Greetings, fellow indie writers and readers! I am Beem Weeks, author of the historical fiction/coming-of-age novel JAZZ BABY and SLIVERS OF LIFE: A COLLECTION OF SHORT STORIES. My goal in life is to promote the indie movement to the world. I can be found on Twitter @VoiceOfIndie and @BeemWeeks. I enjoy indie films, loud music, and a well told story. Lansing, Michigan, USA.
Slivers Of Life
"Holy cow!" Bobby exclaims, peering through our living-room window. "What the hell is that?"
"Bobby!" Mama hollers from the kitchen. "I told you about using that kind of talk! You want I should feed you a bar of soap instead of supper?"
Kenny creeps in and sports a gawk of his own. "Whoa!" he declares. "I heard they fetched four pairs of 'em back from Vietnam in the sixties. I never did believe it, though."
It's vibrating and hopping up and down on our front lawn like it means to menace only our family. Sometimes it even shakes the whole house.
Todd fearfully says, "I didn't think those things were real."
Too short to see out the window, Nicole tries to pull herself up. She whispers to Bobby, "It's not you-know-what, is it?"
"No, Punkin'," he assures her. "It ain't that."
It's curiosity that lures Mama to the living-room with a fresh pot of stuff in her hands. Once her good eye tags that thing, though, she drops the pot and stuff goes all over the floor. Her cry sounds something like, "Why's it in our yard?"
"I ain't sure," Bobby replies. "It just keeps on bouncin' and hummin' and vibratin'."
Nicole offers reassurance. "It's almost like you-know-what, Mama, but it's not."
Just then, Moped, a neighborhood dog, approaches and barks at the thing. But the thing is too loud, and we can't hear Moped's bark. We can only see his mouth move.
"Damn!" Bobby yells. "Did y'all see that?"
We all certainly did see it. Poor Moped never stood a chance. All we could do was stand and watch.
I turned my head, unable to view those last few seconds.
"What was that thing grabbed ole Moped?" Kenny wonders aloud.
Mama tells us what she knows. "Hear tell it's called a ligamatrix."
"If it gets too close to the window," Bobby informs us, "my ass is out the back door."
"I once heard you could shoo it away by spraying it with a garden hose," Kenny's remembering, "--but only after it lets down two or three of them reflector thingies."
Todd says, "Might could rust it."
Just then, it bounces smack dab in front of our window. We all jump back. The glass shatters, and we each one of us scampers through the kitchen toward the back door. A ligamatrix creeps in like a wayward snake and snatches the slowest, smallest one of us.
"Oh! It's got Nicole!" Mama cries, shooting a parting gawk over her shoulder.
Bobby hollers, "Somebody grab her!"
Too late. It sucks her into its gaping maw and begins to hum and whirl, just like it did when it got poor ole Moped.
"Hell, I'm just glad it didn't get me," Kenny proclaims outside the back door.
"Yeah," Bobby agrees. "I mean, I like Nicole and all--but hell, better her than us, right?"
"I suppose you boys is right," Mama confirms as we wander back inside our house.
But that thing on our front yard takes to spinning again, awful fast this time. We start for the back again, real quick-like, climbing over each other in our attempted escape.
All of a sudden it stops and stands completely still, like maybe something got broke inside of it. A second maw gapes wide, and vomits the slowest, smallest one of us onto the ground.
Nicole stumbles and staggers, covered in orange ooze that's digested her sunsuit and flip-flops, leaving her naked, dizzy, and laughing.
"That was fun," she giggles.
Mama calls to her. "Well, hurry and get back in here before it grabs ya up again!"
"I wanna go again," Nicole protests, pouting as she stomps into the house.
It's gone bored now--or maybe sour in its belly. All that hopping up and down and vibrating just stops, like a show-off who can't get anybody to pay it any mind.
Finally, the thing folds in upon itself and, when it becomes small as a nickel, flies straight up into the sky, vanishing from our neighborhood.
"Whew!" Bobby says. "I'm sure glad that's over with."
"Gonna have to get that window fixed," Mama complains. "Third time this month."
We all sit round the kitchen table watching Nicole scrape off orange ooze before it takes to digesting her.
"I'm just glad it wasn't you-know-what," she says, sighing.
And I have to agree with her. I'm also glad it wasn't you-know-what.
** End Story **
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