“Hey Billy Bob.”
“You see that there dang pile of rocks in that there corner?”
“Sure do,” Chuck said.
“I’m thinkin’ that rock pile is givin’ us a look.”
“What kind of look is that, Billy Bob?” Chuck said. He knew what kind of look it was, always the same one. It wasn’t really so much a look as it was a “hey, that thing looks different than us, therefore I hate it.” Chuck could never find reason to disagree with the analysis.
“Looks to me like the kind of look that the looker uses to show he ain’t lookin’ at us too nice-like.”
“You’re right, Billy Bob. That there ain’t no friendly look, and I sure as heck ain’t hearin’ no sweet talkin’.”
“What’dya say we go over there and ask that rock to fix its face?”
“I reckon that sounds like a darn good idea,” Chuck said. He straightened the flannel vest covering his naked chest, distended belly peeking out from beneath the last button on it. He liked wearing vests as they offered more freedom than regular shirts. Not only did they provide sleeveless comfort—which let him show off the various, dark, faded tattoos he’d given himself over the years—but it was actually quite a fancy ensemble. When he was forced to attend intergalactic meetings as a diplomat, or peace conferences as a tyrant, he never even needed to change shirts—the vest was definitely fancy enough.
“Dern tootin’, let’s go get’er done.”
Billy Bob sat down in the black, leather chair beside him and placed his hand on the knobs in front. He slowly twisted the left, while rotating the knob on the right. The room softly began to hum as Chuck felt his stomach rise, a feeling he thought he’d get used to after so many decades aboard spaceships. It never seemed to go away, though, and always left him momentarily uncomfortable.
Chuck sat down in the seat next to him, then bent down and picked up the old, rusted 1980 Remington double-barreled shotgun off the floor. His father had given it to him, a gift from his father before him, and his father before him, and his father before him, and several more fathers before other fathers, dating all the way back to the 20th century. Thousands of years had resulted in little more than rust around the barrel—even after the destruction of Earth and relocation to anywhere with oxygen—thanks to the extreme care taken to protect the tool. It still had enough power to shoot a man, or one of them space aliens, dead from over a hundred yards.
“Hey Billy Bob,” Chuck said, slinging the rifle around his shoulder so that it rested on his back. They were moving now, the pile of rocks growing larger and larger as they sped toward it. Chuck never knew how fast the ship actually went, but loved watching the stars turn into white streaks of light as they rocketed through the abyss of space.
“That ain’t no pile of rocks, I reckon,” Chuck said. It never was a pile of rocks.
“Well slap my ass and call me Sally, I suppose you’re right. That looks to me like some big ol’ planets that be trespassing on our property.”
“That ain’t make a lick of sense. Why would some honky-tonk planets come trespass on our property?” Chuck knew it wasn’t technically their property—at least not yet—but that was exactly the problem. It should have been their property, but the planets were floating right in what he wanted to be calling his home-away-from-home. He knew that spot of land would make a great place to raise a few space-cattle and maybe build a vacation ranch—just like the other planets, they were all ruining prime ranching space.
“What’dya say we fly on down there to them ornery folk and give ‘em a nice introduction to ol’ Bessy over there.” Billy Bob glanced at the Remington. “And maybe little Betty Anne, as well.”
Chuck watched as Billy Bob shifted his focus to the Inter-Planetary Molecular Destabilizer. A single shot from the massive weapon would obliterate anything in its path—whether that be a ship, an asteroid, or several planets in a straight line. It was the only one in the universe, engineered by Billy Bob and Chuck when they had tried to build an automatic feeding device for their Cattle. Two or three extra parts later and they’d accidentally destroyed three planets and four moons while attempting to save time nourishing the livestock. They’d traveled the universe ever since, removing unsightly planets to build various vacation ranches, Cattle farms, space rodeos, and NASCAR tracks. Few ever tried to stop them, and those that did were never around for too long.
“I reckon that there be a great idea,” Chuck said, sitting back in his chair. “I got a hankerin’ to introduce ‘em to us Space Rednecks and find out why they trespassing on our property.”