31 Stories in 31 Days, this is #8 for July 8th.
Honey! I was abducted, honest!
Scene: An old trailer house in the desert with a cheap picket fence, painted on yard and pink plastic flamingos. The only sound apart from the wind is an old country song. In the kitchen was a bath-robed woman with her hair up, but much of it was loose too. She was frying something in the frying pan, a can of beer on the table and she was singing along with the radio but her words were different than the song being played.
She was singing about a husband who stayed out boozing all night long and probably woke up next to some bimbo. Then she sang how he would show up at the door and wag his tail and the woman would let him in and forgive him again.
It was almost noon and he'd be starving when he showed up. That is why she was frying some bacon and eggs for the dog.. husband. He wouldn't offer an excuse, just smile sheepishly as he ate the food and then act like it was the best meal he ever had. The old goat -already a promotion- would spend the rest of the day doting on her.
She tilted her head. Then she reached over and turned off the radio. Yes, she could already hear that old truck rattling toward home. Nobody else it would be out here in the middle of nowhere. She bends over the uses two fingers to open the blinds an inch. Yep, he and old Rusty were coming back home, again.
That raggedy old truck with almost no paint left had been his fathers and Gerald has been driving it since he was about twenty-one. He loved that clunker a lot more than he loved his wife, she told herself and shook her head again. She took up her normal position at the door and tried to make herself look frantic and upset about him being gone all night. Really, though, she didn't much care.
She heard the truck stop suddenly as if it was dead for real or just relieved to have made it to its destination and needed a rest. Then the squeak of the door opening and the clang-bang of it shutting with a slam. It wouldn't shut properly without being slammed.
“Claudette!” she heard him shout. Her eyes opened wider, surely he wasn't already drunk again?
She opened the door before he reached it and he stumbles in and sits on the couch, his head laying back and he took a deep breath of the barely conditioned air. Claudette stood there with her hands on her hips trying to look severe.
“Honey!” he told her breathlessly “We have to pack up and leave!”
“Why? What did you do?” she asked, starting to get angry.
He waved his hand side to side. “I didn't do nothing! Nothing!” he said sitting up and nodding “I was the victim in this! The victim I tell ya”
“Gerald!” She shouted over his rambling mumble “Just tell me what happened!”
He motioned for her to sit next to him on the couch but she decided to sit in the love seat instead.
Claudette wasn't used to this. He stopped giving her excuses for his behavior a decade or so ago and she never pushed it. This was worrisome.
“I was out with the boys last night...” as if she didn't know that. He was always going out and drinking with the boys and everyone knew it, there weren't that many people in this county. “.. but before it even reached midnight something strange happened”
She crossed her arms, already bored.
“Well we were listening to the radio, sitting on Matt's tailgate and other stuff when all of a sudden Matt's truck just died. The lights and radio and everything just quit all of a sudden, and that just does not happen. You know if the engine dies or runs out of gas the battery will keep the lights and radio going for a while.... well Matt has a brand new truck with a brand new battery.”
She nodded and got up “Just get on with the story Gerald, I got to check the bacon”
So as she went to the kitchen side of the trailer, just a small bar separating them, he continued with his story.
“After that happened we were all quiet. We all knew that didn't make no sense at all. Then we started seeing lights in the sky, like meteorites or something. Except these lights were not moving in a straight line, then they headed straight for us” he said as seriously as he had ever said anything in his life.
She put down the spatula. “Why are you making up fool stories like that? You never tried to give any excuse for staying out all night”
“I'm not making up a story” he said in a whiny voice then his voice got deeper and more serious “Those lights were hovering over the road and then came towards us. Soon enough it was right over us and shining a spotlight down at us”
“Was it the Sheriff's new helicopter? That darned county commissioners court spent all our money on that stupid machine!”
He shook his head. “These craft were not making any noise at all. There was dead silence when this thing was right over us. Just those bright lights that kept us from running away somehow”
She dropped the plate of bacon, eggs and biscuits in front of him onto the coffee table and sat down on the love seat “I guess your going to tell me you got abducted too! You might as well just tell me your story before I hit you with the skillet”
She knew she would never hit him with the skillet, except for the time about fifteen years ago he was so drunk he brought a bimbo home with him. Knocked him clean out cold. Then Claudette served the girl some coffee and they chatted a while before a friend picked her up.
“Just hold on, Claudette” he said, rubbing the spot on his head she had him on that night, so long ago- he hadn't forgotten. “Something did happen. I suddenly found myself strapped down to a table and there were four other tables where Matt and the boys were also tied down. Everything was gray or black light some charcoal painting.”
She served two cups of coffee, taking one for herself. Gerald drank from the chipped mug with some faded symbol on the side.
“What did they look like?” she asked, wondering if he would make up something interesting. She looked at the clock and thought about turning the television on to watch Maury.
“Like the movies, the little gray aliens with the giant eyes” he said. She rolled her eyes, but he wasn't finished yet “... but that's just a suit, like a spacesuit. Under that they are reptilian-looking creatures and the short ones everybody hears about aren't the whole story. Back on their ship were tall ones, tall like humans!”
Okay, his story was a little more interesting than Maury revealing who the real daddy is. She leaned back in the love seat. “Go on”
Gerald looked into nothing again. “Well, I noticed that I wasn't the only one awake. I noticed Matt opening his eyes and looking at me. Neither of us knew where we were or anything, but I wanted to fight back some how or another” he made fists “I wanted to get away really bad”
With her coffee done Claudette decided this called for something better. She made herself some chocolate milk in a cup that looked like a mason jar with a handle. When she sat down he continued his story.
“Me and Matt got free. We worked the lashings until they got a bit loose and we were able to slip an arm out and then we could easily get the other arm loose too” he told her. “They seemed a bit frightened when we got off the tables and started throwing things at them. They moved back and we went to untie Paul and Denny. They had removed Paul's shirt and Denny was stripped down to his drawers. It didn't matter, we just had to get out of there!”
She leaned forward and asked “So how did you escape?”
He looked confused for a moment and scratched the back of his head. “I don't rightly remember”
Her shoulders slumped. Maybe she should just turn Maury on after all and tell the old coot to take a bath or something. If his story didn't have a good ending, then it wasn't worth listening to. Then he seemed to remember something.
“Oh! Claudette, we gotta pack!” he told her “We need to move right now. Get everything we can carry and go to your mothers house in the city”
She was stunned. Gerald hated her mother, why would he suddenly want to leave and go there?
“They're coming back, I remember them saying they would come back for us tonight! Well, they didn't say it they sort of thought it into our heads or something. They know where we live, Claudette, we have to leave as soon as we can” he told her, he seemed frantic. If he messed around with someone else's wife last night, this time, it would suit him right to get shot for that.
“Well if you want to visit my mother so much, we could have packed last night” she told him as he dug the suitcases out of the closet. She could only shake her head and sigh at his antics.
When the suitcases were in the back of the truck he was still rushing to get her to hurry. She didn't understand what this was all about. “There are hours and hours before dark” she pointed out as she carried her purse and a plastic bag of bottled water to the truck. He slammed it shut for her, almost like a gentleman- in her eyes- before getting in and starting the truck up.
The tires spun in the sand for a second before the truck rumbled to the main road and he turned left toward the city and away from the much-closer small town. “We need to get far from here before dark, really far” he told her as he drove. The problem was that her mother lived several hours away and it might get dark before they arrived.
They only stopped to eat at a Dairy Queen once and then again for gas and to take a restroom break but the sky was darkening before they got to the city. Gerald was getting more and more frantic. But the signs said the city was another 40 miles, maybe an hour or less away depending on traffic. Then he pulled over to take a piss.
Claudette looked around and saw no other cars on this highway. That was strange. It might not be weird out in the desert but it was very strange so close to a major city.
Suddenly the truck engine, lights and radio stopped. There was dead silence.
“No!” Gerald said “No, no, no!”
“Gerald, what's going on? Gerald?” she asked, getting scared now.
“They found me” he said, laying his head on the steering wheel “Looks like they found me. Found us, I guess”
Then she saw strange lights in the sky, moving in odd directions and speed. At first she thought it was lightening but there was not a cloud in the sky.
“What can we do Gerald? Where's the shotgun?” Claudette asked, getting frantic. Gerald was resigned to his fate and slowly shook his head “Nothing we can do, Claudette. Shotgun ain't gonna do no good against them aliens”
The light was right above them now. So bright that all the color was washed away from her vision, everything looked like a blurry pencil sketch. Then suddenly it vanished and replaced with headlights and then she could hear honking. Gerald looked up “Where'd it go?”
As her vision cleared up Claudette could see a big rig had parked on the shoulder facing the front of the pickup truck and the door was open. A large woman in coveralls was climbing out of the drivers side and Claudette was smiling.
“Momma!” she said “Gerald, Momma scared off the aliens!”
Gerald was looking in the sky all around and saw no lights “Well, I'll be. I guess I'm not the only one afraid of her! Her reputation must have gotten around!”
He laughed heartily. His mother-in-law had a use after all.
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