This short sketch originally appeared as a “ficlet” on a now-dead site whose successor is Ficly.com. A ficlet is a character-limited morsel of fiction meant to spark sequels and prequels that might explode or extend out into larger works.
Outside the room where Father Bryce meets his first extraterrestrial are twenty marines with face masks and oily new guns. Politely, neither Father Bryce nor the space alien mentions this.
They’ve been talking about nothing for an hour when the alien finally gets through the ice. “So. The general said—”
“Yeah,” says Father Bryce. “I’m supposed to ask you a few questions.” His hand’s out in a may-I-please way.
“Sure, sure,” says the alien.
“We—Do you… have religion?”
Father Bryce is still. “Yes.”
“Sure, we know God.”
The alien looks uncomfortable. “Yeah.”
“Great! So, how… do we make sense of the issue of… being made, you know,” Father Bryce sees the alien is smiling now, nodding encouragingly, “in His image.”
“I,” says the alien, smiling, “was going to ask you the same thing.”
“Really?” asks Father Bryce. He wants to laugh.
“Yeah!” They laugh. “I didn’t how to bring it up,” says the alien. They laugh.
Drying an eye, the alien says, “Oh, that’s funny.”