BLAZING SADDLES, SMOKING TENTACLES CH1. - BLARDETH BLEEPS
By Nandy Ekle
“You –“ You stop your reply suddenly, aware that your voice sounds too much like the high-pitched beeps of your species. Clearing your throat and hoping the sheriff didn’t notice, you restart. “You go on, Sheriff. I, um, I have some things I need to, um, gather up for this.” You find your gaze going toward the shape on the table, but try to make the sheriff think you’re looking at the cabinet next to it. “I’ll be right behind you.”
“Well, hurry it up. I don’t wanna get in the middle a’ sumppin’ I don’t know nuthin’ ‘bout.”
“I will. Just go on and I’ll be right there.” You pick up a carpet bag and stuff a candlestick, an old shoe and a pillow inside. The sheriff watches you grab another couple of random objects, scratches his balding pate, and walks out muttering under his breath.
“Galdern . . . sonsa’ . . . whatever.”
As soon as the sheriff is gone, you turn back to the body on the table. It moans again and the tentacle moves.
“Blardeth, is that you,” you ask.
“BBBEEEPPP . . .” he answers.
“It IS you! Waddya’ know!”
Blardeth opens his eyes and looks at you. “Claddeph,” he gasps. His eyes are full of an emotion you take for love. “Your outfit is amazing.” He blinks and shakes his head. “But that’s not why I’m here. I had to come tell you . . .” He trails off.
“Easy now. Take it easy.”
His head shakes quickly. You hear the sloshing of brain water and thank our lucky stars everything is okay in Bardeth’s head.
“No. You don’t understand. You’re . . . Oh Minithetet! My arm is on fire!”
Blushing at his strong language, you gently take his tentacle in your had. It’s beginning to turn back into an arm to match the rest of the body, but there’s a deep black burn covering the flesh between the wrist and the elbow.
“Leave that alone. I’m not long for this world now anyway.”
“Aw, c’mon, Bardeth, old pal. I’m a DOCTOR here.” You smile proudly and point to the certificate on the wall. Your writing hand cramped for a week after copying the certificate design from the library book.
“No. Leave it. It’s my prize to take back home.” He yanks his arm away from you, grabs the front of your shirt and pulls you in close to his face. You can smell the sweet perfume of the sewer, the sexiest smell your species knows. You tell yourself you don’t have time for love right now. “You’re in danger, my old friend. I was comin’ here to tell you that when . . .” His face grows greener. “Listen. Do you hear that?” His green face looks toward the door and his four eyes (you can see the two natural eyes under his two human eyes) become as large as whisky shot glasses. “It’s too late! They’re here!” He turns his face from the door to you. Your human noses are nearly touching. Then his mouth opens as big as a cavern. “RUN!” And he collapses back onto the table.
Your human guts turn to ice cubes and your natural guts turn to embers. Then you hear it. The galloping of horses and the shouts of men—not ‘your people’ but human men. You look around the room for any kind of weapon and find nothing. You have a rifle in the back room, but there’s no time. The feet are scuffling around on the wooden sidewalk outside your door. You decide the only thing to do is unmask and defend yourself naturally. You drop the human skin and stand there as your true self.
Suddenly the door blasts open and a group of men stand there looking at you, sewer smelly tentacles and all. You open your moth to tell them who you really are but the explosion of the frontman’s rifle cuts through the air. Your head jerks back and you fall to the floor. As you lay there you see your human skin wadded up in a heap next to you. The blood running between you and the disguise is blue. Licking your lips you taste the sweetness of your interplanetary blood. Your eyes roll up to see an abstract shape of blue blood splattered on the wall behind you. You never knew you were such a good artist.
“We ain’t havin’ no more a’ your kind ‘round here,” a voice above you shouts. But there’s something else. You could swear you hear a few high-pitched beeps and clicks underneath that voice. But it doesn’t matter now. The men are disappearing; the room is going dark; the sounds are fading—all but the beeps you know you heard in the voice.
But even that is finally gone.