The wombat had convinced the kangaroo, whose name I later learned was Charv, that water would benefit me more at that moment than a peanut-butter sandwich. Charv acknowledged the wombat’s superior wisdom in matters of human physiology and located a flask in his pouch. The wombat, whose name I then learned to be Ragma, yanked off his paws-or, rather, pawlike mittens-displaying tiny, six-digited hands, thumb opposing, and he administered the liquid in slow doses. While this was being done, I gathered that they were alien plainclothesmen passing as local fauna. The reason was not clear.
“You are very fortunate” Ragma told me.
After I finished choking, “I begin to appreciate the term ‘alien viewpoint,’” I said, “I take it you are a member of a race of masochists.”
“Some beings thank another who saves their life,” he replied. “And I was about to complete the statement, ‘You are very fortunate that we happened along this way.’”
“I’ll give you the first,” I said. “Thanks. But coincidence is like a rubber band. Stretch it too far and it snaps.”