Byar checked his speedometer and was thrilled to find that he was making good time.
Having just passed the star that the earth people refer to as Betelgeuse, and maintaining a speed of 8.0 Astro-zippies, it
was clear that they would make it to earth in time for lunch.
This knowledge came to him as a great relief. Being the proprietor of the galaxy's largest culinary resort and starship was
an awesome responsibility. He knew full well that his passengers would not be pleased if he failed to deliver on the special
lunch treat that he had promised them.
Down in the lounge where the good news was received telepathically by one and all, a dozen anxious tummies began to anticipate
the upcoming meal. (There were only seven passengers, but several had more than one tummy.)
Amylase was the first to speak.
"Let's do something to kill some time," he said. "There's still a two durble time delay before lunch."
"How about a game of Call the Veterinarian?" asked Galactose. "That's always fun when we're in the proximity of earth."
All but one of the group heartily agreed. Methionine was the hold-out.
"Just a minute," he said. "Call the Veterinarian is only fun if you establish certain rules before the game. First of all,
you have to talk directly to the veterinarian and not to any of its ancillary earth beings. Secondly, you should never make
sense. The last time we played, Amylase said something logical and the veterinarian became suspicious."
"Don't be ridiculous," was Amylase's response. "If these earth vets had any brains they would realize that many of the stupid
phone calls they get must be coming from outer space."
Nonetheless, all present agreed to follow the rules as proposed by Methionine and the game began.
Peptide, who had never played before, went first. He managed to get Dr. Bovine on the phone.
"Doctor, I hope you can help me," he said. "I have an emergency. My dog might be sick."
The group could hear Dr. Bovine's response over the speaker phone.
"You don't understand, sir. This is a large animal practice."
"That's O.K," said Peptide. "He's a large dog."
After a good laugh was had by all, Esterase asked to go next. She chose to call an earth time zone that would ensure hitting
her victim with a night call.
"Doctor, I hope you can help me," she said. "I've called several veterinarians and none seem to be able to answer a simple
question. My cat just isn't himself. He's been very quiet and nostalgic lately. Furthermore, he hasn't eaten one bite of his
food for four months. I think he might need an operation. That's what I'm calling to ask. How much do you charge for an operation?"
The veterinarian was unable to come up with a simple answer and the group received a mild chuckle.
"Let me show you losers how the game is played," said Galactose. "I'm putting in a night call to that Obenski character. He's
usually good for a laugh."
The call went through.
"Hello, Doctor, this is Otto Space calling," he said. "I used to bring a dog to you in 1993. Could you drive over to your
office and check the record? That dog got sick once and I'd like to find out what he had. My neighbor has a dog that got sick
tonight and I thought it might be the same thing. Check under the name Fifi. It was a Poodle that belonged to my old girlfriend.
I don't remember what her last name was."
All seven players had a good laugh at this one and were still chortling at the gullibility of those earth veterinarians when
the waiter arrived to take the lunch order.
The special repast of the day was to be fresh brains of earthlings. The good news got all 12 stomachs growling. The waiter
explained that each diner would be able to select his entry�y�e from the menu, after which the shuttle craft would descend
to the planet's surface to abduct the appropriate earthlings and harvest their brains.
Unfortunately, one glance at the menu brought a complaint from Methionine. He demanded to speak to Byar at once.
"What's the trouble, sir?" Byar asked upon coming down from the flight deck.
"It's these prices," said Methionine. "The brains of politicians, businessmen and housewives are all reasonably priced at
three to five coinders per ounce. But this last one here is ridiculous. You have veterinarian brains priced at 86 coinders
an ounce. That's outrageous!"
"My dear sir," said Byar. "Do you have any idea how many veterinarians we have to abduct to get an ounce of brains?"
Dr. Obenski owns the Allentown Clinic for Cats in Allentown, Pa.