Where the couch led me

I remember feeling warm and drowsy, but I don’t remember falling asleep. When I woke up, a thread of drool was making its way like a fresh snail’s path down the side of my face. No one else was about. My phone said three.

It also told me several people had texted blurry commonalities such as ‘Where did you go?’, ‘Get lucky aye?’ etc. As if. I slowly peeled myself off the couch. Everything hurt. It had been doing that a lot lately.

My surroundings were vaguely familiar to me. I seemed to be in a shop front. With the lights on it would be light and airy, with accents of bright colours. ‘Brunswick’ I thought. It was too late for the tram and, with my pay gone on bills, there wasn’t any chance of an Uber. I considered my lack of prospects in the toilet, where I discovered something weird: My hair, despite being slept on, was absolutely immaculate as though freshly done. Like a minute ago. Of course. I’d been kidnapped by alien hairdressers. From Brunswick. Obviously.

I finished peeing but just as I flushed there was a noise that made me sit back down sharply. Was it robbers? Would they kill me in order to take the poor unsuspecting business owner’s takings? More importantly had I somehow let them in? I tried hard not to breathe, holding on to the sanctity of a locked toilet door. Even robbers would have some honour about that, surely?

Three knocks proved me wrong. They weren’t sharp, it sounded more like someone tapping at the door with squishy play doh or whatever.

‘We mean no harm’ whatever it was gurgled behind the door.

‘Look, I’m OK in here. I’m not, like, armed I just seem to have gotten, umm, locked in? I’ll leave as soon as I can’.

‘We mean no harm’ the gurgler repeated. It seemed to be sliding something in the gap between the floor and the bottom of the door. With a quick ‘pop’ an eye was suddenly waving in front of my face on a long stalk. It looked strangely familiar.

Summoning all my courage I grabbed a bottle of Aesop hand wash (for defence you understand). ‘I’m coming out’, I said to the eye, ‘Could you please step away from the door so you don’t get caught?’. With another pop the eye was gone and after a flash of light the door opened.

It revealed my friend Renae. I thought.

‘Hey dude, we couldn’t find you’.

I looked around, expecting something to fly up and bash the side of my head, rendering me unconscious so they could take me away to a planet whose general intelligence, being and demeanor was far superior to that of humans. It wouldn’t take much.

‘Are you alright?’.

Having assessed the perimeter (or whatever) and finding it secure I felt it would be OK to open my mouth.

‘Did you see the eye things?’.

‘The eye things? Like the Margaret Keanes in the laundry?”.

‘No. They were eyes. On stalks. I think they were aliens’.

‘Don’t be stupid dude; old man rum’s been playing tricks on you. Come on, get your shit together, I’ve got a bed to get to. Time to piss off’. Always so assured Renae, not like the timid yet scary alien I’d just witnessed (I think?).

‘Sorry, I shall get my idiot self home somehow’.

‘Yeah do’.

‘Can I borrow $10 for a cab?’.

‘Why do you never have any money? Will you piss off so I can get to sleep?’.

‘Sorry. I promise’.

I sheepishly took her ten squid and made my way out. If there had been people around earlier, as I assumed there may have been, you could never tell; it was clean as. I really missed the couch – it was comfy and cosy, but she was right; I needed to get home to my own bed. There was a ways to walk before a cab that would take me home for $10 would appear. Avoiding the park and my possible rape/murder, the main drag would get me home slower but more alive. The sky seemed to be promising it would not piss down on me so I set off, actually thinking I might give the walk home a go and return the cash in the morning. After walking for about five seconds I decided that home was a long ways away. There were dots in front of my eyes and walking with them wouldn’t be a great idea. So I sat down at the nearby tram stop to rejig my plan. If I got down to the hospital there’d be a cab rank that would assist in reaching my goal of being home and safely ashamed of myself in comfortable jammies. An Uber would be quicker; stupid lack of bank funds. The plan was now thus: Secure a Coke from the 7/11 across the road for sustenance, walk down to hospital, get cab (hopefully the $8 left over from the Coke would be enough) and get home. Kinda like the plan in Shaun of the Dead, it seemed simple enough but of course would be more successful. Also, I really needed caffeine to facilitate standing without quavering.

Coke secured and consumed, the dots in front of my eyes seemed to be dissipating. Caffeine is my hero.

Off I set, determined and stuff. On the first block of my quest an old woman passed me. It seemed irresponsible that anyone had let her be out this early and also pretty ageist for me to think she couldn’t. She stopped and called my name. No really. I was obvs pretty freaked out and stopped in my tracks without turning around.

‘What you seek is at the end of your path’ she told me.

‘Yeah tops logic, thanks’, I replied again not turning around.

Further along the track a pony had been tethered to a pedestrian bench.

‘Your burden will be less if you take my back’ it said. Because obviously it was one of those talking horses.

‘You have got to be fucking kidding me’ I replied.

‘Really not’ the horse said.

So, fuck it, take the horse’s back I did, resting my head on its soft horse neck (briefly as it then started running and I wanted to vom).

‘HEY, THAT’S NOT THE RIGHT WAY, I live over there’.

‘This is the way you require’ the horse replied not hoarsley. Sorry.

It took me to the entrance of the cemetery. Bloody goth horse.

‘Why here?’.

‘You will see. Head toward the Elvis grotto’.

‘I’ve never been there before’.

The horse shook its head at me. ‘Here is a map’ it said as it lifted up its horse leg thing where said map was attached.

‘Yeah thanks’.

‘Our time together is done’ it said turning around, doing a stream of horse poos and frolicking off.

I had forgot to ask its name. So rude.

Anyways, I headed toward the grotto, not sure if the map was actually the right way around, hoping it was, mainly hoping for death as tiredness was dripping from every pore.

Thankfully there was a bench across from the grotto. There seems rarely to be benches in cemeteries. It’s possibly rude to want to sit down when everyone around you has no choice but to lay prone.

I had just sat down and was thinking of swinging my feet up when the dots came back, giving me vision measles. ‘Fuck these dots’ was my logical utterance.

They grew denser, completely blocking out my sight as though I’d been to mardi gras and glitter bombed in the eyes. Pretty yes, also painful.

It was clearly at this time that I heard footsteps. Renae’s voice came out of the air. ‘I see you made it’.

‘Ummm, yeah. What’s going on?’.

‘Can I have my money back?’.

‘Sure, it’s in my bag in the Totoro purse, but I spent two bucks on Coke’.

‘Ta’.

‘Hey Renae – what the fuck is going on? Why can’t I see?’.

‘The little dots are micro thingies. They are readjusting certain aspects of your make up so we can take you on board’.

‘On board? This isn’t one of those stupid surprise cruises where you kidnap someone without telling them you’ve booked them on a holiday yeah?’. I had read about this new phenomenon on Broadsheet.

‘Come on dude, as if I’d be so tasteless. No, our ship has no slot machines, no children and is for space, not the ocean’.

‘Well that sounds pretty good. Are there cats?’. I missed my baby.

‘She’s already on board and waiting for you in your quarters’.

‘I get quarters? Sweeeet’.

‘We’ve been looking for you a while. A human who truly feels alien to the rest of your people. There were a lot to choose from (pretty much everyone) but we decided on you because we like you’.

‘Awwww thanks. But why didn’t you tell me all this just before’.

She sighed. ‘You were kinda shitting me so I wanted to make you work for it’.

I nodded, ‘Fair call’.

‘You seem to be taking this well’.

‘Oh. Should I be worried? Asking more questions? Are you going to kill me?’.

‘No it’s fine. We’ll keep you with us and study some emotional responses, that kind of thing’.

‘What about food and stuff? Can I order into a machine and get whatever I want like Captain Picard?’.

‘Sure can. There’s even a program for replicating favourite dishes from places you’ve been to before. That’s how we all got into burritos, when we did a pot luck’.

‘Sounds amazing. But what will happen here?’.

‘Well, you’ve got your cat and we’ve recreated your room in your quarters, which can also be adjusted. If you need any of your friends their details have been programmed into our data banks to generate holograms of them and if there’s aspects of their personalities that you don’t like then you can mute them, we have a remote for things like that’.

‘And I don’t have to come back to Earth?’.

‘Gawd no, why would you? Unless you wanted to. And, again – why would you? We’re not sure it’ll be around much longer anyway, and if it is it’ll look quite like a George Miller film’.

‘Yeah it’s pretty fucked at the moment’.

‘You’re telling us. We almost pulled out of the mission when Trump got elected’.

‘Understandable’.

‘So are you ready? I can’t actually take you up unless you consent. The microbes have entered the T&Cs into your brain – just think about them and they’ll come up’.

I did. My brain read the document and had very few red flags, which were swiftly addressed. The form was pretty straight forward; No, I did not eat other humans, Yes, I was fine with dairy, no I did not want my head inflated, Yes I was sure I was OK to fly, defs not pregnant. Before Renae zapped me up to the ship I had one last question; ‘Where have you guys been hiding all this time?’.

‘Well we decided to integrate ourselves into your world by hiding in plain sight, actually got the idea from your culture – movies, TV, novels etc. Like American Gods, Doctor Who and stuff; using human physical presentation. We don’t really like approaching your lot, they’re a bit scary. One never knows how they’re going to react and they can be volatile’.

‘I hear ya’ were my last words on the planet formerly known as Earth.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s