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"Emil and the Aliens"

 by Wayne Faust  

2000 by Wayne Faust
All rights reserved



World War II Plane Found On Venus!

    "Huh. What do you know about that? I bet FDR had something to do with this!"

    "Come on, Dear, you're holding up the line."

    Eunice tugged on Emil's elbow, trying to ease him out of the supermarket checkout line, but the old man kept on reading, devouring screaming headlines like they were his last meal. Finally she sighed and yanked as hard as she could, sending him lurching towards the exit with his thick glasses slipping sideways down his nose. The tabloid spilled to the floor in a heap.

     "Just a minute. I gotta pick up the paper." Emil twisted away and adjusted his glasses. He bent down to pick up the paper and his eye caught the headline on the second page.

    Baby Born With Two Heads - Amazed Doctors Say Both Heads Doing Fine.

    "Well, what do you know about that?" remarked Emil, as he resumed reading. The rest of the people in the checkout line began muttering loudly and a ten year old boy whacked himself on the forehead in disgust.

    "Emil!" hissed Eunice through clenched teeth. "Put the damn thing down and let's get out of here!"

    "Okay, Honey. Okay. No use getting all bent out of shape." He allowed himself to be pushed outside and into their Chevy wagon. Emil bought Chevies because GM was the only car company not yet infiltrated by Satanists. At least he was pretty sure Chevies were okay. Otherwise he'd have to start riding a bicycle.

    By the time they were halfway home Eunice had cooled off a little. It just wasn't in her nature to stay angry for too long, no matter what Emil did. "I don't understand why you didn't just put the paper on top of the groceries and buy the darn thing instead of holding up the whole line," she remarked gently.

    "Eunice," he replied, as if talking to a child, "if they see me buy a paper, then they'll know I know!"

    "Know you know what?"

    "They'll know I know about the aliens. All these unusual things wouldn't be happening if something sinister wasn't behind it, no siree. Why, just the other day somebody saw Elvis' face in Niagara Falls, clear as day! Now doesn't that sound like a sign to you?"

     "The only sign I see is the one hovering over your bald head that says 'Lunatic At Work.' I've been married to you for 40 years but I think you've finally gone off the deep end."

    She had been mostly kidding but Emil pouted and stared out the passenger side window. It was quiet in the car for the rest of the ride home but once Eunice heard Emil mutter under his breath, "A B-29 on Venus. We haven't heard the last of this."


    Later that evening Eunice gossiped on the phone with her neighbor Marge, while Emil tinkered away as usual in the basement of their suburban home.

    "I know, Marge," Eunice said. "Men go through goofy phases, but I think this time he's going a little too far. I got him to stop smoking and he doesn't drink anymore but I can't get him to give up these crazy ideas. They seem to be getting worse, too. Maybe it's that male menopause thing they talked about on Oprah. Do you know that last week Emil was downstairs trying to build a radio that would talk to Marilyn Monroe's ghost? He said he got the frequency from the Midnight Globe. He never talked to Marilyn but he sure screwed up the TV."

    Marge was scandalized. Eunice liked to unload on Marge because she could always count on her to say, "Really?" a couple times, or maybe, "You don't say!". This always made Eunice feel a little better, and besides, she knew Marge would tell the rest of the neighborhood by the end of the week. It made Eunice something of a celebrity. When her friends passed her and Emil in the market they would secretly roll their eyes, and Eunice would give them her best long-suffering look, until she felt like Joan of Arc for a few minutes.

    Suddenly the door to the basement crashed open. Emil burst through and stood weaving in the kitchen, face ashen, eyes glazed. Eunice mumbled something into the phone and quickly hung up.

    "Honey? What's wrong?" exclaimed Eunice. Emil looked just like her Uncle Oscar had when he got his first heart attack. Eunice began to dial 9-1-1.

    "Aliens! They're here! Right in the basement!"

    Eunice stopped dialing and hung up the phone. "Oh, aliens. I thought you were having a heart attack."

    Emil didn't answer. His face began to get some color back and a beatific smile spread across his face. He just stood there like that, weaving back and forth like a drunk until Eunice took his arm and led him to a chair. He flopped down.

    "Okay, dear," sighed Eunice. "Tell me all about it."

    "The aliens came to me. They chose me!" He shook his head as if in disbelief.

    "Chose you for what?" Eunice replied, already trying to remember the name of Marge's psychiatrist.

    Emil looked at her now, his eyes shining. "They want to conquer the Earth! And it's for our own good! They said that we can have a paradise here if they can only get some of us to help. Just a few of us. A paradise - finally after all these centuries! No war, nothing. They picked me!"

    "Okay," Eunice muttered. "I'll bite. Why did they pick you?"

    "Because of my gardening service."

    This was gonna be a doozy. "Your gardening service?"

    "Yeah. With me they can hide. I reached 'em on my radio and they landed in the back yard. Didn't you hear anything?"

    "No, I didn't."

    "Huh. Well you should have. They come from a whole other galaxy. They've been watching us for years. Elvis never really died, but beamed up to their planet to sing for one of their TV shows. Well, it's not actually TV that they have, but something better. But TV is as close of a description as they could give me. And you know that B-52 on Venus? It was a sign from them to let us know they're here. It all adds up."

    Eunice hoped it wasn't going to get much worse. What was that psychiatrist's name?.

    "They traveled millions of light years and landed in our yard! I heard 'em land and turned around just in time to see 'em come in through the basement window. They look like snakes; long, green snakes. That's why they need me. They can hide in my garden hoses and I can take them all around the neighborhood. That way they can get into more people and kind of push them on the right path. The path to paradise on Earth!"

    This was too much, just too much. "What do you mean Emil, get into people?"

    "Oh, there's one in me right now. They make a little hole at the base of your spine with the top of their heads, which are very sharp, kinda like a drill. Then they just slither up inside and wrap themselves around your spinal column and feed on electrical impulses. Once they're in there, they can control you. If you do something wrong they can make you very uncomfortable."

    It was time for Eunice to burst this particular bubble. "You have one of these things in you now?" she asked.

    "Yep, I do. It only hurt a little at first."

    "Let me see it."

     "Oh no, you can't see it now. It's inside." His eyes shifted right and left, like a parrot on a perch. That's what always happened when she caught him with a little common sense.

    "Wouldn't I be able to see the hole where it got in?"

    "Oh no," he answered, his confidence returning. "They have this special chemical that heals you up immediately. Yeah, that's it - a special chemical. They don't want many people to know about them yet. There would be panic in the streets."

    Eunice began to really worry now. He'd obviously thought this one out in a lot more detail than usual.

    "But Emil, if these aliens want to secretly take over the world, and there's one wrapped around your backbone right now, why is it letting you tell me all of this?"

     Emil pursed his lips and thought real hard, trying to sort it all out. At last he spoke, much softer than before. "I dunno. Maybe they want you to help. Do you want to go downstairs and meet one?"

    "What I want to do right now is go to bed. And I suggest you do the same so you can sleep off whatever's got you this time. Besides, you have to get up for work early tomorrow, you know. It's your long route day."

    Eunice marched off into the bedroom and shut the door in disgust. She called Marge on the nightstand phone and told her the latest. She got the name of Marge's psychiatrist and taped it to the mirror so she would remember to call in the morning. She tried to wait up for Emil but finally fell asleep to the muffled sound of his voice in the basement, talking to himself.


    The radio alarm went off at 7:30 the next morning. Eunice mumbled in her sleep and reached over to turn it off. Emil would have heard it and he would have to get up and make his own breakfast this morning. He had kept her up too late with his crazy story. She was pooped.

    Two hours later Eunice woke up to warm, June sunlight streaming through the window. She sat up and stretched and looked over at Emil's side of the bed. The sheets were smooth. It was obvious that Emil had never come to bed at all last night. Eunice breathed in sharply and glanced at the bedside clock. Nine-thirty. He should be on his route by now. I bet you he fell asleep in the basement again.

    Eunice got out of bed as fast as her old bones would let her and warily crept down the hall and into the kitchen. There were no breakfast plates or glasses on the table, no smell of coffee, no nothing. The old fool. He's sleeping on the hard basement floor again. He's gonna lose that route, just like he lost all the others.

    Eunice walked towards the basement door. Suddenly she stopped. Somebody was whistling outside the kitchen window.

    She looked out and saw Emil in the yard, watering the grass with a hose. He saw her looking and motioned to her. He was smiling. Eunice hoped that whatever had gotten into him last night had passed, just like the other times. She breathed a sigh and headed out the door.

    "Beautiful morning, isn't it, Honey?" asked Emil. His eyes were calm and bright, and he tended his lawn like the old pro that he was. He seemed to be rational again.

    "Yes, it sure is," she replied. "But aren't you late for your route?"

     "Yeah, I guess so. I was just getting ready to leave. I still have time to get it done. Don't worry."

    "Do you want some breakfast?"       

     "No, I'm not hungry. I've been up all night wrestling with a decision and I think I finally decided what to do."

    "What's that?"

     "This." He pointed the garden hose towards her and something darted out through the spraying water. It was glistening and bright green and very quick. Eunice tried to step back but something slimy wrapped around her left leg. She stumbled backwards and fell, just as she felt a needle-like prick at the base of her spine. Something moved inside of her, slithering higher and higher up her backbone. She tried to scream but only managed a gasp. She lay in the grass like a beached bass, her eyes glazed over in revulsion. She tried to get up but the pain was unbearable.

     "Don't fight it," Emil advised. "It can get pretty uncomfortable if you fight it."

     Emil rolled up the hose and headed towards his truck in the driveway. The words 'Emil's Superior Lawn Care' were painted in bright, green letters on the side panel.

    "You'll be fine by the time I get back," he called over his shoulder. Emil tossed the hose into his truck and skipped his way to the driver's side door. Eunice saw Emil's backbone pulse and slither through his green work shirt. He smiled broadly and climbed into the truck.

    Emil started the truck and backed into the street. He glanced once more at Eunice, who watched him sideways from where she lay, her cheek plastered into the wet grass.

    "Don't worry, Honey! It'll be okay!" he shouted, as if to a child with a scraped knee. "I'm just a crazy old man - and that's why they picked me!"

                He pulled the old truck away from the curb and it rattled happily down the road, absolutely filled with garden hoses.




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