Chapter 18, "All Of A Sudden This Is An Action Thriller"
The crowd went completely apeshit. Every alien in the joint was leaping up, tentacles flailing, flippers slapping indiscriminately against other flippers, shrieking a weird shreiky noise. The girl-slaves imitated their alien masters, flinging their arms about, hitting me in the face.
I was too weirded out to pretend to panic.
Glancing down on the foosball floor, I finally noticed Xlormp. He spotted me, and did something I've never seen him do: He leapt from the floor to my seat, leaving a streaking trail of power slime in his wake, in one swift movement.
"Xlormp," I sputtered, "What's going on?"
"The tallybonkers are attacking," my most precious living breath said.
"But I thought they were just something Lou made up, you know, because he's crazy?"
Xlormp grabbed my arm and started forcing us through the crowd of bodies, girl-slaves and aliens alike. "Lou has been an instrumental warrior in our fight against the tallybonkers. That's one of the reasons he still has his life!"
I pulled my wrist out of his grasp, stopping where I was. "But, Lou's crazy! He says they're in my room, but I've never seen one before..."
Xlormp glared at me, clearly pissed I'd wrenched myself free from his flipper. I was too confused to be befuddled by his alien-ness right now.
"Frig, now is not the time to explain, now is the time to get back to our spaceship and run." And before I could mention again how dang confused I was, Xlormp lifted me up over his shoulder and began leaping crazy long leaps all over the stadium, aiming for the exit.
In less than a minute, the door came into view. Xlormp prepared to race out, but before he did, I heard a new announcement blaring over the intercom.
"ATTENTION PEOPLE OF ZMEEPHISH-Q. WE SEEK THE HUMAN FRIGGEN' GORGEOUS. DELIVER HER AND WE WILL GO IN PEACE."
I froze, but Xlormp was through the door in an instant. As we sped away from the stadium and to Xlormp's ship, I heard the message repeat, echoing off the walls of the stadium and fading into the distance. The next thing I knew, we had boarded the ship, and Xlormp was speeding away.
It took a few minutes before I could speak again. "Xlormp, those tally-whatevers wanted me. ME! They said my name!"
"I know," Xlormp shuddered, thwacking knobs and dials with his appendages at breakneck speeds.
"I don't know."
The thoughts in my brain rumbled around, click-clacking like balls in a Bingo tumbler. Every so often, one of them spat out into the forefront.
"What the hell are tallybonkers?"
Xlormp's eyes goggled like I'd never seen. "Tallybonkers are microscopic organisms that feed off of brainwaves. Until recently, they have only fed off of Zmeephish-Quian brains."
"They discovered human brains."
More click-clacking, more tumbling. And another thought.
"So why does Lou know about them if he's crazy?"
"Have you ever wondered why he's crazy?" Xlormp asked, never looking at me, keeping his eyes on the vast space in front of him.
"He's a hobo. Hobos are crazy."
"Maybe he's a hobo because he's crazy," Xlormp prodded. "Maybe he wasn't always crazy."
The thought balls in my head clacked some more, finally landing all at once at the bottom of the tumbler.
"The tallybonkers got Lou," I whispered.
Xlormp only nodded.
"And they really were in my mattress?"
Flippers and tentacles cranked levers stoically. "They tried. I...put up a resistant force field."
"When did you do that?"
A beat. "The first day I met you."
Now the tumbler had broken completely, and all of my thoughts raced around without control. The most prominent of which was, "Why do they want me?"
But Xlormp, the love of my life, remained silent.
I stared out the window at the deep blackness whizzing by. After several moments, I finally asked, "Where are we going?"
One word. "Away."
My heart lurched. Stupid as it may be, as much as I thrilled at the idea of running away with Xlormp, this was never how I pictured it. And...I wanted to go home.
"Can I say goodbye to Lou first?" I said, almost under my breath.
Xlormp heard me. "We don't have time for that."
"But you said you put up a force field around the house! I'll be safe!"
"They'll be waiting for you when you get out. I won't risk it."
Something strange happened. I realized that, in some way, somewhere deep in the pit of my stomach, I cared about Lou. And I wanted to see him one more time before I went into hiding for...well, I didn't know how long.
I carefully laid a hand on Xlormp's slimy shoulder area. "Please," I choked out, my throat closing up on me as tears threatened to spill out. "Please, just for a minute. Just for one minute."
Xlormp turned to look at me, for the first time since we got into the ship. I watched his eyes goggle, hard and determined, and then soften as he saw my pain. He took a deep breath.
"One minute," he said. "That's all."
Catch up with the chapters you may have missed somehow!