about an alien who shared his name with a skin disease

Once upon a time, there was a little alien. He was green and hideous and very affectionate.

He had been on a pleasure trip to the Planetary System of Infinite Fun when his speedster had an engine problem. So he pulled over to the side of the road, as it were, which turned out to be in Oakland, California. He messed around under the hood for a while, without luck. "Xbrtsk!" he exclaimed, and kicked a fender.

Impetigo (that was the alien's name) tried to get a tow ship, but his call would not go through. He sighed, hideously and disconsolately. A little bubble of gas wafted from his skull hole. Fortunately, the gaseous emanations of his species are sweet-smelling, and the odor attracted the attention of a passerby.

"What an intoxicating aroma you have, hideous green thing!" she remarked. Impetigo jumped in surprise, because he had been looking the other way.

So they got to talking, there on the side of the road. It turned out they had a lot in common. Soon enough, they were both sitting on the hood of Impetigo's spaceship, swinging their legs and eating soft-serve ice cream, and chatting away as if they'd known one another forever.

Just then, inspired by some mysterious combination of stimuli (something to do with the sudden change of mood, the ambient temperature, and the introduction of vanillin to his system), Impetigo began to spawn.

"Tsjkawbx!" he said in surprise and irritation, much to the befuddlement of his companion. But it was too late to stop the process by then. Tiny, perfectly formed aliens cascaded through the air. It was really rather lovely. However, they were piling up at an alarming rate.

The nice young woman who had been chatting so pleasantly began to make a lot of imperfectly suppressed noises of distress. Other passersby began to take notice, somewhat acutely. Once it began, news of the new alien threat traveled with great speed, and soon every news outlet in the nation was having its own War of the Worlds moment. Panic threatened.

In the meantime, however, Impetigo's spawn had briskly set up shop as a kind of traveling circus. Their little bubbles of sweet-smelling gas filled the air, and it was like some great mythical summer afternoon of an age always gone by. Panic turned rapidly to nostalgia and delight.

Of course, you (because you are clever and because you are not under the influence of the intoxicating alien gas) will have realized that all this was in fact a highly dangerous situation for the happy humans. And also, as it happened, it was unfortunate for the nice aliens, who really did have nothing but the best of motives, and whose fault it was not that their breath was a dangerous, slow-acting hallucinogenic and narcotic addictive poison.

Fortunately, a mere six minutes before the alien circus of intoxicating doom had reached its tipping point, dooming Oakland and indeed the entire Western hemisphere to a most unhappy fate, Impetigo's tow truck arrived. It scooped up all the aliens and removed them posthaste.

Everyone breathed a melancholy sigh of under-informed regret, and shuffled back off to their Thursday afternoons. Impetigo had a fine time in the Planetary System of Infinite Fun, where he also managed to abandon his new brood of unwanted offspring. They grew up to be bitter, but interesting.

The End.