Chapter 13, "Story Time With Schmeertz"
As we took our seats in solemn silence, I heard a toilet flushing in the distance. My thoughts wandered to a hypothetical Zmeephish-Quian, realizing the time and taking a last minute dump before rushing back to the scene, rainbows swirling merrily down the commode.
But my reflective reprieve ended as abruptly as it had begun, when the judge, powdered wig ever so slightly askew, banged his gavel with escalating severity until the already silent room continued to remain mind-bogglingly silent.
"All rise," he instructed importantly, and I stood up while all of the aliens sort of hovered above their seats. "Very good," the judge said, "I was just showing off for the human's benefit, you can sit back down now." And we did.
"Has the jury reached a verdict?" Judge Powder Wig queried. The jury beeped in exasperated response. "In Earth English, please," he insisted.
One lone alien jury member stood up with agonizing slowness. It felt as though he would be righting himself forever, as if his body were just an endless pile of socks stacked on top of one another. It could get to be a pretty tall stack, but, due to the saggy nature of socks, would always appear to be leaning. Finally, however, when my heart felt as though any more beating would propel it straight out of my chest and into the Judge's slimy outreached flipper, the jury member stood tall. With alarmingly elegant poise, I might add. He opened his alien lips, cautiously, carefully, and announced: "We sentence the human Friggen' Gorgeous to immediate girl-slavedom."
The courtroom burst into raucous noise. Some of it cheers, some of it mindless chatter about what this might mean for alien kind. The noise overwhelmed me so completely that I could not process my own thoughts about the proceedings. Either that or I just didn't know what to think. Either option seemed pretty likely. The noise continued to be loud, and I thought maybe it would be awesome if everyone would just shut up so I could decide how I felt about things, when the door banged open.
"Everyone just shut up," the door banger hollered. I turned to see who it was. My breath caught in my throat, which I thought was kind of rude of it, considering the problems I was already having with my brain. I made a mental note to have a serious talk with my body once we were back on the spaceship.
Anyway, the person at the door. Or should I say, the alien at the door.
"Schmeertz!" Klaxie screeched. "I thought I told you to stay home for this."
Schmeertz ignored Klaxie, slithering into the room with Candy at his side. "It smells bad in here, beep," she whimpered, clinging to his tentacle.
"I know," he whispered back.
"Excuse me," Mr. Judge addressed the new arrival, "what exactly are you doing here?"
"I'm here to tell you why turning Friggin' Gorgeous into a girl-slave today would be a ridiculously stupid idea."
The jury scoffed in a beeping way over their verdict acquiring the label of "ridiculously stupid". In their beeping scoffing, I felt a wash of weirdness sweep over me. What the hell is happening here? Why does Schmeertz care what happens to me?
The Judge seemed just as offended as the jury, and accidentally let out what may have been a swear or two in his own native language. "What qualifications do you have to overturn the verdict of my jury?"
"Well, for one thing, this lady here has been complaining about the smell of burning rubber all day," Schmeertz explained, holding up Candy's arm. Candy noticed the other people in the room for the first time, waved, and attempted to spin around on her head, which proved difficult on account of the alien grasping her by the wrist. She managed anyway. "And for another thing, well...I think it's best if I explain by telling you a little story."
Oh, please, no, I thought morosely to myself. "Schmeertz, please-" I began to say, but it was too late, the fanfare had already begun, and before I knew it, the room lit up with a thousand blinking lights. The jury stood up, all of them somehow now wearing matching sequined outfits, kicking with alien leg approximations in time to the jaunty, up-beat show tune now blaring through the room. Schmeertz raised his flippers dramatically and began to sing,
"It was a bright and shiny summer daaaaaaaaaaaaaay,
When I met this little beauty on my arm here today!
She told me she was wanted for her braaaaaaaaaaain,
And I confess I was distressed, she tied her shoes but I digress!
"I took a liking to her pleasant fraaaaaaaaaaaaaaaame!
And she admired my appendages and asked for my name,
And we were never parted from that daaaaaaaaaaaay,
She is my slave, you dirty knave, you cannot have her, do behave!"
I watched in abject horror as this musical rendition of Schmeertz and Candy's union continued. He belted out more verses about how dang awesome Candy was and whatnot, until finally, the music turned dark and ominous, and the lights quit flashing in their seizure-inducing pattern to instead hang dimly over the alien and his choir of courtroom extras.
"But there are far more dangers than you can possibly know,
And with a brain as special as hers, dude...
It isn't wise to turn it before it can grow.
And now she lives...
In a world...
between consciousness and servituuuuuuuuuuude..."
Listen, I'm not going to subject you to the whole shebang, mostly because it's a pain in the ass to try and describe musical theater to someone who isn't watching it. Especially alien musical theater, which apparently consists of a five minute intermission in which audience members throw limbs at each other until the actors come back. I could not even begin to fathom the purpose for that bit of crazy, but whatever.
Anyway, the gist of Schmeertz's story was that Candy used to be in a situation similar to mine, and there was an alien race after her brain, and Schmeertz loved her and stuff and thought turning her into a girl-slave would save her but the thing is it didn't, because right in the middle of them turning her that other alien race showed up and screwed things up for everyone by trying to take her brain while it was being wiped or whatever, and she ended up with her weird smelling powers and a lot of emotional issues as a result.
Basically, it sucked.
When the musical ended and the courtroom went back to normal, Judge Powderpants took the stand again (for he had been accompanying Candy in a very touching duet about how you should always floss, even if you're a girl-slave with weird smelling powers - apparently all alien musicals end with an important public service announcement about personal hygiene).
"Schmeertz, you make a compelling argument, but I think if we take the proper precautions, Friggin' Gorgeous will be perfectly safe during her procedure."
Schmeertz shook his head. "There's something else you have to consider about Frig's case. The leader of this Tallybonkonian regime, Cliff, wants to kill Frig for revenge, not just her brain. He won't care if it's been wiped of thought, even though we all know that knowledge is still there, despite her ability to access it. Now throw in some Tallybonkers with the ability to snatch that knowledge-filled brain into a parallel universe, and you've got yourself a lovely inciting incident for intergalactic war."
The judge sniffed.
"You want that on your head, bub?"
The judge considered that, and shook it. His head, that is. "So why can't we just kill her?" he lamented.
"Negatory," Schmeertz retorted. "If anyone's taking her out, it's me." He turned, bow and arrow in flipper, and released the taut string. Xlormp held out an appendage and absorbed the arrow into himself before it even reached my head.
"Thanks, snuggle demon," I cooed pleasantly.
"No problem, human face," Xlormp responded sweetly.
"No offense, Frig," Schmeertz waved cordially.
"None taken, Schmeertz," I replied whimsically. And I meant it, too.
Judge Powder McWighead seemed plenty put off by this whole exchange. "Listen, if we can't turn her, and we can't kill her, what do you suggest we do?" he demanded of Schmeertz.
"Simple, really. Wait until the Tallybonkonian threat is gone, then deal with the human however you want."
The judge dwelled on this option, noticeably shaken by the idea of inadvertently starting a war based on today's verdict. "Fine," he pronounced regally, "The human Friggin' Gorgeous' fate shall be determined after Mr. Leader's team has dealt with the Tallybonkonian threat."
Until next time, have some extra chapters!