BY THE BOOK • by Aurelio Rico Lopez III

The sun hangs high in the sky, and rice paddies glisten in the sunlight. Mango trees grow lush and thick, promising cool shade. The only things off about the whole scene are the crashed spacecraft and the screaming farmer.

Wading knee-deep in muddy water, the old farmer shouts in fury, pounding his fists against the vessel’s side.

Inside the wreck, the old man’s assault echoes in the cabin. One of the navigators nervously leafs through his copy of The Revised Galactic Treaty.

“This is all your fault,” his companion says, pointing an accusing tentacle at him.

“No, it isn’t. I did the right thing. Our main thruster was malfunctioning, which called for an emergency landing, and I picked the least populated area in the vicinity.”

Outside, the farmer has changed tactics and is now kicking the spaceship.

“I guess you’re right,” his companion sighs, looking out the windshield. “But did you have to land on that poor Earthling’s water buffalo?”

Aurelio Rico Lopez III is a self-diagnosed scribble junkie from Iloilo City, Philippines. His tales have appeared in various anthologies such as RAW MEAT (Sideshow Press), BOOK OF SHADOWS VOL. I (Brimstone Press), TRIP THE LIGHT HORRIFIC (Rage Machine Press), THE BLACKEST DEATH I, II, & III (Black Death Books), COLD FLESH (Hellbound Books), SHADOW BOX (Brimstone Press), and STAR-SPANGLED ZOMBIE (Maniac Press). You can reach him at

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Joseph Kaufman