The Iron Writer Challenge #187 – 2017 Spring Equinox Challenge #8

The Iron Writer Challenge #187

2017 Spring Equinox Challenge #8

500 Words, 5 Days, 4 Elements

The Authors:

M. D. Pitman, Josh Flores, Malissa Greenwood

The Elements:

Laughing older couple

Crepey Skin

Gingham material

Last sentence: “I’m sure they think we’re aliens.”

 

Lucky Logic

Josh Flores

The man was magical, mysterious, and malicious. Malo Fortuna was a practical joker to anyone who crossed his path. His cruelness was hidden under a teddy bear façade–a lovable, huggable, balding grandpa.

The woman was equally magical while outgoing and cheerful. Buena would always pick up after her husband’s messes. In contrast to Malo, looking at her confirmed exactly who she was: a warm, loving, caring grandma who had baked some cookies. 

They had grown old together over the millennia, acquired crepey skin, gained a few pounds, lost some hair, paled in coloring, and shrunk a few inches and yet their love and need for each other stayed true.  One could not exist without the other.

Favian knocked on the Fortunas’ door.  He cried in pain as a splinter dug deep into his knuckle. “I should have looked before knocking.”  He was a chess playing stoic who wasn’t wont to emotional justifications. His appearance relayed his logical fortitude: simple, navy blue slacks and polo, with sensible walking shoes and his hair neat and short. 

Malo chuckled. Buena shook her head in resignation. 

Athena came up behind her husband. “You should have looked first.  Pull that thing out and bandage up. Here’s the first aid kit.” She was a match for Favian in logic, stoicism, and chess mastery. Her visage harmonized with her husband, same outfit and haircut.

As she handed him the kit, a black cat ran out of nowhere and climbed up her pants, scratching and clawing. She dropped the kit. The jolt of hitting the ground split it open, and all its contents spewed across the porch of the old wooden cabin. 

Malo’s evil laughter echoed in the cabin.  Buena tsked him.

Before either of the visitors could react, Malo and Buena opened the door. As they looked at their guests, they couldn’t help but let out a hearty laugh. Favian and Athena smiled. There is logic in humor too, and this was funny.  

After retrieving the kit and bandaging Favian’s hand, the young couple noticed the black and white gingham curtains. That reminded them of why they were here.  They asked directions to the hotel where a chess tournament was to be held. The Fortunas obliged.  

Buena stared at Malo as the couple drove off. “You’re subdued today. You are going to let them go like that?” 

“Well, did you notice them? They aren’t normal folk. Strange-like those two were. I don’t think anything I would do to them would faze them whatsoever. Seems like they’re the type to think everything through and find a reason how THEY caused it. No fun in that. Nope, not if they don’t start to wonder at the magic around them and through them. Doesn’t do my soul any good to waste my time on folk like that. Best to leave them be. Strange people. The way they looked at us, I’m sure they think we’re aliens.” 

Generational Integration Day

Malissa Greenwood

“Martha? Watchya makin’ over there?”

“Huh?” 

“I said, What Are You Making!? With the yarn!”

“Oh. I’m fine, it’s fine. Fingers are a little stiff. But that’s ok…”

Martha trailed off, either fully aware that the afternoon’s activities weren’t nearly as necessary as the nursing aids would lead us to believe, or indifferent to the idea of carrying on a conversation. 

Today was Generational Integration Day at Meadow Winds Assisted Living. Some cockamamy outreach program designed to keep the residents active while promoting the facility’s “wonderful activities” to the community – you know in case there were people nearby thinking of sending their elders to this god forsaken hell hole. 

Myself and ten of the other residents were positioned around the courtyard awaiting the arrival of a group of elementary schooled children. Martha and myself were seated at a picnic table where Christine, our glorified babysitter was tying down a brightly colored checkered table cloth. As if some simple gingham fabric could lighten our spirits by about thirty years.  

“Well you just keep at it Martha. I’m sure the kids will love to … learn how to knit.”

Who was I fooling? You can’t teach a kid to knit in an hour. And even if you could, the kids these days wouldn’t be interested. To be honest, the kids these days probably aren’t interested in us at all. With our hearing aids, wheelchairs, our thin and wrinkled skin… we’d might as well be from another planet. 

“Okay ladies! Today’s the big day!” Christine said to me, in that sing-songy way she talks.

“Sure is. How nice to be out here in the fresh air and sunshine?” I’ve learned to always stay positive with the aids – much less hassle. 

“It is nice, huh Joyce?! The kids’ll be here any minute and you’re my main gal – you up for frosting some cookies with them?”

“Sure, I suppose I could do that.”  I always got roped into extra activities. Course, I was much more mobile than some of these other old geezers. 

“Here’s an apron – wouldn’t want to get that pretty dress dirty.” Christine winked at me as if we were old chums. 

I tied the dingy white apron around my waist and attempted to arrange the frosting and sprinkles on the table when old Marty Mathieson walked over. 

“Hiya Marty. How ya doin?”

“Better now I seen your beautiful face Joyce!”

“Oh, hush now. You know I ain’t buying what your sellin!”

Marty chuckled and nudged me with his elbow. “Sneak me one a them sugar cookies, sugar! I need the energy for these children comin’ in.”

“Oh, like you need more energy.”

“Sure I do. These youngins look up to us. We gotta entertain ‘em, ya know? They think we’re som’pin special.”

The kids were getting off the bus now, and every one of ‘em had their head down playing with some electronic gadget. They were probably confused by anything that didn’t fit inside their touch screens. 

I looked at Marty – stained white shirt, overweight and old as all get out. Something special indeed.

 “Oh, don’t kid yourself Marty. I’m sure they think we’re aliens.”

The Secret to a Long Marriage

M.D. Pitman

Sonia carefully unfolded the red and white checkered table cloth as George brought out the potato salad and glass pitcher of lemonade. As he sat the dishes down on the freshly covered extra-long picnic table, he leaned into his wife of 53 years and kissed her cheek. He’s always stealing a moment to kiss his bride.

“Oh, George,” said the pudgy Italian woman. Her sun-kissed face grew redder, just as it always did when George stole a kiss, or gave a little slap on her backside. She always took offense but her indignation eventually melted into a coquettish smile. She touched her crepey cheek, covering each wrinkle kissed.

George’s broad shoulders always bounced as he laughed when Sonia started her overzealous objection. The 76-year-old tanned burly man knew she liked the attention. And she knew he knew.

Their love grew stronger every year, which is something their three children admired as they grew, married and eventually divorced. They looked for that perfect partner. They didn’t exist for them.

“Ewwww, Grandpa,” said the youngest of their five grandchildren, who was also the only boy of the bunch. He was playing in the yard with his trucks.

“Itsa okay, Bambino,” George said in his broken English. “You’ll like that stuff one day.” He flashed a smile and gave a wink to the six-year-old boy who returned to play.

The other grandchildren and the couple’s kids rushed out of the back door with the rest of Sunday’s supper –rigatoni, oversized stuffed meatballs, garlic bread, green beans and Italian cookies.

The family of 10 sat around the extra-long picnic table. George filling Sonia’s plate with exactly what she wants – two spoonfuls of rigatoni, one meatball, no potato salad and three spoonfuls of green beans. He kissed the top of the 74-year-old’s more salt than pepper woman’s hair. Sonia smiled.

The gingham tablecloth barely covered the ends. The couple’s oldest son, whose two daughters sat on either side of him, asked a question he always asked, “So how do you two do it? You’re like a couple of teenagers.” 

George and Sonia always said honesty and church were what kept them together. This time, however, George and Sonia gave a different answer, which forced the kids and grandkids – except for the youngest as he tackled his giant meatball – to lean in.

“Well we do have our disagreements,” Sonia said.

All eyes grew wide (except for the youngest pair of eyes who was still staring down his meatball).

“And,” the kids and a couple of the grandkids said almost in unison.

“And we always fight in private … you guys didn’t need to see that,” said George.

Sonia looked at George and her husband winked at her as he gave a single nod. “In fact we had a fight last night, but we always make up.”

“Yes,” George said. “But I think we fight just so we can have makeup sex.”

The rattle of silverware on ceramic plates was the only noise, except for the youngest asking, “What’s makeup sex?”

George and Sonia looked at their family, and George turned to Sonia to say, “I’m sure they think we’re aliens.”

The Iron Writer Challenge – 2016 Winter Solstice Open, Anais Nin Bracket

The-Isolator 1

The Iron Writer Challenge #141

2016 Winter Solstice Open Preliminary Round

500 Words, 5 Days, 4 Elements

 

Anais Nin

Anais Nin Bracket

The Authors:

Jason T. CarterDani J. CaileBrett Paul

The Elements:

The Isolator

Something arrogate.

A ball of yarn

An appointment to be abducted by aliens that you are anxiously waiting for.

It’s the Thought That CountsJason T. Carter

Jason T. Carter

I bought him “The Isolator” for Christmas last year, because he said he could never concentrate while writing. I never considered his claustrophobia.

He bought me a sewing instructional kit, complete with a VHS tape, needles, and a single ball of yarn. He never considered my arthritis.

We arrogated to ourselves the ability to choose the best gifts for each other, without consulting our carefully crafted wish lists. When he asked for a new laptop, I bought him an antique typewriter. When I asked for a new set of pots and pans, he bought me an outdoor grill.

They say it’s the thought that counts, but I’m not sure how much thinking either of us did in the past. But I have found the perfect gift for next year.

An “alien abduction” retirement package: a one-way trip for two to the Binhinnian system in an authentic extraterrestrial transport vessel. The spacecraft is scheduled to depart from earth the day after Christmas, so those who make the purchase are able to spend one final holiday with their loved ones.

I will start dropping hints soon about what he can buy for me; there are several things that could be useful on another planet. Perhaps a case of canned Cincinnati-style chili and spaghetti, because I will miss that taste so much. And books. I doubt anyone in the Binhinnian system has the collected works of Lovecraft or Poe. And music. How can I go to another planet without Britney and Frank? I would absolutely die if I never heard “New York, New York” again!

This retirement package is the perfect gift really. I just know he will get over his fear of flying before then.

DeniedBrett Paul

Brett A. Paul

All preparations had been made. My collection had served me well, beginning with the formal instructions arrogated from my friend Clancy. How he was able to get the attention of the aliens I will never know. But he did, and so let’s just say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. 

I assembled my Isolator unit out of an old trash can lined with egg crate foam. The colorful outside cover was knitted by hand by me – no easy feat for someone who has eleven cats, and who did not know how to knit a week ago. I held the last ball of yarn in my hand and regarded it with the delight of one who has completed his work. It was also regarded by my young tabby Roger. I skritched his head and then tossed the ball aside. It was immediately chased after by him and several other cats. 

I reread the instructions. “Place the Isolator on your head and walk to the park, arriving at precisely eight o’clock in the evening on Monday the fourth.” 

It seemed an odd thing to make me do, but I was not going to miss my ride to the stars. I placed the Isolator on my head, feeling the insulating foam all around. I could see through the two small eye cups. Roger meowed at me but I could not hear him. I turned the valve on my canister, and a hole between my lips and nostrils supplied oxygen. The two block walk to the park would take no more than three minutes, even as darkness engulfed the town. I left a generous helping of kibbles in the various dishes in the kitchen and walked outside, leaving the front door wide open. 

I reached the park and kicked off my shoes. As my bare foot touched the grass, my phone vibrated softly once, letting me know I had arrived precisely as ordered, at 8:00. Across the green, I saw Clancy, wearing his lucky yellow Hawaiian shirt, stepping toward me, a similar contraption on his head, covered in pipe cleaners and duct tape. He walked in ten paces through the grass and sat cross-legged. I did the same. 

Then the moment we were waiting for. Through the eye holes I could see a bright light saturating the grass. I craned my neck and looked overhead in time to see the flying saucer hover over the park. The light had engulfed Clancy, and in a moment, he was gone. It was my turn. I stretched my arms to both sides. The light fell on me. My breathing quickened. This was my time! 

Then darkness came. Inside the Isolator, I couldn’t tell what had happened. I pulled the contraption off my head and looked up in time to see a note fluttering to the ground. The flying saucer was gone. I grabbed the note and angled it to the streetlight. Scrawled with unkempt writing, it said, “You have already been enslaved by our race. Return to your home and care for your masters.” 

The CompanyDani-J-Caile

Dani J Caile

This was my first day and I was told to report to the Boss. I met him at the main lift and we entered together. He was a good looking man, with a perfect haircut, wearing the best suit I’d ever seen and smelling of Armani.
“Welcome to The Company. Your credentials show you’re in our Writing Department, yes?”
“Yes, sir.”
He pressed for the 6th floor and the lift began.
“Please, just call me ‘Boss’.”
“Yes, Boss.” The lift beeped. It was fast but smooth.
“Good. Come this way and I’ll show you the ropes.”
“Thank you, Boss. I’m sure I’ll like it here…” The double doors opened up to a huge warehouse floor with row upon row of people at desks writing with pen and paper. They had strange helmets on their heads.
“As you can see, we don’t believe in computers. We call them ‘preoccupiers’. In the same vein as televisions, really.” He stopped at a desk and picked up some writing. The person at the desk continued on, oblivious. “Mmm, the new Clancy novel is coming along fine.”
“Isn’t Tom Clancy dead?” I asked.
“Yes. And?” He moved to an empty desk. “Here’s yours.” There were pens, paper, a ball of yarn and one of those helmets waiting for me. “The helmet’s called an Isolator, invented by Hugo Gernsback, an excellent contraption which eliminates all distractions so the writer can concentrate on the subject at hand.”
“Oh,” I said. “What’s the string for?”
“One end is attached to your desk, the other to yourself. So you don’t get lost.”
“Right.” This place was beginning to sound a little creepy.
“Do you have your passport and driving license?”
“Yes, I do, but I don’t see why I need to show…hey!”
“I’ll take those.” He ripped them from my hand and passed them onto a weasel-like man who quickly shuffled away amongst the desks.
“What? You can’t do that! That’s ‘arrogation’, that is! That’s illegal!”
“I arrogated them from you? Oh, don’t be silly, I merely took them back. Who do you think gave them to you in the first place?”
“The government!”
“Pah, you’ve a lot to learn, and here, you can. If you do well, there’s a chance for promotion.”
“But…” He put one hand on my shoulder and gave me a well-practised smile.
“Here at The Company we control the masses through the media: television, cinema, games, news, music, magazines, papers, books… you name it, we have our formula.”
“But that’s… ludicrous. For a start, there’s so much choice out there. How can you control people when there’s so much choice?”
“You think that’s ‘choice’? Then we’re doing our job well.” He looked up at a large wall clock. “Oh Lord, is that the time? I have an appointment to be abducted by aliens at 11am that I can’t miss. I’ve been waiting for this since last Thursday. Now, sit here, put the hat on, tie on the yarn and start writing Patterson’s new Bestseller!”

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The Iron Writer Challenge – 2016 Winter Solstice Open, Joyce Carol Oates Bracket

The-Isolator 1

The Iron Writer Challenge #141

2016 Winter Solstice Open Preliminary Round

500 Words, 5 Days, 4 Elements

Joyce Carol Oates

Joyce Carol Oates Bracket

The Authors:

Mamie PoundChristopher A. Liccardi, Mason Grant, Richard Russell

The Elements:

The Isolator

Something arrogate.

A ball of yarn

An appointment to be abducted by aliens that you are anxiously waiting for.

Boldly GoMamie Pound

Mamie Pound 

The night sky was sweet with stars, twinkling and spinning, dotting the air far above him with promise.

A swing set lay at his feet like an unearthed dinosaur, poles and slide strewn across the Emerald Zoysia. Its chains were strapped across his chest, warrior style.

“They’re bad about takin’ stuff, Angie,” he said and went straight for the garage. The dog trotted behind, wagging its tail.

Steve piled boxes into his truck.

Angie got her mother and her sister on a three-way phone call in the kitchen.

“He’s wearin’ that thing again,” Angie hissed.

“What thing?” asked Donna, her sister.

“The freakin’ Isolator. Ordered it on Amazon. It’s all he does anymore. Talks about, ‘when they come for him’ and how, ‘he can’t wait’. But he’s scared they’ll take his guns, so he put them in a Yeti cooler and he’s gonna lower them to the bottom of the quarry, for when they bring him back.”

“You’re kidding,” Donna said.

Angie put the phone on speaker. “Nope. He’s gone. Wasn’t even gonna tell me.”

“You don’t know that,” her mother admonished.

“I found a hoard of beanie-weenies and beer in the garage, under his tool chest,” Angie said.

“I wonder if he’ll bring back souvenirs?” Donna teased.

“Even with the laundry and all, I’m gonna miss him,” Angie said.

“Of all people, they chose Steve…,” Donna continued.

“They need craftsmen, he saw it online.”

“Think they’ll tattoo him?” Donna asked.

“Wait, I’m getting another call.” Angie clicked over.

“Hurry, it might be Captain Kirk,” Donna cackled.

After several seconds Angie came back.

“Well, that was Steve,” she reported.

“And?” Donna said.

“He needs yarn.”

“What?” Donna howled.

“He’s gonna knit them an afghan while he waits,” Angie sniffed.

“What a dumb ass!” Donna yelled.

“Donna!” Her mother warned.

“He must be the love child of Martha Stewart and Rod Stirling,” Donna said, laughing.

“Do you have yarn, Angie, Honey?” Her mother asked.

“I bought some for that Pinterest thing I started, but I lost it,” Angie whined.

“You sure did,” Donna said.

“Shut up, Donna,” her mother hissed.

“You need to listen to how you talk to people, Donna,” Angie said.

“Your husband is knitting for aliens, Angie.” Donna persisted.

“Darlin’ don’t you dare get on that spaceship,” her mother cautioned. “Take him the yarn and just leave.”

“Okay,” Angie sighed.

“If she wants to ride the Starship Enterprise, so be it!” Donna cheered.

“At least I have a husband,” Angie jeered.

“Technically speaking…,” Donna went on.

“That wasn’t his fault!” Angie snapped.

“How does one ‘accidentally’ marry their cousin?” Donna asked.

“Shut up, Donna!” Angie yelled.

“Angie, Honey, I have a new ball of yarn, ‘sunshine yellow’…,” her mother continued.

*****

At the quarry, he scanned the horizon for errant light, caught sight of a passing comet, and wished for the glare of metal that would mirror earth’s reflection. He lowered the air-tight cooler into the watery depths and turned back toward his truck.

The wind shifted. A cloud of bats scattered from a nearby cave.

Then a beam, brighter than magnifying-glassed sunshine, shot to earth.

And he was gone.

Hugo’s Code

Mason Grant

“I can’t make a dime’s worth of sense out of this.” Olivia said as she dropped the binder in front of her husband.

“How is this supposed to explain,” she continued gesturing at Chase’s passion within the binder, “why we are in backwoods Luxembourg, which I can barely say let alone spell? You told me that this was going to be romantic.”

Chase looked up smiling. “I finally put it all together. I got this room at this bed and breakfast because of Hugo’s code.”

Olivia was furious paced in front of the bed.

“I thought you were taking a break from your science fiction freakdom for a few days so we could reconnect. You told me that you were going to take me someplace special that only you and I would have. You kind of left out the whole ‘by the way, I’m planning to call Captain Schmirk to beam us up to the Century Falcon.’”

Chase stood and took his wife’s hands.

“Olivia,” he said. “It’s not the Century Falcon. It’s the Millenium, never mind. I pieced Hugo Gernsback’s code together while I was wearing The Isolator suit that he invented. The code was in his Amazing Stories magazines during the 1920’s. It’s remarkable because the code is pieced together with a hint in each issue over the years. Tonight is the night, and this is the spot where visitors from another planet will be coming to take us on an adventure of a lifetime!”

“Are you listening to yourself? You have completely gone off the deep end.”

A tear welled and streamed down Olivia’s cheek as she spoke.

She went on, “Whatever you think this science fiction guy said, it has nothing to do with us. I should be the most important thing in your life. Not this binder and these hugonauts or whatever it is you are waiting for to take you and abduct me. I can get more satisfaction out of a ball of yarn than I can trying to follow your insane fantasies.”

“Honey,” Chase pleaded. “Everything changes tonight.”

“You’re right. Everything changes tonight, Chase,” Olivia said as she gathered her shawl and the keys to their rental car. “Tonight is the night that you chose fantasy over me. You need help, but I am arrogating my life tonight and taking it back.”

“Olivia, please don’t go. Give me just a few more minutes, and you’ll see.”

“I’ve seen everything I need.”

Chase did not leave the cabin as the taillights of the car receded. As the lights disappeared, a new light bathed the secluded cottage from above.

Chase stepped outside and peered up to see the otherworldly craft that Hugo had promised.

“Greetings,” a disembodied voice said to Chase. “We have arrived at the appointed time and place to take whomever is present on a galactic adventure. Are you prepared?”

Chase looked down the road where the car had been just a minute before. He closed his eyes and nodded.

“I have nothing left here. I am ready.”

#3476Christopher Liccardi

Christopher A. Liccardi

“Number three thousand, four hundred seventy six, three thousand, four hundred,” her nasal voice was cut off by a strange little man who jumped in front of her window. Why do they always assume it’s okay to cut me off? And why did she always get the weird ones? She thought.

“That’s me.” Squeaked a tiny little voice. The man was just tall enough so that she could see the top of his brown bowler, level with the counter. Madge had to strain forward on her stool in order to see the round face beneath it.

“Ticket please.” She said in that dry ‘have done this a million times’ tone. Lunchtime was eleven minutes away, but she knew she would be going late.

The short man had to jump several times to get his hand, and his ticket onto the counter. Madge sat scowling at the top of his hat.

She took the ticket, looked at the numbers and tossed it toward the basket at her feet. The floor was littered with millions of those little red tickets, but cleanup was another someone else’s problem.

“Do you have the standard 43112C signed and stamped?” she asked.

The man pulled a stack of papers from his briefcase and once again began to jump repeatedly to reach the counter.

How in the hell did he drive here, Madge thought? He’d need a step stool to get to the toilet.

She sighed audibly and leaned forward again, snatching the papers before they could fall back down to the floor on his side of the counter. The wooden stool groaned under her weight. If the man heard her, he didn’t indicate that. He smiled the entire time.

Madge riffled through the papers. Everything was in order. She pulled the ancient metal stamp from its red ink pad. The CLACK sound echoed down to this man’s ears and she knew if she looked again, he’d be smiling so wide, his hat would fall off.

“Your wish?” Madge asked, it was now two minutes to lunch. She was never going to make it.

“Alien Abduction.” The man said. She heard eagerness in his voice.

“Raise your right hand and swear that this is your heart’s most secret desire.” She motioned out at the empty space in front of her window.

“I DO!” said the little man. More excited than the kids were on Christmas.

“Did you bring the required item? Madge asked, not caring really.

He reached back into his case and pulled out a ball of yarn. It was the color of no color at all.

“Do I keep this with me…” she cut him off. “Yes.”

It was one minute after lunchtime and all the other windows were empty now.

“Take a seat in Booth 13 please and put on the Isolator helmet. Do not forget to turn on the oxygen before you do.” She said, but he was nearly running now. He hadn’t listened and she knew she’d have to call for someone when he passed out, but that would be after her lunch. It was already 5 minutes after and she was starving.

Science With DaveRichard Russell

Richard Russel

Dave was a weasel. Everybody knew it. He never did any schoolwork of his own: Why should he, when he could simply steal the work done by others? He was also the worst science lab partner Billy ever got stuck with. Dave butchered five frogs before Billy took over dissection. Dave cracked ten cover-slips trying to focus the microscope before Billy stepped in. When Billy had to replant the bean seeds Dave had drowned, Billy began to despise Dave’s ineptitude. Dave was dragging him down. Billy resented Dave’s always copying his answers.

This seemed to work well for Dave until finals came around and he realized he didn’t know anything. He needed to get his hands on Billy’s science notes.

Dave saw his opportunity when he spied Billy walking home with an arm-load of cardboard tubes. “Hey, Billy, let me help you with that.” The two made their way to Billy’s house and carried the tubes back into Billy’s room.

Dave looked around Billy’s room in awe. There were consoles, radar screens, antennas, knobs, dials, and strange noises emanating from everything. “What’s all this?” Dave asked.

Billy smirked, “I’ve been searching for alien life in space, Dave.”  

Dave was incredulous, “Yer full of it!”

“No, seriously, Dave, and I’ve found some.”

Dave laughed so hard he doubled over.

“You’ve just lost it, haven’t you? You’re crazy!”

“No, Dave, really. Here, put on this helmet and I’ll prove it.”

Dave looked at the helmet and fell to the floor laughing. “You’ve got to be kidding me!”  

Billy’s shoulders slumped, “Well, suit yourself. If you don’t believe me, then just go home. I’ve got an appointment to meet these aliens tonight, and they’re going to give me technology that’ll make me rich.”

Dave struggled to his feet, “You’re crazy, man. You’re a frickin’ nut-case.” With that, he walked out.

But that evening Dave was too enticed at the prospect of arrogating some priceless technology for himself.

Stooped outside Billy’s window, he overheard Billy’s conversation with … someone on a two-way radio. “Roger that, Q4 Alpha. Rendezvous at Indian Mound in 30 minutes.”

Dave leaned back. “Dang!”  

Dave’s greed kicked in: He snuck around the house, slipped in the side door and jumped Billy from behind. He tied Billy up with a nearby ball of yarn and took off for Indian Mound.

To his surprise, a flying saucer suddenly appeared overhead and Dave was abducted into the ship by a light beam. Before he knew it, he was strapped to a table. Two aliens approached. One was holding a scalpel while the other made gestures indicating he should have the scalpel. Taking a step back, the first one stumbled awkwardly and fumbled the scalpel several times before accidentally cutting himself, dropping the scalpel again. The second one turned, shook his head, and shrugged his shoulders at Dave apologetically.

Back on earth, Billy easily got loose. Opening the package the aliens had given him the night before, Billy felt the trade was more than equitable.

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