Alien Neighbors

Yup, I saw them land, eh, fifteen years ago. Susan was three and Johnny was still in the oven. Big light show over the old Gordon’s farm. I left Maria with Susan and five or six of us drove out there with our hunting rifles ready to fight the ‘Martians’ and send em packing. Everyone was waiting at the front gate for enough of guns to show up. I was the last one there and I guess I was enough cause Lonnie opens the gate and we all start walking up the long driveway to the farmhouse.

This whole time the lights had been swirling around lighting up the farm and everything for a couple of miles. Suddenly the lights cut off leaving us in the dark. None of us had brought flashlights or lanterns. So we stumble on up to the farmhouse in the dark except the farmhouse isn’t dark. It’s got lights on, regular lights inside like someone’s living there. The porch light’s on too and we can see a new four-door pick-up parked up front.

I don’t know about the rest of those fellows but I started feeling a little foolish standing outside a neighbor’s house with a hunting rifle. I’m about to turn around and head back to my truck when the front door opens and a skinny gray alien with a big bald walks out. It’s wearing pants and a flannel shirt. Rob starts to raise his gun but Josie slaps it down.

After a minute, I can’t take the silence and start rambling, “Hi neighbor, you just move in? We saw the lights and thought the Martian Army had landed. Do you come in peace?” The alien smiles and shows off its pointy teeth. Rob starts raising his gun again and Josie pushes it back down again. Then it started talking.

“Well howdy neighbors. Nice to meet you. So sorry about the lights but it won’t happen again. It’s just me and my mate here now. We’re planning on farming corn.” Lonnie laughs and the alien stops smiling and squints something fierce at him. “Did I say something funny?”

Now back then we didn’t know these aliens squint when they ask a question. To us, it looked like the alien was mad at Lonnie. I step in front of Lonnie and start rambling again, “Not at all. Lonnie didn’t mean anything mean by laughing. Did you Lonnie?”

“Not at all. I just got tickled thinking about this little guy farming corn,” Lonnie says. Everyone gives a little chuckle now that they’re thinking about it too. And that is when my water broke.

Everyone, human and alien, just stares at the wet ground. They all knew what that meant. Well, the alien didn’t but everyone else knew. Then the first contraction hit. Josie took charge and before I knew it I was in the back seat of the alien’s truck being driven to the hospital. The alien kept looking back at me and Josie kept yelling for it to keep its eyes on the road. It had a lot of questions about human reproduction, I really wasn’t in the mood to answer them but Josie has a couple rugrats of her own so she filled in the alien on what I was going through.

At the hospital, we decided it would be better if the alien stayed in the truck. I didn’t see it again until the next day when Rob and Josie snuck it into the room to see baby Johnny. By that time the others had had time to talk to the alien and while a few were still a little wary they were convinced it and its mate just wanted to live in peace and grow corn.

We’re a small community and it wouldn’t be right to shun a fellow farmer so we did our best welcome them. There was a little upset in their third year when the government showed up. Probably because Alien Bob started flying around with a “phased energy array generator” mounted on the back of its truck. Alien Bob was using it to disrupt tornadoes from forming. I bet it was those storm chasers that got pissed off because there were no tornadoes to chase.

Luckily by that point, Alien Bob and Alien Javier had “combined genetic information” and “incubated an offspring” which meant they had an “anchor baby” when immigration showed up. We all chipped in and got them a good lawyer. Their lawyer was able to argue that Alien Baby Daria was a citizen since the Constitution doesn’t exclude extraterrestrial aliens. They had work visas a year later and green cards several years later. We’re not sure if they’ll ever get sworn in as citizens but they’ll be our neighbors for as long as they want to be.

Untitled (For Us)

They threw slurs and bottles at us.
They beat and burned us.
They hung and dismembered us.
They said heaven was closed to sinners like us.

So, we sought succor and aid from demons and devils.
Burnt twisted bodies approached us.
They saw our love and wept for us.
Voices silent for a millennia cried out for us.

They turned to our tormentors with hungry smiles.
“We’ll see you soon.”

***

Author’s Note: This was loosely inspired by the following image of demons presiding over a couple of gay weddings.

devils and gaysicon

Deep Cover

In one of the dead end alleys of the cubical farm, one of the dedicated workers leaned backwards in their chair and whispered around the barrier to their neighbor, “Hey have you seen Agent Johnson?”

Their neighbor scooted her chair out and answered, “She’s still undercover.”

“But we busted the exotic animal smuggling operation two weeks ago.  There was a shoot out and everything.”  Their eyes narrowed in confusion.

“Well, she said it would compromise future operations if they broke cover right after the bust.”

They leaned back into their cubical and scooted their chair out into the alley as well, “They?”

“Her ‘wife’ and ‘kid’ are still undercover with her,” she said.

“Wait, wait, where did we get the kid?  Aren’t his parents going to want him back?”

“His parents were agents.  After they died in the line of duty, he became a ward of the agency.  Unofficially he’s a junior agent if such a thing existed.”

They shook their head slowly.  “Jeez, that’s rough.  What about the ‘wife’?”

“Oh, she’s loving the suburban life.  Her apartment was on Third street.  The bad part of Third street.”

Their eyebrows shot up their forehead, “Wow, I know our salaries aren’t great but third street?”

“She has student loans and bad credit from identity theft.  Couldn’t get in anywhere else.”

“The agency could help with that?” they asked.

She spread her hands in front of her and shrugged.  “Not their problem as long as she showed up to work.  But now she’s in a nice house in the suburbs with a kid and wife.”

“I guess but they have to break cover at some point.”

“I heard the chief talking about moving them to witness protection.”

“They’re just going to become a family?”

“The Chief is a really good matchmaker.  We lose more agents to his team-ups than anything else.  Also, they had a big bonding moment during the car chase slash rescue slash shoot out.”

“I wonder if it’s too early to apply for a promotion?”

Five Minute Delivery – Monthly Delivery

teleportericon

“Thank you for calling Fine Minute Delivery. How may we help you?” I recognized the number so I cut my spiel short.
“Hello dear. I have my monthly delivery ready.”

“Yes, ma’am. Same room?”

“Yes. The curtains are blue now.”

“I’ll be there shortly.” I pictured the room. Single bed, small dresser next to the bed, pictures on top of the dresser, a couple of chairs, tv in the corner, and blue curtains. I felt the familiar tug and went.

My client was sitting in her bed hands folded over the blanket. On the chair next to the bed was a bouquet of flowers. I teleported the four feet to the chair and picked up the flowers. My client smiled. I didn’t need to teleport but my client liked seeing me do it.

“Any special requests?”

“No, just work your magic.”

I closed my eyes picturing the grass, open space, regularly spaced rows of stones, the somber atmosphere, the tree right there. And I went. I stood at the end of a grave. The stone was a double wide only half filled out with stone vases on either side. I sat the bouquet down next to the stone and began removing the old flowers.

I teleported home and dropped them in the trashcan outside before teleporting to the cleaning closet for a small hand broom.

“Honey?” I heard my wife shout from the kitchen.

“I’m on a job so I can’t stay,” I said popping out of the closet.

“Mrs. Henderson?” she asked. I nodded. “It’s so sad. She’s all alone.”

“She has kids and grandkids.”

“You said they hardly visit.”

“Well, yeah but I visit her at least once a month.” I paused before continuing, “She wants to meet you actually.”

“Me, why?”

“Well, I got to talking about you last time I did her delivery.”

“And she’s ok with …”

“Lesbians? Yeah, she’s cool. She was more confused by me being trans but she’s cool about that too. I have to get back but I’ll be here for dinner, ok?”

“Ok. Love you.”

“I love you, too.” I gave her a quick kiss on the lips and teleported back to the cemetery.

The caretakers used a leaf blower after cutting the grass but sometimes they didn’t get all the clippings off the stones. I swept Mr. Henderson’s gravestone clean of grass clipping, dirt, leaves, and bits of the old flowers. I opened the bouquet and divided the flowers roughly in half. Some flower arranging later and the stone was looking much better. I took some pictures and teleported back to Mrs. Henderson.

“All done,” I said.

“The nurse in the room jumped in surprise. “Oh, I didn’t hear you come in.” She glanced at the closed door.

Mrs. Henderson smiled and chuckled. “She’s a sneaky one.”

“Are you family?”

“No, just a friend,” I said.

“Well as soon as Joyce swallows this pill, I can leave you to visit.” Mrs. Henderson took the small paper cup from the nurse and upended it into her mouth. She chased the pill with a swallow of water from the glass in the nurse’s other hand.

“Happy?” she asked.

“Very. I’ll be back in a few hours,” the nurse said. She left the room leaving us alone. I sat in a chair by Mrs. Henderson’s bed. She held out a couple of twenties to me. I took them and tucked them away. It was way less than what I charged other people but I was compensated other ways.

“How are you doing today?” I asked.

“Eh, better than some days worse than others. Talk to my doctor if you want more details,” she said.

“That’s good, I guess. I don’t mean to pry.”

“No, no I don’t mind,” she said in a softer voice. “How long can you stay?”

“Just a couple of hours. I promised the wife I’d be home for dinner.”

“So, when are you going to bring her by and introduce her to me, hmm?” She smiled and raised her eyebrows.

“I don’t like teleporting people or animals and it’s kind of a long drive.” Most of the time they make it through fine but every once in a while they aren’t. So, I don’t take the chance unless I have to.

“You teleported that blogger.”

“That was … I was mad about being ambushed.”

“You want to talk about it?” she asked.

“Yeah, that would be nice.”

Scientist of Death Issue #4

<<Previous Index


“Can I get a discount on this?” The customer shoved the item across the counter. “It has a stain right here.”

I looked at the indicated spot. The slight discoloration was probably not a set in stain and dabbing it with a wet cloth would most likely remove it. Not worth a discount in my eyes but store policy was more lenient.

“I can discount it by five percent,” I said.

“Is that all? I can’t get it half off.”

“No, five percent is all I’m allowed to do.”

“The other woman always gives me half off.” A blatant lie. No one except the managers could approve a fifty percent markdown and they rarely work the registers. I bit back on calling her on the lie.

“I’m sorry, it’s story policy,” I said.

“I’d like to speak to the manager.”

My hand reached for the button on my headset that would broadcast my voice to my co-workers and manager. As I depressed it, I felt a slight wiggle to the button. The switches and buttons on the sonic cannon I had handled the other day had been rock steady with smooth, crisp action. I looked around at the smirking customer, the other cashiers sneaking pity looks at me, the waiting customers in the queue and released the button without saying anything. I took off my walkie talkie.

“I quit,” I said to the customer.

“What?”

“I quit. I refuse to serve people like you who think you can just bully people like me to get whatever you want. I quit.” I grabbed the lanyard around my neck and yanked it straight down snapping the strap. The strap was made to snap apart to keep employees from accidentally being strangled by their lanyard but the effect was still dramatic. One of the other cashiers was speaking into her walkie no doubt informing every other employee of my actions.

I walked through the store to the break room where I retrieved my purse and left the store not physically for the last time, because I would have to return for my last check, but in spirit for the last time. From an inside pocket of my purse, I pulled out the receipt with an address and phone number on it and dialed the number.

It rang twice and the Doctor of Death answered, “Hello.”

“Do you have a workspace I can use or should I find something?”

“I can find you some space.” I could hear the grin in his voice. “Come by tomorrow. Glad to have you back.”

“I’m not back. I’m just working tech.”

“Sure.”

“I’ll see you tomorrow.” I hung up before he could say anything else.

***

The next day, I returned to the office suite the Doctor of Death was using as his current front of operations. The waiting room was exactly the same including Susie the receptionist. I had hoped she would not be here since the last time we saw each other I had shot her with a sonic cannon.

She smiled, “Ms. Parks. So nice to see you again.” Was that a genuine smile or a shark smile.

“Hello Susie. I just wanted to say I’m sorry about shooting you the other day.”

Her smile tightened into something like a grimace. “Of course, mistakes were made on both sides.”

“I’m glad you see it that way.” Or at least you’re willing to pretend you do, I thought.

“I hope you will be as forgiving.” She pulled out the sonic cannon from behind her desk and fired it at me. The edge of my personal force field flared white as it absorbed the energy from the sonic pulse.

“Glad to see my paranoia wasn’t totally off base. If you could buzz me in, that would be great.” She glared at me but pressed the button to allow me entrance to the back. “Thank you.” I paused at the door and said, “For what it’s worth, I really am sorry I shot you.”

“Dr. Ford is expecting you,” she said through gritted teeth. Her eyes locked with mine in a challenge. Never leave an enemy at your back, especially not one willing to attack you from the back.

“Do you know who I am?” I asked casually.

“You’re some tech genius The Doctor wants to work for him.” She was almost sneering.

I walked closer to her desk. “Technically true. I’m also The Scientist of Death.”

“The Scientist of Death is dead.”

“No, just retired.”

“And he was a man.”

“Things change.” She began looking over my face and body for those telltale features. I watched for the moment when she realized I might be telling the truth. “Before I left the supervillain life I would have killed you instantly after you tried shooting me.” I stepped closer into her personal space. “That was five years ago. Today I’m letting you have that one shot but only that one shot. Try anything else and I will end this petty “feud” between the two of us permanently.” I reached out and snatched the sonic cannon from her hands.

To her credit she didn’t flinch or back away. She simply said, “Understood.”

“Good. You have a nice day,” I said and walked into the back.


<<Previous Index

Scientist of Death Issue #3

Issue #1 here and Issue #2 here in case you’ve forgotten how we got here.

The Doctor of Death smirked at me, “I knew you weren’t out of the game.”

“I’m just asking. It doesn’t mean anything.”

“Sure, sure.” He reached into a box box behind his desk and pulled out a device I was familiar with.

“Is that a Gurrola Sonic Cannon?”

“Mark two,” he added.

“Bullshit. No one has a mark two.”

“I have a source who found a small cache of them. The only problem is they don’t work and I don’t know how to fix them.”

“May I?” I asked reaching for the sonic cannon. He handed it over to me. GSC Mk 2’s were considered bleeding edge of non-lethal weaponry at their time. Even by modern standards they were incredibly advanced. I extended the projection chamber from over the main housing and locked it in place. What it should have uncovered was a smooth machined aluminum housing for the sound generator and amplifier unit. Instead a section had been cut out and a small circuit board had been installed. “What’s this?”

“After market modification.”

“After market modification? Hmm.” The board had a printed circuit, dozens of resistors, transistors, and diodes, a row of ten switches, and a rheostat. Several wires trailed off the edge of the board and snaked into the housing. “What does it do?”

“I dunno.”

“All of them have the same circuit board installed?”

“Yes.”

I lifted the cannon to my face and sniffed the open housing. No burnt smell, maybe the original hardware hadn’t been fried. Without a careful analysis of the circuit I couldn’t know what it did. The board was held in place by a few spots of solder. A forceful tug snapped it free of the housing leaving it attached only by the wires.

“Ahh-” the Doctor of Death began.

I held up a finger and glared at him, “I’m working.” I tilted the cannon hoping to see where the wires were attached. I thought back to the circuit diagrams of the GSC Mk 3 I had seen over twenty years ago. Nope, still no idea what the circuit did. Taking a firm grip on the wires, I yanked them out with a hard tug.

The Doctor of Death made a strangled gasping sound.

On the other side of the housing I flipped the main power switch and heard the distinctive hum of a Gurrola Sonic Cannon but with an undertone I had never heard before.

The Doctor of Death raised an eyebrow, “Really just like that it’s fixed?”

“You dare question The Scientist of Death. I’ll show you what happens to someone who questions me,” I said slipping back into the hyperbolic personal far easier than I thought possible. I adjusted the cannon for low power and fired at second chair I hadn’t been sitting in. A sharp clap filled my ears. I shouldn’t have heard anything; the joker who had tried modifying the gun must have damaged the damping shield. The chair slammed against the wall which shook from the sound pulse. I turned back to the Doctor of Death with my own eyebrow raised.

“I guess I should know better than to –” He was cut short by the door being kicked in by his receptionist, Susie. She aimed at me and I instinctively fired the sonic cannon at her. The sonic discharge again clapped in my ears and sent Susie flying back through the door into the hallway.

“What was that about?” I asked my heart pounding.

The Doctor of Death hurried around his desk and out the room to check on Susie. “You did fire a sonic cannon with out warning.”

“I guess I did.” I took a deep slow breath. “Still charging into a meeting with a…,” I squinted at the gun laying on the floor, “What is that?”

“Hmm, Morris Maser Gun.”

“Not very non-lethal,” I commented.

“In house security is allowed lethal weapons.”

“I guess times have changed.” As I powered off the sonic cannon and retracted the projection chamber, I noticed my ring finger twitch. “Well, now that you know how to fix them, you really don’t need me anymore.”

“The job offer is still on the table. I could use your tech skills.”

“I’m retired and I should stay that way.” I set the sonic cannon on the desk and picked up my purse.

“If you ever change your mind, just give me a call,” the Doctor of Death said as I walked out through the open door to the empty reception area.

***

Later that night I sat in the dark thinking. I had had fun today. Shooting Susie had been unfortunate but the rest was good. Holding a sonic cannon after years, examining the circuits and making the quick fix had felt like the old days.

Could I work for The Doctor of Death? I had thought my career as a supervillain was over. My plan had been to leave all that in the past after I transitioned. I didn’t need to return to being a face in the League of Evil. All I really wanted was resources and equipment for tinkering and improvement of tech. The heists and warehouse raids had just been a means to an end. But if The Doctor could provide me with all that…

A lamp snapped on. “Why are you in the dark?” Julie asked.

“I was thinking.” She walked around the room turning on lamps until the illumination of the room was at normal levels.

“Thinking about what?” she asked.

“I went to see that guy who recognized me yesterday.”

“Your friend?” she asked sitting down next to me.

“Ex-coworker,” I corrected. “He’s got his own business now and offered me a job.”

“That’s great. Why don’t you take it? It sounds like he’s cool with you and it’s got to pay better than retail.”

“It would pay better. I’m just not sure I want to get back into that … environment.”

“What’s so bad about it?”

“Nothing on the surface. It’s hard to explain. Some of the guys in the industry can get real confrontational.” Laser duel confrontational.

“Well it’s up to you if you take the job. I’ll support you either way.” Julie snaked an arm around me and pulled me into a hug. I brought my own arms up around her as well. How long could I lie about I was really doing? I wondered if our relationship would survive if she knew the truth about me.

Author note: The story doesn’t end here. The Scientist of Death hasn’t even really begun her new villainous adventures. Sorry it’s taken so long for me to get back to this story but more will be coming.

(Super)Friends: Bob Kane’s Comics

It was a Monday. Or maybe it was a Thursday. Mondays and Thursdays feel the same to me. Not like Tuesdays; I can always tell when it’s Tuesday. Wait, I remember now, it was a Friday.

Fridays can be slow or fast paced depending on a lot of factors ranging from paydays to parenting decisions to weather patterns. You can never tell how the comics business will be on a Friday. Oh yeah, I work in a comic book store called Bob Kane’s Comics. My boss isn’t “The” Bob Kane if you’re wondering; just lucky enough to want to run a comic book store and have the same name as the creator of the Dark Knight of Gotham City.

We’re supposed to be evasive about which Bob Kane the store is named after but I’m not much of a bullshiter. Luckily for me Gerald is the king of bullshiters. I once saw him convert a hardcore DC fanboy to Marvel and then back to DC.

That Friday had been slow. Gerald was in the back room eating his microwave dinner. I was up front leaning on the counter, reading a collection of a comic series I had missed reading last year, when the door opened and she walked in. Tall, blonde hair in a messy bun, thinnish figure contained in tight jeans and a plain heather gray t-shirt.

She looked around taking in the store from the door. I should have greeted her when she walked in but I was feeling lazy and figured if she need help finding something she’d ask. She smiled when she saw me, most women do. Most of them find it comforting to see another woman behind the counter.

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How Long Is Forever?

I said to my immortal wife, “Goodbye my love.”
To me, her immortal wife, she said, “Goodbye, my heart.”
“I’ll see you in fifty years.”
“I’ll see you in twenty.”
“Goodbye my world.” “Goodbye my light.”
Then she left in a ship to the stars.

What is fifty years to a pair of immortals?
We have forever to be together.

In forever, the stars in the sky will be replaced by new stars.
In forever, new worlds will blossom.
In forever, all things old will make way for the new.

Except us.

We will watch the seas dry up.
We will watch the sky rip open.
We will watch the earth die.
We will watch the sun swallow the earth.

To live forever is to say goodbye to everything we know.
To live forever is to see new worlds.
To live forever is to see the universe turn.

How long is forever?
Forever is long enough to be with her.

-end-

Scientist of Death #2

After the Doctor left, I took a bathroom break and copied down the address and phone number on a pharmacy receipt. Then I ran water over the card and tore it into several pieces looking for concealed circuity before I flushed the pieces down the toilet. Maybe that was overkill, the card seemed to be just paper, but better safe than sorry.
The rest of my work day was tinged with anxiety but nothing else happened.

I walked past the living room to set my purse on the dresser in the bedroom and sled my shoes. I also reached up behind my back and unhooked my bra and pulled it off through a sleeve. I rubbed the sore area under my breasts from the bra and walked back into the living room.

I found Julie curled up on the sofa watching her medical drama. She lifted her legs so I could sit beside her and then laid them on my lap. I leaned into her for quick kiss and settled back to read on my phone. We were dating right now but even if we hadn’t been we would still be spending the evening together as roommates. I was perfectly happy to let her have other partners but she had a streak of monogamy that had us breaking up when she met someone new and then getting back together when it didn’t work out.

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