Incognito Mission by Lucy Zhang

When one of the zucchinis split in two, aliens stepped out. No taller than a fingernail, the first alien saluted the others, jumping up and down like an overexcited electron.

“Get the handle!” it said.

“Got the handle,” responded another.

“Everyone lift!” cried an alien further back, near the edge of the cutting board.

They heaved the plastic handle of the chef’s knife, dragging the blade across the wood, pivoting it towards the second zucchini. They crouched low to build momentum and raised the handle until the metal blade stood upright. They angled their bodies and computed the physics, ready to let the blade fall and chop open the unsevered vegetable and set their neighboring comrades free.

“Wait, I hear something!” The alien on watch duty cried. Had the alien not been previously distracted by the flawlessly spherical droplets of water along the sink and the marvels of surface tension, it might’ve been able to sound an alert earlier, avoiding the brief chaos to come. They dropped the blade, narrowly missing the stem and a few stragglers, and hurried back into their mothership, sealing the entrance and exit. The dark green outer shell appeared as one skin.

The man cut his zucchini into slices. He poked the flesh, pleased at the firm buttery like texture. A little on the large side, he thought of the seeds before tossing the slices into a pot with stewing tomatoes.


Lucy Zhang is a writer masquerading around as a software engineer. She watches anime and sleeps in on weekends like a normal human being. Her work has appeared in TIMBER, Ghost Parachute, Scoundrel Time, MoonPark Review, and elsewhere. She can be found at or on Twitter @Dango_Ramen.