originally printed in the june 1951 issue of slam bang science fiction stories
illustrated by danny delacoix
he woke up and brushed his teeth like a real human, and shined his shoes and knotted his tie carefully in front of the mirror in his room in mrs prescott's boarding house, and combed his hair.
today was the day.
mrs prescott had been feeling a mite poorly during the last week, but she greeted him with a smile when he arrived at the breakfast table.
"good morning, andy." that was the name they knew him as, andy johnson. he told everybody to call him andy, not mr johnson.
mr wilson and mr gunther were also at the table, and nodded at him, barely looking up from mrs prescott's bacon and eggs and hot biscuits. they preferred to be addressed as "mr wilson" and "mr gunther" when they absolutely had to converse with their fellow creatures at all.
mr wilson, in his usual fashion, was reading the morning paper neatly folded over in the middle. he would leave it on the table when he was through and mr gunther would then take it and read the comics pages.
the dining room window was open, and a gentle breeze rustled the clean white curtains.
mrs prescott pushed a pitcher of orange juice toward andy. "fresh squeezed, andy. got a new batch of oranges at the market just yesterday."
"why thank you, mrs prescott. it looks delicious," andy replied. " mr gunther, could i trouble you to pass the coffee?"
breakast proceeded in the routine he had grown used to in the three months since he had arrived in martinville and found a job at the hardware store.
once outside, he recognized the day as one of the type the humans called "beautiful" and he referred to it as such at his first encounter on the street, with mr abbott, the banker.
mr abbott seemed a bit preoccupied, and responded to andy's comment about the beauty of the day with a barely perceptible smile amounting to little more than a grimace.
the excellence of the morning was appreciated more enthusiastically by mike, at the fruit stand in front of his grocery store, when andy stopped to buy his daily two apples. the last food he would ever eat on the planet.
"beautiful day! i'll say! be like this every day, i wouldn't mind!" mike agreed happily.
andy smiled and passed on to his next destination, the flower stand.
daisy coleman presided at the flower stand. she was the prettiest girl in martinville and at least the next two counties, and her smile was even brighter than her freshest cut flowers.
yes sir, she was going to make some lucky fellow the happiest man in the world one of these days.
that is, she would have.
andy purchased his flowers and headed for the hardware store. he encountered no one else on his way, except a little girl dragging a book bag behind her, who ignored his smile.
and a dog, whom he barely noticed, and who only glanced at him.
andy took the front door key out of his pocket as he approached the store. after the first three weeks on the job, mr harris had trusted him to open up in the morning.
andy felt almost sorry for the humans and other earth creatures, who had never done anything to him (and could not have, if they tried). but he had a job to do, and what else could he do except do it?