"Pay five dollars -- see the alien. Five dollars! See the Alien!" The showman waved his arm at the tent behind him. A teenager collected bills from a few tourists who pushed inside.
At a pause, I stepped up to him and said "I need to speak with you Mr Jones".
"Federal Department of Animal Control". I flashed my badge at him. It was a good copy.
"Uh... Just a second." he spoke briefly to the boy who was collecting the money, then ushered me over to the side of the tent.
"What do you want? Is it-"
"It's about your creature." I said.
"I found that creature. It belongs to me." he said defensively.
"It's actually a rare type of South American lizard. It was probably shipped here by exotic animal traffickers, then escaped."
"Rare, eh?" I could see him assessing the cost that would be involved in re-labelling his exhibit.
"Rare and protected, Mr Jones. I have an order for its confiscation." I handed him a thick envelope of typewritten sheets. We hadn't been able to get the document we needed, so we had altered an order for confiscation of livestock in case of disease outbreak. It wouldn't bear too much scrutiny.
"Well-" He hefted the envelope. He was a good businessman, but clearly wasn’t a reading man.
"Take me to it. We have a car waiting."
He led me into the hot, dim tent. It was empty apart from the cage in the centre, lit by a single light. The juvenile’s six legs were folded round its body, head tucked in. "Careful," he said as he unlocked the cage "It can bite."
I ignored him. I took off my jacket, and murmured a few comforting words to the child. It unfolded slowly, then rushed toward me. I bundled it inside my jacket.
"An officer will be here to talk to you in a few days," I lied as I hurried out of the tent. "Please don't leave town." Before any objections could be raised, I dashed for the car.
I dived into the back seat of the Oldsmobile. Vaaar drove us out of the parking lot onto the open road. "Ntzenn, start the transmitter." I ordered.
I cooed a few words to the baby "Everything's going to be fine, little one."
Vaaar turned onto a dirt road leading up the hill. Overhead, the Saucer rose.