Story Go Round 6/28/2008, #1

Invasion of the Cut-Rate Aliens

(post-titled by Amber)

Forty nine years ago they had surged out of the heavens in impossible numbers, coming down on us like hail falls in the spring - suddenly, hard, the noise drowning out all other sound. I was not there. I heard it told to me by my infirm grandfather, spoken in a halting, haunted contralto. "First, they set up at City Hall and in the schoolhouses, and there was even some in the bus station. For some reason they wouldn't go near the fire stations, but pretty near everything else was fair game."

"Was it scary?" I asked eagerly.

"It was SIR-REAL," he'd always say, and now I was old enough to understand what that word actually meant. (Growing up I'd thought it meant he was a monarchist, but there were other contributing factors to that theory). "Eventually, we learned where we could hide to be safe, when they would come after us with their long dangling claws and ill-fitting baseball caps. They never followed you into a drug store, or the ladies' wear in a department store - vacant lots were iffy. But they'd post sentries near any place like that, just so they knew what was going on there."

"What was going on? Were you planning a rebellion?"

"Shopping mostly," he said airily, "but sometimes we'd use the time to complain about the invasion and criticize their appearance, maybe there'd be talk of moving but no one ever actually started packing or anything."

"How come?"

"Because they gave us great deals," he said. "Not only would they steal and loot valuable household goods & clothes and sell it at a markdown, they also brought some great purchases from other planets, and sold them off the tailgate of their spaceship."

"How could they surge out of the heavens in impossible numbers if they only had one ship?"

My grandfather eyed me warily. "It was really big."

Grandma, who usually went out whenever I came over to visit, had been forced to stay home today when her car wouldn't start. Now she added: "That's what we meant by impossible - there was only one." Under her breath she muttered 'brainless boy, too dumb to live' then she patted me on the head and gave me a quick peck on the cheek.

"Do you have anything still that you bought from outer space, grandpa?" I asked with wide-eyed wonder.

"Well, there's your grandma..." he began with a chuckle.

"Now Harold," she admonished him affectionately, "Don't you start with that again."

"But you were the best deal I ever got - why shouldn't I tell the world!"

Grandma rolled her eyes. "Because you got gypped Cyrus, totally ripped off. My vendors laughed so hard at the deal they were making with you one split a gizzard and had to be sub-lighted back to the homeworld! As a matter of fact, they're still laughing at you now!"

"Well if they had known how fertile you were and had 20 kids to a litter, they wouldn't be laughing. Do you know how many kids I adopted out at a profit?"

I was worried now. "You guys are fooling around, right? Right?"

"Of course we are," Grandpa winked. "I paid top dollar for her, and she was worth every penny."

Clicking Harold Cyrus S100 off with a particularly snazzy snap of her fingers, Grandma folded him up into a small wad and used one of his pockets to contain him in. "Sorry you had to see that, boy," she said sympathetically, "but it's time for us to retire."

She grabbed me and I saw alien eyes looking out of her face - they throbbed and spun till I was hypnotised and drooling at her feet. But I still got out my heart's desire, strangling on my tongue at every word: "Take ... me ... with ... you."

"Psah, boy," she said kindly, "Yer too dumb to live, too stupid to die. Take care now. Grandma loves you," and she was gone.

It started to hail.