By Harriet Gillian

The Alien Exchange Programme had allocated Malory a family of three. Unlike on Earth, Alien reproduction occurred asexually - without a partner - essentially making all Aliens single parents. Malory was a single parent too, so that would be nice.

She had asked her own, now adult, children, if they wanted to pop back for the occasion, but the response had been a resounding, no. Trevor, her oldest, had done an Alien Exchange already, summing it up in a text that read; “WaS akward as fuxk. they broke myth phoNe.” And Tracey, well. Tracey had sent her mum a hunting knife; ‘just in case.’ So, no. She wasn’t coming either.

Oh but Malory was ever so excited. 

She waited quietly at her front room window. Val, in her window across the street, gave Malory a big thumbs up while holding a large E.T. toy. She staged a sort of puppet show with it, which Malory nodded at politely, until finally, an “AEP” car pulled into their road. 

A large two-legged, lizard-like creature with shiny, pale pink skin, stepped out of the car and slammed the door. It turned to face the house and Malory raced to her front door. 

“Hi.” Malory said, struggling to insert her ‘AEP’ translation hearing aid. “Welcome.”

“Ugh, thanks. Hi. How are you?” The translation aid translated.

Malory held the gate for the rest of the family but the car slowly drove off.

“Oh, it’s just me.” Malory’s guest sighed. “One decided her boyfriend was more important than this incredible opportunity, and the other spent the night in prison, so… Sorry.”

Malory batted an arm. “Don’t be, I know how it is. Mine aren’t coming either.”

“Oh well. More for us.” The alien reached into what looked like a boulder of moss, hovering behind her, and pulled out two bottles of Pinot Grigio. “I heard Earth women love this stuff?”

Malory reached into her porch and pulled out a similar-sized bottle of black liquid, with rainbow flecks in it. 

“How on literal Earth did you get that?” The alien beamed. She hugged Malory, lifting her clean off the ground.

Malory laughed and directed her guest inside. “Shall we?”

Across the street Val fainted, landing very conveniently, on E.T.