(page 5 of 5)
I can’t let her see me like this. I’m doomed. I have to talk to K’aison—before he initiates the fail-safe option.
I motion and whisper to Rene. “My cell.”
“Don’t worry. My other daughter’s looking for it. Is there anyone you want me to call? Family?”
“No, no. I just uhh, need to check in with a friend.”
Where was the universal translator when you needed one?
I looked up to see little boy blue, hanging over Rene’s shoulder, a tendril of drool hanging ominously. I was strangely reminded of the acidic saliva of those beasts in the Alien movies.
Junior’s spittle, made alive by the laws of gravity, stretched and searched for a new host. To seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly grow and invade my … my leg! Frantic, I scuttle backwards, pivoting my foot to avoid contamination, slamming my shoulder into a wheel.
Rene stops bouncing.
“I’m so sorry. He’s teething. Would you like a wipe?”
She fought a smile while freckled Emma burst into giggles.
I don’t much like the sound of that. I’d prefer transport to another planet instead.
“No thanks. I’m fine. Really. I’m good.”
“God is good, all duh dime. Santa is bad, all duh dime.”
“That’s Satan honey.”
The little Martian smiled having blessed me with her theological thought for the day.
My peripheral vision registered the sweats moving away. Curious as to why Stacey hadn’t so much as glanced in this direction, I turned my head and saw. The dangling white wire. An iPod. She was looped in and bee-bopping her heart out, as she made a beeline to the automated checkout lane.
It was just as well. I was naked without technology. Sans the cell, I was undone.
I opened my mouth to question Rene, when a new voice invaded the area.
“Cool Mommy! Look what I found. It’s cartoon network.”
A third offspring, maybe 5 or 6 years at most. Another girl.
My lifeline in her grasp. I’m moments away from YouTube fame and my entire social network totters a few taps away from annihilation. Great.
A bolt of pain passes through my neck as a vision flashes before my eyes. My smartphone—covered in ladybug stickers—snug in a pink and green sandal shaped cell holder.
“Katy honey, give the gentleman his phone back.”
Katy did. Commotion.
Mother scolding. Sirens wailing. Paramedics rushing. Phasers firing.
The cell was alive. K’aison jabbered in my ear, as paramedics rushed in.
“Don’t freak me out going offline like that. Dude, you gotta see this. There’s like a whole squad out here. Gimme the scoop man.”
I feel a prick in my arm.
“Uh-ohh. Red Alert! Stace has left the building. Repeat! Stace has left the building. You getting this Captain?”
The overhead fluorescents twinkle. They’re not supposed to do that. My extremities tingle.
“K’reith here Captain, you want me to grab her before she gets away? I can take her down, nice and gentle like …”
It’s like I’m watching a soap opera. Or maybe I am the soap opera. Some guy named EMT air wrestles me for the phone.
I yell. “K’aison, take me away,” but the stretchers have me, and everything goes dark chocolate.