The Wrong Old Lady
JP Little | Michael Ilkiw
“This is insane,” Marla screams into her phone. “The war is almost over and yet these assholes are still living in my house!”
Her sister’s voice squeaks out of the receiver, far more calm than her own. “Mar, you won’t have to put up with it much longer. Just stick it out.”
“That’s bogus! I mean, isn’t there a law against forcing me to do this? Or am I going to have to take care of this the old lady way?”
“Well, there is, but that doesn’t really apply to alien invaders,” her sister says with a slight chuckle. “Hopefully once everything has played out, they’ll just leave, like last time.”
Marla has been pacing around her kitchen for some time, but her tempo increases as her blood starts to boil. “How the hell can you be so calm about this?”
“I live in Arizona. Way too hot for those pansies down here. It’s Minnesota’s problem.”
“Gee, thanks.” From the kitchen, Marla hears the front door creaking open. She cups her hand around the bottom of the phone and whispers, “I have to go. They’re back.” She hangs up the phone before her sister can even reply, and slips it into her pocket.
A wave of muffled voices wafts down the hallway as Marla creeps toward the front door. She smells them before she can see them. Her nostrils are attacked by their stench, like a rotting jellyfish after the third day on shore. But even that odor is nothing compared to the dark green, scaly, slobbery skin that covers their slouching bodies. Every second they spend standing in one place, a pool of saliva grows beneath their feet.
Marla watches from a distance as the three brutes throw their bags and excess clothing on the floor and begin towards their bedroom. As she grabs the mop leaning against the wall and heads towards the door, she realizes that the creature trailing behind the others still has his boots on. The long, clunky black shoes are covered in mud, spraying drops of it across the room with every slapping step.
“Hey,” the old lady shouts stumbling towards the front door, using the mop as a cane. “Just you wait a minute!” She knows they don’t understand English, or any human language for that matter, but the sound of her yelling gets their attention. “Do not track that mud all over my carpet!” They stare at her in awe, their grizzly faces unable to show much emotion. Using the handle of the mop, she points to the alien’s boots, then aims the handle at the spot where the other two had left their shoes.
He looks back and forth several times before he seems to finally get the point. A grunt escapes from the hole on the front of his face, followed by a splash of saliva. Marla spits it away from her mouth as she wipes her face with her sleeve. She uses both hands to clear the gunk from her eyes, and when she can finally see again… A searing pain slices through her head as blood starts to shoot from the space below her left eye. She tumbles backwards, grabbing for the wall, but it merely slows her down as she crashes onto the tile floor. Her ears ringing and her vision blurry, she struggles to reorient herself. When she is seeing single again, she is looking up at the butt end of a plasma rifle, grasped in the eight dirty fingers of a furious extra-terrestrial.
After another quick snarl, he and the others head to their bedroom, leaving Marla lying on the ground. She rolls over and manages to steady herself just as the door to the master bedroom closes. Ok now, she says to herself. You fuckers just pissed off the wrong old lady.
She waits an hour until the noise in the bedroom finally stops. She creeps to her own bedroom, formerly the guest room, and grabs the key out of her bedside table drawer. On her toes, with her thickest socks on, she sneaks over to the master bedroom. A few years ago, she had a lock installed so she could close off the bedroom when she had company. However, the knob on the inside is tiny, much too small for the aliens’ large, bulbous fingers. She inserts the key, and turns it as gradually as she can, making only a small pop. Again using the mop as a walking stick, she shuffles over to the thermostat and turns the dial as far to the right as she can. After that, she returns to the front door, where the splatter of her blood still covers the floor like a Jackson Pollock painting. She lies down, and waits.
It doesn’t take long for the small apartment to turn into a boiler room. Even the old woman is feeling uncomfortable now. Sweat drips down her forehead, down the collar of her blouse and joins the mess of fluids on the floor. A few moments later she hears the violent screams of the aliens. One at a time, they howl in agony. One crashes into the door, followed by the sound of the others crashing into him. Marla can hear their fingers fumbling for the lock. The growls get louder for only a few seconds, and then fade away until it is silent once again. As the heat overwhelms Marla, she drifts off to sleep.
“Ma’am? Ma’am are you alright?” She is awaken by a broad-shouldered paramedic kneeling over her. She tries to speak, but her mouth is too dry. As the medic reaches for a bottle of water, Marla notices the human military officer standing behind him.
“Ma’am, there are three of them dead in the bedroom. How did that happen?” asks the officer.
Marla takes a few sips of water and replies, “How should I know? I’ve been unconscious since they came home.”