Monday, September 1, 2014



by Mandy Ward

It doesn’t take you long to realise that the Sheriff is right. “Damn.” You grumble as you take the bridge back up and return the saloon to an approximation of normal. “You sure you want me to do this? It could kill as many as it could save.”

The sheriff chuckles. “If’n you’re right about this Garlock, then that’s more than he’d leave alive.”

Taking a deep breath you look at Sally. “I want you to go to the mine. Talk to my second in command, Veezlbez. Tell him that he was right all along and that we’re going to need to take Garlock down.”

She nods reluctantly. “You want me to go now?”

You return the nod, trying very hard to ignore the flashing light under the bar. “Tell him to step on it.”

She smiles and runs out of the door.

You wonder if she’ll return with Veezlbez and the rest of the crew or high tail it out of town and save her own skin. Obscurely, you hope that it’s the latter.

“What’d we need to do doc?” the sheriff asks, trying not to move his shoulder.

You sigh and slither over. “Let me look at that.”

He nods and looks away as you bring one of your smaller tentacles toward the wound. A quick jab and wriggle later, you’ve extracted the bullet. Using your inbuilt anaesthetic, antiseptic glue, you clean and close the hole.

The sheriff looks at it. “See. You’n the Doc still. I dint feel a thing.”

Shrugging you move back behind the bar. “Go round up the men folk. Tell the women and children to hide in the storm cellars. If this works, they’ll be okay to come up in a day or two. If not, then they’d best be able for a long stay.”

The sheriff looks worried. “How long a stay?”

About a hundred years. You think and decide to lie. “Food and water for a month at least.”

“How long have they got to prepare?” he moves towards the door.
You glance down at the display next to the flashing light. “Between four and ten hours. It all depends on if he decides to land his ship or beam down.”

The sheriff goes white and runs out of the door.

Three hours later, you’ve set everything up in the saloon. All the computational work is done and all you need now are the extras. You decide to don Doc’s skin one last time, just to make life easier.

The saloon door swings open. Veezlbez and the rest of the crew slip inside, looking green around the gills. Wonder of wonders, they’ve managed creditable human costumes. And no Sally.

“Where’d you want us, Boss?” Veezlbez asks.

“You come and sit at the bar, Vee. Security, dot yourselves around the perimeter and the rest of you pick a seat anywhere.” You watch with relief as they jump into action and settle themselves.”

“You want to do what we discussed on the way into this pokey planet, Boss?” Vee asks, toying with the glass of Malrovian Whisky you pour him.

“As close as I can.” You pour yourself a shot and toss it back. The alcohol makes Vee’s face blur and double for a second. “Whoowee, that hit the spot.”

The Sheriff wanders in, the men of the town following him and looking around nervously. You direct them to sit anywhere that is left and then check the display under the counter. “He’s come to a halt in orbit, Vee. He’ll be beaming down. You ready for this?”

Your second in command nods and swallows the whisky. “Now or never, Boss.”

You stand up on the Bar. “Gentlemen, we are about to have a visitor to this fair planet. You may have heard rumours of what I look like under this costume,” you pull at the skin you’re wearing, making it gape for a second around the eyes. “But this fella is three times as bad.”

The crowd mumble amongst themselves.

“All I want you human folks to do is be scenery. Sit, drink, chat. It’sall you need to do. My crew will do all the dangerous stuff.” You feel the tentacles at the back of your neck buzz. He’s here. “Just ignore the bloke and let me deal with it.”

The humans seem relieved that they don’t have to do anything dangerous or scary. You send one of your crew round with a tray of glasses and the weakest whisky you possess. Can’t have one of them getting brave-drunk and squaring off with Garlock.

A voice rumbles in from the street. “Rachorin. Come out here and face me.”
You step up to the doors, Vee selecting security team members to back you up. “Garlock, nice to smell you again.”

Outisde in the street, wearing a long tan duster and a black ten gallon Stetson, is the largest Golgothan you have ever seen. His skin oozes and flows as he moves in your direction and he leaves a trail of shit behind deep enough to mire a mule.

“Get out here, Rachorin.” The creature sounds irritated. “You’ve moved from star system to star system for the last four hundred cycles. Haven’t you got tired of running yet?”

“Not a bit.” You reply. Behind your back you give the signal for your crew to surround the faecal intruder. “I’m far younger than you and a lot speedier. What was your best oozing time? Forty microns?”

“Enough. Come quietly and I’ll let this miserable planet survive the blast from my engines.” All twenty of Garlock’s piss coloured eyes take in the surroundings. “If you don’t, then I reckon the Earth is about to become toasted Veedlebaz.”

Shrugging, you step out onto the veranda. “I’m not coming with you. I’ve done nothing wrong.”

“Sleeping with the Queen’s niece is nothing? Shit man, you got some nerve.” Garlock roars with laughter. “You’re a father four times over.”

“You should know, you are the shit after all.” You agree, checking where everyone is with a couple of handy hidden eyes. Four times over? I knew my sperm was strong but that many? You shudder, your costume rippling over your body.

Your crew have worked themselves around to safe positions around the foul smelling pile of excrement. Garlock spots most of them and one long rope of shit flings out and captures a figure.

Your Heart sinks all the way into your feet. Sally.


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