“If it ain’t red, white and blue, BLOW IT TO HELL!”
Continued from part two.
It was a two hundred metre walk from Hotel Capricorn to Club Frizzle, and a two hundred and twenty metre stagger home afterwards. As they crossed the courtyard of the Capricorn Hotel, Pingree and Chippo could already hear the music and see lights softly pulsing over the trees.
Chippo wore a tight green tank top with, “if you can’t read this, you’re not dancing close enough,” in tiny writing across the front. It was stretched across his chest, his round auburn tummy protruding below. Pingree wore white satin trousers and a matching jacket, undone to show his furry chest. Their polished platform shoes shone in the moonlight, Pingree’s white, Chippo’s black.
They waved at the doormen as they swaggered into the club, and headed for the bar. As they passed, young Fulfettes in short dresses preened themselves and shot them admiring glances. The lights throbbed, the music boomed and the drinks flowed. Ladies’ night at Club Frizzle was off to a fine start.
Sid parked the shuttle on a paved concourse in front of a three-storey, glass and metal building, about four hundred metres wide, the phased particle shield shimmering overhead. While he powered down the shuttle’s systems, Hudley climbed down from the cockpit and sniffed the air appreciatively. It tasted crisp and fresh, as if there had just been a heavy downpour.
“The air is ionised,” said Sid, climbing down from the shuttle, “and we keep the oxygen levels at twenty five percent. Let’s go inside; everyone’s desperate to meet you.”
Sid led Hudley into the main entrance of the Colony. Before them stretched an empty corridor, with smooth white, featureless walls, lit from within by a soft glow that illuminated the way ahead.
Sid led the way, chatting excitedly. “I’ve picked out some great movies. They’ve been dubbed into Grey, but they’re all subtitled in Ufrikaans. I’ve been working on a translator that will translate speech instantaneously. It’s not quite ready yet because I’m trying to get it to work on songs too. We’ve got fermented fruits and drinks, and there’s going to be a buffet during intermission when you can get to meet the White Ladies.”
A few yards down, built into the wall was a fish tank. Hudley stopped to watch the small, brightly coloured fish darting in and out between the long leaves of the fine, ferny plants at the bottom of the tank. He reached out a furry paw, but Sid shouted with alarm.
“Stop!” Hudley froze, his paw extended. Sid spoke slowly and deliberately. “Very carefully place your paws behind your head.” Hudley gradually inched his paws up past his shoulders and interlinked them behind his head.
“Now raise your left foot off the floor.” Hudley did as he was told. His heart was pounding and his mouth was suddenly very dry.
“Now,” continued Sid, “hop up and down, and sing Edna, the Magic Krundlefish.”
Hudley brought his paws back down and placed his foot back on the floor. “Very funny!” Sid clearly agreed.
“What would happen if I did touch the tank?” Hudley asked.
“Your fur would burst into flames, your eyes would melt, and your blood would boil. Even your DNA would unravel.”
Sid rolled his eyes. “It’s just a fish tank, Hudley. You can touch anything you want.” He thought for a moment. “Anything except the White Ladies.”
They continued along the main corridor. Additional corridors branched off to either side, but Hudley saw no signs of activity within any of them. Up ahead stood a Grey stood wearing a rubber monster mask with tufts of green fur sprouting from it, and yellow rubber fangs. In one hand he held a small black toy pistol and in the other a plastic trident.
“Quake with fear, men of Earth!”
“Hello Genghis. Is that for Hudley?” asked Sid, indicating the pistol.
“Sure is,” said Genghis. Hudley accepted the pistol and Genghis raised his hands in mock surrender. “Well, go on then,” he urged. Hudley levelled the pistol and pulled the trigger. There was a tinny bang followed by an equally tinny voice speaking in Grey. Genghis and Sid shrieked with laughter.
Hudley shook his head. “I don’t get it.”
“There’s a dial on the side. Set it to Ufrikaans.”
Hudley examined the pistol and twisted the small dial. He pointed it at Genghis again and pulled the trigger. Again, a tinny bang, and the pistol said, “take that, you slimy alien scum!” Hudley looked perplexed.
“Come on,” said Genghis, handing Sid a white lab-coat, and indicating a set of double doors. “Everyone’s waiting.” From behind the doors came the sound of raised voices and raucous laughter.
Sid slid on the lab-coat, opened the doors and ushered Hudley through. They were stood at the back of a high, darkened room, the front of which was dominated by a huge cinema screen and a wooden podium, illuminated by a spotlight. There were dim lights around the walls, and Hudley could see that there were about two hundred seats in the room, arranged neatly in rows and divided by a central aisle leading from the doors at the back, down to the podium. Around the edges of the room stood long tables, with large punchbowls, plastic cups, and plates piled high with fermented fruits. It was clear from the atmosphere in the room that the natives were restless, and Sid hurried to the front of the room, indicating for Hudley to follow.
As they hurried down the aisle, they were greeted by jeers and whistles, and showered with handfuls of fermented fruits. Sid stood at the podium and raised his arms. The auditorium fell quiet, except for a few scattered giggles and murmurs.
Hudley surveyed the room, and saw that the Greys had divided into two groups. On one side of the room, they had dressed in Human clothing. Some wore military uniforms with plastic helmets and rifles, some wore dungarees and Wellington boots, some suits and ties, and Hudley even spied a few cow costumes, complete with soft, rubber udders. On the other side of the room, the Greys were dressed in a bizarre assortment of ghoulish and outlandish outfits. There were Greys in gorilla costumes with diving helmets, Greys in rubber masks, holding bows and arrows, and Greys wrapped from head to toe in silver foil. They looked utterly ridiculous.
In the front row sat the White Ladies. Lady Vee was wearing a gingham cotton dress and a straw hat. The other Ladies were similarly attired, each holding a plastic cup and a small plate of fermented fruit. Sid lowered his arms, turned to the White Ladies and gave a deep bow. He indicated to Hudley to do the same and the White Ladies nodded in acknowledgement.
Sid raised his left hand. “Welcome men of Earth!” he shouted. He was greeted with loud applause from the left side of the room. He raised his right hand. “Hail, mighty alien warriors!” Applause and laughter from the right. “Tonight,” he continued, “two nerve shredding tales of how our brave invaders were defeated in battle by the evil Human menace.” There were loud boos and hisses from the right side of the auditorium. “But first, I have the great honour of introducing Hudley Hodge, who wishes to become a friend of our Colony.” The auditorium filled with chants and screeches, laughter and cheers, and again they were showered with fruits, some of which Sid caught deftly and crammed into his grinning mouth.
Hudley raised a paw and waved at the audience. “Should I make a speech?” he whispered.
“Only if you wish to be torn limb from limb,” replied Sid, punching a button on the podium. The lights dimmed and, as the screen flickered to life, the cheering and laughter became a deafening roar of approval.
“Now,” yelled Sid, “let the invasion begin!”
Chippo leaned back against the bar, sipping a starfruit cocktail through a straw. A pretty Fulfette sat talking to him, leaning forward to giggle and stroke his soft auburn fur.
Pingree was in the centre of the dance-floor, obscured from Chippo’s view by a circle of cheering and clapping Fulfettes. He jiggled and pouted, spinning round and pumping his furry arms into the air in time to the pounding beat of Megaunit’s classic disco hit, Reach out and Touch Me. The song had come to the obligatory rap section.
“Girl, I’m gonna take you back to my castle,
And deliver you my love like my parcel.
I see you dancing and I get palpitations.
My heart beats harder than quadratic equations.
My love for you ain’t ever gonna go tepid.
I’m gonna love you ‘til we’re old and decrepit.
Just say the word, and I’ll hop like a toad.
Reach out and touch me before I explode.”
The movie was in full swing. The alien invaders, who looked suspiciously like very small Humans in rubber masks, had issued an ultimatum to the President of Earth. The President’s army, led by General Butch Redmangler, a stern man with dark glasses, and a cigar perpetually wedged in his mouth, had captured one of the invaders and had it behind bars at a military installation. Staring from the other side of the bars were two Human scientists clad in white lab-coats. One was an impossibly handsome male, with a broad chest, thrusting jaw and dark hair that hung over his forehead, shining like a new bicycle under the bright studio lights. Clinging to his arm was a pretty female with round spectacles, blonde hair tied back into a ponytail, and an ample bosom jutting proudly from under her thick jumper and lab-coat.
The alien prisoner shook the bars and stamped its feet, its eyes wide and unblinking, and a low growl emanating from deep in its chest. Its mouth hung open, showing small pointed teeth as a thin trail of drool dripped from its chin, forming a pool on the floor of its cell.
The pretty female scientist had become unable to contain her distress.
“Oh, it’s TOO horrible,” she wailed, burying her head in her companion’s manly chest.
The “Human” Greys on the right side of the auditorium (if you were facing the front) wailed, “it’s TOO horrible!” and buried their heads in each other’s chests. The White Ladies shrieked in mock terror and pretended to swoon, while the Greys on the other side of the theatre jeered and growled, and shook their fists in the air.
Onscreen, the handsome male scientist pulled a pipe from his pocket, put it into his mouth and, with a dramatic flick of his hair, thoughtfully lit the bowl. Sid pulled a plastic toy pipe from his pocket and with an elegant flick of his hairless head crammed it into his mouth and blew. A gentle stream of soap bubbles floated up and across the row in front, and several hands shot up, trying to burst the bubbles.
“Oh, Professor Handsome, what do they want with us?” sobbed the Human female.
“If my theories are correct, Dr Pretty, then they are here for just one thing,” said Handsome, pointing with his pipe stem; “to enslave our men, to molest our women and to destroy all that is great about these United States.”
Dr Pretty looked up at him. “But, Professor, surely that’s three things?”
“Not to these savages,” Professor Handsome sneered. “They don’t know the meaning of just one.” Sid giggled and blew more bubbles.
It was time for Professor Handsome’s close-up. The camera zoomed in until his beautiful face, with its smouldering, dark eyes and jutting jaw filled the screen.
“I’ve been studying this beast. It knows no kindness, no honour; just the cold sting of hatred, and the raging fire of jealousy. It’s jealous of our way of life, our freedom,” here he paused to flick his hair and pout, “and our ability to feel love.”
Dr Pretty removed her spectacles and nibbled thoughtfully on the end of them. “You mean that it envies all those things that make us Human.”
Handsome nodded sombrely. “I’m afraid so. That’s why we have to fight back. We have to send them scurrying back under whatever rock they crawled out from.” And with that, he turned to Dr Pretty, placed his arm behind her slender back and pulled her to him. He kissed her hard for a few seconds, then released her, before reinserting his pipe and drawing on it gallantly.
The scene faded to be replaced by two fighter jets roaring over the landscape. General Butch Redmangler stood in an air-traffic control tower, chewing on his trademark cigar. As the jets passed, the camera cut to show each pilot looking towards the tower and giving a stiff salute. All the “Human” Greys returned the gesture, as did the General. The scene cut to a shot of a silver hubcap, bobbing and swaying on a thin piece of fishing line against a backdrop of fluffy clouds in a bright blue sky.
A pilot’s voice crackled over the radio.
“General, Sir; the enemy has been sighted, three clicks west of our position. What are your orders?”
The General grabbed the radio transmitter and growled into it. “Engage the enemy. If it ain’t red, white and blue, BLOW IT TO HELL!”
The auditorium broke into raucous applause, and the screen was pelted with fermented fruits.
Hudley clasped his paws over his ears. “This is ridiculous!” he muttered to himself.
Chippo and his new Fulfette friend Cedany stood outside Chippo’s room. They were both tipsy, clinging to each other for support while they giggled and swayed. Chippo fumbled in his pocket for his key then scraped at the lock for a while, eventually combining the two to gain access.
Chippo’s room, like all the rooms in the Capricorn Hotel was furnished with plush, beige carpets, light yellow painted walls and recessed lighting. There was a sleeping area with a comfortable double bed, and a lounge area with a soft, wide sofa, a TV and a low table with two candles on it. Cedany collapsed onto the couch while Chippo put on some soft music and poured some pineapple wine. He went through to his bedroom and emerged clutching a glowing, pale green fire-toad in his paw. The toad wriggled irritably trying to break free of his grip. Chippo placed the toad on the table, and poured a little wine onto a saucer, which the toad lapped up eagerly.
“He’s so cute,” crooned Cedany.
“I made him,” said Chippo with a crooked, drunken smile. “Watch this.” He lifted the toad up and gently shook it, holding its mouth towards the candle. The toad gave a soft croak and belched a small green flame which Chippo used to light the candle. Cedany squealed with delight.
Soon both candles were lit, and the two Fulfae started to deepen their friendship while Gee Double Bee crooned in the background;
“My sweet Joanne, please marry me.
I know your love will carry me,
Into space, up to the moon.
We’ll plant a flag and exchange kisses.
Standing on the lunar surface,
Pondering the universe’s
Secrets, be my missus,
The drunken fire-toad glowed softly as it snored beneath the sofa.
Hudley slept through most of the night’s second movie. It was past midnight as Sid carried Hudley over his shoulder down the main corridor of the Colony, towards the guest suite. Opening the door with his elbow Sid gently lowered Hudley onto the bed, covered him with a blanket and turned off the lights. The exhausted Fulfa rolled over and started snoring. Sid smiled, closed the door and headed down the corridor to rejoin the other Greys.