Chapter 29, "Returning to The Place"
It had been a while since I'd even thought about The Place. I mean, all I really remembered about it was a vague promise of cake that never came to fruition. It's hard to forgive a place for never giving you cake. Even if it is The Place.
"What's at The Place?" I yawned. Christopher had insisted on dragging me out of bed before the crack of dawn, in an attempt to sneak out and sneak back before anybody woke up.
"Privacy, for one," she sighed. "But also, aliens. Lots of aliens."
I dug around in my eye after a stray piece of sleep booger. "I thought that you didn't really like aliens, as a rule," I pointed out with obviousness. For someone who was so against anything that wasn't born on Earth, Christopher sure did have a thing for the weird, wormhole epicenter of alien activity. Which just happened to be not too far from where we lived. Lucky us or something!
"That is traditionally true. But there's a guy who might be there that might maybe be able to help us with our problem maybe."
"Which problem? The one where the Blobbersons are coming to our house, or the one where we can't kill Wemjox because of that stupid force field?"
"Yes," Christopher answered emphatically. I waited patiently to see if maybe she had more things to say after that, but she didn't I guess. So I said words instead.
"So, we're going to The Place, which we'll be lucky if we can even find, to talk to a guy who may be there, who might be able to help us with our problems maybe."
Christopher nodded. "Essentially."
I threw my head back on the seat dramatically, letting my eyes fall closed. "I'm so dang tired right now, Christopher, I kind of hate you a little."
She didn't say anything, and I felt a little bad about saying that, because I don't really hate Christopher, I just love sleeping. It's a thing with me.
We drove around some more. And then we drove around a lot more. The sun started to peek through the morning haze, and I felt a little twinge of panic somewhere in my guts when I imagined how super pissy Wemjox would be to wake up and find me gone. They didn't really care about Christopher, but they cared about me, since I mattered to their existance and all that.
I was about to suggest that we should probably turn around, when Christopher let out a really loud "A-HA!!" and pointed. I saw it, the same flashing marquee welcoming us to The Place that I had seen those times we'd been here before. I hadn't really missed it.
She pulled the car off into a ditch (don't ask me how she'd navigated the thing through the woods), unbuckled her seat belt, and shoved me to wake me up even though I wasn't asleep. "We're here, come on!" She leaped out her door, and I had to chase after her to make sure she didn't get sucked into The Place before it moved again and I lost her.
The Place looked fairly low-key today. Sometimes there were aliens coming and going every which way, sometimes there was nothing. Today fell somewhere in the middle. Moderate alien traffic. And a kiosk selling alien pancakes. I pointed to it.
"Christopher! Pancakes! Let's get some!" My stomach growled, and I realized I'd been up for a few hours and hadn't had any breakfast. Alien pancakes sounded perfect.
"We're not here for pancakes, Frig," Christopher rolled her eyes. How could she not be hungry?! Did she have a magic hunger-free stomach or something?
We wandered the various spaceships and temporary alien structures scattered around The Place. My stomach continued to bother me, and I poked at it, hoping it would interpret my pokes as assurance that it would once again receive food in it at some point. I don't think it worked.
"Who exactly are we looking for?" I whispered to Christopher, because whispering seemed appropriate for some reason.
"Warbling Chuck," she whispered back. At least we were on the same page as far as the whispering thing went.
"Who is Warbling Chuck?"
"An old contact of dad's. Kind of an expert on the Blobbersons. His spaceship crashed here twenty years ago, and he never really bothered trying to fix it."
"He just stayed here?"
"They have free cake."
I couldn't argue with her logic. The free cake thing was a pretty sweet deal. My stomach bitched at me for thinking about cake. "Sorry," I whispered to it.
"I just can't remember where he lives. I'm pretty sure it's around here somewhere." We'd wandered further into The Place than I'd ever been before, in my whole two visits. I started noticing more permanent structures, haphazardly constructed from pieces of crashed spaceship. It looked like a shanty town, except the shanties were constructed with advanced alien technology. Broken advanced alien technology, but still.
A weird-looking blue square scooted its way out in front of us.
"'Scuse me, humans," it warbled in a wonky, high-pitched voice, from no apparent orifice. "You lost or somethin'?"
Christopher gestured for me to keep quiet while she did all the talking. "We're looking for Warbling Chuck," she said.
The square wiggled a little. "That'd be me. But I'm not entertainin' today. Just stepped out to grab some pancakes."
"Well, if you could spare a few moments, we just need a little advice." Christopher briefly explained our problem(s) to Warbling Chuck. I couldn't tell how he might be reacting to her tale, as he had no facial features to speak of. For all I knew, he'd fallen asleep.
Christopher finished explaining, and we both waited patiently. Warbling Chuck said nothing and made no indication that he even heard us. Then, after almost a minute of waiting, during which my stomach continued to scream at me and I just about gave up and left to head back to the car, Warbling Chuck shook a bit and said, "You humans wait here a sec. I'll be right back."
He somehow moved his strange body into a large, spaceship compiled structure and disappeared.
"What now?" I whispered to Christopher.
"We wait," she responded whisperingly.
So we did. We waited for what seemed like hours, but it probably only felt like that because of how much I hated my life right at that moment. But eventually, Warbling Chuck re-emerged. He approached us, jiggled ominously for a second or two, then ejected a small silver cube from somewhere in his middle.
"Here you go," he said. "That oughta help."
Christopher picked it up and examined it. "What is it?" she asked.
But he just warbled, "Gotta go now, humans. Those pancakes won't be around all day." And he left.
Christopher stared at the mysterious object.
I felt it was an appropriate moment to bitch. "Okay, great, so now we have a weird box thing and no clue what to do with it. Fantastic. Can we go home and eat and go back to bed now?"
Christopher nodded. "Yeah, I think this is the best we're going to get out of this visit. Sorry, Frig." She really did look sorry, too. I almost didn't want to bitch at her on the way back to the car.
But I did anyway.