Emily Elizabeth stretched as she sat up in bed. The early morning sun peeked through her blinds casting golden tiger stripes across her room. A quick shower finished waking her up. As she leaned against the kitchen counter waiting for her morning pot of coffee to finish brewing, she glanced at the calendar.
“Hmm,” she said, “I wonder why today’s circled.”
She checked her phone’s calendar, but there was nothing there. Her coffee finished and she started running through the past few days trying to remember as she poured herself a cup.
Emily Elizabeth took a few sips of her coffee, staring at the calendar on the wall. “Oh my gosh!” she yelled. “I completely forgot I promised to meet that guy in the park for lunch.”
It was easily done. She was at her friend, Carol-Lynn’s 21st birthday party and enjoying herself rather a lot. This guy came up to her and started dancing. He had slicked back dark hair and really white teeth. He had a nice smile. She already had quite a bit to drink and so she could only vaguely remember him. He wouldn’t leave her alone all night. He’d been one of Carol-Lynn’s many cousins, she came from one of those huge families. She was one of seven herself and apparently, her Mother came from an equally large family. She’d had to admit that, what she could remember of him, he was quite nice and handsome. She’d not long split up from A.J. and so was not particularly looking to tie herself down to another guy, but he asked her to meet him at the Park today. She remembered now, coming home in a bit of a state, circling the date on her calendar, drinking a pint of water then going to bed. The hangover the next day had been terrible and it must have completely slipped her mind.
Gosh, she couldn’t ever remember his name!
Checking her watch, it was still a couple of hours until midday. Looking down at her attire, she’d put on a casual tracksuit, she had to change, and do something with her face and hair.
After an hour busying herself in the bathroom, she emerged with her dark brown hair arranged in braids and her face lightly made up but her eyes, her best feature so she’d been told, emphasised with black eyeliner with a flick at the corners.
She opened her wardrobe. What to wear? She’d been wearing her red dress that night. It had a high neck, bare arms and came down to her mid-thigh to show off her legs. Her Mother had drilled it into her, show off legs or bust but never at the same time.
She picked out a light summer cotton frock, with broderie anglaise on it, but when she tried it on, the frills made her look a bit frumpy. She discarded it on the bed.
Pulling out dress after dress, it wasn’t long before the bed was covered in most of her summer wardrobe.
Then at the back, she saw a dress she hadn’t worn in a while. It was a cotton dress in a pale yellow gingham, with a loose long skirt but tightly fitting halter neck. It was a bit folksy, but as he was one of Carol-Lynn’s country cousins, he would probably like that. Not that he was a corn chewing yokel. Although, she couldn’t remember much about him at all, only his nice white smile. This dress was perfect, the colour went well with her brown hair and it made a feature of her top half that he wouldn’t have seen. At least she thought he hadn’t seen, she was sure she would have remembered THAT!
Putting the dress on, she slipped on a pair of yellow pumps on her feet, grabbed her wide-brimmed summer hat, her Jackie-O sunglasses and her small leather bag. She was ready to meet her Date.
Well, she thought she was ready, but it was still a shock when Lizzy (the name her father had shortened her name to) heard her mobile phone buzz with a text message to say he was at the park and waiting for her at the Northern gate.
Lizzy dashed out of her apartment and started to race down the avenue she lived on. She was almost run over by the Number 38 bus as she tried to dodge traffic on the high street. If she was in her jogging gear she could have run to the park in ten minutes but she didn’t want to turn up to meet her date dripping with sweat.
As she finally approached the park, she heard her phone buzz again and rooted through her bag to find it. The message read:
“HEY LIZZY IS THAT YOU IN THE SOMBRERO?”
Lizzy drew her sunglasses down her nose to survey who was around her. Almost immediately she noticed the young man she was sure was her date, same slicked back hair and white teeth flashing a grin at her, as he made his way towards her with a determined pace. She waved and received a salute back.
From a distance she noticed the pressed trousers, loafers and polo shirt that gave him a generally clean cut image – if that was what he intended to portray, she could only guess. As he drew close to her, he seemed to lunge towards her to offer her a peck on the cheek, so Lizzy thought, which she responded to by pouting. However, when he was less than an inch from delivering that peck on the cheek, he seemed to draw back very suddenly.
“Woah, Lizzy…you are a coffee drinker!”
Lizzy felt a slight flush of embarrassment…and rooting through her bag to find some kind of chewing gum.
“Oh, goodness, yes, I did have some coffee early this morning, don’t you like coffee?”
“Uh uh noooo! Coffee is one of the quickest ways to stains on your teeth. Although I can see you obviously have a thing about yellow.”
Lizzy felt slightly confused, she liked a bit of sarcasm, but this was not the best way to start a date. She brushed it off with a coy smile and readjusting her stance to her most flattering posture, she replied to him sweetly.
“Well, nothing says summer like yellow does it?”
“Technically it is not summer yet. It is only the 18th of June you know”, he flashed a cheesy grin with his shiny white teeth.
Lizzy smiled, “it’s such a beautiful day, it feels like summer”.
“Too true, you got me there Lizzy. Although it’s not worth an argument.”
“Oh, I am sorry. I don’t mean to be argumentative. Let me start all over again,” Lizzy held out her hand and said, “Hi, I’m Lizzy, nice to meet you (again)”
He took her hand and shook it limply and replied, “Hi, I’m Miles, charmed to meet you Lizzy”
Ah ha! Miles – that was his name. Lizzy could not remember ever knowing that.
“Miles, forgive me if I already asked you at the party when we met, but what do you do for work?”
Miles pulled an enormous smile and almost sung the word “Dentist!”
That made so much sense!
“How about you Lizzy? How do you earn your bread and butter? Are you a career woman?”
Lizzy replied, “Well, erm…I could tell you, but then I’d have to kill you.”
Miles scoffed, “Oh, please. Are you trying to tell me you work for the CIA or something?”
“Or something.” Lizzy responded quite seriously, although she was thinking to herself that if he kept up his attitude maybe she should tell him so she’d have an excuse to off him.
The truth is Lizzy is a member of the “Men in Black,” her job is to keep her city safe from alien invasion, but it’s not as pretty as the movie makes it seem. There’s no such thing as a nebulizer, and the aliens aren’t nearly as cute.
“So, what did you have in mind for lunch today?” She asked, trying to change the subject.
He sighed, realizing that he wasn’t going to get any more information out of her about her job. “I thought we’d start out with a picnic, since it’s such a nice, SPRING day,” putting way too much emphasis on “spring.”
She bit her tongue, What’s with this guy? She thought to herself, but instead responded, “Sounds great.”
Miles had packed a lunch which included a grilled chicken and berry salad with a
homemade raspberry vinaigrette, french bread, and white wine.
Miles caught a glimpse of Lizzy’s face as she sipped her wine. “Let me guess, you prefer red?” He asked.
“Yes, but this is fine,” she responded, sweetly, and flashing him a smile.
“No wonder your teeth are so stained. If you stop by my office, I’ll give you a discount on whitening treatments.” He moved closer to her mouth, making Lizzy feel slightly uncomfortable, “It also looks like you could use some fluoride treatments, why don’t I just…”
“You know what, I don’t think it is going to work out.” Lizzy interrupted him.
“May I ask why?” Miles inquired.
“Do you want my honest opinion?”
“Because you’re a certified jerk!”
All of a sudden a flash of light erupted from they sky and the entire park was filled with bright flashes, wing dings , colourful lights, bangs and fuzzy looking wispy yet menacing winged things, did she just say ‘things’ to herself? Lizzy pondered. With all my experience with strange phenomena and the best l can arrive at is ‘things!’, it ‘s this blooming Miles and his overly shiny white teeth, he is putting me off my game!
She looked up into the blackening skies and gasped “Oh no, it’s them, they’re back!!”
Meanwhile Mile’s was looking at the sky himself and nodding turned his head towards Lizzie with a know it all look, that some of these glamour boys shiny teeth boys have and said “You see, l told you it wasn’t yet summer. Anyway – what exactly did you mean ‘certified jerk Lizzie, or is it Elizabeth, you did actually tell me your name was Elizabeth when l first met you!”
“What on earth is your problem Mr Dentist? I haven’t got the time for your dilly dally’s with the seasons, l have got to call this in, this is a priority 97, with a potential of an 18, maybe even with added 21b’s and c’s and most assuredly not a simple stand alone 33Xz! So please do step back and completely bugger off!”
“I say steady on, with all this hibbly gibbly giggledook, what on ‘earth’ are you on about Miss Perkins!!’ Miles suddenly was no longer smiling, his excellently white teeth no longer visible? Lizzie noticed that he was doing something with his face? Oh my, was he peeling his face off?
“Good grief, who or what are you?“ Lizzie yelled [and how did he know my surname was really Perkins?] now looking at the head in front of her. It was slowly becoming worse, his clothing was somehow sliding off his body and falling crumpled at the ground at his two, no three feet and one coiled tail now slowly unfurling, and oh my! That was not a tail!!!”
“You can put that ‘thing’ [another thing] back where it belongs, it’s rude to poke a girl like that you know! Now l am warning you “Mr Miles No Longer White Teeth But Three Legged Slimy Grey Blobhead With Fangs And Horns”, that unless you stop advancing towards me l shall be forced to react with deadly force”
“Deadly force with a banana?!”smirked the blobhead. Lizzie relaxed and let a slow grin slide across her face. Males of the species were all the same no matter what galaxy you were in. They all see better than they think. “Banana? It’s a Beretta you wassock” She had neither the time or the energy to waste so she pointed her banana-beretta and flambéed the blobhead. She’d wasted enough time, the skies were filled with dragonlets.
“I wonder why people always things dragonlets are related to dragons?” she mused “Dragons breathe fire and..” pahruummmp!! “Bloody dragonlets! Their flaming farts STINK!” She put two fingers in her mouth and let forth a piercing whistle.
The dragonlets turned as one and in a graceful motion, turned and landed in front of Lizzie. She couldn’t help but roll her eyes at the sound of cannons from across the park. The Hussars were practicing their 21 gun salute beside the Serpentine and here she was on the other side with flying snakes and a 21 bum salute!
“Okay dragonlets, what’s going on? You know the agreement is that you stay in Snowdonia” All the dragonlets clamoured to speak at once and the hissing and squeaking of their voices rapidly rose. EeeeeeNOUGH!! Bawled Lizzie. I just want one of you to speak. One of the dragonlets shuffled forward. It was slightly knockneed and buck toothed with a shock of purple hair. It’s azure skin glistened in the sun, the pink and gold spots on its back indicating it was both an adult and female.
Lizzie flicked her hair out of the way and switched her babble fish translator on. “Hi I’m Lizzie Perkins of MIB, who am I addressing?” “I am Chitheadra. We were flying around and realised by accident that there was a hole in the containment shield. Most of us have never been past Holyhead – we got excited and just wanted to go sightseeing in London”
I felt sorry for them but my immediate problem was containment. If this was the US we could have easily covered up the appearance of strange creatures spouting gibberish by fixing any video footage to look like just another awards ceremony in Hollyweird. It wasn’t so easy in England where the weirdest collective in Lizzie’s opinion was football fans.
This gave her an idea. She grabbed her phone, hit #6 and called her father.
In all honesty, she felt like she’d swallowed a bunch of worms waiting for him to answer. Her stomach was twisting itself in knots as she waited one, two, three rings for him to pick up.
Finally, on the four—because, of course, it was on the last ring, that was the kind of jerk her father was—he answered.
“Father? It’s me, Lizzy.”
“Oh Lizzy! What a pleasant—”
“Not now Dad, this is business related,” internally, she cursed at herself. She’d vowed never to call him “dad” again. Not after he deported her best friend back to Zenothia.
Clearing her throat—and her thoughts—she carried on. “I need a containment unit here, stat. A non-aggressive one, please. And if you could send Agent MJ out as well, that would be great. He’ll need to come up with something to excuse all the dragonlets.” She had to be very specific with her father, or else he’d do something awful like use lethal force on the sweet, cooperative dragonlets.
And then they’d really be in a pickle.
The dragon-not-let would come out. And he was big. And scary. And a lot more like those story-book dragons.
Right about then, she took a step, and she felt something squish beneath her boot.
Looking at the mess that had been Miles, she also added, “And I’ll need a clean-up crew. And, possibly, someone from the hunting department. Clearly Miles was no accident.”
“JUST DO AS I ASKED PLEASE,” she said, rather firmly, into the phone.
“Okay, okay, no need to shout. I’ll be out there soon.”
“Great,” she said, sounding less thrilled than she should have.
At least she was going to have some back-up.
Even if it was her problematic father.
But, as she finally got around to feeling relieved about the situation, she couldn’t help but notice something across the street. Something eery. Something dark.
Something that couldn’t possibly have good intentions…
The Story Died Here
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H. L. Sailer