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Part 7: Acts of Heroism During the Recent Alien Invasion
In Case of Alien Invasion - Break Glass
The Alfonso Greenbough Story
Alfonso Greenbough, Alf to his friends, when he actually had any, looked up from his bowl of tomato soup as the patio door shattered into a million pieces. Alf didn't bother to count the pieces as he was far more interested in the gray cylinder that came sliding like a fat hockey puck through the opening in the wake of that formidable wall of glass shards. With an ear splitting screech, it slid across the den and flattened his new Bausch and Lomb 4 inch reflector telescope against the front wall of the living room, causing the wall to bulge a little bit into the flower beds in front of the house.
When the wreckage had settled and the little glass bits stopped skittering across the tile floors in every direction, Alf laid down his soup spoon. He might as well have. His bowl of soup now had a skim of dirt and some bits of insulation floating on it and he was pretty sure there were some bits of glass in the bottom. Now that things were quiet, Alf wondered why he didn't run screaming from the room.
He ought to he supposed, but the way things had been going since the recession, he really didn't have enough gas in the car to get anywhere if he did try to run. It was a cinch his credit card wouldn't be working, even if Earth weren't experiencing some sort of alien invasion.
The alien invasion scenario occurred to him, he supposed, because of the squeaking. It sounded like someone unscrewing a rusty bolt. Now that he had become aware of it, he realized it was coming from the inside of the cylinder.
Now would have been a good time to run, but Alf rejected the idea. He'd seen too many sci-fi pictures on his now-demolished Sony flat screen to expect that any good would come from an attempt to drag his 280 pounds off the bar stool and get it going at the velocity necessary to escape certain doom. If they were casting him in a space alien picture, he knew he'd be “Fat Guy #3”, the one that screams like a girl as the aliens turn him into an amorphous pile of gelatin with their ray guns.
Even if he did escape, there would be all those days of running and hiding with no food, no water and no real chance of escaping the holocaust anyhow. Better to be vaporized in the first wave and get it over with. He got up, lumbered over to the fridge and snagged an Eskimo Pie from the freezer.
He started to go sit down on the stool again and wait for the Army or Delta Force of whoever would show up, but being a little curious, he drifted instead toward the wreckage-draped cylinder.
He couldn't see any markings. The cylinder was about 4 feet tall and 4 feet in diameter, like about the same shape as the large size can of cashews. On top was a round scored ring that looked like it might be the edges of some kind of door. The screwing sound seemed to be coming from there. He came close to the cylinder. It was kind of warm to the touch, but nothing unbearable. He laid his hand on the hatch-like circle on top.
Sure enough, he could feel a vibration like someone turning a bolt. About then there was a click, a moment of silence and then the unscrewing sound started again. He took a bite of his Eskimo pie and wondered whether there was something he ought to do to prevent the hatch from opening There didn't appear to be anything in particular in the way of a handle to grab hold of. It probably pushed up from inside.
Sometimes, when you least expect it, a simple solution to a problem presents itself fully formed in your head. In the wide world as it was for Alf, that didn't often happen. He hadn't found a job in 3 months of searching. His phone was cut off, the electric company was coming in the morning and his dog had died.. He was 38 years old, still single and his mother still called him three times a week to remind him that he was still an unemployed bachelor. So far, no solution to those problems had presented itself. In this case, however, Alf caught sight of the bar stool he'd recently been sitting on.
“Hmmph,” he shrugged and went to fetch the stool. He slid it up against the cylinder. Grasping the top edges, Alf climbed awkwardly up onto the stool, then stood, turned and sat down on the center of the hatch just as another click came from inside the cylinder. Again the screwing/unscrewing sound (he couldn't tell which, came from inside the object. He could feel the vibration through the seat of his pants. In another minute there was a third click then silence.
Suddenly, he felt the hatch bump a little beneath him. It didn't go anywhere, what with Alf's full weight on the lid. It bumped a few more times. Then, there was a thumping sound, then a banging – all growing more frantic by the moment. Suddenly, the entire cylinder rose about two feet.
“Thank heavens the living room has cathedral ceilings,” Alf thought. He peered over the edge and saw a metal leg extended beneath the cylinder. He checked around the edges of the cylinder and saw two more legs extended. Just as suddenly the whole thing dropped to the floor with a thud and then whatever was inside began banging on the hatch again.
Alf wondered if the Air Force was coming. Since they had closed Carswell over in Ft. Worth, the nearest air base was probably Shreveport. He wondered how long it would take them to get to Waxahachie from Shreveport. He wondered this, because he'd noticed through the missing patio door that there was a small three-legged something standing in his back yard with a satellite dish sticking out the top. It looked like the kind Dish Network uses. Several other protuberances were extending themselves at the moment and soon the structure looked like some kind of demented metal hedgehog. A door popped open in the side of the craft, but no one came out. Then the radar dish thing stopped doing anything and the whole thing just sat there waiting – probably for whoever Alf was sitting on.
Alf sat quietly, licking his Eskimo Pie and waiting for the end of the world, wondering how he would ever be able to replace his new flat screen in this economy when he was unemployed and his credit was ruined.
The Delta Force Team that burst through the doors and windows a half hour later almost shot him. Alf sat very still trying to look harmless. He heard ominous clicks and metallic sliding sounds as the six barrel chested soldiers slid to a half crouch inside the devastated living room, guns pointed straight at his chest.
“You guys have any idea what's in this thing?” Alf asked as the metal can rose and fell again.
“Yep,” one of the Delta's grunted. He signaled to a man by the front window who picked up a case and climbed through the opening. He picked up the stool the cylinder's movements had knocked over and climbed up beside Alf.
“Want me to move?” Alf asked.
“Nope,” the team leader said flatly.
“Look away,” the technician ordered and sparks began to fly next to Alf's butt. Three more showers of sparks and the tech ordered him to climb down. A pair of commandos helped him down off the cylinder.
“What is in that thing?” Alf asked.
“You don't wanna know,” the team leader pushed him out the door.
“We had to nuke Cleveland, Butte, Denver and Selma,” he offered helpfully.
“Dang,” Alf said, “I liked Cleveland. Did they get the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?”
“Elvis has left the building,” the man nodded and pushed Alf through the splintered front door frame out onto the lawn where the remains of this morning's “moving sale” lay strewn across the grass. Most of it, he could see, was still damp and ruined from the freak rainstorm that had struck that morning about 9 am.
“Watch your head,” the soldier told Alf as he pushed him into an armored personnel carrier.
"We'll need to take you back to Ft. Hood to debrief you for a couple of days.”
Alf smiled. Given the condition of the house now, he didn't mind so much that the bank was going to get it in a few days anyway. Besides, he'd heard that Army food wasn't all that bad these days.
"Got anything to eat in this can?” he hollered up to the driver in the turret on top as the engine spun up.
(c) 2011 by Tom King
* If you enjoyed this story check out Part 5