The lone ranger

“So, let me get this straight. I’ll have to pretend to be his assistant, go along with everything he says, and… my name is Tonto?”

I can barely make out the slightest of nods from my director. Having a boss who belongs to an alien race that can barely speak human or non-verbally is cause for a lot of embarrassing miscommunication. I look down at my Translation Buddy (Wrist Edition)™ – ‘Your Translation is 100% Correct According to Us, The People You Gave Your Money!’ flickers in bright green lettering. I crack my neck, strained from looking up – having a boss who is also an alien that is 90% legs and then 200 cm of the stuff makes for exorbitant chiropractic bills.

“Well. Okay. When do I start?”

“Outside. Vehicle. Now.”

A pneumatic tube bursts through the ceiling and sucks me and the concrete dust up before I have a chance to protest or take my allergy meds. Ugh, you’d think working for an alien ambassador attaché-company wouldn’t trigger my concrete intolerance. I slide into a new outfit – slightly grateful I started narrating myself, no more narrators doing creepy voyeuristic descriptive passages – and pop out in front of the building, looking like an official. The most official. Progenitrix of all officials. I feel good about myself despite, no, AND my clogged sinuses.

Then, a cold like the sixth ice age creeps over me. A near-transparent shape wearing a tailored business suit folds itself across my frame, a shimmering light opposite of the sun’s noted warm properties.

“Mr. Ra’anger, I presume?”

Yess. I have entered your perssonal sspace, as iss a cusstomary greeting for earthlingss. I know thiss well.”

The icy figure distances itself from my body, preventing hypothermia in the nick of time. He doesn’t bother to speak English, instead speaking his own cold, slurred language, I can’t authentically produce those arctic fricatives, really have to melt your s’s. I readjust my business buckshine dress. The vehicle my boss mentioned is parked here — it’s one of those expensive hovercars, with a meteorological lab in the back to reduce greenhouse gases and a hip pine-scented car freshener. It’s also got a vanity license plate; it reads ‘FROSTBOY’.

“Welcome to earth, sir.” I extend my gloved hand.

His outline wavers quizically. “I know of your cusstomss, but worry not. I do not require an offering today. Keep your appendage, tonto.” He phases through the frame of his car to lounge on the backseat and opens the door on the driver’s side from within. “Where to, sir?” I look at him through the rearview mirror — he doesn’t actually have a reflection, so I take the time to fix my eyeshadow, ‘Cygnus X-1 Black’. “Tonto, your Stupid Earthling planet, it needss my help. It iss why I am here. Normally I can fix a planet her problem on my own, but today requiress… a native touch.” “That’s vaguely racist, sir.” I sigh deeply, inhaling the neo-mint pheromones, relinquishing my nose of snotty imprisonment; I am immediately whelmed by the chilling pungence I was apparently previously spared from.

Your society is entrenched and engaged in highly illegal criminal outlaw activity. People you would call kin are hoarding your primitive value tokenss, taking them from anyone, never sstopping their collections, sstoring them in ssecure vaultss, never sspending it. Ssuch missuse of…” He begins to flicker in frustration. “I believe the brutish, ugly, Stupid Earthling word you’re looking for is ‘money’, sir.” “‘Money’. Yess. Ssuch blatant missuse of ‘money’ cannot be allowed to perssist. I have a much better ideal for thiss money.” “In my Stupid Earthling advice, sir, banks are legal,” I say with clenched nose; the stench is there again. “Tonto,” he lets out a sigh this time, freezing the back area of the car, shattering most meteorological equipment, “thiss is why you need my help, and thiss is why I am offering it. Press the button on the dashboard, the car will take uss there.”

I proceed to do so. We blast off towards Sky Vault, putting out a trail of acid clouds that disintegrates the city below. Oh well. We spend the ride discussing the differences between our planets, and how my perceptions are wrong, obviously. “It is a tesstament to your laughable military how you allow the earth to grow into your territoriess… These ‘treess’, they are invaderss!” “Actually, sir, they provide us with oxygen, which we need to live.” “Symbiosiss with the enemy? Truly pathetic…”

Diplomatic privilege allows us to skip the 637,991 hovercars waiting in front of us, and we arrive. Gargantuan holographic billboards display the current owners – a bunch of old, white, human males, even in the future the earth parodies itself. The Vault only opens when the scanners confirm you’re a registered member. You have to somehow get inside somehow to become a member of the bank. It’s quite the conundrum. “So, how will we take over the bank?” I say slightly nervous as the scanner enacts its scopophilia on me. “Leave that to me, tonto.” “Okay, sir. But what do you plan to do after we’re done?” “Why, put the money where it belongss, of coursse.” The scanner beeps in error, the sudden stench having reappeared to tear up my eyes, jeopardising the recognition algorithms. After three more tries, it works. The heavy steel gates, the pearly gates but molten and remolded after heaven was conquered, open with a thundering creek. “Wait here, tonto.” Ra’anger wafts inside, glowing menacingly, smelling deceptively.

I take the time to consult my Translation Buddy (Wrist Edition)™ – I haven’t had the time to figure out what the hell ‘tonto’ even means. A cute robot voice explains

Noun- tonto ‎(plural tontà)

  1. Stupid Earthling (of course!)
  2. (obsolete) Proud, native warrior, a knight (aw)
  3. One who is easily deceived (what)

The smell disappears, and the noise of static permeates through the skies and my skull. I look up, look around, and look at the billboards. They’ve changed. Broadly displaying a near-transparent, icy shape wearing a tailored business suit, holding a jute bag with the double-dollar ($$) emblem on it. “Under new management. Ra’anger alone now owns all your moneys.”

The end credits roll but it’s all his name.

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