Hollywood agent Tom Stein gets the shock of his life when his boss Carl tells him to take on a new client; an alien being called Joshua.
Joshua is the representative of a race of aliens called the Yherjak, the have a ship in orbit and want to make first contact with humanity. But they are amoeba like creatures that communicate mainly through smell, and after investigating out pop culture and scifi films they realize that they resemble stereotypical alien monsters. For this reason they've contacted the agency to reveal their presence slowly.
Tom takes Joshua home to keep him hidden and when Tom's old dog has a heart attack the alien melds with it, taking over its body. Realizing the opportunity Tom starts contracting out Joshua for dog roles and soon has a hit on his hands.
Meanwhile one of Tom's old clients, Michelle Beck, is bugging him for a role in a serious Holocaust movie. Beck is a b-movie starlet with one hit under her belt and not up for the task, but Tom tries to keep her happy. He also has to dodge a tabloid reporter sniffing around for scandal.
When Michelle suffers an on-set accident Joshua and Tom sneak her onto the alien ship in hopes of saving her life through a meld, but this causes a scandal among the Yherjak for whom melding with a sentient creature is taboo.
Tom convinces them to save her and Joshua melds again, adding Michelle's mind to the dog and his own. Now with the body of a beautiful woman and a mind full of life experiences, Tom realizes that not only does he have a great actor on his hands but potentially the best ambassador the Yherjak could ask for.
Best part of story, including ending:
It's a funny new twist on the first contact story, with savvy aliens that don't fall into the usual clueless-foreigner trope.
Best scene in story:
When Tom first encounters Joshua in the body of the dog, Tom's initial horrified reaction is played for laughs and Joshua's nonchalance makes it work.
Opinion about the main character:
He's clever and knows the stakes are high, but still has a job to do and all the mundane stuff that goes with that.