Howard’s Story

by Laura Haddock

Howard Slappy decided to write his story before the world ended. There was an asteroid hurtling toward Earth, after all.

“I am Howard Slappy.”

Good start.

Howard’s own was more complicated. First, he was an alien. More important, he was an illegal alien. Most important of all, he was an alien from outer space.

“I am an alien from outer space,” Howard wrote.

He hesitated before the third line. They said that discretion was better than something or another, but he chose to plunge ahead.

“I was sent to Earth to learn your ways and scout real estate opportunities for future

colonization by citizens of Planet Lance.”

There. He was out.

No matter now. As disasters go, the one where the 4 mile long asteroid slams into Earth raising a cloud of dust that blocks the sun and kills all the plants and small animals is up there near the top. Ask the dinosaurs.

Impact imminent!

Howard read the news feed from Lance. No way the Magisterial Forces would waste money colonizing Earth now. They were tight wads. Instead, they would strip it clean and export its resources. All of them.

Howard slumped on the park bench. He would miss parks and benches. He’d miss the puffy, white clouds of Earth. There were many things he would miss.

“I regret my part in the destruction of Earth,” he wrote. Surely that bit would make him sympathetic to his readers.

Howard spied his best friend. Carla, Carla, Carla. Time to admit his biggest secret. Bigger even than being a space alien sent to facilitate the takeover of Earth and its inhabitants.

Howard was in love with Carla.

He wondered how she’d react to being crushed on by a lumpy, grayish space alien bent on destroying her planet.

“I also regret that I have not disclosed to Carla Estes that she is the love of my life.” Five

sentences in, and things were getting touchy.

“Hey, Howie.” Carla stopped to catch her breath. “Can I see your notes from bio­chem?”

Howard mentally sank into the deep, greeny­brown of Carla’s eyes, barely hearing what she said. Bio notes? Why? A fleet of warships was on the way to strip Earth of its booty before the approaching asteroid smashed it to bits. One way or another it just didn’t matter.

“Hey, Carla. Can you sit down for a sec and talk?”

“Wha ­ what’s that humming noise?”

Shit. The mother ship. So soon?

“Howie? You look worried.”

If he was physically capable of blushing he would. Instead, Howard stood and put his hands on Carla’s shoulders.

“That humming is the sound of disaster in the form a spaceship from my home planet, Lance. I regret to tell you, Carla Estes, that the end is here.”

Carla laughed so hard she snorted. “Howie, you’re so funny!”

A landscaper rounded the engineering building.

“Oh.” said Howie. “My mistake.” He’d never noticed how much the mother ship sounded like a leaf blower.

“I have to get to class. Study later? I swear, bio­chem is gonna kill me.”

No, Howard thought. The four mile asteroid is going to kill you. Or the Magisterial Forces. Bio Chem was the least of her worries.

He made a decision.

“Carla, I will meet you. Right after your calculus class. I want you to go away with me. Far away. I want you to run away with me and–”

Carla’s smile disappeared.

“Uh. Howie. I don’t want you to get the wrong idea. Look. Hey, you’re the best. Really. The best! But I love you as a friend, you know? You’re like a brother to me. I wouldn’t want to do anything to ruin that. K?”

Howard pushed his fake eye glasses up the bridge of his fake nose.

“I see,” he said.

“So, big guy. Bio chem later? Meet me in the Java Shack?”

Howard crossed his arms and stared at the tips of his pointy leather shoes.

“Goodbye, Carla.”

“Okay, later.” She waved and grinned and skipped off toward a group of similar looking people. Howard hadn’t noticed how very similar they were. Thick hair, tan skin, gleaming white teeth. Unsightly, really.

Well then.

The newsfeed buzzed with an alert. All MF’s on planet Earth were ordered to prepare for arrival of the fleet in…

Just enough time for one last calc class and a slurpee from the 7­Eleven.

“Mostly, I will miss Slurpee’s,” Howard wrote.

The End.

 

 

Laura Haddock is a native Southerner who lives and writes speculative fiction in Memphis, Tennessee. She has previosly published work on Postcard Shorts, and in SQ Mag Online, The Old Weird South Anthology from QW Publishing and Tales From the Circle Anthology.

Image-thank-you to freebikevalet.com and Soko.

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