Aboard his ship Jason Bedford is brought out of deep sleep to realize his cat Norman has gotten loose and knocked him off course by swatting at the control panel. He is scheduled for a delivery to Meknos III so he calls the Meknosians to explain his delay and while on the call with them gets angry enough to kill the cat for making him look stupid.
After he arrives at Meknos and makes his drop off the aliens ask him about his cat. He denies having a pet (which he flushed out the airlock) but while he is going through a decontamination procedure so he can leave the Meknosians search his ship. When he is finally on his way back to Terra he finds his deep sleep chamber is missing its power supply, his entertainment tapes have been swapped out for a cat toy and all his food has been replaced by cat kibble.
Strangely the last short story Dick wrote was first published in The Yuba City High Times (a high school newspaper and not a marijuana enthusiast’s magazine like I first thought/hoped) after the son of an acquaintance of Dick’s wrote him and asked for a short story for the paper which Dick actually then sent over. “The Alien Mind” went on to be published in Fantasy & Science Fiction later that same year.
Cast of characters
- Jason Bedford – intergalactic delivery man
- the Meknosians