Chapter 10, "A Short Chapter With Dialogue In It"
Xlormp and Christopher argued a little while over who should have the right to officially debrief me. Three epic rounds of Rock/Paper/Flipper later, Christopher totally won. I tried not to notice Xlormp's sad pants face as he scooted off to his spaceship to wait.
"If both of you are working together, why can't you both debrief me?" I asked curiously.
Christopher snorted. "Try to picture that and see how it goes."
I tried. I saw it ending in drawn weapons and laser vision.
"And anyway, he'd leave things out," she truthfully assessed.
Lou finally got tired of freaking out over his missing friends and collapsed onto the lawn, fast asleep.
"I should probably move him to his room," I considered thoughtfully. How nice of me.
"Leave him," Christopher said, dragging me inside. "We have much to discuss."
Indeed we did. Over the next hour and a half, Christopher divulged in great detail everything she and the Zmeephish-Quians knew about the Tallybonker threat. She used a lot of big words and alien jargon, and I may have dozed off a few times in the middle during the long technical parts. But the most important bits that I hadn't yet learned included: #1 - Cliff didn't just want my brain, he wanted me dead, like his parents were dead. #2 - He'd managed to run a successful campaign to organize almost every regiment in the Tallybonkonian army, except for two which considered it a suicide mission and refused to fly. #3 - Christopher had bought a new pink tank top on sale at the thrift store last Tuesday, and it went along stunningly with her spring flower flip-flops. And #4 - The group of Tallybonkers readying their surprise attack (sometime in the next few weeks, they gave no clues as to the exact moment) would be far too large for Christopher to take out with her standard issue Megalizer Ray, the weapon she'd used to save me the first time.
"So what do you think?" She asked me when she'd finally shut up.
"I think pink will do nothing for your skin tone," I responded casually.
Her eyes flickered a little bit. "Oh. I thought you liked pink."
The walkie-talkie crackled. "Frig's favorite color is taupe," Hector 2.0 explained.
Chritopher's nose wrinkled. "Taupe? Really?"
I shrugged. "So?"
"Oh, I guess it's not important..." Christopher turned her back to me, and whispered something quickly into her walkie-talkie. I couldn't be one hundred percent sure, but it sounded like she said, "Cancel the pink balloon bouquet." She turned back to me, smiling. "I'm gonna go home now, I think," she gushed sappily, "but I wanted to invite you over for dinner tonight. Dad's making meatloaf."
I contemplated the ramifications of Mr. Haberdash in the kitchen, thought better of it, and said, "That's okay. I think Lou is digging around in the dumpster for dinner, and I wouldn't want to miss that."
"Oh, come on, Frig, pleeeeeeeeeeeeease?" Christopher clasped her fingers firmly together and batted her eyes coquettishly. "I promise there will be no interpretive dance."
I considered it. I pondered it. I even spent a little time mulling it over. Finally, I opened my mouth and said, "I'll ask Xlormp."
That didn't seem to be the answer she wanted. She threw her arms up in exasperation and cried, "He's so freaking slimy! I don't even know why you like him, anyway."
It occurred to me that this response might be the outpouring of some pent up rage, not just a reply to my decision.
"Christopher, I don't believe that you should knock it until you've tried it," I pointed out suggestively.
"Ew," the voice of Christopher's robot brother issued forth via the walkie-talkie.
Xlormp's voice boomed over the PA system of his ship, causing both me and Christopher to jump. "Frig, I have been reading this book on healthy relationships, it's called How to Not Have a Crappy Relationship, and according to it, I should probably let you go to Christopher's for dinner."
I glanced up through the cracks in the plywood ceiling to see the spaceship hovering. "Have you been listening in?" I raged demandingly.
"You do realize you're exposing yourself to a whole street full of Earthlings right now, right?" Christopher shouted up at him.
He remained silent for several moments, then boomed, "We never had this conversation," and the spaceship zoomed out of view.
Christopher appraised me with her eyeballs. "You know," she whispered delicately, "you deserve to spend a little time away from a whole bunch of aliens trying to kill you all the time."
I felt her words sink into the folds of my brain. It would indeed be lovely to sit on my butt and shovel food into my face, not wondering what Xlormp wasn't telling me or where in my yard Christopher was hiding. Because she would be right in front of me. Or possibly to the side, depending on where she sat at the table.
"Will you come to dinner?" she pleaded askingly.
I let out a breath I had apparently been holding, and shrugged. "Yeah, whatever."
Christopher clapped happily and produced a noise that seemed to bypass my ears and drill straight into my brain. "I'll tell daddy to set another place at the table!" she shrilled.
Hector 2.0 spoke clankingly over the walkie-talkie: "Already taken care of."
Some More Chapters For Your Perusal
trixen, I am dying to know how it went at Twi-con, please to be reporting!