Rod's Peculiar Encounter
by Michael Lawrence
Rod Gorges was awakened by a loud noise that sounded like a metallic trashcan falling on pavement followed by an unsuccessfully revved lawnmower engine. His eyes were wide open, but his head still remained on the pillow. Grunting, he shut his eyelids and tried to go back to sleep. But then he realized something: nobody in his neighborhood has used a metal trashcan for ages. (Nowadays, everyone uses these giant plastic things with wheels - as if people today generate so much trash that they can't carry it out to the curb on their own.) And, he had doubts that any of his neighbors would try to mow their lawns at night. Curious, Rod crawled out of bed, careful not to disturb his wife, and pulled down a Venetian blind to look out the window. Other than the moonlit street and part of his lawn, Rod saw nothing out of the ordinary. Hoping to get a wider view, Rod pulled further on the blinds and tried to stick his head through. He got a better view of the lawn, but he still hadn't noticed anything unusual. He pulled even further on the blinds. Then, from out of nowhere, he heard a loud crack. Rod jumped and banged his head on top of the windowpane. He thought it was a gunshot, but he soon realized that he stretched the blinds too far and they snapped. Even worse, it woke up the wife.
"What are you doing up?" Georgette asked still lying in bed.
"Hi honey pie. Can't sleep. I was just going downstairs for a glass of water," Rod rather clumsily whispered as he opened the bedroom door and silently trotted into the hallway before his wife could ask what that big noise was.
Then he heard something. It was a ruffle. "Burglars," was the word that immediately flashed through his mind. With his heart pounding, Rod tried to scan the almost completely dark hallway for anything hard enough to render the burglar unconscious. Hmm… There was his mother-in-law's used Persian rug (that was so worn out that he didn't want to say anything) rolled up in the corner, but he realized that probably wouldn't work. He wants to hurt the burglar, not roll carpet out in front of him. Then he remembered. His six-year-old son, Sam, has a baseball bat. He slowly tiptoed toward his son's room and creaked open the door. The closet light was on as normal, but he noticed something peculiar about his son. He was lying under the covers - obviously awake - forcing his eyes shut. He made slight jerking movements with his limbs. He made a desperate attempt to look like he was asleep.
"Son?" Rod asked confused. Sam jumped and peered at his dad with apparent anger.
"Dad!" Sam whispered harshly. "Go away!" Rod gulped.
"Why?" Rod asked. Sam sat upright in the bed, looking at his father as if he had just ripped out a huge fart during his son's piano recital.
"Because you'll scare away the Tooth Fairy!" Sam hissed and assumed sleeping position again. Rod rolled his eyes.
"Just a moment, Sam," Rod said. "I need your baseball bat. Where is it?" Sam, thoroughly annoyed, kept his eyes shut and pointed to a corner. Surely enough, the baseball bat was leaning against the wall. Rod thanked him and crept back into the hallway. Unfortunately, after he had closed the door, he overlooked one very important detail: the baseball bat was made out of hollow plastic and weighed about 3 ounces.
With the 3-ounce bat propped offensively over his shoulders, Rod crept down the stairs ready to swing at anything that so much made a sound. He reached the end of the staircase and into the hallway that was partially lit by moonlight. He thoroughly looked to his left and then to his -------- he caught a glimpse of a human figure and swung mercilessly at it. He must have hit it twenty times when he realized that he was actually beating the plastic sap out of a prosthetic tree.
Shaken, Rod breathed heavily. In the same stance, he proceeded for the kitchen when he heard something ruffle. Immediately, without any further thought, he swung his bat. He hit a wall.
"Hey! Watch----oops!----I mean, 'Meow,'" the cat said.
"Oh, sorry about that Gully," Rod said to his cat. It wasn't until he inched into the kitchen when he thought to himself: "Boy, that cat is sure acting strange."
Rod crept through the kitchen and didn't see anything out of the ordinary. He tiptoed through the room. It wasn't until he reached the refrigerator when he decided that it was okay to stop. Partially relieved, and only somewhat believing that there were indeed no burglars in the house, Rod opened the refrigerator to get a midnight snack. He reached for a cold fried chicken leg. However, having watched many B-horror films in his youth, he knew that killers, monsters, mass murderers, cheek-pinching grannies, etc. love to sneak up behind people while their backs are turned. So Rod, chicken leg in hand, jumped and turned at a 90-degree angle.
"Ya!" he screamed. Nothing was there. Rod, loosening his position, chuckled at the ridiculousness of his behavior and felt relived. He took a hearty bite out of the chicken leg and continued to laugh. Then, suddenly, beads of light - much like that from a disco ball except that the individual beads weren't moving in unison - started shining though the window above the kitchen sink. Having hardly chewed the chicken sufficiently, he swallowed what was in his mouth with one gulp. Slowly, he began to approach the window. There was a large, metallic object about the size of a refrigerator outside. Attached to it were tiny spotlights of different color that seemingly rotated at random. Rod abruptly halted and dropped the chicken leg. Suddenly, the mini-spotlights aligned themselves and pointed straight to the sky. The door of this vessel swung open. An extremely attractive woman emerged wearing a skimpy airline stewardess uniform. She was smiling, showing nearly all her perfect, white teeth. At first, she appeared to be staring at the house, but she slowly rotated her head until her eyes met Rod's. Rod, terribly frightened, tried to duck in order to get out of this woman's view, but, in doing so, he slipped on the dropped chicken leg on the floor and landed on his rear end with a thud.
"Oof!" Rod said. He didn't want this to let him get off guard, however, so Rod swiftly and very James-Bond-like got to his knees and crawled to the dark den where he keeps his rifle. He took it off the rack and blew off the accumulated dust. He never used this instrument before. Its purpose really was to just sit there and make Rod look macho.
When he turned around to slowly tiptoe to where he keeps the bullets unbeknownst to his wife (inside the magazine racks filled with hunting and fishing magazines that he never reads), he gasped. The airline stewardess, lit by moonlight, was standing in the den's doorway. She was smiling so widely that it looked almost painful. Rod nervously pointed the rifle to the stewardess.
"Get out of here!" Rod yelled. The stewardess managed to smile even wider.
She asked something in a perky, pleasant voice but Rod was too busy panting and high on adrenaline to hear her clearly. He was pretty sure, though, that she said something about reclaiming his soul or something.
"Get out of here!" Rod repeated making threatening gestures with his dusty rifle. "There's nothing for you here!" The stewardess approached Rod; Rod stepped back and tripped over his knee-high ottoman. He banged his head on the floor. His legs were still propped over that piece of furniture. Dazed, the room spun around. Then he saw the stewardess's smile appear, spinning. Rod groaned.
"Excuse me, I am lost," the spinning stewardess said. "Would you kindly direct me to the airport?"
"Huh?" Rod asked in a daze - did she say something about directions?
"Excuse me, I am lost," the still spinning and smiling stewardess repeated. "Would you kindly direct me to the airport?" Rod attempted to get up without moving his legs from on top of the ottoman. He huffed.
Then all of a sudden, Rod could hear something bang on his front door on the other side of the house. Glass shattered, probably from the kitchen. Then there was another bang at the front door and, apparently, it had swung open and knocked a couple of framed pictures off the wall. He could hear dozens running footsteps trampling all over house.
The stewardess, who was still peering at Rod with a smile, jerked her neck slightly like a curious parrot. Then she mechanically turned around and began to run away, but she couldn't run very well considering her tight mini-skirt. Rod, obviously confused, stumbled to his feet and struggled to maintain balance. He waddled to the door of the den and peeked his head out. To his right, ducked behind the sofa, there were several men in black clothing and helmets, armed with a flashlight and what looked like a trombone. To his left, barely lit by moonlight, the stewardess ducked behind a bushy houseplant on a small table.
Seemingly out of nowhere, a flashlight shone on the stewardess's smiling face and she quickly stood up and started to toddle away into the dining room. Six men, who seemed to have emerged out of nowhere (Rod recalls one guy coming out of a tiny flower vase), chased after the stewardess. One of them pulled the trigger of their trombone. He missed fleeing airline attendant however. Instead, it hit and vaporized the dining room table. Another man took a shot and missed; it vaporized most of Georgette's prized china. A third one actually hit the stewardess, but only one of her high heels was vaporized. She limped out of reach and the six men followed her into the kitchen. Rod saw a bunch of flashing lights, as if there were lightning in the kitchen. He heard a loud zap and then silence. The men had fulfilled their duty and left the house via the kitchen window.
Several kitchen appliances were missing (most notably, the garbage disposal) Rod noticed as he inspected the kitchen. There was a wrinkled note on the counter. It read:
"We cannot talk to you in person for we are not physically able to. We are agents from the Vega star system. What you just witnessed was the end of a major intergalactic war. Sorry about the damage.
"P.S. (This message will self-vaporize.)"
The note disappeared before he was able to re-read it. Rod looked around and contemplated the events that had just occurred. The airline stewardess-directions to the airport-the men who were not physically able to talk-the broken glass-the missing garbage disposal-the coffee table. He wasn't sure if he should feel privileged or terrified. On one hand, he just witnessed the end of a major intergalactic war (that, for some odd reason, CNN had failed to pick up upon). One the other hand, he wasn't sure what on Earth he was going to tell the wife.