Qbit, Tau, Arlene and Jenny
Tau swung his head in the direction of the noise as two people stepped out from the undergrowth and into the clearing. One was holding a large, pulsing and loudly humming weapon and the other looked to be more interested in pulling brambles out of her long hair. The one with the big gun yelled, “OKAY, ASSHOLES, NOBODY MOVE!”
Sunki looked at Mrs. Privet, pointed at the two women, let out a low grunt and threw her hands into the air in frustration. Tau took the opportunity to bend down and pick something up off the forest floor.
The one with the gun yelled again, “HEY, BIGFOOT AND IRON MAN, I SAID DON’T MOVE!”
However, since the gun was now making so much noise, nobody in the group could understand what she was saying. They looked back and forth at each other in confusion. Qbit, cupping his mouth with his hands, yelled over to her. “WHAAAAAT!?”
Arlene, getting more and more irritated, yelled back, “I SAID, DON’T… MOVE!”
Qbit turned his ear towards her, pointed at it with his finger while shaking his head back and forth. “STILL NOT GETTING ANYTHING!”
Arlene, rolling her eyes, muttered something unintelligible to herself and fingered a switch on the side of the gun. The decibel level of the gun dropped significantly. “I SAID, AND FOR THE LAST TIME, (she paused for a second) NOBODY… MOOOOVE!
Jenny, removing the last of the brambles from the ends of her hair, took a step closer to her and whispered, “It sounded better the first time.”
Arlene swung her head around and gave her ‘the look’ again.
“Just say’n,” Jenny said, shrugging her shoulders and moving away.
Arlene turned back to the group and said, “You, cowboy, take your leprechaun and move over there!” She swung the gun over to the right. The sudden shift in weight almost made her drop it.
“Now, you, Sasquatch, I want you to…”
Without warning, from somewhere between Qbit and Mrs. Privet, a small rock flew. It made a slight whistling noise as it crossed the short distance between the two groups. It struck Arlene right between the eyes. Her body went rigid, the gun fell from her hands and she fell backwards onto the ground like a freshly cut tree.
From behind Qbit, Tau said quietly, “Timmmberrrrr.”
Jenny’s eyes went wide, and her mouth dropped opened in surprise as she looked over at Arlene now lying motionless next to her. The small rock was still stuck between her closed eyes. She turned back to the group, then back to Arlene, then to the group again. She threw her hands up into the air and said the first thing that came to her mind. “Nice shot!”
“Thank you.” replied Tau.
With her hands still in the air, she turned her head and bent over to get a closer look at Arlene’s motionless form. “Do you think she’s dead?”
“I don’t think so. You might want to check though”, said Tau.
Jenny lowered her arms and knelt on the ground next to her. She put her fingers on Arlene’s wrist to check for a pulse then bent closer to see if she was still breathing. Looking relieved, she said, “She’s good, but… man, she’s going to be so pissed when she wakes up.” She stood back up and faced everyone. “Listen, I don’t really care what’s going on here, ya know? I kind of got caught up in all the excitement and Arlene can be pretty persuasive when she wants to be. Plus, we’re dealing with the whole Chad the Ugly thing. Man, I hate that guy. I mean, I actually like my job here on Earth. It pays well and has good benefits. I get to enjoy the outdoors and the view from the trailer is to die for.” She gave a quick glance towards Arlene and chuckled at what she had just said.
She stared off into the distance “I may even want to start a family.” Refocusing, she dropped her chin to her chest to gather her thoughts. After a second, she raised it back up. “Listen, I’ll just tell them you got away. There’s no need for further violence. I’ll just lay here and wait for her to come to. I’ll pretend that I was knocked out and, and, I’ll tell her I have no idea what happened.” Looking at the gun laying on the ground, and motioning at it with her head, she continued, “You can have that thing. I don’t even know how it works. If I tried to use it, I’d probably end up shooting myself.” She looked back over at the group hoping they would believe her sincerity.
They looked at each other, not sure what to say. After a moment, Tau spoke up, “Pinkie swear.”
She lifted her hand, looked at her pinkie then at Tau. “I’m afraid I don’t know what that means.”
“It’s an old earth tradition. We wrap our pinkie’s together and swear we won’t say anything about this ever again, to anybody. It’s completely binding.”
“Um, okay. But what happens if I end up telling on you guys?”
Tau glanced down at Arlene.
“Yeah, right, there’s that. Okay then, lets, uh…what did you call it again?”
“Right, pinkie swear.”
Tau walked over to her, knelt down on one knee and made a fist with his right hand, stuck out his pinkie and bent it in a small curve. “Now you do the same.”
She copied him with her right hand, making sure she had her pinky curved exactly the same way. Tau carefully attempted to wrap his around hers. But, because his was about three times larger than hers, it didn’t quit work. They both pulled their hands away. He thought for a second. “I know, let’s just touch them together. I don’t think that will be too much of a breach of protocol.”
Bringing their hands back up, they laid their pinkies together, side by side.
Tau said with an official tone, “Do you, umm… What’s your name?”
“Jenny. Swear that you will tell no one, under any circumstances, what happened here today?”
She stood up a little straighter and said, “Yes, I swear.”
“Okay, then.” Tau pulled his hand back and said. “Now spit.”
With her pinkie still hanging in the air she replied, “Spit?”
“Yep, spit. You have to spit. That’s the binding part.”
“That sounds a bit crazy to me but if you say so.” She looked to her right and left and shrugged. “Like, anywhere?”
“As long as it’s not at me.”
Jenny turned to the left, made a sucking noise with her mouth and spit, barely missing Arlene. “Well, there you go. That’s it?”
She wiped her hands on her pants leg and stared at Tau. He motioned to the ground with his hand.
“Oh, yeah.” She walked over next to Arlene, careful not to step in her spit. She crouched down, sat on her butt, slid her legs out straight, laid back and crossed her hands on her chest.
The others looked on silently.
“Okay! I’m dead now! Oh, wait, I need a rock.” She raised herself up and found a small pebble laying by her side. She picked it up, laid back down and pushed it into her forehead. She took her hand away to see if it stayed there. It did, so, keeping her head still she shouted, “Okay, I’m good! Thanks, see ya!”
She lay motionless for a second then shouted “Oops. Hey, wait!” Still keeping her head motionless, she raised her arm straight up and stuck her pinkie out, “Or should I say, won’t see ya, wink, wink.”
The group looked at each other in silence waiting to see if she was done. Satisfied, Qbit yelled over to her, “Okayyyy! We’re leaving now!” Nothing. The group turned to leave.
“Wait!” Mrs. Privet said, “The gun! We can’t leave it here. It’s too dangerous!”
“I’ll take care of that.” Tau stepped back over to the weapon, which was still pulsing and lightly humming. He stood on it with one foot and slowly applied pressure. There was the sound of metal creaking, a small , then a faint flash of light followed by a dull thud. Wisps of curly smoke rose weakly from under his foot. He twisted his foot back and forth a couple of times, partly to make sure it would never work again and partly because it felt good. When he was done he headed back to the group, smacking his hands together in a wiping motion and said, “Done and done.”
As the group walked away, Qbit said. “Overall, I think that went well.” The group nodded in approval.
Six squirrels, sitting on a branch, in a pine tree, about ten feet away, dropped their heads into their paws and sighed loudly. Then, in unison, they all turned, and scampered away into the forest.