The gentleman who answered the door had neck tattoos and a foul expression.
"Ah, good morning; my name is Alistair Forsythe, and I work for the United Nations. I believe an acquaintance of mine is currently a guest in your home and I was wondering if I could come in and speak to him."
The tattooed man's gaze was directed past Forsythe's shoulder, and he was clearly beginning to panic.
"I can assure you I have no interest in any illegal drugs or other illicit activity that may be occurring within. I'm only interested in speaking to my friend. I believe you know to whom I refer? That way it won't be necessary to involve... well, anyone else." Forsythe smiled as the man's eyes went from him to the numerous police vehicles and SWAT team members assembled on the street and back again.
"Uh. Yeah, all right. Come on in." The man unlocked and opened the security door, and backed out of the way.
"Excellent, thank you," Forsythe said as he stepped inside. "And where..."
"Kitchen. Hey homes, are they really not gonna come in?" The tattooed man gestured nervously to the front door.
"Not unless there's a problem."
He held up his hands to indicate he was compliant. "Ain't gonna be no problem, man. We've been real friendly to... your friend. You too, homes. We're all real chill."
"Excellent, thank you. I'll just proceed into the kitchen then."
The house was Forsythe's first drug den, and so far — other than the barred security door — was confounding his expectations: it was relatively clean, and the few people present seemed more interested in a football game on the television than maintaining a high. He proceeded into the kitchen, where he found the Shchinwhee Ambassador's son sitting at a small Formica table. The alien's eye stalks swung around and fixed on the doorway as he entered. "Ah, Forsythe! The beetles told you where to find me? Ah, yes, they did. The Ident discs, you see, they're tracers as well. Isn't cocaine wonderful?"
"I can't say that I've ever had the pleasure. May I sit?"
"Of course, of course. Teo let you in, yes? Teo, come have some cocaine, my friend!"
From the other room came, "Naw, man, that's cool, I'm all good, homes."
The alien continued, while cutting lines on the Formica table surface, "They call the Polixaci 'beetles', did you know that? 'El Escarabajo'. I had to look them up, beetles, but it's so perfect, isn't it? The antennae, the carapace..."
"Tyndagoloh, your father is concerned. He called from Mars to make sure we found you and brought you back to—"
"But I'm having so much fun, Forsythe. Your planet is so much more interesting when one is immersed in it!"
"May I ask, how did you get here?"
"On the liner, of course... Forsythe, you met us at the lander—"
"Not to Earth, Tyndagoloh; here, to this house."
"I decided to have a look around. I mean, a reallook around, not the tour in your bulletproof vans and a fully secured perimeter. It's so boring, Forsythe. I sneaked out of the Natural History Museum while the guide was describing the life cycle of Mamenchisaurus, and walked out into the city. I talked to people. I had dinner with a family last night, they were wonderful. They have a son, DeJohn, but he doesn't live with them because he has a problem about drugs?"
"He has a drug problem—"
"Yes, that's it, a 'drug problem'. So I asked around. DeJohn is upstairs with a 'prostitute'. They ingest the cocaine and then mate; apparently the pleasure is heightened. Which I have no trouble believing." He snorted another line with a disturbingly agile nasal proboscis. "They're not that hard to find, the drugs. They're wonderful. Well, cocaine is. I didn't like 'pot'. It's the inhalation of smoke, it was uncomfortable."
"From what I understand it can be baked into brownies."
The alien stopped what he was doing and regarded Forsythe. "Canit?" He called to the other room, "Teo! Teo, my friend, do you know how to bake brownies?"
The tattooed man answered, "Naw man, but Rosita does. She'll be home at ten, man, if you wanna wait."
Forsythe pressed, "You don't need pot brownies, Tyndagoloh. You need to come back to the Embassy and let the Polixaci doctors have a thorough look at you."
"Well, because cocaine is verybad for you. It's very bad for humans, in large amounts like this, and we have no idea what the cumulative effect would be for someone of your race."
"Teo didn't say anything about any of that—"
"He's a drug dealer, Tyndagoloh."
"Oh, I know. Apparently he's very well regarded in the area. I gave him what DeJohn said was a very large amount of local currency, and in return I can have as much cocaine as I want. I'm enjoying it verymuch so far."
"Drug dealers are not exactly trustworthy, Tyndagoloh. I wouldn't have set foot in here without having half the NYPD right outside. You're not safe here even without all the drugs which, if you continue to ingest them at this rate, may cause one of your hearts to explode."
The alien paused, his eye stalks regarding the mountain of white powder on the table. "Oh, dear. That could be serious. Especially if it were the bottom one, it's closer to the brain—"
"Yes, exactly. So, if we can go to the Embassy, we can make sure that doesn't become a problem."
"Well, if you say so." The alien put down his straw, got up, and strode from the kitchen into the living room, leaving Forsythe to scramble after him.
"Teo! Teo, my friend, I must go..." By the time Forsythe made it into the living room, the alien had thrown his triple-jointed arms around the tattooed man and was genially squeezing him.
Teo, frozen, gathered enough composure to say, "Hey, all right, no problem, homes."
"And give Rosita my love!"
"...Yeah, yeah, all right, I'll be sure and do that, homes."
Tyndagoloh released the drug dealer and headed for the front door, while Forsythe added, "The United Nations thanks you for your co-operation."
"Yeah, anytime, bro."
Outside, the heavily armored police had visibly relaxed once the Shchinwhee visitor had emerged unharmed. He was being ushered into a bullet-proof UN van for transport back to the Polixaci Embassy.
"Any problems," one of the cops asked Forsythe as he stepped from the lawn onto the sidewalk.
"None. Very cooperative. Model citizen, in fact, Sergeant. Very 'Better Homes & Gardens' in there."
"Yeah, sure. Should we take them down anyway, while we're here?"
"I think tomorrow will be soon enough, Sergeant. Especially as the United Nations gave its word—"
"To a drug dealer."
"Nevertheless. One does want one's word to mean something, especially in this day and age. Had the... homeowner... not believed me, the Ambassador's son might have been in real danger."
The officer shrugged. "Whatever you say, Mister Forsythe. My orders are to defer to you." He signaled to the others, and yelled, "Mount up! Back to base!"
Forsythe climbed into the van with Tyndagoloh, who was fast asleep. "Unbelievable."
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