Author: Beppo PM
Basically, an extremely anti-climatic first contact, falling somewhere between actual humor and slightly off-beat weirdness. This is for everyone who loves Star Trek but secretly thinks that they occasionally take things a little too seriously.Rated: Fiction K - English - Sci-Fi - Words: 1,783 - Reviews: 3 - Favs: 1 - Published: 02-16-03 - id: 1236960
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
With All the Force of a Soggy Marshmallow,
I had parked the Explorer and was just getting in the door of the 7-Eleven when the storm got worse. It was thundering and lightening pretty bad at that point, so I wasn't all that eager to get my stuff and get out of there, even though I was just there to get some Doritos and Diet Coke. As a result, I found myself wandering around the wimpy little store, trying to look inconspicuous, because I've noticed that I have a tendency to look suspicious, and I didn't want to get myself kicked out of that place in the middle of a nasty summer storm.
Fortunately, there were a few other people with the same problem, so the clerk got to be suspicious about all of us at once. By the milk case, there was an old lady with a black rain hood still on that made her look like a nun. There was a girl I've known and hated forever, casually looking through magazines. There was a middle-aged woman with dyed hair and too much make-up getting coffee. And finally, a guy with awesome blue-black hair, the only male in the place, kind of hovering uncertainly near the door, looking at the rain.
Anyway, the guy had meandered over to the counter and bought some peanut butter M&M's, and was making his way back to the door to resume staring pensively at the weather. On his way, he had reached into his pocket and pulled out a Palm Pilot to mess with. That's when the lightening struck. Yeah, lightening. Inside the store. Crazy, I know. It actually hit the Palm Pilot, but the guy was just fine. He just smiled a little, blinked a few times and said brightly, "Wow!"
For some reason, this caused a major panic. I'm not really sure what exactly it was, maybe the combination of a natural disaster with unexpected cheeriness, but everyone simultaneously bolted for the women's bathroom. Why we all chose there, I don't know. I mean, we chose women's over men's because most of us were female, after all, but as for why we decided to take shelter in a restroom instead of, say, behind the counter, I can't figure. I guess because it has a lock, like that was really going to keep out killer lightening. The guy kind of got swept along with all of us panicking refuge-taking females.
So there we all were panting and looking shocked as we leaned against the walls like we trying to melt into them, and the idiot guy was just standing there munching his M&M's and playing Minesweeper or something. Eventually he kind of looked up, realized where he was, and blushed. We could tell he was a little embarrassed, because he grinned really weakly and laughed nervously.
Which was when everyone noticed that he had fangs. Not big rabid-wolf-type fangs, just little pointy teeth about where you would expect to see canines. After the lightening and everything, finding a sharp-toothed man in the women's bathroom was more than we could take, stress-wise.
The girl fainted. The clerk screamed. The woman started raving about vampires. The old lady pulled out some rosary beads and started chanting (hey, why not? What are you supposed to do with a vampire in the bathroom?).
We all made a mad dash for the bathroom door, leaving the unconscious girl on the floor to fend for herself. We all bolted through the 7-Eleven, crammed through the door, and ran for our respective vehicles, ignoring the fact that a pretty violent storm that was still raging. The vampire just trotted along behind us, looking confused and vaguely concerned.
It was dark and I had to wait (not very long) for a flash of lightening to find the key to start the Explorer. It took another flash of lightening before I realized that I was not alone. My new acquaintance, the vampire, was sitting beside me. He looked worried. "Do you think I could have a ride?" he asked anxiously.
"Where to?" My voice sounded like I should be coughing up stuff with the consistency of cream of wheat. I was very quietly having a panic attack.
"Anywhere is fine."
I pulled out of the parking lot, grateful that at least I had an amiable vampire. "How did I come to be driving down the street with a vampire in my car?" I asked, not that I really wanted an answer.
He looked confused and glanced into the back seat and then back at me. Comprehension dawned. "Me? You think I'm a vampire?" He looked offended. He went on without waiting for an answer. "I am an 'extra-terrestrial.' " You could really hear the quotes around the words in his voice, as if he had been waiting forever to say it. He stuck out a hand. "Pleased to meet you. My name's Steele."
I nodded, suddenly feeling very tired. There were no other cars on the road, as apparently everyone else was quite a heap smarter than I was, so I grabbed his hand and shook it, quite aware the whole time of the absurdity of the entire situation. "Right." I bumped the speed on the windshield wipers up a notch. "Steele's not a very alien name."
He turned to look at me with that expression people get when they're not sure if they're getting made fun of or not. "It's not really my name." He sounded a little peeved. "I adopted it for this trip."
"Uh," I grunted in response. I waited for him to say something else, but he got quiet, and it was up to me to carry the conversation. "So . . . what are you doing here?"
He cocked his head. "It's like . . . I don't know what they're called, but it's where you go to some place far away to take pictures of the animals."
"Like a safari?"
He pondered that. "Yes. Only more scientific."
Ah, I must say, there's no feeling quite like the one you get when you're driving around with a vacationing alien in the middle of downpour. I could feel a pretty bad case of hysterics coming on, so I cut off that train of thought in a hurry, and had to satisfy my hysterical urges with drumming on the steering wheel and suddenly developing a nervous facial tic.
Meanwhile, I was driving around pretty aimlessly, because, let's face it, I wasn't all that eager to show a fanged alien where I lived. "You sure there isn't any place you want me to take you?" Please say yes, my mind begged. Please.
He considered it for a few seconds, and then, poking at his Palm Pilot, (which I was starting to suspect probably was not really a Palm Pilot) requested, "The cemetery."
Lovely, I thought grumpily. The only thing better than a fanged alien is a fanged alien with a morbid streak. Nevertheless, I was pretty eager to get rid of him, so I turned west at the next street, and then north, and not long after we found ourselves there.
Steele shoved his Palm Pilot back into his pocket and got out of the Explorer, totally oblivious to the rain. I hesitated long enough to grab the ratty black umbrella I always carried in the back seat and sprinted after him.
Now, I'm okay with angels. In fact, I kind of like the idea of angels. Angel statues, however, are something else. Specifically, something creepy. Angel statues, especially in graveyards, are, I think, one of the scariest things man has ever come up with.
Which meant, of course, that Steele, with unerring accuracy, was messing around with something at the base of the largest angel statue in the whole place. Growling softly, I stalked over him. "What are you doing?" I challenged, keeping a wary eye on the statue above me the whole time.
He was crouching over a boxy cylinder on ground, about the length of a Cooper Mini or some other little European car, but only about half the height and width. He looked up at me. "I'm trying to manually override the starter."
I gave him my best eyebrows-up, what-the-heck-are-you-talking-about look. He sighed and rocked back on his heels. He tried to explain. "I'm leaving." I nodded. He patted the big metal oatmeal canister beside him. "And this thing is what I'm using." I nodded again. "And this thing," he waved his Palm Pilot, "generates (well, generated) a kind of . . . electro-magnetic field, which is what caused the short-out you saw earlier. So, usually, I'd use it as a starter, but it's still not acting quite right, so I'm trying to alter the circuitry so I can start it by hand."
I blinked blankly. He grimaced. "Did that translate right at all?"
After a few intense seconds of deep thought, I hazarded a guess. "You snapped off your key, so now you're trying to hot-wire your car."
He nodded genially. "Exactly." He looked back down at his means of transportation, fingered something on it that made a satisfying click, and grinned suddenly. "I think I did it."
I nodded silently. I was soaked, and confused, and in a cemetery with an alien. I had a sneaking suspicion that my tranquility was really just a trick my mind used to keep me from going crazy. Being this mellow, I reflected, was probably doing wonders for my blood pressure.
Steele, meanwhile, had crawled into the boxy cylinder until just his head was out, and was peering at me. "I'll be going, then," he said hesitantly. "It was a pleasure meeting you."
"The pleasure was mine," I responded automatically, ironically noting how little pleasure I had actually derived from the meeting. Steele smiled, and disappeared into his box. It flickered apathetically a few times, like I was watching it on an old TV during a wind storm, and then disappeared entirely.
The rain, I noted, had slowed to an anemic trickle that made me think of a small, incontinent dog. I sat down on the soggy ground and started to laugh insanely. The angel statue glared down at me.
See you later, Steele.