Ronnie Donahue performed cleaning services on a bona fide UFO. He got the job when his company, Joyful Janitors, subcontracted with a corporation called International Cleaning Services, though Ronnie’s buddy, James Schmader, insisted it was really Intergalactic Cleaning Services. The only thing he was sure about was that he was forbidden to even tell the government.
“The aliens’ll be pissed if you tell Uncle Sam,” Ronnie’s project manager told him. “If the government finds out, it can’t be classified as ‘unidentified’ anymore, and they’ll lose their UFO licensing.”
Ronnie mopped up the operation room when his alien supervisor, Ptholchrampitz (or something like that), came in rasping something about finishing before the subjects. Ronnie told him to kiss off. He belonged to the union, after all.
About half way through, there was a power failure that turned off everything but the most essential equipment on the ship. Apparently the gravity units weren’t essential enough because Ronnie floated toward the ceiling. That wouldn’t have been too worrisome, except that he accidentally hooked the bucket of dirty water with the mop and pulled it off the ground. It sailed toward him, and when he stopped the bucket with his hand, the water sloshed out and pasted him on the face and chest. The blob of water clung to his midsection. He was soaked to the gills.
He grasped for some guide rails to pull him along to his chamber and get changed, but the gravity kicked back in and he fell into a garbage can, smothered in empty plasma bags and fleshy bits from their experiments. He was about to crawl out when the alien physicians entered the room. They held the highest esteem, so he didn’t want to disrupt whatever they were doing. Too much interference could get him thrown out the airlock—or so Ptholchrampitz led him to believe.
These aliens were the grey, lumpy kind that looked like part troll and part bendable Gumby. They prepared a table, setting up the supplies and equipment, including a few bags of blood. This was going to be a long session.
The doctors left for a bit, and some alien runts wheeled a body in on a gurney. As Ronnie peaked over the lip of the trashcan, they shackled her in tight and turned on the operating light, then left, clearing the view so Ronnie could see the most beautiful girl he’d seen in his life. Long, brown hair, rosy cheeks, and dead green eyes.
He lost himself in her face until her eyes reflected back to him the bigger picture of where he was and what he was doing, and suddenly, he could no longer work for these creatures who experimented on brown-haired girls. He could no longer keep their existence secret from the only oversight available, Uncle Sam. He could no longer mop floors for less than the galactic minimum wage.
Ronnie found a surgical freeze rod and after freezing the lock mechanism on each shackle, hit it with a hammer to break it. He pulled the girl off the table and stood her up.
“Pleased to make your acquaintance,” he said. “I’m Ronnie.”
A distant moan came from deep in her gullet, but Ronnie was almost certain she said, “You are handsome. I am so lucky that you will save me, my hero.” Well. It was either that or, “I’ve got some bad gas. Can you find some Seven Up?”
Ronnie ignored the mess he’d made, scooped her up and took her off into the service passageway. He carried her to the common quarters and set her on a couch. He made her some chamomile tea and gave it to her as she returned to consciousness. A ruckus grew in the main sections of the ship.
“What’s your name?” asked Ronnie.
“You can stay in the employee quarters,” Ronnie said.
“What if they come for me?”
Ronnie scoffed and put a contract in front of her, grabbing a pen off his desk. “Sign this and you’ll work for my company as a subcontractor. If they try to take you back, I’ll slap them with a ‘loss of work’ fine that will make it prohibitively expensive. They’ll back down. I promise.”
“Full dental and four weeks vacation?” she asked.
“Done,” he said.
She took the pen.