Chuck the Alien

An essay by Dexter Smithers, as provided by Michael Rettig
Art by Justine McGreevy

My life changed for the infinite better one year, four months, and twenty three days ago. Hell, I’m even getting a Pulitzer Prize next month for my interviews with Chuck. I smile a lot these days. I know the answers of the universe.

It all began in a small town in West Virginia. My college dream of winning awards for journalism had pathetically withered to being a half time employee of the weekly Valley Bulletin. I was their ace entertainment reporter mainly because my car was vaguely reliable and I spent–some would say wasted–a lot of my time at the local music haunts.

I met Chuck last year as I sipped warm punch and listened to the county’s best bluegrass band in the old farmers’ Grange Hall, when someone sat down on the fatigued folding chair next to mine. I scribbled some notes for the brilliant copy I would write in my head while driving to the newspaper the next morning.

The first thing I noticed about my new neighbor was his smell. No, not bad. Really nice in a cinnamon eucalyptus way. I took a deep breath and grinned; aromatherapy at the Grange Hall. I glanced over and looking back at me was the friendliest face I’d ever seen. He was lean and middle aged. His smile was slightly crooked and there was, to use a well hackneyed phrase, a twinkle in his eyes.

Chuck the Alien

To read the rest of this story, check out the Mad Scientist Journal: Spring 2013 collection.

Dexter Smithers won a Pulitzer Prize for journalism for his interviews with Chuck. His admits his success is due to dumb luck. He just happened to be sitting on a folding chair at the right time and right place. He is universally loathed by other newspaper reporters who actually work hard to make a living. He now teaches at the local community college where his lecture series: ‘Hegelian Journalism: Musings of a Master’ is quite popular. He loves BBQ and still enjoys drinking with Chuck on weekends. To pay off debts, he is coming out with a book; “The Philosophy of Chuck”.

Author Michael Rettig lives in Oregon. A retired stockbroker, he is a loyal fan of Sci Fi since childhood. Especially the satire series ‘Retief’ by Keith Laumer in the late 1970s. He’s placed a first and a third in regional writing contests. His next project is converting his short story, ‘God’s Sister’s Nephew’s Son’ into a play. His weakness/entertainment is tweaking the tail of folks who take themselves way too seriously. He admits he frequented the real Star Bar in his college days. It has since burned down, to no one’s surprise. Mikes website is:

Justine McGreevy is a slowly recovering perfectionist, writer, and artist. She creates realities to make our own seem slightly less terrifying. Her work can be viewed at and you can follow her on Twitter @Fickle_Muse.


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16 Responses to Chuck the Alien

  1. M. Pax says:

    What an amusing story… Great read.

  2. Great story Mike! Did Sweet William teach Sweet Mike of Star Bar fame, to clog? Keep this up old earth may hang on another million years!

  3. Cindy Murphy says:

    Very cool, fun story!! Uplifting with a happy ending, and no extinction level event…. (ELE)……Yay! Loved it!

  4. Great fun Mike! A novel concept with a well paced read. Guess it’s time to tune up my hard sole clogging shoes and head to the dance hall and see who shows up.

  5. Anita says:

    What a well-written and entertaining story! I loved the characters and plot and the descriptions were spot on. I see a great future for this author! Look forward to more of his well told tales!

  6. Alfonzo Martinee says:

    You are a far better writer than a stockbroker.
    Good thing for all of us you figured that out
    before it was to late. Great story.


  7. Paty Jager says:

    That was a fun well-woven story. I liked the interesting characters and the twist.

  8. Will Dorris says:

    Good read.

  9. Suzan Noyes says:

    Witty story, well-paced, well-written. Very nice to read about a friendly alien for a change – and heck, now I have to find a you-tube on clogging. Broaden my horizon in star-miles. Great job and lots of fun!

  10. Patty says:

    You are so brilliant with your extraordinary imagination and fresh writing that it feels like you are tickling my heart.

  11. Jetse says:

    Nice read. More like that, please!

  12. Deb says:

    Thoroughly pleasant read!! Well-written! Felt I was there in the West Virginia bar watching it happen. Hope to see more of your writings soon!

  13. Hilary says:


    Loved the story. You have a way with words that reach the soul and make it chuckle.

  14. Dennis says:

    Just a “fun” story. A great read.

  15. Ella says:

    A wonderful, witty read. Well done!

Comments are closed.