Give me another drink, will you?
I come out of the roadside tavern with little Suzie under my arm and I see the streak across the sky.
Itís so bright I think it might be a Russian missile, since everybody has been harping on how we ought to expect an attack at any time.
I know itís not the booze this time since Suzie says she sees it, too.
For some reason, Iím really nervous about it, and resist when Suzie says we ought to go over to the field where she thinks the thing from the sky fell.
On the way, I waved down Willie the cop, and he only shakes his head at me asking if Iím drunk again.
Do I really expect him to believe this tale after he fell for the on I told him last month about my seeing a great white shark in the rear bay?
And since he was fast asleep in his patrol car when whatever it was fell from the sky, he refuses to believe us, let along come along on what he calls ďanother wild goose chase.Ē
When me and Suzie get to the field, we find other people there.
Which means we arenít crazy after all.
And for the same reason, I canít explain, Iím uncomfortable seeing them.
Maybe Iím just disappointed, expecting to find something else here.
While Iím still anxious, Iím also grateful Willie didnít listen to me this time.
I tell Suzie we ought to head back to the tavern for another drink.
But when I turn to find out why she doesnít respond, I donít see her.
At this point, I notice the other people in the field looking at me with something odd about their expressions.
Perhaps it is the blood dripping from their fingers.
I know this is not a good sign.
My heart skips more than a few beats. But I manage to run off the field.
At a bus stop, I grab a woman by the shoulders and demand she help me.
I know her.
She dated me once or twice.
She tells me to quit my kidding and that she has to get to work at the motel. She canít afford getting wrapped up in one of my stunts.
You have to understand. With all my drinking, Iím not in the best of shape, so huffing and puffing through town to the tavern is no easy chore.
My chest hurts so much when I get there, Iím convinced Iím suffering a heart attack.
Joe, the bartender, asks if I need another drink.
Thatís the last thing I need, I tell him, thinking I might never drink again.
I canít think clearly from the booze Iíve had and the sleep I havenít had.
I need to find Susie and find out why she cut out on me like she did. Iím positive sheíll have a logical explanation.
I see Willieís patrol car through the window and rush out to get him.
He looks real annoyed when I beg him to come, donut powder painting his otherwise black moustache white.
But they had blood on their hands, I tell him.
He grunts, tells me to get into the car, then drives me back to the field, which, of course, turns out to be empty.
No people with bloody hands.
No rocket from Russia either.
Willie naturally gets peeved and tells me to get out, giving me a few more sour words before he goes.
Iím still watching the smoke from the patrol car fade when I hear Suzieís voice calling me out of the dark Ė from somewhere in the middle of the trees to one side of the field.
I start off in that direction and stop when something that isnít Suzie appears, strange stooped figures wearing what I think looks like space suits, carrying what I think looks like a ray gun.
I see flashes of lights over the trees from the direction where the new development is located.
I hear screaming.
I see Suzie run from between the trees, her slim shape managing miraculously to avoid the space suited figures.
When she reaches me, she grabs my hands.
Her fingers are so cold they feel like ice.
Out of the field we run, out of the spray of death rays that suddenly erupt and turn the trees near us into large masses of flame and ash.
I figure we need to find Willie again, and maybe with Suzie beside me, heíll believe this tale when he wouldnít before.
But the town we get back to isnít the one we left.
Buildings burn. People scream.
The police station and police cars are smoldering ruins.
I hear a mumbling and see a crowd of people coming towards us.
They are not running in a panic. They are not screaming.
They marsh ahead of a line of space men like a herd of sheep.
Suzie yells out, ďHeís over here!Ē
She points at me, and only then do I realize that she is one of them.
I yank my hand out of hers and run.
Sometimes fear is a good thin.
This time it gets me away from trouble.
I run and run until I canít see the flames or hear the screaming.
When I canít run any more, I walk.
To get here.
To give warning.
So give me another drink, buddy.
Make it on the house.
After all, Iím here to save your life.