Chad Cooper was gonna, like, ‘boom!’ spellbind Lisa’s parental units with his charm. They were open-minded Californians, which meant he didn’t have to be paranoid about every freaky thing coming out his mouth. He had his best Capone on, freshly dry-cleaned, and his bridge of pearly whites would span any distance to win them over.
He showed up at the door with a bouquet of wild flowers—‘cause Lisa’s wild—and that’s the way he rolls.
An old guy in a zoot suit answered the door.
“Mr. Cheswick, I am so pleased to meet you, sir.” Chad grabbed his hand and shook vigorously.
The man cleared his throat. “I’m Dodgeworth, the butler.”
“Hey, yo, all right.” Chad let go of his hand. “Workin’ stiff like me, eh?”
“I assure you I am no such thing.” Dodgeworth escorted him to a the library.
“Man, this place is dope! You gotta like working here.”
“Indeed, sir.” Dodgeworth left.
Chad rifled through their books, finding a section of well-worn astrology books, another with battered books on ancient Egyptian therapies, and one shelf of self-help books for grounding oneself in reality—all of them like new.
“Hey, baby!” Lisa bounded over to him, gave him a big hug, and kissed him on the chin. “You ready to meet them?”
“I was born ready, babydoll. I am going to charm… their… pants off. Yo!”
Mr. and Mrs. Cheswick, dressed in formal evening wear, made their introductions and took them to the dining room where they sat Chad next to Lisa’s little brother, Samuel, across from her.
Mrs. Cheswick beamed at Chad as they settled in. “We want an open-minded boy for our Lisa. She’s told us about you, and we have high hopes.”
“Quite.” Mr. Cheswick cut into his roast. “What do you do for a living, Mr. Cooper?”
“UFO hunter, boss.” Chad stuffed some carrots in his mouth and realized too late he was talking with his mouth full. “I’ve been working on a sighting over Ash Meadows Wildlife Preserve. We got neighbors freaking out, I tell you.”
Mrs. Cheswick nodded to her husband. “That’s respectable. Does it pay well?”
“Well, you know, not yet, but when I get my first exclusive I’ll sell it for one big head of cabbage.”
“Nice,” said Mr. Cheswick.
Samuel stirred his vegetables. “UFOs are nonsense.”
“Samuel!” Mrs. Cheswick dropped her fork.
“Don’t be such a closed-minded nitwit,” said Mr. Cheswick. “Continue Mr. Cooper.”
“Not much more to tell.” Chad took a drink of wine. “My theory is that these are some of the grayskins come to retaliate for the operations at Area 51.”
“Lisa tells us you finally found a place to live in the country?”
“Oh, yeah.” Chad flashed his pearly whites and gesticulated with his hands. “I’ve got these awesome digs down at the lake. Got ‘em cheap, too, yo.”
“Why so cheap?” asked Mrs. Cheswick.
Lisa clapped. “Tell them about your houseguest.”
“You have to share it?” asked Mrs. Cheswick. “That hardly sounds ideal.”
“Yo, it’s per-fect, but it’s all haunted and stuff, you groove on that?”
“You have a real ghost?” Mr. Cheswick pushed his clean plate away, and Dodgeworth immediately cleared it.
“No such thing as ghosts,” said Samuel.
Mr. Cheswick shushed him. “What a great find. Doesn’t keep you awake, I hope.”
“Nah. Not at all. He’s my homeboy.”
Dodgeworth placed a creamcake in front of each of them, and poured a coffee for Mr. Cheswick and Chad.
Samuel dug his fork into the dessert. “What sports do you play, Mr. Cooper?”
Chad sniggered. “You don’t have to ‘Mr. Cooper’ me, home broetchen. Just call me ‘the Chad.’”
“Do you play any?”
“Nah. I used to play some B-ball, but I’m into the party scene these days.”
“You ever play football?”
Chad grimaced. “Way too dangerous, homie. Those guys get concussions and stuff. Not my thang. My guardian angel’s got my back an’ all, but, you know, I don’t like to put ‘im to the test.”
“Your what?” asked Mr. Cheswick.
Suddenly, everyone in the room, including Lisa, stared at him like he’d wiped his greasy hands on their show poodle or something.
“My guardian angel. You know—my mystical bro. My spirit warrior.”
“Lisa.” Mr. Cheswick pounded his fist on the table. “You are not to see this boy again.”
“No!” Mrs. Cheswick added her voice to the objection.
“You better leave, Mr. Cooper.”
“Wait a minute,” said Chad. “You’re good with UFOs, astrology, and ghosts, but you can’t deal with a guardian angel?”
Dodgeworth waved to have Chad follow him out of the room.
“You are clearly a madman,” said Mr. Cheswick.
“Dude, that is like the opposite of open minded.”