Paul Kupperberg’s “The Case of the Missing Alien Baby Mama” is Paul’s newest wacky tale featuring investigative reporter Leo Persky, chasing the story of, naturally, a missing alien baby mama, and lots of dead bodies.
Here’s an early look:
The Case of the Missing Alien Baby Mama
By Paul Kupperberg
The first thing you’ve got to know is that while I write like “Terrance Strange,” I look like Leo Persky. Which makes sense since I am Leo Persky. Strange is my penname, as well as a bit of a family legacy. I’m an investigative reporter for Weekly World News, which also makes “strange” my profession. Just like my granddaddy before me (my daddy, between us, was a white goods salesman for Sears). Granddaddy was the first Persky to go by Terrance Strange for professional reasons, some to do with public relations, others with anti-Semitism; the name on his Russian birth certificate was Jakob.
I’m everything you think a Leo Persky might be. A solid five foot seven, one hundred and forty-two pounds of average, complete with glasses, too much nose, not enough chin, and a spreading bald spot that I swear isn’t the reason I always wear a hat. Just so you know how cruel genetics can be, grandpa Jakob, the Terrance Strange I should have been, was ten inches taller and eighty pounds heavier than me, movie star handsome, and a world renown traveler and adventurer. I’m also a traveler and adventurer, but since I’m short, scrawny, and ugly (traits acquired from my mother’s side), nobody knows who the hell Leo Persky is. Even the photo that I use at the top of my column is a 1943 Hollywood publicity shot of my grandfather. It was my editor’s idea to replace my face with someone else’s as he felt my real one would “probably repulse even our readers.”
If you’ve never seen Weekly World News you’ve probably never been in a supermarket checkout line. Of course, if you’re like most Americans, even if you have flipped through our photopacked black-and-white tabloid pages, you’ve probably dismissed the stories about extra-terrestrial visitors or the descendants of the Titanic still living in the wreck of the great ship as “fake news,” but—surprise!—every word we print is true. Except for the horoscope. We just make that stuff up.
Anyway, I’m a hard news guy. Remember the animal-vampire infestation in West Virginia? My story. The plot to replace the members of the Blue Man Group with renegade Holy Mimes from Venus? Mine! The story about the president’s dependence on orangutan gland-extract injections? Me! Which is why when night editor Rob Berger summoned me into his den to hand me my next assignment, I felt compelled to remind him:
“I’m a hard news guy, Rob.”
Rob was night editor for two reasons. The first was that he was likely some sort of vampiric life form unable to survive the cleansing light of the sun. The second was no one on the day side would work with him. Some of my colleagues argued that he only kept me alive to prolong my torment, but for all his lack of humanity, he was one hell of an editor. Me being his top writer, it was lucky for us both that I was made of sterner stuff and didn’t frighten easily.
“You’re my shoeshine boy if that’s what I want you to be, Persky.” Rob wore thick glasses that distorted his eyes behind the lenses, but after more than twenty years under his thumb . . . pardon me, in his employ, I had learned to read every inflection of his voice. Right now, he was giving serious thought to having his shoes shined. With my tongue.
“C’mon, boss, ‘Kh’leesberg’ is a gossip column story. Alien crash lands on Earth, alien meets trailer trash gal with stars in her eyes, alien and gal hatch human-alien hybrid brat, alien loses gal, Dr. Phil sprouts wood anticipating reuniting the happy family on live TV.”
“Frankly, my anticipation of your delivering a hard news Kh’leesberg headline to hike our circ is making me feel a little amorous myself.”
I recoiled and had to swallow down my rising gorge before I could say, “Oh, ick.”
“Don’t be a damned snob. You know why we care about Kh’leesberg?”
“No, why do we care about Kh’leesberg?”
To read the rest of “The Case of the Missing Alien Baby Mama” click here.