Chapter 15, "Christopher is Uncomfortably Forward With Me"
Christopher made up a really nice pallet thing for me to sleep on. I had lots of cuddly blankets, a few stuffed animals, a book of poetry, and a single red rose laid across the pillow. Pretty high class, if you ask me.
"You'll be safe here, you know," Christopher cooed, delicately arranging a row of plush bunnies in a semi-circle.
"Christopher, what is the deal with your dad?" I asked. It had really been bugging me, how glaringly nutballish Mr. Haberdash was.
"Oh. Well, if you'd been hunting aliens your entire life, and you had to deal with people's reactions when you told them your chosen profession, you'd probably become something of a whack job yourself."
"Ah." I had so many questions for Christopher. So many curoisities that swirled in the boiling cauldron of my heart. Questions like, "Does he know how to get in touch with Zmeephish-Quians?" Or, "Do you think I should stop giggling over my arch-nemesis?" Or even, "Could you stop giving me that creepy grin?"
There was a clanking noise, followed by a banging on the door. A robotic voice said, "Requesting permission to enter."
Christopher rolled her eyes. "Yeah, Hector, you can come in." As the door opened and Hector 2.0 clanked into the room, Christopher whispered to me, "We've gotten a lot closer since he's become a robot."
Hector sat his robot butt down on Christopher's bed. He stared at me. It creeped me out a little. But also it sort of intrigued me. I'd never been stared at by a robot before. At least, by one that didn't want to kill me. I looked into Hector 2.0's eyes, trying to discern if, inside the pounds of metal, there lived any remnant of my almost-friend.
"Hi, Hector," I hazarded.
"Hello, Frig," Hector 2.0 responded appropriately. "I love you."
Well, that was weird. I'd certainly never had a robot in love with me before.
Christopher sprang up from lighting a few atmospheric, mood-setting scented candles, and ran over to asses the situation. "Oh, he just says that, you know. Part of his programming." She nodded firmly.
"Really?" I incredulated. "He's programmed to love me?"
"He's programmed to love everyone!" she exacted emphatically, turning to Hector 2.0. "Watch. Hi, Hector!"
Hector 2.0 turned his head to look her in the eye. "Hello, Christopher. I love Frig."
Christopher laughed a weird, screechy laugh. It made my ears hurt. "Okay, well, maybe Hector 2.0 should begin shutdown procedures early?" she mentioned suggestively. She poked at a few buttons that I couldn't see, and Hector 2.0 slumped over, immobile.
"Sorry about that," Christopher said.
"Hey, Christopher?" I asked.
"Yes?" Christopher replied, whipping her head around to gaze gently upon my visage.
"Do you ever wonder why Hector got turned into a robot, and not you?"
It seemed like this may not have been the question she was hoping to hear.
"I wonder a lot of things, Frig." Her voice seemed wistful, far away. "I wonder about the stars and the moon, I wonder about the birds and the butterflies, I wonder...about you."
"I kind of wonder why Hector got turned into a robot, and not you."
Christopher's face drooped. "Daddy hates me," she sputtered, her voice leaning towards that pathetic, I'm-about-to-cry quality. Without warning, she did start crying, and thrust her head into my shoulder. She was getting her nasty tears all over my shirt. I held back my urge to punch her in the face.
"He has always hated me, ever since I told him I wouldn't wear a dress to his stupid Alien Hunting Guild inauguration ball."
Her wails grew louder now, threatening to turn eardrum shattering if I didn't do anything. The whole time, I couldn't help but be hyper-aware of the inanimate robot sitting on the bed, gleaming metallically in the candlelight.
I did my best to wrest her off of my shoulder, and I looked her in the eye. "Hey, Christopher, listen. You're way more bad ass than your dad any day, because you can kill aliens with giant guns."
She sniffed. "That's true."
"And anyway, being a robot seems kind of sucky."
She sniffed again, glancing at the unmoving Hector 2.0. "That's also true."
"And the thing is, I really don't want to make out with you."
I watched her lower lip quiver unnervingly. She did that weird, high-pitched laugh again. "Well, I don't want to make out with you, either! That's crazy."
The silence that followed was pretty awkward. Christopher stood up and shuffled around a little bit, I checked to see if my nails were still attached to my fingers (they were), Christopher blew out a couple of candles, I ran my fingers through my staggeringly beautiful hair, Christopher ate a sandwich, I wished I had a sandwich.
Finally, Christopher jumped in the air and clapped her hands. "I have an idea," she said.
"What is your idea?" I queried intently.
"Let's sneak out and go to The Place."
I sighed. "Christopher, no offense, but you always seem to have problems finding The Place. And anyway, I've been there and it's not interesting anymore."
"It changes, though! Different aliens land, sometimes it's empty, sometimes it's a bustling metropolis. Sometimes, they have free cake."
My head jerked up. "Cake? Free?"
Christopher nodded, seeing the effect this news had on me. "Free alien cake."
I couldn't even imagine what alien cake would taste like. What if it tasted like crap? What if it tasted delicious? There was only one way to find out.
"Okay, Christopher, let's go."
Christopher and I wandered around Spatulas, after dark, in our nighties. I felt stupid, I'll tell you that right now. Probably, I should have changed back into normal clothes or something. But I'd let this woman tantalize me with promises of cake, and now here I wandered, cold and somewhat alluring.
I did my best to keep at least two feet of personal space around me at all times, but Christopher kept trying to hold my hand, or grasp my arm, or lick my neck. All of these things bothered me in ways I can't fully describe. I found myself missing Hector and the annoying gifts he brought me all the time. Would he bring me gifts as a robot?
What did that even matter? I'd never liked Hector. He bothered me. Everyone bothered me. Damn it, was I dealing with more of this "feeling" crap? Call me crazy, I just wasn't in the mood right now.
About two-thirds of the way to The Place, we happened upon a small clearing, with words burned into the grass. They read, "WATCH YOUR BACK, FRIG. I AM ALWAYS WATCHING. HUGS AND KISSES, CLIFF".
"Whoa," Christopher whoaed. "Looks like Cliff is a creepy stalker."
I have to admit, despite the dude's completely ten on the adorability scale, this sort of creeped me out. I tapped Christopher on the shoulder, ignoring my own personal bubble. "Do you think your dad's robots can take Cliff?" I asked.
Christopher rolled her eyes. "Frig, I took on butt tons of Tallybonkers all at once, by myself. I'm pretty sure dad's robots can handle one."
The cold wind blew through my extremely revealing nightie, and I shivered. "But Christopher, this one means business."
She put a hand on my shoulder. "It's one microscopic creature that can do absolutely nothing on its own. I wouldn't worry."
But I was worried. I worried for Lou's front lawn. If Cliff could do this to the grass out in the middle of nowhere, he could certainly singe some blades at the plywood mansion. And why stop there? Why not just burn down the mansion? Teensy as he was, Cliff suddenly seemed inexplicably formidable.
So deep in thought was I that I didn't even notice we had made it successfully to The Place. Christopher had to nudge me strongly, and point at the flashing "WELCOME TO THE PLACE!" marquee.
"Let's have some fun," Christopher winked at me. The Place was definitely more animated than the last time I was here. There were tents set up with brightly colored signs hocking alien wares, quick spaceship fixes, foods, games, all kinds of crazy ridiculousness. Christopher pointed at one particular booth, which read, "Galactic Cakery (Cakes from all around the Galaxy)".
Mmmm, I thought deliciously to myself, I could get into some Galactic Cakery. I allowed Christopher's fingers to linger as she led me to the enticing booth, and I began preparing myself for the mysteries of alien caking I would soon discover.
However, as we made our way over, I saw something. Out of the corner of my eye. I turned my head, not willing to believe...but there could be no mistaking. I had seen it, I was still seeing it, a large, green, slimy alien, tentacles gripping an enormous rocket launcher, aimed directly at me and Christopher.
As if in slow motion, his flipper lovingly caressed the trigger, fondled it, made love to it, then, passionately, pressed it in.
I heard only my voice as the explosion cascaded throughout The Place:
"DAMN IT, SCHMEERTZ!"
There are other chapters, and they lie this way, should you dare to click on them.
Guys! Are any of you NaNoWriMoers attending your local Night of Writing Dangerously? I'm pretty sure the official one in California happens tomorrow night, but my area is hosting one TONIGHT. Can I tell you how dang tired I am just thinking about it? Tired, but also excited, as my word count is still languishing around the "pitiful" zone, and I'm prepared to bust out words like nobody's business tonight. Unfortunately, unless I can talk my own arch-nemesis into letting me do some sort of Night of Writing Dangerously Special, I won't be able to see my word count from tonight until next Friday.
ANYWAY, to those of you who are way behind like me, do not give up, we can do this! To those of you that are way ahead or already finished, congratulations! I'm only a little bitter!