Monday, July 30, 2007

The alien and the colorful candy, a tale of Halloween

“Give me your things?” the alien said. His voice was demanding but he made no move to emphasize his demand--like holding out his skinny arm and three-fingered hand. And it had ended its demand with a question mark. What should have been his mouth moved like an oval string but human signs like lips and teeth remained hidden.

“No,” said the boy. He was dumbfounded by this sight of a creature--for surely at this age he had known aliens as, well, alien--although “alien” as his dad used the word seemed to him to be a human his dad didn’t think much of--about his height with a glowing chrome dome head, skinny, with round mouth and no nose and two big ears but then, this was Halloween. This wasn’t Jimmy McMurtry ‘cause Jimmy was taller than he by a head, and this alien was about half-a-head shorter, and it wasn’t Amy Jossie since the creature didn’t have, well, those things girls that age have--kind of. And it wasn’t his brother because his brother was just here ten minutes ago.

“I’ll take ‘em,” said the alien. His voice sounded local but a bit mechanical. Mimic wasn’t a word the boy knew much. But, his dad had said on many occasions, you can’t always tell a yankee by his accent.

“Get your own,” the boy said and hugged the unopened bag to his chest. Halloween wasn’t until night after next so this jerk was pushing the limit. His dad said to stand up to bullies and now was his chance although the boy had no sense of his danger.

“I said, I want those,” pointing towards the Skittles. The word “Skittles” hadn’t been heard by the alien so he--its sex being one of the great unknowns--couldn’t say s-k-i-t-t-l-e-s.

“And I said, ‘no.’”

“I can take them away from you. I can tractor beam (he’d heard this over the video screen recognizing it as something he could do) and just take ‘em away from you.”

“Try it and I’ll throw them away. I’ll--I’ll--I’ll pour ‘em down the drain!” He ripped open the bag and made to dump them down the gutter.

“No!” yelled the alien and made a step towards the boy.

The boy tipped the bag but stopped. Bluff time.

“Who are you,” said the boy.

“Who am I? Who are you?”

“I asked you first.”

First also was not a concept in the language of the alien. The alien was flummoxed, momentarily.
“I want those,” he repeated.

“Not gonna happen,” said the boy. He tipped a few Skittles into his hand and popped them into his mouth. The alien gawked at this defamation. To put something into this mouth--what we call mouth, at least--was tantamount to turning something into excrement. The boy munched and crunched and about swallowed the handful of Skittles whole. He did his best to not choke. “I’ll eat ‘em all,” he said with his mouth full, “and what I can’t eat I’ll throw away.” He gobbled a few more and some spilled onto the ground. By telepathy or some form of voodoo the boy had no way to understand, or appreciate, the alien pulled the few loose Skittles towards him and seemed to pocket them where there were no pockets. The boy continued to gawk, open mouthed, open eyed, colorful pebbles dissolving in his mouth. “How’d you do that?” he said. Finally. He had to inhale first even if he didn’t recognize that essential to speaking.

“It’s a secret. Now, give me those.”

“Blow it out your butt!” The boy made an inquisitive glance towards the rear end of the alien.

The alien made no move but the boy had to take a step to balance himself against some tug, some force, some pull towards the creature that he didn’t understand. The boy clutched the Skittles to his chest. His nerves were coming unraveled and he could feel his pulse and temperature rise.

In a moment the tugging ceased. The alien drooped his already featureless shoulders. The effort to beam an 80 pound object was tiring. His parent could do it with ease. Pull something the size of --he looked around--a car although “car” wasn’t the word he applied. The alien focused on a rolled-up newspaper on the stoop. The rubber band broke and the paper exploded in the breeze. A garbage can lid sailed off the can as the can tumbled over, the lid zinged just over the alien’s head. He ducked. The can rolled once or twice and rattled to a stop.

The boy watched this show of force. He was impressed at one level, scared at another, defiant in the end. Then he felt another tug. A lone Skittle, in his hand, shot over the gap to the alien and disappeared where the mouth ought to have been. The newspapers on the stoop rustled to the alien’s legs and crowded around his feet.

In a moment, in the quiet of the afternoon, against the clear blue October sky, a white beam of light illuminated a spot about ten feet from the alien. The boy’s eyes brightened. He sensed, rather than saw, the black space ship at the end of the beam, way up high, almost higher than he could see, maybe as high as the jets fly, a black ball perhaps. He wanted to look at the black ball--a billiard ball?--but didn’t want to not look at the alien at the same time. The light beam traveled around the alien for a moment--2 or 3 seconds perhaps--as if searching. The beam poised over the alien. Instantly, the alien was gone. The newspapers were gone. The street litter was gone. The leaves were gone. The beam was gone. Everything vacuumed. Inhaled. Dust fingers rose around the echo of the light shaft. The kid stood opened mouth staring at empty blue sky. The billiard ball was gone. He stared at the empty street. Empty everything in front of him just out of reach. He was still unaware of the power of the demonstration. He only knew one thing.

Sure as heck hadn’t been Jimmy McMurtry.


Post a Comment

Comments are always welcome. Thanks. If in doubt about which profile to choose from, use "anonymous."

<< Home