"The Unbelievable Day of Grant Brooks"
a jovial take on the life of the surfer poet Grant,
if it was hastily written by Kurt Vonnegut.
by Jake Kilroy
Grant shifted his toes in the sand like drunk soldiers on sloppy patrol. In fact, Grant looked like a squadron leader with his mustache. A boastful brute napped above his lip. Grant could keep quiet for hours, and passers-by would listen to what his mustache had to say, if it came down to it.
It hadn't (not yet at least!), but that's the kind of respect Grant's mustache commanded. The ample forest above his smirk caught the wind that jogged up the coastline with its fat, heavy breaths. He sucked in the sweet air of the world and then he pushed it out. Grant was talented, but this was basic breathing. You, delightful reader, are too easily impressed.
The beach was quiet. It was the afternoon and only three were on the beach: Grant, his dog, and that trifling wind. The locals were asleep and the tourists weren't there yet. It was Heavenly. Or if you're the type to hate sand in your shoes, it was Hell.
Grant was the first type. The good type. He was a man with a plan, and that plan was to sit on a beach on a beautiful day. There's no better type, really.
That's why bad men are given prisons and good men are given beaches.
God made it this way so men would value the sun and the moon, so that it would become a universal understanding that to lose time is to lose life, and then where would a living man be? Up a creek! But still to this day, nobody's discovered the creek that gives everyone so much damn trouble.
Benson, the dashing rogue that was half dog and half dog, bonked his way through wave after wave. The sun poured over him like lemonade. He was also the good type.
The bad types of dogs are hard to spot. They aren't the ones that bark at the mailman. Those are also the good types, since they make it clear they don't trust government messengers. Actually, the bad types of dogs might just be cats. Cats are mercenaries. And then hamsters are hippies, ferrets are junkies, and so on. People aren't the only ones with society. That's their biggest problem—they think they are.
In a pile next to the lone star of the dune was enough Batmans to form the world's greatest army. It was grand. A pile of comic books is the closest thing a civilian can have to a harem.
Grant's shirt said Big Tits, Small Government, and he had more to say on top of that.
The dog bounded out of the ocean. He looked like the world's only furry sea creature, the way his tongue flapped around like a tentacle. Benson made it to the man he called dad in a language only canines have the determination to speak.
And then there came a rumbling.
It was the only thing to ever quiet the damn gulls.
Grant looked up. The sky was as bright as it was when he arrived, and then the sun disappeared. In its place was a spaceship. An unpolished junkyard piece. A bluish-gray disc that had either come from another dimension or from being kicked down the whole of an astroid field. Campbell's Soup could've sponsored its launch.
It floated down with the grace of a paper airplane filled with thumbtacks. It did everything post-WWII Americans expected it to: hummed, beeped, blooped, jabbered, the whole deep-space nine yards.
Grant, who had never seen a spaceship before, wasn't having any of it. It was dirty and noisy. He stood up and brushed himself off.
"Now what's this shit?"
Blue lights swirled. The ship coughed up a few measured exhales. The door dropped as slow as a half-hearted apology. In its frame stood two dark green aliens—one tall, one short. They waited for applause. Or maybe horderves. Neither came. It was only Grant, Earth's most respected and only host, and he still wasn't having it.
The two aliens scurried down. They moved like octopuses who dabbed all their puckers in some bad speed. They looked tired, but they forced confidence. It was the only time in history anyone had ever hoped for a nosey photographer.
"Now, listen," said Grant gently, "before you launch into some wild spiel about me taking you to our leader, it's my day off and I don't know the guy. He lives on the other side of this country, and I'm not even sure he follows me on Twitter. Besides, he's only got this country under his belt and maybe a good number under his shoe. The rest have their own leaders. I don't know them either. They live even farther, and I know they don't follow me on Twitter. Now...what can I do you for?"
"We're here for the dog," said the taller alien.
What a thing to say!
"This dog?" said Grant, pointing at Benson, who rolled around in the sand, taking just enough notice of the aliens to pass the final.
"Yes, that dog," said the shorter alien.
Grant's eyes wobbled. He clicked his tongue and crooked his neck and put his hands on his hips and then he said this: "Well, you can't have him."
And that was that.
The aliens were confused. "But we've come from so far, and we aren't even invading," said the taller one.
"Listen, I don't care if you came from Timbuktu or Mars," said Grant.
"It wasn't Mars," said the shorter one.
"And it sure as hell wasn't Timbuktu! Let me finish, little man."
"We aren't men," said the shorter one.
"Dude. On your planet, is it customary to interrupt another human being?" asked Grant.
"We don't have human beings on our planet," answered the shorter alien.
This made Grant laugh. His laughter was the good kind. It sounded like a flute that could dance. They don't have those kinds of flutes on Earth. They might not even have them where the aliens came from. His laugh was unique. It tickled the air, and it could make a girl go weak in the knees. Hell, it could make a skeleton go from wallflower to prom king too.
"Alright, well, you got me there," said Grant. "But you still can't have Benson."
So the aliens' shoulders sagged. It was a sad day for them. They'd have to slump into their spaceship (a lonely deal, no matter what species you are) and get in trouble at their jobs back on their planet, once called Smeenok, now known as Hyperbase. They changed the name because it was flashier. No matter where you travel, someone has something to sell.
"But do you not wonder why we want this dog and—"
"No, I don't wonder why you want Benson. Of course you want him. He's Benson! He's been with me through four houses and a dozen couches. I finally taught him how to play NBA2k, and Bridget's got him on Pinterest now. He's perfect."
"But he's destined for—"
"Destiny's the universe's way making it look like it has 20/20 vision. I'm not buying that philosophy, and I sure as shit ain't selling this dog."
"Look, you seem like nice enough dudes, but...you can't always get what you want. I mean, come on...right?"
Grant and the aliens shook hands (were they hands?). He wanted them to be happy. He also didn't want to start a galactic war on account of bad manners.
"Good luck though."
The aliens nodded. Their shoulders sagged (were they shoulders?). Disappointment is a universal language because math is a universal language. It's just always a ratio of 0 for 1.
The spaceship drifted into the wild west of stars, sluggish in its exit. Grant understood. Who would want to leave Earth? It has dogs, Dylan, hip hop, and slow-motion videos of cheetahs running.
Oh. And breakfast burritos.
Grant picked up his belongings and turned to Benson. "You earned a burrito for once. Thanks for not leaving the planet."
They walked toward the parking lot. Benson nuzzled his face into Grant as he trotted.
"But don't forget," said Grant. "I could always decide to eat you one day."
And so the story ends here. Or at least this particular one. Master-commander and destined dog have other adventures, don't worry. But we don't have time. This is just the one about the beach and the aliens. Have a good day. How could you not? You're on Earth!
"The Unbelievable Day of Grant Brooks"