Ben2Times stared down at the letter and then back up into the bathroom mirror. He looked at himself. Then he looked at himself again. It’s me, he thought to himself, it’s definitely me. He looked at his eyes, nose, mouth… the way his hair touched the top of his fuzzy ears and sparkled silver in the bare light of the bulb, the way his checkered skin gleamed matte in the mirror, he chuckled.
Definitely me, he laughed and shook his head. But the note. But what about the note? He read it again,
Dear Mr. Times,
All is lost. sorry to report all is lost.
Bl . k got ty, and last Tuesday I fo . rgot g.
I’m afraid we have disappointed you.
The i HUMAN, as of now. I therefore void the dog,
escape potential ,
thermore, I have been ignored. Bluntly put, I am probably notxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxd let me dry overnight, x
xxxxxxxxxxxe. Seven dollars. So easy.
She will keep asking you x
but it is not. Sincerely yours,
p.s. We need all seven.
What Ben2Times couldn’t understand was how the letter got under his pillow in the first place. He would have woken up at the slight.
What kind of face was this?
A leech looked up from the dirty basin under the faucet and gave him a hurt look. It had taken him forever to crawl.
Can he hear me? Ben2Times spoke in his head.
“Yes, yes I can.” the leech replied.
Ben2Times didn’t have the heart to answer him. What a life. He didn’t know what was worse, his situation or this leech. The black slimy started to scoot across the grimy basin. It sipped up a drip of rusty faucet water.
“Sucks.” the leech said.
He tried to ignore it and not get sucked into a long super-depressing conversation. He needed time to himself to think.
“It’s just hard, you know?” the leech said and scooted up toward the slope of the basin.
Ben2Times moved his hand away from the edge of the counter and looked around the bathroom for something to stare at in order to look busy.
“I know you’re not deep in thought,” sighed the leech, “you’re trying to find ways to ignore me. It’s okay, I am used to it…” the leech said.
It struggled sadly in it’s crawl but finally made it to the top of the basin and squished there with a sort of sploosh sound.
“Ahhh. That’s better,” it said and looked up at Ben2Times, “say… what is your name?”
Ben2Times ignored it and opened the medicine cabinet. He rifled through the pills and band-aids. The leech started to make a low whaling sound. He ignored it. A band-aid fluttered down slowly from the ledge and landed on its noisy head.
“I like my hat,” the leech said sadly, pausing his pitched whaling.
It stared up at Ben2Times with two big saucer-like eyes. They were blue, extremely light blue like very, very blue. They were like a vast Atlantis ocean, clean. They felt so clean.
“….what?” Ben2Times woke with a start. He had been staring directly into its big beautiful eyes for he didn’t know how long. “What is it that you want from me, exactly? Ben2Times crouched down eye level to the basin while the leech readjusted his position and sighed.
After a time, he felt a cold slime begin to spread over the back of his hand. Ben2Times didn’t move. Didn’t even open his eyes. Why bother?
After a while he felt two sharp pierces in to the inner fold of his elbow but he didn’t move then either. His legs buckled slowly down onto the floor and he leaned his back onto the wall of the dirty bathroom. He listened to the staccato drip of the faucet and felt the cold crawl up his arm and now to this neck. It sat there for a moment.
The smell of old eggs on a motel room hotplate wafted from under the flimsy bathroom door and mixed in with the stale but not altogether unpleasant smell of the leech as it slid up and around his body.
“I’m going to eat you…” Ben2Times muttered half asleep and reached up his paw to swipe the leech into his mouth, but missed and only swatted the empty air.
Why would he want to eat a leech anyway? he thought and he felt the cold slick trail of it make a turn towards his heart.
“Ben!!!!” Stephania yelled as she pounded on the bathroom door. Ben2Times eyes fluttered open and closed. He tried to wake all the way up but couldn’t seem to do it on his own. “Help…” he muttered weakly. Stephania heaved the door open with her shoulder and burst into the bathroom.
“What in the-“
The leech slowly turned his head in her direction. It was 15 times its actual size and was now sitting on his chest, throbbing and wet and super, super gross.
“oh…Hello there.” the leech said wetly.
Stephania pursed her lips and marched toward both of them. She stepped right over them and reached under the basin of the sink. Grimacing, she reached behind the pipes.
“Er, excuse me miss,” the leech said, “I was just helping this lad here wake up but I need soooo much assistance as well,” his bright blue eyes grew even larger, “Can you help me-“
“Ah snap! Found it.” Stephania said and ripped the package out from behind the pipes.
“Is that for me?” the leech asked, “no one ever gets anything for me, I am very sad and I-“
Stephania punched her fist directly into the leech’s big mouth while she used her knee to balance the package and open it with her other hand. She ripped it with her teeth.
“Yes!” she yelled when the package finally fell open. “Ye…es?” asked the leech and looked down at the wiggling substance on the floor.
“A beauty!” Stephania said and backed slowly out of the bathroom door.
The small wiggling beige putty slowly pulled itself together on the floor and started to move around and form itself on its own. It looked like what a kid would do to a mound of play-doh if a kid was there but there were no kids and the putty was forming itself.
It was also getting bigger.
How it came to grow or even form Stephania didn’t want to know and didn’t care. As she eased the door shut she could see the final stages of the putty form into a life-sized hybrid Toad Dog type thing and it barked and then croaked and then smoothed out its cowlick in the back. Steam rolled off of it in waves.
“Ewww….” Stephania muttered and locked the door. The last thing she heard was a slurp and a burp, a swoosh and then someone furiously taping up the back of the pipes. Then there was nothing for a while.
She waited to see what would happen but nothing did.
Eventually she ordered a pizza and watched some T.V. but finally clicked it off and dozed in the chair by the bed. Still nothing.
Finally, she heard Ben2Times wake up and shuffle to get his feet under him. She put the remote down as he walked into the room.
“What happened?” he demanded. Ben2Times looked around the battered motel room, “Why’d you leave me in there?”
Stephania folded her arms and rolled her eyes at him. “Because I always leave you in there.”
Ben2Times looked at her and then sat down on the bed.
“Stephania,” he said, “You have to tell me everything. Start at the beginning.”
coming in your television boxesPlanet BlinkA happy and you know this“Sucked out by the vacuum of space” -a short story, Part 7, section 2 What’s wrong with Ben2Timeshey you asked me and I gave it to you