Modern Drunkard: Thanks for coming to Denver for this chat.

Tom Tierry: I was flying down here anyway.

MD: You flew?

Drunkard Gear

TT: Yes.

MD: In a . . .

TT: Airplane.

MD: Oh. But you’ve flown in a spaceship.

TT: Several times.

MD: But you don’t have one available for . . .

TT: Of course not.

MD: Pity. Was rather looking forward to . . . well, bugger that. Now, you’ve flown in a spaceship several times because you’ve been abducted several times.

TT: Yes.

MD: By space aliens.

TT: That’s right. I call them OTs. For outer-terrestrials.alien-beer

MD: You mention that in your books. Because they are not only not from earth, you believe they’re also—

TT: From another dimension in time and space.

MD: My dead uncle subscribed to the theory UFOs were drunkards from the future, just ripping about and having a bit of fun.

TT: Interesting.

MD: Yes. So they took you up to their ship.

TT: Yes.

MD: Invited up to the penthouse for a cocktail, so to speak.

TT: So to speak.

MD: Did they give you any liquor?

TT: I was in no condition to drink.

MD: No one is by midnight, but that doesn’t stop us, eh Tom?

TT: I guess.

MD: Rather rude, wouldn’t you say?

TT: Huh?

MD: The aliens.

TT: Well, their purpose was not to entertain, but to explore.

MD: Explore you.

TT: Yes.

MD: So what’s it like?

TT: The probing?

MD: The alien hooch.

TT: I just told you, they didn’t offer me any.

MD: And they would have us think them an advanced civilization. They had better not get a fancy to put the probe to me. I’ll thrash them within an inch of their miserable lives, ray guns or no.

TT: They took me up to their ship. I don’t care if anyone believes me or not.

MD: Right. And you drank with them?

TT: I never said that.

MD: You did. On the phone you suggested they drank like fishes in a whiskey barrel. That’s the whole premise of this interview.

TT: Well, I may have suggested OTs might drink. It’s not an easy thing to talk about. Some people, of course, don’t like people going around saying aliens drink and, you know . . .

MD: Fly.

TT: Right. In this day and age, it’s considered something of a taboo.

MD: I understand completely. Fear not, my good man, we at Modern Drunkard will judge neither you nor the alien drunkards. Are you mocking me?

TT: I don’t think so. Why do you ask?

MD: That clucking sound you insist on making.

TT: It’s involuntary.

MD: Oh. Have a few drinks on the plane?

TT: A couple, I guess.

MD: Yes?

TT: A few help me relax.

MD: Oh, I agree entirely. I too find about a dozen or so, in cahoots with a clandestine flask of scotch, make the flying experience a ripping good time. What did you have? Whiskey?

TT: What does that have to do with OTs?

MD: This isn’t the interview. This is just polite conversation.

TT: Stoli and tonics.

MD: Is that what the aliens drink?

TT: I don’t know.

MD: Get legless?

TT: On the plane?

MD: On the spaceship. We’ve already established you’re only going to admit to a few on the plane.

TT: Legless, that’s funny.

MD: It’s a British term. It means—

TT: No, I mean it’s funny because some of the OTs don’t have legs. Not technically.

MD: Please go on.

TT: Sometimes they have legs and other times they don’t. It’s all about how they want to appear.

MD: Really. And you say you weren’t drunk?

TT: No.

MD: How do they appear when they’re tippled?

TT: What?

MD: Pickled.

TT: They’re not . . . do you mean drunk?

MD: Do I not.

TT: Well, I don’t know. Their skin is translucent, so I imagine if they did drink you’d be able to see the liquor go into what you’d call their stomach, except they—

MD: What an interesting idea! Hard for those space chaps to get a session past the wife, eh? He’d be nattering on about how he just stopped for a quick pint and she’d look at his belly and say, “I see at least six pints of stout and three jiggers of scotch as well. You’ll be sleeping outside the pod tonight!” No wonder those chaps are hashing around our solar system, they’ve most likely been 86ed from their own.

TT: I’m not married.

MD: Yes. Right you are. How does a tippled alien behave?

TT: Listen. I said I didn’t see—

MD: You said you saw one in your book. When those two space chaps were having their way with—

TT: It was a scientific probe.

MD: When they were probing you, a third chap comes in and he looks a bit off color, so the probers sent him away.

TT: In my book I said I suspected he was unhappy with my treatment.

MD: You said he made an odd giggling sound when he left.

TT: Gurgling sound. Their phonetic system is totally different than ours.

MD: Admit it! He was legless!

TT: He had legs. Oh, you mean he—

MD: Snockered to the gills! Have they gills?

TT: Sort of.

MD: To the gills! The aliens and you.

TT: Not me.

MD: I congratulate your ruse.

TT: Ruse?

MD: The cunning trick you’re playing on me.

TT: I don’t know of any—

MD: Oh come now. This clucking nonsense. It’s obviously designed to infuriate me. Throw off my concentration. Did the aliens teach you that?

TT: No. It’s a tic. I’ll try to control it.

MD: Good show. Anyhoo, what sort of tipple do they prefer? A decent single malt scotch, I should think.

TT: Like I said, I don’t—

MD: Most likely they make their own. See, that’s what those crop circles are about. They’re gathering wheat for their stills.

TT: I don’t think so.

MD: Don’t be too sure. The monkeys can do it, you know.

TT: They can not.

MD: Can too. I’ve pictures.

TT: I’m sure, as advanced as their technology is, OTs are capable of synthesizing beverages from baser elements than wheat.

MD: Don’t be too certain. Einstein made a positively awful martini.

TT: Is that true?

MD: Oh, I don’t know. Perhaps the crop circles are the aftermath of alien cocktail parties.

TT: Ludicrous.

MD: Huh! And what is your theory?

TT: The craft chooses an uninhabited place to set down
and—

MD: Of course uninhabited! They’d want a little privacy for their shindig, after all. Can’t have the local jackanapes dropping by and, you know, drinking the good scotch, chatting up their women and so forth.

TT: OTs are asexual.

MD: Well, there’s a brouhaha in the making. Area 51.

TT: Yes?

MD: Area 51.

TT: What about it?

MD: I don’t know. I just like saying it. Do you reckon the aliens who crashed the saucer were drunk?

TT: Well—

MD: Area 51. Bacardi 151. Think about it.

TT: Well, it’s possible.

MD: Do you really think so?

TT: No.

MD: Huh! Well surely you won’t mind if I, as a titled gentleman and respected journalist, have a little nip?

TT: I don’t think they serve liquor here.

MD: I’ve my own. I’ve always held to the notion a culture cannot be judged advanced until it’s developed the hip flask. And I don’t mean some earthen jug the natives can bandy about, I’m talking about a superbly crafted silver flask, with possibly an inscription from F. Scott on it. Would you like a taste?

TT: No, thank you.

MD: Come now! You only had a few on the plane. What would the aliens think?

TT: Too early in the day for me.

MD: No wonder they keep throwing the probe on you! You’ve no spirit! They have you utterly daunted. Daunted! Have you ever heard of a drunkard being abducted?

TT: Actually, no.

MD: I should think not! A drunkard with a belly full of rum would shake off tractor beams like crêpe paper and proceed to flog the entire alien landing party into a cringing mass. Oh, they stay away from the bars at closing time, I’ll wager you that.

TT: Anything’s possible.

MD: Now see here. If I give you this flask, will you promise to give it to the space chaps the next time they throw the net on you?

TT: I don’t think they’d want it.

MD: Russian cosmonauts take vodka with them. One never knows. This could be a vast leap in intergalactic diplomacy! I suppose they’ll make me an ambassador of some sort. Hup, here we go again.

TT: Huh?

MD: This clucking of the tongue business is really getting out of hand.

TT: It’s a habit.

MD: Rather nasty one. You really should consider doing something about it. What’s to happen if the aliens give you vital information to pass on to mankind and you start clucking like a deranged chicken during the international press conference? You’ll cause an intergalactic scandal. For Heaven’s sake, have a nip of whiskey. It’ll make short work of that clucking fetish.

TT: I have to catch a plane. I’ve got to say, this is the most exasperating interview I’ve ever had.

MD: Nothing a few drinks on the plane won’t fix. See here—next time they’ve a mind to grab you, ring me up. I’ll be down with a bottle of Glenfiddich and my cane. With a seasoned diplomat such as myself on hand, I promise you we’ll have an intergalactic truce hammered out in very short order indeed.

TT: I’ll keep that in mind.

MD: Do. There may be an ambassadorship in it for you.

TT: How nice of you.

MD: Of course, if they make with the probes, things could get rather nasty. I don’t cotton to displays of rudeness. An intergalactic war could result.

TT: Wouldn’t that be nice?

MD: For all the right reasons. Word of advice—stay in the pubs and you won’t suffer another probing. That’s my personal guarantee.

TT: I’ll try to remember that.

Interview by Giles Humbert III