Flash Friday 19/06/2015: Nosy Neighbours
Nathan removed the slip from his letterbox. “Ugh, don’t tell me,” he said to nobody. “They’ve sent it back to the depot.”
In actual fact, the postal delivery hadn’t. Where usually sat a black ‘X’ in the box next to the message telling Nathan they had delivered the package back at the depot (and that he had thirty days to collect it before they called dibs), there was instead nothing. The ‘X’ had moved downwards into another box.
“‘Left it at neighbours house’?” Nathan read out. “But I don’t have a neighbour.”
Then, after a short moment of realisation, he said, “Oh, Christ.”
The truth was, he didn’t have a neighbour; until yesterday happened. Finding an alien lost amongst the flowers in his garden, he allowed him to rest his vessel beside his house five miles away from anything remotely civilised, so as to keep him safe and discreet.
His vessel did not look like the standard disks or giant spaceships from Sci-Fi movies; it simply consisted of a door that somehow seemed to always stand upright no matter how hard you pushed it, and opening it would lead to a lab situated on an alien planet which had a name Nathan forgot five seconds after he was told it. The alien had told Nathan that it ‘made no sense’ having a ship that lugs all your possessions about, and that he would rather move the entrance to his possessions around instead. Something about it being lighter and easier on fuel costs.
It looked like a typical mahogany door, shaped so that ‘it would not stand out amongst the Earthling architecture’. Nathan felt the alien didn’t grasp the concept of having actual architecture around a door that stood entirely by itself.
Nathan knocked on it.
“Ah, yah?” a male voice came from within, his accent a mix of Indian and German.
“Did you take a package earlier?”
“Ah, yah, I believe so. Nice man gave me curious brown specimen and made me scribble on an electronic pad. Very interesting customs, I must say.”
“Do you mind if I could, you know…have it back?”
“You can come in, just so long as you answer a question I have.”
“How do you make the funny silver disk do a thing?”
“Funny silver disk?” Nathan repeated. “Does it have anything written on it?”
“Let’s see, uh…oh, yes, here we go. ‘Girls Gone Wild’, it says.”
Nathan opened the door. Instead of seeing more lawn through it, Nathan stepped through into a vast room, its walls covered with glowing wires and computer screens showing rapid amounts of data. Strewn all across the room in various heaps were titbits from other alien races from around the universe, like the hoard of a dragon with a penchant for pawn shops.
In the middle of the room sat Fraelyr, a two-foot tall blue cretin with goggles that amplified his eyes when he looked directly at you. He had a head of hair like a cloud, and was currently fondling a DVD in his small fingers. The packaging that once contained said DVD sat in a torn heap beside Fraelyr.
“I’m going to want that back,” Nathan said.
“What?” Fraelyr clutched at it like a teddy bear. “But it is so interesting! What is it?”
“It’s our civilisation’s way of storing visual and audio-based information. Like a recording.”
“Ah, yah, we know of those. This one looks very educational.” Fraelyr turned over the disk in his hands. “Perhaps I can learn more of the female variant of your species with it.”
“That–” Nathan said, choking on his sentence. “That’s inadvisable.”
“Well why not? Is it not educational enough?”
“Well…recordings like that sure as hell taught me a thing or two. When I was sixteen.”
“Then we can learn from this, yah?”
“Uh…no.” Nathan gently reached out and took the disk from Fraelyr’s hands. Fraelyr surrendered it with little resistance. “This is something for…adult humans.
“Ah, yah, yah, I understand. Must be very complicated study material. Well, if you manage to find anything that could be of great studious use to me, make sure to send them to me posthaste. Oh, and I fixed your cat.”
Nathan stopped mid-leave. “I’m sorry?”
“Your cat! I found it walking around the garden making this absolutely abysmal noise. I had my scanner do a check on it, and even though my database is limited, it was giving a very clear signal that your cat was sounding truly awful. So, as a thank you for keeping me in your care…” Nathan dug into a nearby junk pile, pulling out a white fluffball of an animal. “I’ve taken it upon myself to fix your cat for you. He now sounds right as rain!”
“Actually…” Nathan began. “There’s a very good reason why my cat was sounding funny.”
“Why is that?”
“He’s a dog.”
“Oh.” Fraelyr stared into the face of the animal. “You know, I was wondering why the scanner was having trouble picking up its breed. Well…here’s your dog back.”
Nathan picked up his companion. “You feeling alright?”
The dog meowed back.
“I’ll work on trying to find your dog’s old voice again,” Fraelyr said, typing something into a nearby computer. “For now, enjoy your new, exotic pet. And make sure no scientists get a hold of him. And…don’t talk to your parrot for a few weeks.”
“Why? Did you ‘fix’ him, as well?”
“Well…it depends what you mean by ‘fix’. In my standards, upgrading the poor bird’s vocabulary from ‘Polly wants a cracker’ to the entire works of Shakespeare is a fix. But I assume you think differently.”
Nathan sighed. “Probably karmic retribution for sleeping through English Lit. Just let me know when I can have my dog’s voice back, okay?”
“Alright!” Fraelyr chirped as Nathan opened the door. “Have fun with your silver disk!”
Nathan closed the door behind him with a grimace. He never gelled well with neighbours.