I have a friend named Duncan Kilbride. Duncan is a pig. He is not a farm pig. He is the kind of pig that women like. What is more, he is a Pig from the Moon. That means women really like him. Duncan is a little crazy. He says that all real guys are pigs. Guys that are not real are not pigs. This means that no unreal guys, especially those in science fiction stories, are pigs. They are just pseudopigs.
People think Duncan is crazy because he was in a car accident. After his accident, Duncan became a philosopher with a pension. When I asked Duncan how he knew he was a philosopher, he said he had a nameplate on his desk that said, PHILOSOPHER.
"Oh," I said. "Where do you get a job as a philosopher?" Duncan told me it is called advertising. "I also started smoking," he said, "because my father told me to."
I told you he is a little crazy.
Duncan rolls his own because he can smoke for a whole month on what three packs of cigarettes cost. "I refuse to surrender to the Marxist-Fascist conspiracy that fixes the price of tobacco in this country," he says. He got me to roll my own too. It feels good not to be controlled by the Marxist-Fascists.
Duncan says he is a racist. He is not ashamed of being a racist pig. Everyone is racist, he says. Some people just hide it better than others do. Besides, Christine told him it was all right to be a racist pig. Christine tells him a lot of things. When I asked him where Christine lived, he said, "She lives on the moon." By the way, Christine rolls her own too.
Duncan eats only vegetables. He says being a philosopher vegetarian makes him very attractive to women. His favorite vegetable is kohlrabi. Kohlrabi is a member of the cabbage family and one of the oddest-looking vegetables there is. Just above the ground, the kohlrabi stem swells into a round ball-shaped knob, giving it the appearance of some sort of satellite with leaves. Duncan sometimes calls them sputniks.
"Do men on the moon eat kohlrabis?" I asked.
"You mean all men or just the men who are pigs?"
"Well, the pigs. Do pig men on the moon eat kohlrabis?"
Duncan says they do not because they are already attractive to women. It is in their genes. On earth, for pigs that do not have moon genes, kohlrabis help. Sometimes piglets on the moon eat kohlrabis as a pig supplement.
"Christine says men on the moon are very sexy."
"Would you ask Christine something for me?" I asked.
"Would you ask her if there are any other vegetarian philosopher pigs that eat kohlrabis and roll their own beside you and me?"
"When will you see her again?"
"Iím seeing her right now."
"Well, can you ask her?"
"Not now, she's talking with the moon people."
"What are they talking about?"
"They like comedy?"
"Yes," Duncan said.
"Who's their favorite comedian?"
Duncan wanted to go visit his parents, who are also pigs. He said his parents lived in Pensacola, Florida, and when he asked me if I wanted to go with him, I said yes.
On the day we left, Duncan drove over to pick me up. I went to put my suitcase in the trunk of Duncan's car, but there was no room. The trunk was full of kohlrabis, tobacco, and rolling papers.
Not long after we drove onto the turnpike, a State Trooper pulled us over. "What's that you're smoking?" the Trooper asked. Duncan told him that he rolled his own. The State Trooper did not smile. It was easy to see that the Trooper was one hundred percent heterosexual. He wanted to see what Duncan had in the trunk.
Duncan opened the trunk for him. "What the hell are all of these?" the Trooper asked.
Duncan told him that they were kohlrabis and that he rolled his own. Obviously, the Trooper was not very smart.
"What do you do with these plants?" the Trooper asked. Duncan said he ate them. The Trooper wanted to know if he was trying to be funny. Duncan said no.
"What's your story?" the Trooper asked me.
"I roll my own," I said.
After the Trooper let us go with a warning, we pulled into a tollbooth on the turnpike. A young black woman held out her hand for money. Her badge said she worked for the State of Florida. She also had about twenty gold ribbons in her hair that she braided like Rastaman curls, and they matched her three front teeth, which were capped in gold. Duncan asked her if she rolled her own. "You betcha, Mon," she said.
Later, we stopped at a coffee stand for Duncanís favorite drink, cappuccino. We sat at a table that had an umbrella. There were three women sitting at the table next to us, and they talked about how they hated painting houses.
Duncan lit a roll-your-own and watched a woman go by. She turned and smiled at Duncan when she heard the lighter click.
She was tall, and wore a purple dress that had bunches of white grapes all over it. I guess she could tell that Duncan was a philosopher vegetarian pig that rolled his own. Duncan watched her carefully. He looked to make sure there was nothing wrong with the back of her dress. Duncan turned to me and said, "A woman like that will not be able to resist two pigs having cappuccino."
The woman waited at the coffee stand. After the man served her, she looked over to our table, waved to Duncan, and came to sit with us. She had straight blonde hair and the whitest teeth I had ever seen. The wind blew her hair back, and when she sat down, the bottom of her dress flapped all around her.
Duncan rolled a cigarette, lit it, and clicked his lighter shut. He offered the cigarette to the woman.
"Thank you," she said. She took the cigarette. "Iím Judy. Some people call me Judy Blue Eyes."
Duncan took a long drag from his cigarette and said, "A pleasure to meet you, Sweet Judy Blue Eyes."
Her face turned a little red. She sipped her coffee and said, "I see you roll your own."
"You bet," said Duncan.
"I like a man who rolls his own." She put her hand over Duncanís hand. Duncan reached into his grocery bag on the ground. "Kohlrabi?" he asked.
Sweet Judy Blue Eyes smiled at Duncan and took a kohlrabi from him, stroking its green leaves. "What is it?"
"Itís a vegetable from the moon," said Duncan. "The moon people love kohlrabis."
Sweet Judy Blue Eyes looked a little confused. "I didnít know they had vegetables on the moon."
"Sure. And pigs. Big philosopher vegetarian pigs that roll their own." Duncan thumped his chest like Tarzan. "Like me."
"They are racists too," I said.
"Heís right," said Duncan. "Everyoneís a racist pig."
"Why do you think everyone is a racist pig?" she asked.
"ĎWhy?í is a question that only God can answer." I had trouble understanding what Duncan said because he had a mouthful of kohlrabi.
"So weíre all racist pigs?" she asked.
Duncan said, "Well, just men who are better than ninety percent heterosexual. Women, and men below ninety percent heterosexual are racist piglets," he said.
"Piglets? Why piglets?"
"Because theyíre more sensitive," I said.
Sweet Judy Blue Eyes laughed. "I see." She put her hand on my arm and spoke softly to me. "So youíre either a racist pig or a racist piglet, and there is no reason why?"
"Yes," Duncan said. "Except for William Shatner."
Duncan said that the moon people used William Shatnerís genes a lot. They wanted to be just like him.
"Why on Earth do they use his genes?"
"I donít know why," Duncan said. "But he rolls his own."
We started driving again toward Pensacola. In the afternoon, we got to Tallahassee and drove by the Florida State Capitol. It was an old building with a dome roof. Lots of people were walking on the sidewalk. Some were getting ready to cross the street.
Suddenly, Duncan hit the brakes of his car and pointed.
"Look," he said. "There are three over there."
"Three what?" I asked.
"Three Pigs from the Moon."
I looked through the car window at the corner of the street. There were three young men standing there, and none of them had a shirt on.
Duncan told me to watch them while he drove by. All of the Pigs from the Moon had wavy, light brown hair, big ears, chests with large muscles, and smooth, hairless skin. One of them leaned against a lamppost. The other two Moon Pigs were on their knees, searching for something on the ground.
"How do you know they are Pigs from the Moon?" I asked Duncan.
"Well, they have a certain look. When you get to be a Pig from the Moon, you know these things. And for sure when you talk to them you can tell."
"What do you mean?"
"Pigs from the Moon donít talk, they shout like personalized license plates."
I thought Duncan was making a joke. "License plates donít shout," I said.
"Thatís not what I mean. When the Pigs from the Moon shout, their speech is like the words that you read on personalized license plates. The moon people canít get the genes that control speech to work right."
"You speak just fine."
"Thatís because Iím only part Pig from the Moon. Iím what you call a hybrid, half Earth Pig, half Moon Pig. The moon people donít make us anymore. Too hard to control."
Duncan parked the car. We got out and walked over to the Pigs from the Moon. When we got close, I could see what they were doing on their knees. Two of them were picking up loose tobacco on the sidewalk. The third Moon Pig stood with his back against a lamppost, trying to roll a cigarette. He was having some problems.
"Can I help you roll your smoke?" Duncan asked.
The Pig from the Moon looked around to see if anyone was watching, then turned to Duncan and tossed his tobacco and papers to him. Duncan winked at me and rolled a cigarette with one hand. He tossed the makings back to the Pig from the Moon. He lit the roll-your-own with his Zippo lighter.
Duncan blew smoke into the air and said, "So, Pig from the Moon, do you like it here on Earth?"
The Pig from the Moon looked at Duncan for a long time. Then he shouted, "UKNOW THATIBE MOONPIG?"
"Sure. Been here long?"
"MENOWAY. MEHERE 1NIGHT. THEM2 MOONPIG YESWAY. THEYDO HANGLOOSE HANGTEN INDIXIE LONGTIME."
"By the way, Iím Duncan Kilbride." Duncan held out his hand.
Duncan took a step towards the Moon Pig, and shouted into the Moon Pigís ear, "MYNAME DUNKIN KILBRIDE."
The Moon Pig nodded and shook Duncanís hand. "OHYEAH. HOWUDO. IBIGBILL. IHEAR BOUTU.
My ears hurt from listening to this Pig from the Moon. His friends, the other two Moon Pigs, got up from the ground and tried to roll cigarettes, but they kept dropping the tobacco on the sidewalk.
It was easy to see that the Moon Pigs did not know much about rolling their own.
The Moon Pig who had his back on the lamppost coughed, and then shouted to Duncan, "WENEED KORABIS. UGOTANY?"
Duncan asked me to go to the front seat of his car and get his sack of kohlrabis. Before I went, a man and a woman wearing sunglasses walked past the Moon Pigs. The man wore a suit with a pink tie, and the woman wore a red dress and shoes that had spikes on the heels. All three of the Moon Pigs checked to see that nothing was wrong with the back of the womanís red dress.
When I got back, Duncan was talking with Big Bill about philosophy. Big Bill said, "NEECHUH ALRIGHT. PIGSBE SUPIMEN. THUSRAP ZARA THRUSTA."
Duncan dropped his cigarette to the ground and stubbed it out with his foot. He took the sack from me.
"UNICE." said Big Bill. He crunched on the kohlrabi.
Duncan gave kohlrabi to the other Pigs from the Moon and said goodbye. When we got back into the car, Duncan asked me what I thought of them.
"They canít really roll their own, can they?" I asked.
Duncan looked over at the Moon Pigs by the lamppost. Big Bill stood with his mouth open. He drooled. When women walked by, he waved at them and flexed his biceps. One Moon Pig was still on his knees picking up tobacco. The other had given up and was pounding the sidewalk, yelling "GIVEME MYBACCA."
"No," Duncan said, "They canít roll their own. Thatís what bothers me about them. It bothers Christine too."
That night, when we got to his parentís house, Duncan took me to a pond behind the kohlrabi field to watch the moon rise. He showed me his favorite spot to sit, a rotting oak log. Frogs croaked all around us. The moon was very big in the sky.
"Sheíll come soon," Duncan whispered into my ear.
He pointed at the moon. "Christine."
Suddenly, above the pond in the meadow beyond it, there was a woman who glowed. As she approached us, I saw that she had black hair that ran all the way down her back. Her complexion was dark, like an Indian. Next to Judy Blue Eyes, she was the prettiest woman I had ever seen.
Christine walked across the pond without getting wet. She went to Duncan, they hugged, and then she kissed him on the mouth. She turned to me and said, "So this is your friend. Youíre right, I like him."
I could feel my face turning red. Christineís eyes shined when she spoke, and the glow of her body lit the space between us.
I could not think of anything to say. Finally, I said, "Howís the invasion going?"
Christine smiled. "Duncan told you?"
"Yes. We also met some Pigs from the Moon."
Christine made a face, sort of like she smelled something bad. "So far we have sent only a few prototypes," she said. "Theyíve been something of a disappointment. Thatís why I am here tonight."
"Because youíre disappointed?"
"No," Duncan said. "Sheís come for me. Itís time for me to go engineer the Pigs on the Moon. The moon people need my help."
"Iíll miss you." I said.
"Donít worry, Iíll come back and visit you, just like Christine visited me," Duncan said.
And, just after Duncan gave me a hug, the moon people came and got him.
Although Duncan lives on the moon now, he still comes to visit me all the time. He says that the moon is fun, but he misses Earth, and when he does, he comes to visit me.
"Moon people like me a lot," Duncan says, "Because philosopher vegetarian pigs that roll their own fit right in."
Duncan says he likes the moon better than Earth, not only because he gets to stay with Christine, but also because the moon people have all the kohlrabi you can eat. He says I can come live on the moon one day when the time is right, but until then, I should practice.
"What do I need to practice?" I ask.
"Practice being a pig."
"How do I do that?"
Duncan smiles and says, "Roll your own, eat kohlrabi, and drink cappuccino by the light of the moon."
Copyright © David McKinley Lowrey 2004. Title graphic: "Moonlit" Copyright © The Summerset Review 2004.