jesus.”
“Murphy, I don’t know what you’re doing in there, but I’m coming in,” Dolores said, from the hallway.
Murphy put his head in his hands. “Say your prayers, Murphy,” he muttered. “You’re going to die soon.”
He wasn’t sure what happened next, but when Dolores came through the door she was met by a dead ringer for Pierce Brosnan, in a tuxedo, and smelling of a minty cologne, showing his teeth in a blindingly white smile.
“Ah,” Dolores said, stopping in her tracks.
“Mmm?” Pierce Brosnan said.
“Oh, Lord,” Murphy said.