The bright neon set the room alight with false cheer – it threw garish, flamingo-pink and pulsating, electric blue, it stretched out false shadows, purple-black and threatening behind the haze of e-cigarette vapour, a poor cousin of smoke, now forbidden. The three aliens tried to peer through the tequila-enhanced murk as the bartender refilled the implausibly small glasses – how have we become so intoxicated from such a small amount of alcohol?
They will try to figure that out later. The rough-cut edges of lime and a desert of salt surrounded an oasis of spilt, evaporating Mexico. The fumes stung their eyes, and the noise of the jukebox seemed solid, a vibrating wall of sound, percussive, infectious. Their disguises were perfect, skin-cultures grown from DNA samples – clothing pilfered from the endless rows of empty houses that populated the daylit hours, an invisible nation.
There were some incidents, certainly. The wrong tone, the wrong inflections – but most humans ignored them.
Now they could begin their scientific analysis.
Trens curled his tongue at one of the natives.
Her mate didn’t like that.
Another incident that now needed reporting.
They’ll figure out how to calm the indigenous intelligences later.
All they need to know now is how to spill the tequila into the shot glasses.
They’ll figure that out quickly.