It was a strange weekend. Or should I just say that it was a holiday weekend and let that explain everything? Anyway, short break from the big story this week. Instead we will be going with an entirely different bit of strangeness.
Only Aliens Send Flowers
Ashley slammed the phone back onto the cradle, her face still in the state of disgust of before the slam. Though she stared out into the room her vision was buried somewhere in the back of her mind. She sifted through the files and memories in her head looking for something, anything, that would allow her to relate to the words that just assaulted her ears. In all her life, no one had ever dared to speak to her like that. She was flummoxed. She was flabbergasted. She was enraged. She was a little turned on but she didn’t want that one to come directly to the front of the other emotions, not yet anyway.
Before she had a chance to recover, the phone rang again. She could answer it. That would be the polite thing to do. But she was still in shock from the last caller. What if he called back again? She thought.
“Tell them how you really feel,” Sam said. She stepped into the living room from the kitchen, a glass of milk in her hand. “Who did you hang up on anyway?”
Ashley shook her head, her body followed. “Um… Honestly, I don’t know,” she said. “I answered the phone and they jumped in with the most vile… icky… gah… I don’t even have the words.” She placed the phone on the end table toward the edge away from the couch. “I’ve never heard anything like it before.”
Sam’s eyes lit with a mischievous smile. “Do tell, did he suggest lewd acts?”
“Not exactly,” Ashley said. “Hell, if it had just been sex I wouldn’t have been quite so, disturbed.” She glanced at the phone again as if it might reach out and bite her. “It was something more, so much more. I felt like he touched me, through the phone.”
“You’re kidding right? You’ve never been propositioned on the phone before?”
“No, that isn’t it,” Ashley said. “Seriously, I could feel him right here in the room when he was talking. And it wasn’t sex.”
“What was it then?”
Ashley looked into Sam’s eyes, then shrugged her shoulders. The air left her lungs as her better judgement caught up with her again. “Never mind,” she said. “I think maybe I over reacted. It was just a crank call.”
Sam’s right eyebrow rose to ask its own question. “You’re probably right,” she said. “He called the landline. Who does that anymore?”
“Weren’t you supposed to get that line canceled last week?” said Ashley.
“Oh so now it’s my fault that you’re getting weirded out by crank calls?”
“That isn’t what I meant and you know it.”
“Fine, I’ll call about it tomorrow,” Sam said. “Maybe it will get us out of the bill.”
The phone didn’t ring again the rest of the night. But this didn’t change the sensation Ashley had of it looming over her. The girls watched TV till later that night. Ashley shifted glances throughout the night at the phone. As the night drew on, the red plastic seemed to breathe in and out, in and out. It had a life of more than just that of the phone.
Ashley woke to the sound of Sam snoring on the other end of the couch. Sam had curled into a ball with her feet and hair hanging outside the bottom and the top of her blanket. Through bleary, sleep-filled eyes she stretched for the TV remote that Sam had dropped on the floor. It wasn’t Sam’s snoring that woke her, it also wasn’t the drone of the TV. There had been something more, something urgent that she couldn’t quite grasp in her semiconscious state.
She rubbed the crust from her eyes and stretched before she looked around the room. Nothing jumped out at her, nothing out of place. The phone hadn’t rung since that last time earlier in the night, she was sure of that. And then a slow steady knock hit their door, three raps and done.
This late at night, she feared someone called the cops. But they hadn’t made any noise. Hell, they fell asleep on the couch. Even with the shitty neighbors they have had in the past, none of them ever called the cops. The clock on the dvd player clicked to ten minutes after two. Who the hell knocks on your door at this hour?
She peeked through the peep hole of their door. He stood in the brightest portion of the hall light, a guy, maybe early 20s in a nice suit. “Jehovahs witness?” she said. “Since when do they knock in the middle of the night?” She didn’t open the door, instead she kept her eye glued to the peephole to watch what he did.
He knocked again. After the mental math she realized it was with his left hand. He held his right hand back like he was holding something. A bouquet of flowers, she saw when he stepped back from the door again. Sam grunted and stretched out across the couch.
Ashley ran her fingers through her hair. She looked dreadful, she was sure of it. After a night snoring on the couch she didn’t expect much more. Maybe she could scare him away with her wild hair and smeared makeup. He didn’t appear to be ready to leave without an answer to his knocking.
She watched through the peephole, ready for his next approach. As he lifted his hand and tapped the first tap, she flung the door open. “What the hell do you want!” She wasn’t sure but it felt like she lifted an inch off the ground in her rush to open the door. He squealed. Was it a squeal, or maybe it was a yip? Either way the noise that came from his mouth was entirely unexpected.
After the exchange he stopped, arm still in the air, ready to knock again. His mouth had fallen open and his eyes had grown to twice their natural size. The rush and surprise had sucked the air from Ashley’s lungs and as she gulped in a fresh breath, she saw him take a deep breath as well. “Who the hell are you?” she said. It took a moment for her breathing to return to normal, but he remained in that look of shock and fear the entire time.
She was about to speak again when his hand in the air switched position. It move in close to his head with the palm open wide and facing her. At the same time he lifted his other hand with the bouquet and held them in her personal space. “Blizkor left knee,” he said. “I zik sokpoo. Buttocks grasp ankle kick.”
Ashley fought to swallow as she realized her mouth had gone dry. She attempted to speak but her dry throat could only rasp. She took a step back from the outstretched flowers.
“Heave fray thrust zip?” The man lowered the flowers slightly. His other hand had fallen to his side and his shoulders drooped. He didn’t look hostile but he sure did sound drunk.
Ashley didn’t want to take her eyes away from him but she did want to find something to defend herself just in case. She stopped short when feeling returned to her limbs. She still held the door handle, quick close and lock and no more weirdo. Except he looked lost and confused like a puppy. No, no, she didn’t want to cuddle him. But, maybe… She pushed the thought away. This was crazy, she couldn’t let something this bizarre into the apartment.
He held up the flowers again. “Tiz nook elbow squeeze?”
“I have no idea what you are saying,” she said. “Are you drunk?”
He looked into her eyes and then at the flowers in his hand then back into her eyes again. “Tikork bloob angina?” The look in his eyes, again with the puppy eyes.
Ashley was a softy but, stranger danger. “Who the hell are you?” She could feel her will slipping away. The least she could do is help him figure out who he was looking for. Sam snorted again and then flopped off the couch. She landed with a thump on the floor but didn’t wake up. But it was enough of a distraction to break eye contact.
The guy thrust the flowers into Ashley’s chest and stepped into the apartment. He pushed past her into the center of the living room and spun around to face her again. Without looking down he managed to avoid stepping on Sam in her pile on the floor. “Zikar labia grin astoll wick.” He said this last with his arms stretched out as his head bobbed up and down from left to right.
It wasn’t his head. Ashley did a double take before she could see what happened. The man’s face wobbled like a bobble head, shifted across the bones of his skull. He reached up and adjusted the skin so that it sat right again.
He didn’t wait for a response, didn’t even look at her. Instead he scanned the living room and then walked into the kitchen. From the front door Ashley saw the light from the refrigerator click on. She could hear bottles and jars clinking as he rummaged through the shelves and then the light shut off with the thump of the closing door.
“What the hell are you doing?” She found her voice though she chided herself for taking so long. “Who the hell do you think you are?”
He came out of the kitchen with a couple storage containers in his hands, topped by a carton of eggs and the remnants of a gallon of milk, spoiled of course. The containers spilled across the dining room table and he fell into a seat with them. “Limp biscuit butter nips?” he said while he pointed at the seat across from his.
Ashley, her mind blank, took the seat. In her brain everything she wanted to say, wanted to do to get this guy out of her apartment fought for a place of priority. If she could only focus on one thing to eject the guy from her apartment she would be able to act and be done with it all. Instead she stared at him blankly as he proceeded to open each of the containers and pour them into a pile on the table top. And then he cracked the eggs and dropped them shells and all on top of the pile.
“Bizca slopetar labia boque,” he said. He spoke with his hands making points on each unintelligible word and then heated points from the ones that sounded too close to english to be comfortable. He continued for a long stretch and then an odd sound erupted from deep inside him. Not quite a building screech but something similar to a staccato of broken railroad spikes dragging across a black board.
When the sound stopped, Ashely removed her hands from her ears. “Are… are you… making small talk?” It clicked. A small switch in her brain finally clicked and she found the one thing she could focus on right at that moment. It might have been a futile effort but she had to do it. At the least it would free her from the trap of inactivity. She grasped the flowers like a sword and swung them hard and fast into the guy’s face. Repeated blows of the flowers sent petals and stems flying through the air around his head and body.
She finished when the flowers had become so broken she had been swinging stubs and no longer connected with his body. Breathless but sated she caught herself looking into his eyes. They registered no anger, no fear, just calm. His demeanor through the whole attack was little more than to stand there and take her assault without a flinch. And then when she had finished that same staccato railroad spike across the black board screech began again. He gripped his belly in the assault of the sound until it finally died down again.
In the final heaves of the sound he reached out and placed his hands on each side of her face. “Rieporch nock piggy toe and jam in the second tree of floosack.” When he kissed her, it wasn’t so much a kiss. This wasn’t a kiss that epic love poems were ever written about. The moon didn’t hang softly over the gently lapping ocean. No one’s panties were moistened in the drippings of cupids love. No he extended his tongue, long and oddly shaped, and licked her entire face in one continuous circle. When he finished he stepped away from her. “I shall always love you,” he said. He turned and walked out the door and disappeared down the hall before she thought to chase after him.
But she did chase after him, chased him all the way to the parking lot. She didn’t see any cars drive off into the night but she did see the bright light that hovered over the building just across the lot from hers. Much like the light from a refrigerator in a dark room that winks out casting the room in darkness when the door is closed, she saw the light over the building wink out and disappear. The rumble of thunder and blast of air couldn’t have come from a sudden storm. It didn’t rain till several days later.
She didn’t see the ship as it blasted away but she was sure it had been there just as sure as the mess on her dining room table.
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