This story was in a collection from the early 1980s that I think contained only stories of alien encounters from various authors.

In this story, set in the near future, the protagonist is an ex-congressman who lost re-election and returns to his family's junkyard, maybe in New Jersey. I remember his name being Pierce Sansoni or something close to that. He visits a neighboring junk dealer who claims he has 20 of some kind of machine or equipment. One canister is open and contains the expected item. The protagonist buys 10 of the canisters and returns home.

His father reminds him to "keep the stock UP!" and sends him back to buy the other 10 canisters the next day. After being stopped due to a single car wreck with a missing driver, he gets to the neighboring junk dealer's yard to find it destroyed and the man dead. As he returns home, a spaceship descends and wrecks his vehicle and he wakes up in the alien ship. He is held in an oxygen filled plastic bubble epoxied to a corner of the control room. There is a woman also being held in the bubble - she is the driver from the wrecked car. There are four insect-like aliens who use pictures to show him that they are looking for the remaining 10 canisters. The two humans are able to escape and steal a car to return to the family junkyard.

The next morning the father, the protagonist and his brother set a trap for the aliens using the canisters as bait. When the aliens arrive, the humans have a welded cage over the canisters that takes all four aliens to remove. This gets them all out of the ship and the humans open fire using a variety of weapons. Once the aliens are killed, the father is able to open one of the canisters to review a totally human looking alien in suspended animation. The alien wakes two more of his people who then recover the remaining 7 canisters and leave in the ship (which belonged to them all along). The junk dealing father keeps the three canisters that the woken aliens came from, reminding his son again to "keep the stock UP!".

Two other details: the insect-like aliens are called something like Wheescricks and the human aliens say a phrase that sounds something like "sally constantine".

I think I remember these details fairly accurately, but the name of the story, book and author escape me and I would really like to read this again. Any help is very much appreciated!

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    Why do they attack the aliens? Isn't t obvious that it is treason against the human species to attack aliens and possibly anger them enough to make them want to exterminate humanity? Commented May 24, 2023 at 2:23

1 Answer 1


The Junk Man Cometh by Robin Scott Wilson. Published in Worlds of If, August 1966, which is where I read it, though you probably read it in the 1982 anthology Flying Saucers.

Flying Saucers

One of the principles which had guided my father, Albert San­soni, to a highly successful career as a junk dealer was to Keep the Stock Up. Pop would buy anything if the price were right and the quan­tity meaningful, always confident that somebody, somewhere would someday pay him a higher price for it.

The aliens are called the Wheeskricks:

The Wheeskrick's pictures had been pretty clear. So had his blows. Old man Jacobs must have stumbled on the Wheeskrick's cargo, when they had off-loaded it to repair some trouble in their ship. He'd swiped it during one of the sleep periods, sold it the way he sold other hot goods - quickly and cheap­ly - and now the Wheeskricks were doing all they could to recover it.

The humans in the canisters say "Sally Constantinople":

I looked at that cannister and saw dollar signs and campaign posters and 3-D time. I looked up at Pop, across the cannister, and saw shock. I moved toward him and looked back at the cannister.

A man lay in the other half. An old fellow, maybe sixty or so. His eyes were open, and he was grinning at us. He was naked as a jay bird. He sat up, did something to the maze of instruments in the cannis­ter's other half and climbed to his feet, stepping gingerly out onto the grass. He looked about him, taking in the ship, the dead Wheeskricks and the five of us. Then he bowed to Pop, crooked his elbow and swung it in a short circle in some sort of ceremonial gesture and said some­ thing like "Sally Constantinople". Pop, who has dealt with a lot of odd ones in his life, didn't blink an eye. He crooked his elbow and waggled it in the same sort of stiff gesture and answered: "Sally Constantin­ople, to you, buster."


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