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Ruth Ann Hixson | Joey To

“It just dropped out of the sky.” Mary said as she looked at the flattened green mass at her feet. The mass began to bubble. It blew up into one big bubble.

More balls were dropping from the sky. Mary looked up cautiously. Overhead three immense circular spacecrafts moved slowly over the town popping out the slimy, green balls that were about the size of a basketball.

The mass at her feet began to eat into the concrete sidewalk. She ducked under the awning to the dollar store. One of the balls hit the awning at the store, and eating through the canvas, it dropped onto her shoulder and slid down to wrap around her bare arm. She screamed as it burned her flesh. She had to get it off somehow. It burned her fingers but she found it had the consistency of dough. Slimy dough. She could roll it down her arm like play dough. She dropped it on the sidewalk and ran inside the store, yelling, “Don’t anybody go outside. There are space ships shooting slime balls at us. Somebody please help me. This burns like my arm is on fire. It’s eating into my skin.”

An employee rushed her off to the restroom and tried to wash it off with water. Mary screamed, “Stop! Stop! you’re making it worse.”

Rachel, the employee, held up the washcloth. It was nothing but strings where the goo had dissolved part of it. “I don’t know what to do.” Her hands shook as she dropped the pile of strings in the sink. “It’s burning into my fingers.”

An elderly lady came into the restroom with a box of baking soda and a pack of rubber gloves. She pulled on gloves and opened the yellow box. “It’s my guess it’s some kind of acid. The baking soda might neutralize it.” She gently smoothed the white powder on Mary’s arm.

It bubbled and fizzed to become an inert green puddle on the tile floor. Rachel grabbed the box to rub some on her hands. Then she dumped some in the sink on what was left of the washcloth.

Mary grabbed the box and ran out of the store to the glob of green goo that was eating into the concrete. Acrid fumes arose from the mass burning Mary’s eyes. She sprinkled the white powder over it. It bubbled and burped before turning into a harmless puddle.

A police cruiser stopped in front of the store. “What are you doing?” the driver asked.

Mary showed him the box. “It’s baking soda. It seems to neutralize them.”

Both officers got out of the car and ran into the store nearly colliding with a teenager coming out. The boy had three boxes of baking soda tucked under his arm and was opening a forth. He began sprinkling it on any of the slime balls that were nearby, including one that was eating a hole in the hood of the police car. They turned into heaps of bubbles until they fizzled out in harmless puddles.

A white van drove up and stopped. A man in a class A haz-mat suit got out with a shovel and a plastic container. He shoveled up one of the balls and dumped it in the container. It began to swell so he slammed the lid on and fastened it down. The container split and the slime began to ooze.

The boy called out to him. “Baking soda kills them!” He held up the box for the man to see.

The technician moved as fast as his suit would allow and put the whole bucket into a thick-walled container. He climbed in the van and another technician helped him out of his suit. “We have to get this to the lab ASAP.”

“Didn’t you hear that kid holler?” asked the man who helped him. “He said baking soda kills them.”

“We’re going to need a lot of baking soda.”

The scientist put a bit of the slime in a machine to analyze it’s content. “It’s an acid but nothing the machine recognizes.” He turned to his assistant. “Bring me some baking soda.” He sprinkled a bit on the slime. It fizzled and bubbled until it became an inert puddle of pale green liquid.

Feeling more courageous after neutralizing the slime, he opened the container and dumped in the entire box of baking soda. A pale green froth bubbled up spilling over the sides and dripping down to the floor.

“We must get the word out about how to kill it. Call all the media, newspapers, TV stations, radio, social media.”

His assistant grinned. “Teenagers with cell phones.”

The roar of fighter jets filled the air as one fired off a missile downing one of the spaceships. The other two space ships took off and quickly disappeared. The pilot radioed headquarters. “One down; two escaped. They went faster than any aircraft on this planet.”

On the streets below, everyone was dumping baking soda on the slime balls to watch them fizzle away. Even kids were having a field day of it.

“What if they come back?” one cop asked the other.

“So what if they do. We know how to handle them now.”

“Yeah. Baking soda.”

About Ruth Ann Hixson

Ruth Ann Hixson is a retired newspaper journalist who writes novels, short stories, poems and book reviews. She was born, raised and still lives in Central Pennsylvania.

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