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Chuck the Canadian Corpse

Matthew Allen | Jessica Wilson

As the alien’s mandibles waved hungrily in Chuck’s face, kind of like a hermit crab soaked in the blood of demons and hand-reared from a young age on nothing but human flesh, he knew one thing for sure: this was not the good night’s rest he had promised himself.

Chuck was a Canadian, and although the very concept of nations had disappeared from memory so long ago that nobody quite knew what being a Canadian actually meant, he was also never one to argue with his mother. Nope, Chuck was Canadian through and through, and this Canadian was now running as fast as he could down the chrome-on-chrome hallways of his space station workplace. His first thought was an optimistic one: he realised that he actually didn’t mind running all that much and might even keep it up when all this was over (he never quite got enough exercise after all). It was the second thought which made him little bit panicky: there was a good chance that we was about to be devoured by a creature more salivating mouth than face, and it would happen before he got a chance to get rid of the slight podginess around his waist. He wasn’t even wearing his good shirt today.

Fortunately the alien did not give chase. Chuck wasn’t sure if this was because his screams of terror had stupefied the hermit crab from hell, or if it had simply decided that, since all the escape pods had already been launched and all communication facilities were offline, a single screaming sack of meat was of no particular concern. It was to be considered a victory in the name of humanity all the same.

Chuck shivered. He wasn’t prepared for this. He was an accountant for Canada’s sake. During the emergency protocol briefings he spent his time ogling the hot safety hostesses. Whoever’s idea it was to get twins to do that job was clearly thinking about something other than safety.

The space station itself was first made aware of the alien threat just over a week ago, when the approaching ship turned up on sensor logs and began transmitting a communication which played death metal non-stop (a clear warning of hostile intentions which had quickly become a universal standard). Given the importance of the situation a special executive committee was formed to oversee the decision making process, who decided that they needed more information on the situation and referred to a special data committee. After two days of producing graphs in the drabbest rainbow of pastel colours imaginable, the data committee handed their findings back to the executive committee, who decided that they weren’t qualified to interpret the data as presented and buried their heads for another day or so. Finally the problem was dropped onto the desk of the secretary committee who had, up until now, no knowledge of the situation, but quickly decided that, yes, the immediate evacuation of the station was probably in the best interests of everyone involved. Unfortunately the secretary committee were devoured by the alien threat just before they could present their suggestions.

Despite the outcome the whole process was considered an extremely successful handling of an unforeseen situation, and the special executive committee were well rewarded by granting themselves exclusive rights to the escape pods, and a raise, oh, and also a mid-year bonus, and how about another company car?

Chuck decided to whimper a little. It made him feel better. Currently he was hiding out in a storage room, which might have been helpful if this was some kind of military or scientific facility but space station #FI5HC4K3 was just a financial tax haven; the most useful item here was a stapler. It occurred to Chuck then that since the station never had any paper records, it was quite unnecessary for them to have a store of staplers. Yet here they were, and Chuck already felt better having tucked one into his belt.

It also occurred to Chuck that, assuming he was the last surviving employee, he had probably been promoted to at least Managing Director by default. ‘This Canadian ain’t letting his workplace be overrun without a fight,’ thought Chuck, ‘I’m going to watch those alien scum bags burn.’ This is perhaps the bravest thought that Chuck had ever had, and he immediately apologised in case any of the aliens could read minds, but the sentiment stuck and Chuck now felt that he should certainly do something. The stapler in his pants was probably affecting his judgement.

Chuck left the storage room and began to search for some kind of plan. Perhaps the boardroom would be a good place to start. Chuck was vaguely aware that good ideas must at least begin in the boardroom, even if it was only the bad ones that left it.

Chrome upon chrome with trimmings of chrome. He hadn’t realised before just how boring it all was. Give him some good old concrete any day — something with texture.

In the boardroom Chuck found Stacey. Her head was missing, but he could still tell it was her because of the name tag. He took back everything he had said about name tags — sometimes it really was difficult to tell one headless corpse from another. Still, there was a bit of a design flaw with all the blood there. Was that a Jack or a Joe? No matter. Chuck had already fainted.

Chuck woke to the sight of oozing saliva dripping from the tough, grasping mouth of one of the aliens. The soft clicking noises it was making were kind of soothing, but not soothing enough to coax Chuck out of screaming like an electrified walrus. Fleeing to the boardroom may not, in hindsight, have been the greatest executive decision he had made, but at least its tragic repercussions were short lived.

About Matthew Allen

Matthew Allen writes short stories to keep the demons away. Occasionally he falls asleep at his keyboard and a couple get through, but they're usually rounded up in short order.

Visit the author's page >

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