“This place is so strange,” Harriet whispered to Alex.
“But everyone seems to be having fun. Let’s give it a try anyway,” he urged.
She squeezed his arm tightly as they made their way through the entrance gate.
Once inside the strange slant of the ground seemed to adjust itself, and the pathway they had followed up to the turnstile seemed to suddenly go askew.
Harriet glanced back, and squeezed his arm even harder.
“Don’t worry. It’s probably like that Xenses Park in Mexico,” he reassured her.
Around them there were shooting galleries, a roller-coaster, and assorted other rides all of which seemed like they were from a Western movie or some long lost photo of early Coney Island.
“Have you noticed people’s clothes?” she asked.
“No what about them?” Alex replied.
“Look there are people in fancy dress, with hoop skirts and parasols, and others in Sixties’ hot pants and tie dye,” she observed.
“Maybe its part of the theme,” he said. “Besides look at the others dressed in hoodies and such.”
She was unsure, but followed him up to the hot dog stand all the same. There was no one working there, but steaming frankfurters in fresh buns were on a tray before them.
“I wonder who we pay,” Alex said.
Just then a young man in a zoot suit came up took a hot dog, squirted some mustard on it and left.
“I guess they’re free,” Alex concluded squirting some ketchup onto one and taking a big bite. “This is amazing,” he said speaking with his mouth full. “Do you want one?”
“No thank you,” she said a little disgusted. Besides, this place was robbing her of her appetite.
Suddenly she let out a shriek as a blue leopard came from between two stalls and crossed their path. Though it went by, taking no interest in the couple, she was becoming increasingly un-nerved.
“That was a leopard running loose,” she said, once she had steadied her breath.
“What was?” Alex asked, seemingly becoming oblivious to the strangeness around them.
“Take me home,” Harriet said almost in tears. “I don’t like it here.”
“Let’s do the roller-coaster first,” he insisted stuffing another hot dog into his mouth.
“Only if we go straight home afterwards,” she demanded.
“Sure thing,” he said taking her hand and leading her to the wooden tracked amusement.
Meanwhile, in the bowels of the complex, Zerab nodded approvingly as he watched the couple on his monitor screen. His hen’s egg sized black eyes glistened, as he pushed the control button with his six inch long finger.
Up above, a new tray of hot dogs came up through a hatch onto the counter.
“How are we doing?” Anfrib asked from behind him.
“Very well, Captain,” he said. “We should have a full inventory of test subjects by the end of the Earth day.”
“Excellent,” the grey-skinned Zorgian officer replied. “I hate these collection missions dragging on too long.”