Bewildering Stories

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The Operation

by Charles Richard Laing

Jimi? Can you hear me, Jimi? It’s me. Stan.

Jeezus Christmas, Jimi. It got you. One of those danged alien parasites they told us about after we landed. It’s all over your face. Lucky you’re the only redhead on this rock, otherwise I wouldn’t have known it was you.

Danged Colonization Board. They didn’t say a word about any aliens when we were recruited. They couldn’t tell us when we signed up, natch. But they let us know the instant we were trapped on this planet. They had to wait until we were planet side a billion light years away from the nearest lawyer. That’s what they ought to do, Jimi. Ship some lawyers out here. Sic the bloodsuckers on the facesuckers, huh? What’s that old joke about professional courtesy?

I’m sorry, Jimi. I’m just a little nervous here. I’m trying to think.

I read the file on these bugs. They know all there is to know about them back home. Back on Earth, the docs would be able to fix you up real good. The survival rate is up around thirty percent now. And this one here doesn’t seem to have eaten much of your brain. You look good, Jimi. Real good.

I wish there was a doc standing over my shoulder, Jimi. I’m no doc, Jimi. You know that. I’m a poor dumb mushroom farmer just like you. Just like most of the suckers they planted on this forsaken planet. I just wanted a better life for my family.

I’ll have that life, Jimi. And so will you. But first, I have to do something about this alien.

Back on Earth, they say it takes a full surgical team in protective armor to remove one of these things. I don’t have any of that stuff. All I have is this axe. But I have to try.

Now hold still, Jimi. This might sting!

Copyright © 2004 by Charles Richard Laing

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