Spurs that Jingle Jangle Jingle by Phil Temples

Phil Temples' whacky short about an extraterrestrial cowboy and his lusty Earthling hostess.

We're comfortably nuzzled in front of the fireplace in the great room, under a colorful blanket. It's a cold Montana evening, and the aroma of the wood fire permeates the house. A piece of the wood suddenly sizzles and crackles, sending its sparks skyward up the mantle of the fireplace. I pull him closer to me, and smile warmly at him. He enjoys it, I think. Since it's impossible to pronounce his real name, I simply call him 'Adam.' He seems like an Adam to me.

Adam and his kind arrived earlier in the spring. No one is sure where they are from, or how far they've traveled. We don't even know why they chose to visit us. Already I've peppered Adam with many of those same questions. He just smiles at me sweetly, and politely changes the subject.

"How long will you be staying?"

"I am not certain," he replies. "But it is very kind of you to accommodate me."

Adam's normal voice falls well outside the range of human hearing, and his synthesized voicebox is a little difficult to understand at times, but I've gotten used to it in the month since his arrival at the ranch. Adam has other unusual physical traits that make many of the ranch hands - and for that matter, the residents in the neighboring town - a bit uncomfortable in his presence. For one, his head is shaped like that of a giant squid. Adam and his kind have just one large eye, no nose, and three rows of teeth. Oh - and also, small, numerous tentacles protruding from around the neck. Adam is seven feet tall, blue skinned, and he stands on three appendages that serve as legs.

I wouldn't have thought it possible, but I'm actually beginning to find myself attracted to Adam. I hope that the feeling is mutual but until now I've been too embarrassed to ask. Besides, I have no idea what constitutes attraction or romance for his species. All I know is, I enjoy his company and he seems to enjoy mine.

Our deepening friendship is not lost on Dennis, my right-hand man. Dennis is like a big brother; plus, he oversees the day-to-day operations at the King Snake Ranch.

"Doris, you shouldn't be hangin' around with that squid all the time. You ought'a be gettin' out and socializin' with your own kind more," Dennis remarked to me a few days earlier.

I reminded Dennis in not-so-subtle terms that it wasn't any of his business.

"Now you listen to me, cowboy! The 'squid' to which you're referrin' has a name. It's Adam. He and his kind have come a long, long way. He's my guest! As long as he's stayin' under my roof, you will treat him with respect and courtesy. You got that?"

Dennis glared at me for a moment. Then he tipped his hat, and replied meekly, "Yes, ma'am."

The King Snake has been in my family for generations. After maw and paw passed on and my two brothers moved away, I bought out their shares. It's all mine, now: 50,000 acres, 2,000 head of cattle, along with a dozen full-time cowboys. I'm a single, 36-year old cowgirl. Ranchin' is in my blood.

"Doris, our ... species knows relatively little about your people. Naturally, we wish to learn more. We are happy to be here, and do not want to accidentally violate your laws or customs."

The box attached to his throat occasionally fails to translate words; the result is then rendered as soft 'static.' In this case, it quickly makes the correction, inserting a more generic term instead of the actual name they call themselves.

"You're doin' just fine, Adam. I think you're fittin' in real well. By the way, did you enjoy yourself in town the other evening?"

"Yes, I did enjoy myself, Doris. When I drink the beverages, it creates an unusual sensation that lasts many... hours. The game you call 'pool' - it is a fascinating ... pastime... play game. It is very mathematical, not similar to the other games of chance. But I am afraid that I denied other players the opportunity of experiencing... fun because I was... victoring... winning. Too frequently."

"Nonsense! You're a natural. There's no reason to lose on purpose just so those cow pokes don't have their sensitive egos bruised."

Adam processes my statement for a second. There's a hint of a smile, which tells me he finally understands what I am saying.

"Ah! Your male species does not possess sensitive ... feelings. Your statement was intended as sarcasm, correct? Ha-ha." Adam added, "I like you, Doris Harrison."

"And I like you too, Adam. A lot. Say, Adam - I'm curious. Forgive me if I'm being... too forward. But... do you, um, find me attractive?

Adam does not answer for a moment. Just when I'm fixin' to take it back and apologize, the box speaks.

"Yes, Doris, I do find you... attractive. I should not. It is not a normal... feeling. Your species are... most alien in appearance. But... I prize your communication and friendship highly."

He pauses for a moment before continuing, weighing his words carefully.

"You are the opposite... gender... proper for mating. However, mating between our species would be... unusual. Procreation would be impossible without advanced engineering."

"Whoa, partner! You're not one to mince words, are you?" Just then, I reach out with my left hand and stroke a tentacle. I've been told that this is the equivalent of kissing for them.

Adam seems a bit rattled; he retreats to the opposite side of the love seat. But I'm not giving up that easy.

"Doris, my species emits strong chemicals... pheromones... when the male member is ... in heat. Definition: desire to mate and procreate. You may be sensitive to these chemicals. Please confirm that you understand."

I'm starting to get a little frustrated now.

"Yeah, 'roger that' good buddy. Now, listen: I want you to know that I'm not lookin' for a long-term commitment, just a good time. I broke up with someone last year and I haven't completely moved on yet. He was a real 'stud' 'n all, and treated me well enough. But Ralph - that's his name - Ralph was going behind my back with Suzie down at the Sizzler. Is any of this making sense to you, Adam?"

"Approximately 72 percent of your statement was correctly translated, Doris. And another fifteen percent I am able to... feel. Please, continue. Communicating." Adam inches back over to me on the love seat. "...And touching."

I'm happy to report that I didn't go away empty-handed that night. Call it pheromones or interstellar curiosity, but Carl Sagan would have been proud of me. I now know much, much more about the male physiology of the whatever-they-call-themselves. I also know for a fact that their male member isn't entirely incompatible with the human female anatomy. It fits. Sort of. As my sweet grandma used to say, 'Where there's a will, there's a way.'

But, my biggest shock of the night: I discovered that Adam has spurs that jingle jangle jingle where most cowboys don't. I gotta say, they made for a very pleasurable evening.

I finally finagled the truth out of Adam as to why his people are visiting on Earth. It seems that this junket is really nothing more than a pleasure cruise. And Terra Firma is on some sort of intergalactic tourist attraction map. His folks have scattered to every corner of the earth to try their hand at different activities, and to experience new things.

In Adam's case, he read about the large cattle ranches in the western United States and decided immediately to try his hand at being a cowboy. I'm only too happy to oblige. The King Snake can certainly use another hand - skilled or not.

That Adam! He sure has a way with the little doggies. Even Dennis has taken a shine to Adam, giving him the nickname, "the cattle whisperer."

I gotta go. Adam is back! I hear him hanging up his metal spurs on the back porch. I'm looking forward to experiencing the other pair later tonight.


  1. Excellent; witty and well drawn. The lightness of touch made this playful story work as an engaging tale. thank you,

  2. Good stuff, Phil! I like the idea of Earth as a tourist destinaton. I agree with Ceinwen's comments.

  3. very clever Story, liked it very much!

    Mike McC

  4. I want more. I feel like this is a novel idea. There is a world of strange paranormal erotica and romance that this would fit into. ;)