“Sucked out by the vacuum of space” -a short story. (1 Chapter section 3)
“What’s going on?”
“Hmm? I don’t know what you mean?”
“Stephania, if you don’t tell me right now what’s going on I’m going to start getting really angry.”
Ben2Times stared at Stephania but also noticed that her left foot was scooting something underneath one of the Full Tread mats by the front door.
“Listen, Ben, there is nothing-“
“Don’t call me that, we talked about this remember?”
“Ok 2Times I am telling you-“
“Not that one either.”
“Okay, listen Ben2Times, I am telling you— nothing happened.” Stephania said and stood on top of the mat.
“Who’s that under the mat?”
“No, I clearly heard a growl or a grumble or something… are you flirting with one of the ‘d’s again?” He thought back to that awful day when he walked into the utility closet and saw Stephanie perched on top of one of the mops (he didn’t even know she could do that) with a trumped up letter ‘d’ all decked out in Burger Bop napkins folded to look like a gunslinger belt and huge cowboy hat whispering nothings in her ear. Actually, he seemed to be crooning some western diddy softly and rubbing his long pointy extension near her ear. It was awful. In that moment, he had saw her, really saw her for what she was- some two-bit fluesy he met in a Wet Place while proceeding to get hammered.
He thought back to that night… When he walked into the Wet Place he had surveyed the area and immediately noticed her green body spinning wildly on the ceiling. All he saw was this amazing green blur and all he heard was her intermediate shrieks of terror as she bounced off the four walls.
The barkeep looked up at it and shook his head slowly. “Stephania, you’re going to have to come down from there… we got new customers coming in, they don’t want to see that shit.”
“Fuuuuuck yooooouuuuu Bobbbbbbby…”
And then a great green blob of a woman shuddered down in front of Ben2Times and stuck out a hand.
“Stephania. And who are you?”
Ben2Times didn’t know what to say. He just stared.
Her body started to suction back into itself and morphed from a green gelatinous type substance into a sexy green kitten babe shape. She was super hot. He still couldn’t figure out his name or know where to look first.
“It’s okay, I get that. I know I’m green and I can spin, etcetera, but don’t let that get you down… have a drink with me!” And she grabbed his hand and pulled him toward the nearest table.
“It’s all downhill from there, ain’t it?” Ben2Times heard in his head.
His eyes came back into focus and he looked straight at Stephania who was now reclining on the mat. She had her hands folded lazily behind her head and a sly little grin plastered on her beautiful, ah shit, beautiful face.
“Were you listening to my mind!? Please, Stephania, you gotta stop doing that, it’s… it’s inappropriate. For me, please… just don’t do it, okay?”
“Okay.” She shrugged and sat up, stretching her shoulders.
“No, are you just saying okay or are you going to actually stop doing it? It’s important. It’s… it’s just not right.”
Ben2Times rubbed his forehead and kept his hand there massaging the sides with his thumb. He closed his eyes and tried to envision shutting a huge heavy glass dome down over his thoughts. He’d taken to doing that lately or at least trying not to think any thoughts at all, which was harder. Stephania was not helping. She was the only one who could control all of the letter ‘d’s that had appeared out of nowhere and seemed to multiply in the Burger Bop. Whatever she thought, they would do. The question was whether she was making them do things that she really wanted them to do, or if it was random thoughts from her head that made the letters immediately start doing the actions. If it was the former, then he knew that she could control it, and was lying to them all. If it was random, then she really didn’t have control, but also they still wouldn’t really be able to tell when it was a random thought that caused the letters to perform or when it was a planned one.
And would Stephania tell them the truth? How would she use it to her advantage? Ever since their talking started glitching and they found out Smithann could use her voice pretty appropriately (sometimes) the problems had started mounting. They even had to sometimes only use their organ voices in real life now and why was Smithann’s mom opening and closing her eyes so feverishly? And the most confusing thing so far was figuring out when and how to use the voice from his mouth and when to use his thought voice, which was the easiest. Sometimes he couldn’t tell if he was talking in the old way or the new or if Stephania was or not. And when you added in this god-awful stubbornness-”
“Dear god, you sound like a voice-over from the world’s most awful T.V. series.” Stephania interjected.
Ben2Times snapped down his dome and glared at her.
But then he propped up the dome with a hefty yard limb and pushed this out in his brain: “…from the Fuck You Edition of The Bachelor, coming to your television boxes three times a week starting Monday!”
He wondered if she heard it. Or if the dome worked. Oh goddamn her.
“Just tell me what’s under the mat.” Ben2Times sighed and rubbed his temple again.
Stephania stepped off the mat and bent over breezily in front of him, her blue skirt flitted up so he could see just the very bottom of her pretty cheeks, and he knew she did it on purpose. Why did he buy her the skirt instead of the trousers from the Clothe and Go on the way here? He should have known better. But he didn’t. Nobody does. Nobody ever does.
She stopped short of lifting the mat and bent her head back around to peer at him from under her arm. “But first you have to get Smithann back in here.” she said.
“And get her fucking mom, excuse me, Natalianese from that window, she’s freaking me out.”
They looked over at Natalianese opening and closing her eyes furiously by the door. They had propped her up by a good point in the window so that she could stare out into the world and see all the cool pods and whatnot drifting by. Plus it would be good for security or something, even though she hadn’t said a word since they all got here, but you never know.
“She’s as stiff as a board. It’s really harder than you think moving her when she won’t even bend her feet. I’ll just turn her around.” He said.
“No, I want her here.” Stephania said in a sexy voice, as she gently placed the lifted corner of the mat back down onto the floor.
He walked over and picked up Natalianese like a 2by4 piece of lumber, propping her down in the middle opening of four chairs circled there to hold her up. She looked like some sort of weird totem or whatever you call that long stick thing with the drawings on it. Her eyes kept opening. Then closing.
Ben2Times tucked a piece of her hair behind her ears and adjusted her sweater. It was white. Well, it was a little off-white now that things had happened but still a pretty, and soft, covering. And her skin. Her skin still felt supple. He looked deep into her eyes and wondered what she was thinking. Did she have a dome? Was Stephania listening to her talk? He figured if her words were going somewhere then there must be a way to fix her and get things back on the road. It was starting to feel like they’d been doing this forever. He looked in her eyes again. They didn’t look sad… actually they looked kinda sexy, no, really sexy. Was she coming onto him?
Stephania cleared her throat and boomed across the Burger Bop, “Smithann! Come on, let’s get things going again…”
Well, at least no answer that he could hear. He decided to walk back into the storeroom and bring her out himself. She had been in there for a few days now and he was beginning to worry. They had found a long note written on a few Burger Bop sacks that said she was “finding herself” and practicing “mind-in-edness” tacked to the storeroom door. But when they called her name she didn’t answer and the door was definitely locked.
No one heard anything.
Ben2Times knocked on the door. “Come on, Smithann, we know you’re in there… there’s nowhere else to go.”
“We’re all in this together you know. We really miss you out here. Stephania even just asked about you. She wants to make sure you’re okay.”
“Wait, did you just say nothing or was that in my head? Who said that? Smithann, was that you?”
He decided that he couldn’t keep up at this fruitless mission, so walked back toward Stephania and slapped her on the ass.
“Didn’t see that coming did you?” he said.
She pulled down her skirt and grabbed his arm, right at the muscle.
“Okay big boy… what do you wanna know?” she said.
“Who’s under the mat?”
“It’s… it’s just, well, come on out Fitz.”
A little man about 3 inches tall crawled out from under the doormat. He was scruffy and covered in filthy rag-looking clothes. But the weird thing was that he was wearing 5000 unit shoes… very fancy. He also had a 2000 unit briefcase, three very tiny books under his arm, and a red glistening pushcart. It didn’t add up.
“How did you get in here? Wait, can we leave?” Ben2Times peered down even harder at the little man. “I mean, if he can come in then we should be able to leave, right? I’m starting to ge- wait, what are you doing?”
“Oh, excuse me, I’m just conditioning my beard, it is very long you see, so I must condition it at intervals, didn’t you know?”
Fitz kept scooping up handfuls of white creamy liquid from his barrow and slopping them into his beard. The small hairy mass was long—from his chin to his toes—and it touched and swept the floor, the soapy tendrils responding tentatively as he grabbed and stretched it lovingly.
“It’s what I do.” Fitz said.
Stephania smirked and looked up at Ben2Times. Ben2Times rolled his eyes and looked over at the totem. It closed one eye (in a come hither fashion?) staring deeply at the door but then suddenly———–
- — the door to the Burger Bop burst open and Smithann came barreling in.