Frank is not going to go. No one on earth- or on any other planet- can make him. He will die before they win.
Frank spends the next two days making the most of his alone time. He plays scrabble alone (and wins), he plays monopoly alone (no one wins at monopoly), he sleeps upside down on his bed and pretends he is in Australia (except Frank would never really go to Australia because- sharks, spiders, snakes, sand, Australians). He makes greetings cards for himself and blows dandelions over the wall of the Way’s garden. He has the best fun ever and on Wednesday morning, when he is due to go to the Way’s, he refuses to get dressed and instead covers he body in drawings of aliens being graphically tortured.
Frank is not going to go. No one on earth- or on any other planet- can make him. He will die before they win. He sits, in the centre of the kitchen table with his favourite blindfold on, and dares his mother to so much as suggest he gets dressed.
“Francis Anthony Iero, if you do not get off that table and out of the door in the next one minute, I swear to god I will mix up all the colours in your skittle jar so the orange and greens are tou..”
Franks does not hear the rest of that threat because he is all the way in the Way’s front drive clad in nothing but his drawings and blindfold. The alien mother screams when she opens the door and so Frank throws up on the floor and then lies in it. It’s sticky on his chest and he’s starting to regret this decision when the mother laughs and says, “Frank!”
“Is that the boy from next door,”asks the alien boy from the roof, “I like his tattoos, super graphic.”
Frank rolls so that he is lying on his back and then absently mindedly starts making a sick angel. He hopes this will put the Ways off, but he doesn’t know because he still has his blindfold on and can’t see their reactions. He imagines their mouths gawping in horror, eyes wide and terrified. Maybe the little one is silently sobbing.
Lifting the blindfold from his eyes, he cranes his neck to look. The hallway is empty. They have left him all alone on the floor frolicking in his own vomit. It’s not his proudest moment.
Frank sighs and rolls towards the stairs and then back again. And then along the hall. He very slowly and methodically spreads his sick evenly across the floor space.
That will learn them.
He takes his shoes off (he wasn’t raised in a barn) and pads through into the alien kitchen. Because the alien kitchen hasn’t always been an alien kitchen it looks the same as a human kitchen. Frank, however, is not fooled.
The alien mother is washing up in her alien sink. Though she is in human form, Frank is pretty sure he can see her long green tentacles splashing about in the water. At least he can’t smell her.
She turns her head 180 degrees so that she is looking directly at Frank and says, “Don’t worry, your mother told me you did that sometimes. She said you weren’t too comfortable with us lot from up there.”
Frank knows that “us lot from up there” actually means alien but to call them aliens is considered rude. Frank doesn’t care; pushing in front of him at the cinema is rude, too.
Frank wipes the sick from his shoulders and leans against the doorframe. “I hope you don’t expect me to be pleasant.” he says plainly.
The alien mother smiles warmly at Frank and says, “Of course I don’t. All little boys human or otherwise are all extremely unpleasant, and to be honest, if you were you’d bore me.”
Frank nods curtly and walks over to the kitchen table. It’s one of the hover tables from Ikea and Frank, with some difficulty, climbs atop and sits cross-legged in the centre.
He has planned to stay there for at least another three years but just under half an hour later the alien mother is setting up plates and humming something unfamiliar. Frank tries to hold his ground but it’s unfairly difficult for him to do so when suspended in mid air and eventually the others in the alien family come and sit around him.
“Are you sure it’s hygienic for him to be sitting up there like that?” asks the father. Frank thinks this to be quite rude and so he kicks the father’s plate off the table with his left foot.
“Frank!” the alien mother scolds. Frank does not acknowledge this with a response.
“He’s weird.” says the youngest alien boy.
“Can we keep him?” asks the elder.
“Certainly not.” says Frank and tosses the salad, quite literally, in the direction of the porch doors.
The sick, is beginning to dry and crack. It does not smell good but Frank supposes the alien family will be used to that. He tries to uncross his legs but finds he has developed extreme pins and needles in both and unwittingly kicks the younger brother’s glasses off of his face. The younger alien screeches and goes to stab Frank with his fork. Frank, promptly, rolls off the table and out of the door, taking the tablecloth with him.
He is then caught off guard by the alien mother gathering him up in the tablecloth like a kidnap victim and carrying him upstairs. This is where she swiftly throws him into a sparkly purple bubble bath. Frank coughs and splutters, drowning slightly, and then starts on a steady belt of screaming.
This continues until the elder alien boy enters the bathroom. Frank searches crucially for an escape rout then begins his suicide mission into the water, sinking slowly - threateningly- out of view. The purple glitter hurts his eyes and so he shoots back up quickly.
The alien boy is still there, he has been outwitted once again by an extra-terrestrial. He stares at the alien boy for a long time and then lets the water, that had been collecting in his mouth, along with his drool, pool past his lips.
“Hello.” says the alien boy.
“Hello.” says Frank.
The alien boy is weird looking even in his human disguise. In that moment, Frank decides that this alien boy is his mortal enemy. And so, he narrows his eyes and drops lower into the bath. Like a tiger or a snake or a tiger-snake crossbreed.
“Were you born here?” asks the alien boy.
Obviously, Frank was born here, he is a human. Clearly, the alien boy is an idiot. Good, Frank thinks, this will make him easier to kill, when the time comes. Aloud though, he says, “Yes in a human hospital by my human mother and father.”
“So you are human then?” asks the alien boy. Frank glares witheringly. “Just thought I’d check, because you act a little bit more like a dog.”
Frank slowly and deliberately lets in a mouthful of water, stands up and spits in down the alien boy’s t-shirt. The alien boy sits cross-legged on the flooded floor and grins.
“I would like a towel now.” Frank says and continues to drip on the alien boy.
“Do you have to roll everywhere or is it just fashionable like jeans that show your butt and Miley Cyrus?”
Frank ignores this question and repeats, “I would like a town now please.”
“And can you shoot lasers out your eyes? Oh, and do you have a bike?” The alien boy asks.
Frank kicks him in the face and goes to find a towel. He’s getting cold.
Although Frank spends most of his time in not even so much as his socks and shoes, he is getting to the point where he thinks he has shown too much flawless human flesh to the alien family. And his towel is so damp it feels like he is wrapped in a layer of sticky rice. He knows how this feels from personal experience. The alien mother has tried to offer Frank some of Gerard’s (the elder boy’s) clothes but Frank had merely spat on the floor and sworn in Russian. He is beginning to regret this decision but he does not want to catch alien cooties.
It’s bad enough that he has to share a room with the alien boys. On the first night he dreams that he has been probed. As you can imagine this is neither a fun nor pleasant dream to have.
And then it’s Thursday.
On Thursdays Frank spends most of his time upside-down. He is very good at walking on his hands but, especially with his painfully injured arm, to keep his strength up he must consume at least three different kinds of yellow food. He does not want to eat at the alien family’s house. Still, Frank is a trooper and he does his best to stay on his hands even without his yellow foods supply and by ten am, when Gerard comes to speak to him, Frank has only fallen over twice. Frank hates Gerard but he likes the bruise he has given him.
“Hi, Frank.” Gerard says.
Frank closes his eyes and imagines he is alone on a canoe in South America whilst the rest of the world burns around him but he is safe because of the water.
Gerard pokes Frank’s bare tummy where the towel has fallen to the floor and says, “Are you hungry?”
Yes, Frank thinks “No.” Frank says.
“It’s pasta.” Says Gerard.
“Why do you like pasta so much?” Frank asks.
“Because it’s yellow.” States Gerard simply and Frank has to bight back a grin.
No he tells himself, No. Now I can never eat yellow food ever again because aliens like it. This makes Frank sad until he remembers that he is angry and pokes Gerard in the bruise he had given him the day before with his foot. Gerard doesn’t even flinch, only strokes Frank’s nose and skips away.
Frank sneezes and falls to the floor. He hates everything.
That night, when all the aliens are asleep, Frank sneaks out and into the garden. It’s past midnight so he doesn’t have to walk on his hands. In the garden he finds; two acorns, an ants nest and a lot of grass. He collects them all, along with a little rock he can use to smash the ants, then creeps back to the garden dining set where he climbs onto the table to eat. He feels much better after that.
Frank stays out in the garden for a while after his meal. He watches Cactus and The Dixie Chicks pass in and out of sight behind lacy grey clouds and feels ever so sombre and poetic. He’s just starting to grow board of feeling full and happy —well melancholy- when Gerard comes out. Frank doesn’t mind because it gives him a reason to be angry.
He says, “You have grass in your teeth.” and sits next to Frank on the table.
Frank looks at Gerard and scowls. But then he remembers the chunk of ants nest he still has in his palm. Changing his expression and tone, quick as a flash, he smiles sweetly and says, “I like your pyjamas.” to Gerard. He then pulls down the back of the collar of Gerard’s top and drops the small ant’s nest sample down the into it.
Gerard howls. Frank runs, vaulting over his garden fence and hanging himself by his fingertips, amongst the sheets.
Gerard’s racket has awoken his alien mother, who teleports to his side and promptly zaps all the red ants, feisting on Gerard’s –ironically- vampire flesh, with her laser eyes.
“Francis!” She hollers.
Frank has not lived a very long, or even a very interesting life. So, not for the first time, he runs, he runs until he hits the patio doors of his house and nocks himself clean out. If Frank’s life were a cartoon- which, he really thinks it aught to be- there would have been little chirping birds and stars orbiting his swollen and stitched head like little moons. But Frank’s life is not a cartoon so there’s just pain and blood and then the inevitable blackness that means Frank has probably given himself permanent brain damage.
He wakes up in Gerard’s bedroom. Gerard’s bedroom isn’t even nearly as cool as Frank’s; he has lots of wide open windows and boxes full of new toys and a desk full of drawing supplies, his bed is made up of clean sheets and unbroken springs and it feels funny against Frank’s skin. Frank is homesick, he’s sure. He has a bandage around his head and his eyes swim a little when he tries to focus on anything that isn’t the end of his nose. He wonders why he isn’t in hospital.
But, there’s no one for him to ask but the small alien boy. Frank had decided, that they weren’t speaking, when he tried to kill him with a fork.
“Ma,” The small alien boy calls, “It’s awake again, I’ll hit it if it comes near me.” and then, “Ma, it’s looking at me funny!”
The alien mother quickly teleports into the room. She looks mad.
“Frank, why are you persistently trying to kill my son?”
“Frank, why are you persistently trying to kill yourself?”
Frank turns his head to the side in dismay and sniffs “Because I have nothing left to live for.” he whispers hoarsely. He’s trying to suffer quietly and valiantly, a martyr of his time, but when there’s a small alien boy apparently trying to remove your toes with a pair of pliers, it’s a hard thing to do.
When the pliers fail to work, Mikey resorts to biting. So, Frank sits up and punches him in the head. When the alien mother starts shouting, Frank promptly falls backward and snores, immediately fake comatose.
I want to get the next chapter up either today or tomorrow so look out for it!