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With Close Encounters of the Third Kind returning to theaters with a 4K restoration of Steven Spielberg’s director’s cut, the question on every one’s mind is what other sort of close encounters could there be? From the first to the last, here’s your guide to contact with an alien species.

Close Encounter of the First Kind: Visual sightings of an unidentified flying object (UFO) less than 500 feet away.

Close Encounter of the Second Kind: A UFO event in which a physical effect occurs, such as interference of electronic devices, a physiological effect in the witness, or a physical trace on the ground.

Close Encounter of the Third Kind: Interaction with an actual alien creature or robot.

Close Encounter of the Fourth Kind: An alien swaps Facebook contacts with you and says “you have a good heart, we should hang out some time.”

Close Encounter of the Fifth Kind: Brunch with an alien, but only if they order chicken and waffles of their own accord. Mimosas are optional.

Close Encounter of the Sixth Kind: An intense attraction between you and the alien forms, creating an uncontrollable urge to be with each other. This may be due to the two of you being intensely attracted to each other, or there may be a mutual love of cuddles and each other’s company. The alien will start leaving things at your apartment, some of which glow with an otherworldly radioactivity, but you won’t mind.

Close Encounter of the Seventh Kind: You have long conversations with the alien that stretches late into the night, and everything about the alien interests and fascinates you. You talk about each other’s families, exes, likes and dislikes and other innocent secrets, and life seems so beautiful and romantic. You spend more and more time on the UFO, so the alien gives you a key, which they will explain is bound to your heart.

Close Encounter of the Eighth Kind: You have your first fight with the alien. You feel they’re being too controlling, while they feel that you holding your relationship to Earth standards is fundamentally wrong and short-sighted. The alien will try to explain that it’s not that they don’t like your friends, it’s just that they don’t know them, while you act in utter bafflement that you are doing anything wrong. You will fume at the fact that UFO doors don’t slam properly.

Close Encounter of the Ninth Kind: After several years of your relationship with the alien, doubts begin to creep in. The intensity of these doubts depends on how happy you are in the relationship. You start comparing your time with the alien with other couples. Do they have to deal with occasional radiation poisoning, awkward tentacle placement, and that thin layer of slime that always coats you when you wake up? You wonder about seeing other aliens. You start wondering if the highs are worth the lows.

Close Encounter of the Tenth Kind: You break up with the alien, telling them and it is not them, but in fact, you. The alien will have difficulty accepting this at first, but eventually will be an adult about it, and ask for the return of their key to the UFO. As you give it back, the alien will remind you that it is bound to your heart, which they will forcibly remove from your chest cavity. The alien will examine your heart in their hands, proclaim it is “still good,” and keep in a jar on the UFO with many, similar specimens.


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Jared Axelrod's picture

Jared Axelrod

Jared Axelrod is an author, an illustrator, and a world changer. Throughout her eventful life she has also been a circus performer, a puppeteer, a graphic designer, a sculptor, a costume designer, a podcaster and quite a few other things that she’s lost track of but will no doubt remember when the situation calls for it. She is the writer and producer of “The Voice Of Free Planet X” podcast, were she interviews stranded time-travelers, low-rent superheroes, unrepentant monsters and other such creature of sci-fi and fantasy, as well as the podcasts “Aliens You Will Meet” and “Fables Of The Flying City.” The story started in “Fables Of The Flying City” is concluded in The Battle Of Blood & Ink, a graphic novel published by Tor. She is not domestic, she is a luxury, and in that sense, necessary.