Nov. 07, 2009

Continued from Chapter 5: A Shade of Green

I hear Sen next to make breathing in sharply. I hear this because all of my senses have become heightened at this moment. My senses have become heightened because there is a man-shaped green thing sitting at the table. I had not noticed him before because, generally, you don't look for man-shaped green things when you go to a Scrabble night... I assume.

What I'm saying is, there's a man-shaped green thing sitting at a table that Sen and I are supposed to now join. The man-shaped green thing is looking at us, his antennae twinging slightly with his overly square head. He bares his tongue at us.

Sen starts to move before I do, and like a true space goddess, she suffers the seat next to him, so I get to sit across from him and next to Rhonda (who, rather than having gills, smells of a nice apple perfume).

Rhonda says, "Oh, hello there, ladies," and then under her breath, "Great..."

Sen says, "I am appeased by your greeting and return them with deepest reflection."

I nod.

Greenfin the Magnifarious, in a deep, guttural voice, says, "Aaahhggk gk gk... Indeed, it is a pleasure! Aaahfgk."

My foot itches, so I look below the table, to find a tail (Greenfin's I hope) laying next to it. Like his antennae, it twitches arbitrarily... or, maybe to the rotation of some abandoned moon in the ffggkk galaxy.

I elbow Sen and roll my eyes downward as in, "There's a tail touching my foot!", but she does a head shaking slightly from side to side and smiling a little bit, like, maybe, "Hey, he's actually kind of cute," to which I respond by doing my trademark (CC pending) Rose angry glare of doom, as in, "There's a tail touching my foot!," which causes her to roll her eyes, like, "Oh, please, at least you get to sit next to Rhonda," and I'm about to respond by just straight out elbowing her and pointing down, but...

Rhonda says, "So, let's get started, then. As... Greenfin the Magnifarious... knows, house rules are lowest letter goes first, so, let's draw. Greenfin the Magnifarious, would you like to go first?"

Greenfin draws out one of his long-fingered, long-fingernailed claws from below the table and pulls an H, after which Rhonda grabs a U. During my turn, I grab a G (upon which Greenfin curses, "Gggkk, Oh, Tyche!!"). And, Sen, of course, draws an E.

Rhonda says, "Wonderful. So, our young lady gets to go first. And, what is your name, Miss?"

Sen says, "I, my new friend with whom I already foresee a fabulous future, am Queen... Jeltza... of Vogsphere, and this is my good friend... Queen Dentrassi from... the... same neighborhood." She smiles.

Rhonda says, "Delightful." Her lips are pursed tighter than the helmets on our dresses would have to be if we wanted to actually travel in space (and if we had helmets).

While Sen draws her letters and speculates, Greenfin says, "sshhgggk -- Vogsphere, huh? Is, ffaaahhggk, is that around here? gk gk gk."

He is facing directly toward me, and his lips are purple. I hadn't noticed before that his lips were purple.

I glance at Sen, but she's still perusing her letters, so I look down and say, "Umm... ehem..." which hopefully helps answer his question.

Only, when I look up again at him, he's still looking at me, his gills twitching every so slightly.

From next to me, Sen says, "Greenfin, is it?" She glances up at him and then looks back at her letters.

He says, "Fffttk, Greenfin the, hhhssshhaagg, the Magnifarious. Where I come from, ggkkaahh, titles are important, g."

Sen says, "Greenfin the Magnifarious, then." She pulls two tiles off of her tile rack and says, "In a word," as she places them on the board.

Rhonda sighs and says, "That is your word?"

But, Sen is grabbing a few more tiles, and eventually she spells, "gnome."

She winks at me.

After Greenfin (the Magnifarious)'s turn, during which he plays, "eats," using Sen's "e."

When it's Rhonda's turn, Greenfin (the Magnifarious) says, "ssshhggkk, uhh, newcomers, might I share some words with you, ggaaahhkk, in private?"

I say, "Uhh..."

But, Sen says, "We would find such an event of utmost delight! Let us, to the outside, briefly! Rhonda...?"

Rhonda says, "Mmm...?" and glances up and then back down at her letters.

Sen says, "We shall return in a few Earth moments!"

So, the three of us walk to the entrance and then outside.

As the door closes, the teenager yells, "Bingo!" and his mother yells, equally loudly, "Good job, schnookums!"

Once it's closed, Greenfin (the Magnifarious) turns to us and says, "What the hell do you think you're doing?" His voice sounds... much less velar.

Sen says, "Us?"

Greenfin (the Magnifarious) says, "You know how long it took me to get this thing on?"

Sen looks at me and says, "Uhh, we..."

Greenfin (the Magnifarious) says, "And, look at you. What's that, five minutes down at Evil Bob's Costume Hut, and you come blazing in?"

Sen says, "I... we..."

Greenfin (the Magnifarious) says, "I've been coming here for five weeks. Five weeks! I'm just starting to gain their trust, just about to suggest they come hang out and watch a movie with some buddies, and now they're all antsy, not knowing what's what. Pha!"

Sen says, "You're not..."

Greenfin (the Magnifarious) says, "An alien? Ha! Been watching too much of the Guide there, Missy?" He leans in close to us, "You know, if I don't deliver someone new in the next couple of weeks, the other folks are gonna kill me!"

Sen says, "Other folks...?"

Greenfin (the Magnifarious) says, "Yeah, yeah. You know. I'm part of the Friday night 'SciFi TV Show Lovers' group. We're dwindling pretty quick. Fridays, you know how it is. So, we're pushing recruitment harder than ever, and... Hey. Neither of you are interested, are you? It really is a hoot. Real good group."

Sen says, "I'm... What do you guys watch?"

Greenfin (the Magnifarious) says, "Oh, you know. The modern classics: all the Star Treks, Babylon Five, Stargate." He looks twitchily at us. "But, but," he points a finger up in front of us, "We're open, you know. Wanna watch the remake V? I'm sure everyone'd be up for that." He pauses. "Maybe later on in the night." He paus

You know how some people resemble insects?

Greenfin (the Magnifarious) says, "Yeah, so what do you think?"

Sen says, "Look, we'd love to, but..." she hooks me by the arm, "we have plans," and she pulls me toward the door. I smile apologetically at the distressed vermin as we move in, and he sighs with his whole body.

Plans...? I lean in to Sen and say, "Plans...?"

She says, "I'll tell you later."

And, then we're back inside.

Rhonda has played, "planets" (adding "s" to "gnome") for a bingo. Oh, what a fun night.


After we leave, managing to completely fail at asking, much less convincing, a single person to join us on Tuesday nights (why didn't we ask Greenfin?), we drive back downtown to meet up with Gully and Stan at a Funky Bean's Coffee to see how their night went. During the drive, I can't help wondering about that poor Scrabble group, us vultures sweeping in to try to pick them off, one at a time. I wonder if Greenfin spends his other evenings plotting on how to get Old Gray-Haired Lady (who likes to sit next to Teenage Boy for a reason she cannot quite explain but leaves her both happy and sad) alone, maybe in the kitchen, when she's grabbing a glass of water, him hiding in the shadow of the entrance, his tail the only thing twitching in the light, as he whispers, "Old Gray-Haired Lady, I know what it is you desire" (and then making one of those ridiculous ggkk noises), and her saying, "If only my friends understood how much I love science fiction television shows on Friday nights," and him saying, "I know, I know, and I can help. I am the only one who can help." But, when he actually goes to do it, it turns out that the entrance isn't so shadowy at all, and she just says, "Leave me alone, creep," and pulls of one of his antennae as she walks by (which she later, for a reason she cannot quite explain, puts in her jewelery case and pulls out and strokes subconsciously sometimes when she can't get to sleep because she's watching a "The X-Files" marathon). And, when he goes back to his chief superior (who doesn't even show up to show nights anymore, but just appears on their giant screen to give them instructions), the superior starts yelling and yelling, spit getting stuck to the camera and show up as giant globs of multi-colored blurriness to everyone else, and threatens to cut off the rest of his antennae, one week at a time, until he can get "AT LEAST ONE FUCKING NEWCOMER" to join the group. Of course, the newcomer that Bluesnout the Ever-Flatulent managed to br

They're already "Ridin' the Bean" when we arrive, both dressed identically in fully silver suits and a wire sticking out of each ear and connecting at the top of their heads.

Stan looks up and both of us as we approach, scowling through to his jowls, and says, "Either of you ever heard of Sunday Night Martian Marathon?"

Sen scoots into the booth before me and says, "What?"

Gully says, "Yeah, there was a girl at our checkers night, dressed completely in red, couldn't wait to tell us about how much fun it is."

Sen says, "Oh, no. You guys too?"

Gully says, "The Martian Marathon had someone at your thing too?"

Sen says, "No, something else..."

I say, "SciFi TV Show Lovers. Friday nights."

Gully says, "Damn..."

Sen says, "So, this is a thing, huh? Other people had this idea already?"

Gully says, "And, not only that, but our friend from the other night, who just showed up out of nowhere and convinced you to go bowling with her? She was there too, just giggling about how much fun she was having every Monday night."

Sen says, "This makes life very difficult."

Stan says, "Humph. I suggest we call it a loss and go back to doing what we do best, watching science fiction," he looks over to Gully as a sneer travels across his face like a cloud moving to kill a toddler, "and making fun of it."

Sen says, "Well... We can't, really. See..." she look over to each one of us in turn. " sent me an e-mail the other day. They've been pestering me for a while. We're too small for a meetup right now. They want to shut us down."

Gully says, "Four? Four is too small for a meetup?"

Sen says, "Yeah, apparently their servers are going all firebomb because so many people have started using the site, and they've got no money, so they're chopping anybody who doesn't bring in enough visitors to pay for their cost."

Gully says, "Nerts..."

There's a long pause as everybody things. A shadow, already perched permanently on Stan's face, spreads to everybody else.

You know, there are these moments in your life during which a single word, a single moment of strength, can bring together a group to do amaz-

Sen says, "Well, we'll have to get serious, then. Stan, you know a guy at a costume shop, right?"

Stan says, "Oh, yes, I know him very well."

Sen says, "Think we can get a discount on some costumes?"

Stan says, "I will see what I can do."

Sen says, "Great. And, Rose, you probably haven't tapped your work resources as much as the rest of us. Anyone you know at work that likes scifi?"

I say, "Uhh... Well... I can ask..."

Sen says, "Perfect. That's all we ask. Gully?"

Gully says, "Anything."

Sen says, "You agreed to go to that Sunday night thing with the Mars girl, right?"

Gully looks down. He says, "She's just..."

Sen says, "All right. I'll go with you. I wanna see what some of our competition looks like."

Gully nods, still looking down.

Sen says, "Okay, then." She thinks. "So the problem is, our current pool is way over-saturated. We've guys with tails, girls covered in red. We need to think outside the box here. We need something to stand out."

Gully looks up.

Stan says, "So, you want us to stand out more th-"

Gully interrupts, "Wait. Your guy had a tail?"

Nov. 08, 2009 →



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