I Was Abducted by Aliens and All I Got for My Trouble Was Couples’ Therapy,
or, What Do You Mean by “Tongue in Cheek?”
What follows is the dialogue from a re-enactment on the Austin Public Access show, Real Life Pillow Talk: Case Studies in Sexual Disfunction. It was never aired when the show’s grant money was pulled after the first two episodes. Art and Hester (names changed at their request) are a real couple and the dialogue was based on information shared to me.
ART and HESTER watch Letterman from their California King Size Sleep Number bed. Art, an engineer for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, plots flight paths on his laptop. In his spare time he contributes to Skeptic magazine.
Art’s project, an unmanned space probe, is on the chopping block because President Trump wants the money to fund his Star Wars initiative.
Hester reads a Diana Gabaldon novel she’s been working through since Obama was President.
Letterman (OS): The Air Force initiative to investigate UFOs ramped up after Trump’s election in case he wants to build a wall around space.
Hester closes her book and rests it in her lap.
Hester: Art, I need to talk to you.
Art: Go ahead, dear.
Hester: No, Art. I need you to listen.
Art: Talk then. I want to talk. I want you to be honest. Was he better than me?
Art: You know, the alien. The alien you ruined our marriage to have sex with.
Hester: Art, they abducted me. It was never about sex.
Art: You didn’t answer the question.
Hester: You said I made it up. Said I’m under the influence of my hypnotherapist Dr. Johnson. Dr. Johnson who you pay too much.
Art: I don’t. I mean, I do pay too much for her. I don’t believe you were abducted.
Hester pulls the pillow over her face.
Art: Hypothetically, though. In this affair you imagined. Was the alien better in bed than me?
Hypothetically, though. In this affair you imagined. Was the alien better in bed than me?
Hester looks over the pillow.
Hester: Are you threatened by my alien lover?
Art types faster.
Art: Of course not, dear. I was just asking, in your imagination, was he better?
Hester: No, dear. It was only once; it wasn’t an affair. And he wasn’t better.
Art: How many times?
Hester: How many times what?
Art: Did you do it? With the alien.
Hester: Once, dear.
Art: And that’s why you quit having sex with me? To sleep with an alien?
Hester: It didn’t sleep with him. They abducted me. A-B-D-U-C-T-E-D. Forced me to sleep with one. F-O-R-C-E-D. And it happened once, okay? I love you, Art.
Art turns up the TV volume with the remote control. He furrows his brow. Hester returns to her book.
Art types for a few seconds then slams the laptop lid.
Art: Was he bigger than me?
Hester: He was three feet tall.
Art: No, not big that way. Was he, you know, bigger?
Hester combs her hair back with her fingers then twists it into a ball.
Hester: Aliens don’t have penises. They aren’t male or female.
Aliens don’t have penises. They aren’t male or female.
Hester bangs her head against the wall.
Hester: I’m sorry I told you.
Letterman: Gillian Anderson returns this month for the second reboot of the X-Files. Since she and Mulder have been an item for more than a decade, we’ll to ask if she plans to leave him for an alien.
Art knocks his knuckles on the laptop.
Art: If they don’t have penises how could you have sex with them?
Hester slams her pillow into his ear.
Hester: His tongue, okay? With his tongue.
Art: Was he better with his tongue than I am?
Hester: How would I know? It’s been so long, I can’t remember the last time you had sex with me.
Art: That’s not fair.
Hester: You’re right. I do remember. We last had sex two years ago February. About the time you hired that blonde for your project.
Art: Sheree’s not a blonde. She’s a cybernetics specialist. With blonde hair.
Art: Dr. Perkins. Let’s drop the subject, okay.
Hester: Fine. Let’s drop it, not talk and go on with our marriage the way we always do.
Art tosses his laptop onto the night stand.
Art: Sounds good.
Hester switches off the TV with the remote.
Hester: Fine with me too.
Art: Goodnight then.
Hester: Good night.
Art turns out the light and they lie in darkness. A moment passes in silence.
Hester: I’m pregnant.