Chapter 24, "Official Voting Time"
Before I could open my mouth to say, "Forget you, obnoxious hater pants," Xlormp and I found ourselves beamed onto the main deck of Mr. Leader's spaceship, and in a very compromising position, I might add. Mr. Leader appraised us dubiously, and Xlormp haphazardly removed his tentacle from my ear.
"So," Mr. Leader said, adjusting his hat, "We meet again, Friggen' Gorgeous."
I nodded. "I guess so." Glancing around the room, I saw Klaxie and Schmeertz with their respective girl-slaves, standing at attention as they watched Mr. Leader. Klaxie waved at me. Schmeertz glared at me.
"That's enough of formalities, wouldn't you say? On to business." The rude alien began pacing. "We thought that by abandoning you on Earth, we could end this sudden bout of attention the Zmeephish-Quians have slowly been gaining around the alien community. You see, Frig, it turns out that aliens don't like knowing there's a human out there aware of our presence. It bothers them. It disturbs them. Humans are funny to us, because they are so easy to manipulate.
"HOWEVER," he cried, flinging up every available limb as he said it, "That doesn't mean we don't want to take over your planet. It's very important to us, because as aliens, we don't have a lot to do. There's only so many times you can play Foosball before the thrill starts to wear thin."
I'd forgotten how painfully boring and obnoxious I found Mr. Leader. I really hadn't missed him. He kept yammering about the sanctity of alien-kind, how my relationship with Xlormp was unnatural and creepy, how nobody ever loved him as a child and how he hated my guts for ruining his chances to colonize Earth and also because I existed and he liked holding grudges.
"Frig, the point I'm trying to make here," he continued agonizingly, "is that you simply cannot continue dating Xlormp and keep your brain. We've been trying to work through peace negotiations with the tallybonkers, and now we've got to deal with the Blobbersons. Do you know how irrational and snippy they are? That will be such a pain in the butt. Especially if they decide to start randomly killing our families. You have no idea how taxing that gets."
Xlormp held up a flipper. "Can I say something here?"
"No," Mr. Leader rebuffed snottily. He then sighed dramatically. "This is a tender issue, Frig. Normally, alien lovers get converted into girl-slaves and there is no drama, but since Xlormp is a big sissy pants and seems to enjoy the fact that you still listen to his whims despite your stupid human brain, we're going to have to put this up to a team vote."
He tapped thrice on the cold, hard, metallic floor, and a podium emerged from the ship's depths. It had a sign on it that said, "Official Voting Podium" in pink glitter.
"Voting now open: Should the whiny and obnoxious human Friggen' Gorgeous be turned into a girl-slave for Xlormp, yay or nay?" He raised a flipper. "Me first!" Then, nodding his head sagely, "Yay."
He pointed to Xlormp. "Nay," Xlormp wibbled, for he had begun his pathetic wibbling again. Luckily he had yet to burst into gross tears.
Mr. Leader pointed to Schmeertz and Candy. Schmeertz said, "Yay," and Candy said, "Word." Which we all took to mean "yay".
Then it was Klaxie and Monica's turn. Monica beeped wildly. Klaxie turned to gaze at Xlormp and I, his eyes wistful. Then, staring Mr. Leader down hard, he said, "Nay."
Mr. Leader's eyes swiveled around crazily. "I'm sorry?" he said.
"I said 'Nay'. It's not fair that she should have to give up thinking completely quite yet. She's got so much thinking she could do in the future. She might actually think of something useful!"
I felt a swelling in my heart. A swelling of some emotion that made me give a crap about every alien on this ship, even Mr. Leader, who pissed me off in ways I didn't realize I could be pissed off. I wanted to do something. For Xlormp. For myself. I raised my hand. "Do I get a vote?"
"No," Mr. Leader snipped curtly.
"Because I vote 'Yay'," I said.
"WHAT?" Klaxie and Xlormp yelled yellingly.
"Oh, well, then, of course you get to vote!" Mr. Leader cried jovially. "Frig's vote is the tie-breaker, Xlormp, turn her into a girl-slave!"
"No!" my alien love monkey demanded.
"Fine, I'll turn her," Mr. Leader uttered using his voice.
"But then she'll be your girl-slave!" the most precious green being ever to slime across a room delicately enunciated.
"Well, then, man up and do it yourself!" Mr. Leader berated stoutly.
"I can't!" I could see hints of dripping from various parts of Xlormp's body. I didn't want him to explode all nasty all over everything.
"Listen, lovekins, it's the only way for you to be safe! I love you and stuff, and you being unsafe would be..." I had an epiphany, and I realized that I meant what I said. "You being unsafe would be bad."
"HEY," Klaxie loudly volumized, "I have what may be a better idea!"
Mr. Leader turned surreptitiously to the sharply dressed alien. "Yes?"
"Okay. Frig is a danger because she knows stuff, but Xlormp loves her because she knows stuff, theoretically."
Mr. Leader nodded. "Boring so far."
"Anyway, what if we just bring her with us and promise everyone she'll never interact with another Earthling ever again?"
"Ooh, Xlormp, I like that plan!" I squeaked. Living on a spaceship with aliens? Never having to interact with another human being ever again? What could be more perfect?
"But then she won't get to live the rest of her life on Earth!" Xlormp insisted.
"Yes, that's kind of the point," Klaxie mentioned.
"Can I just say that if everyone had just let me kill her, none of this would be happening?" Schmeertz pointed out.
"Shut up, Schmeertz," Klaxie and Xlormp announced simultaneously.
"Can I undo my vote?" I asked.
"No take-backs," Mr. Leader said, sticking his tongue out at me.
"Actually," Klaxie said lithely, "The Voting Handbook states that only aliens and girl-slaves may vote. Therefore, Frig's vote doesn't count, and the votes are tied. Therefore, no decision can be made until this matter is discussed in a full-fledged alien trial. And therefore, Frig has to stay right where she is, with her brain in tact."
Mr. Leader seemed defeated. He liked rules. He had no argument.
"I'm staying with her," Xlormp insisted, grabbing me in a way that made my stomach feel all fluttery. I wondered if anyone would notice if I stuck my hand into his slime folds.
Mr. Leader blanched and guffawed a few times. Finally, a space envelope that said "Official Verdict" erupted from the Official Voting Podium. Mr. Leader took it warily, as if opening this envelope would crush all of his hopes and dreams, even that one from when he was three about wanting to be a used vacuum salesman, and he just couldn't face that reality.
"Oh, give it to me," Klaxie said, and grabbed the envelope out of Mr. Leader's hands, ripping it open as Mr. Leader stood, stunned, and watched. "It says it's a tie. This is iron-clad. It's being transmitted as we speak to the higher-ups. If you turn her now, you could get into some serious red tape."
Mr. Leader's approximate shoulders slumped. "I hate red tape."
"Then drop Frig and Xlormp back off and take care of things properly."
Mr. Leader rounded on me. "You may have escaped this time, Frig, but I do not take kindly to defeat. Or clown fish, incidentally. You've made yourself an enemy of mine, and I won't rest until your brain is mush in my hands."
I snickered. "It's cuter when Cliff does it," I said.
"Anyway, we'll be going now!" Xlormp cried, hitting the teleportation button before Mr. Leader could make any more hilarious threats. We landed back in front of the humble abode I shared with Lou.
"Frig," Xlormp whispered, barely audible.
"What?" I said, hoping he would speak up so I could hear him more clearly.
"You don't have to give up your brain for me."
"I do," I whimpered stupidly. "I've thought a lot about things since you've been gone, and I realized that sometimes I actually care for people. Or aliens, in this case. And I care for you. And not just in a sexual way. Which is weird, so just go with me on this. If the only way to keep the Blobbersons from killing off your friends and family is to become your girl-slave, well, it could be worse. I could be dead."
Xlormp nodded. "True."
"But anyway, we shouldn't even think of that right now," I pointed out. "We've got my whole bedroom to ourselves, and I don't know about you, but it's been a while."
I bit his ear appendage alluringly. Xlormp's eyes goggled madly, and I knew what he was thinking about. I knew because I thought it, too. And our thinking minds merged in a combined effort to get our butts to the bedroom.
Chapters are like an early Christmas gift.
"The End" hasn't happened yet! Stay tuned for the Epilogue on Monday!