Chapter 7, "Story Time With Klaxie and Monica"
There are a great many card games I have learned to play in my years as a human on Earth. Some of these games are so complicated I don't ever want to play them again. Some are so inanely boring I want to stab my eyes out with a slender yet pointy object. Old Maid fell into the latter category. Even Klaxie's rippling slime folds did not make sitting around and playing Old Maid with him and Monica any more interesting. And to be completely honest with you, Monica's beeping was beginning to get on my nerves.
"Klaxie," I finally said, after an hour and a half of beeping and Old Maid, "I really want to do something else."
"Oh?" Klaxie responded. "Like what?"
"I don't know. Go home."
Klaxie made a sound similar to that of a vaccuum on a low setting, sucking up a pile of tiny rocks. "I don't know about that, Frig. Xlormp's promised me an entire new wardrobe from the Earth retailer of my choice should I keep you here against your will for three days."
Shoot. Bribery. Well, two could play at that game.
"Listen, Klaxie, Lou pulls all sorts of interesting clothes out of dumpsters all the time. He keeps them all in this big trash bag. I bet I could find you all sorts of neat stuff."
Klaxie's eyes goggled. I don't recall ever seeing Klaxie get bent out of shape enough to eye-goggle quite like this. "Frig, are you kidding? You expect me to wear...dumpster castoffs??" He grasped the purple velour tie around his neck, as if reminding himself that he still wore nice, fancy clothes that did not come out of a trash can. Everything was going to be okay.
I sighed pitifully. "The thing is, I just don't want to be stuck so far away from home when I'm not even with Xlormp and when I'm not even his girl-slave."
Klaxie looked meaningfully at Monica, who beeped quickly three times, and Klaxie nodded. "Frig, I've been thinking about the whole you-maybe-becoming-a-girl-slave thing. I've been thinking and thinking, and it has been plaguing me. With a deep, plaguing deepness."
I nodded to indicate I was listening. "So?"
"So it bugs me...and I think I know why."
"That's good," I conceded.
"I know why...and I want to tell you...in story form."
I jerked my head up. "What?" I demanded. This sounded worrisome.
Klaxie took Monica by the hand, and they both stood up. "Oh, yes, Frig, I have a story to tell." I scooted frantically backwards as our Old Maid table dissolved into the space floor, and from somewhere above us, a small, wooden apparatus lowered to the ground. It looked like...oh, crap.
"I want to tell you with sock puppets." It was a dang sock puppet theater set up. A sign painted on the front informed me that this production was titled "The Tale of an Alien and his Girl-Slave".
The lights dimmed. I began to panic slightly. What was the deal with everyone wanting to tell me their life stories all of a sudden? And leave it to Klaxie to be the only alien on the entirety of Zmeephish-Q with a whole sock puppet set up in his house.
A green, heavily tentacled sock popped up into view. "Hello," it said, "My name is Klaxie, and I am an alien." Jaunty music began to play. I had no idea where it came from. Klaxie made his sock puppet counterpart dance happily in time. "My alien family has spent many a year investigating this planet, 'Earth', because they think it would be fun to blow it up."
The music became dramatic, heavily stringed, and red lights shone onto the puppet arena. "But I do not want to blow up Earth! In fact, I like it here! It is so different from the cold and callous atmosphere of my home planet, whose only recreational pastime is playing foosball once a year."
At that moment, a new sock puppet appeared, one with long blond hair and a very sock-like face. "Who could that be?" Klaxie's puppet asked with sock-puppet speech. "She is magnificent! I shall ask her of her name!" The music changed to a lilting and wistful melody. "Oh, great beauty, speak unto me your Earth name!"
The other sock puppet replied, in a voice much like Klaxie imitating an Earth female, "My name is Monica, and I am the most beautiful human ever in the history of Earth!"
The Klaxie puppet clapped the best a sock puppet possibly could. "Hooray! A beautiful human! Perhaps you could hang out with me, and you could show me what wonders humanity has created with its human brains!"
Monica's puppet nodded. "Of course! I love aliens! I will show you how things work around here!"
I caught myself nodding off. I loved Klaxie and everything, but if you ask me, hearing about a love story between a human and an alien? Pretty dang boring. I tried to pay attention, though. I missed a little bit of the story thinking about how much I hated Xlormp right now because if I were at home, I wouldn't have to be watching some ridiculous sock puppet alien theater. But I forced myself to at least feign interest.
"Monica!" Klaxie's puppet was shrieking now, "My leader, Mr. Leader, has forced me to turn you into a girl-slave! Oh, what heart wrenching agony! Now, you will never again think with your own thoughts, and I will never again learn your humanly ways! It is sad for me. But at least we will be together forever." The music cried with the agony and pain of Klaxie's badly delivered lines, the lighting blue with the pain of his space heart. "I will love you forever, Monica, but not a day shall go by when I won't wish you still had that brain full of human trivia to entertain and amuse me with." The tentacled puppet laid a soft yet bittersweet kiss on the Monica puppet, which beeped with great emotion, this time in Monica's real beeping voice. So Monica was in on the puppet show. I should have known.
The lights came up, and the puppet theater stage thing shot back into the air above our heads, like a rocket ship. (In stage form.)
Klaxie stood, clutching Monica to his approximate alien breast. He gazed sorrowfully into my eyes. "So now you know, Frig, how Xlormp maybe feels about things." I tried not to listen to his words, they made me feel too crappy about wanting to be forever attached to Xlormp's side and not having to worry all the time about other alien races eating my brains. But I could see Klaxie's point, I guess. It even looked like Monica maybe wished herself that she were not a brain-dead copy cat.
I had absolutely every intention of replying with a carefully arranged response. However, I did not get to cram the words out of my vocal chords via the passageway of my enunciating mouth. Because at that moment, a loud crashing sound forced me to turn my attention to the window facing outside. A tiny (yet stupidly loud) spaceship, bright orange and kind of shaped like a snowman on its side, sat blinking on Klaxie's lawn. Before I had a chance to wonder what all this business was about, Christopher's voice boomed through an intercom.
"Sorry, Klaxie," it said. "Can't have my girl getting kidnapped by aliens, you understand." And the next thing I knew, I was not in Klaxie's living room anymore. I was on Christopher's personal spaceship.
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