To Frank’s surprise, and slight disappointment, none of them maim themselves trying to come see him for a long time.
To Frank’s surprise, and slight disappointment, none of them maim themselves trying to come see him for a long time. Hey plays blues on the harmonica and thinks about how well his plan worked. He’s probably already scared away the alien family, he’ll probably never see any of them ever again.
But of course Frank has forgotten about their ability to teleport.
Gerard is sitting cross-legged at the end of Frank’s bed. He’s smiling. Frank hates it. He also feels sad because that apparently means Gerard isn’t allergic to the ants, he hasn’t even come up in a rash. He will have to come up with another, better plan.
“I brought you some grass.” Gerard says, holding out an open palm full of fresh green grass. “I thought you might be hungry.”
Frank will never be able to eat grass again. Gerard ruins everything.
“Why is a raven like a writing desk?” He asks, ignoring Gerard’s offer.
Gerard just blinks, and then says, “Can I see your teeth? Mikey says mine look weird but I don’t think so. Mikey’s always mean, he says I was built all wrong.”
Frank is hit by a brilliant (See: stunning, magnificent, tremendous) idea. “Sure” He says and holds his mouth open.
Gerard leans forward to peer into Frank’s mouth. “Smells funny.” he notes before making the mistake of reaching out to touch.
Frank bights Gerard. Hard.
For a glorious second Frank is victorious. Then he tastes blood. Frank has alien blood in his mouth. Frank is going to throw up, Frank is going to throw up or he will scream.
Frank throws up.
Gerard gapes, open mouthed and wide eyed. His expression is one, Frank thinks, to be recorded. Frank falls to the floor and screams. With laughter.
On Friday night Frank gets to go home. The alien mother is telling his mother that Frank is welcome back any time he wants. Frank informs her that is that is the case, he’s never coming back. His mother says she will drop him round Monday morning.
The first thing Frank does when he reaches his room is get dressed. He had learnt to miss his clothes rather a lot during his tame spent with the Ways. He then gets in the shower and drinks the water until it gets so hot that it burns his taste buds. At 7.30 PM he goes downstairs to eat some honey on toast. Frank likes colour-coordinated foods. That night, just for a treat, he sleeps at the opposite end of his bed. It’s a great evening.
The next day, Frank decides, is a bad day. Though, the day itself isn’t bad, he will be. At 6AM he awakens to turn on all the taps in and out the house, with the plugs in, of course. He flushes the toilet repeatedly until it makes a low, gurgling, painful sound and threatens to overflow. He turns everything he can get his hands on in the kitchen upside-down, including himself, and then stays put like that until his head swims and his eyes dance and he’s pretty sure he’s going to pass out now, like right now. For lunch he attempts to eat his mothers favourite potted plant from the hallway but, of course, it’s been a plastic one since last time. He dips all of the knives in the kitchen in jam and then leaves them in the open doorway leading to his back garden, waiting for the inevitable to happen.
That will learn her some manners, he thinks. That will be the last time she puts his mortal wellbeing in jeopardy by sending him to live with aliens.
Usually, Frank hates it when females cry. He’s always expected to be kind and pleasant and not call them ‘hormonal cows’ like he did Ray Toro’s mom. However, it’s different when he’s made them cry. Like the time he cut Jamia’s plaits off in the third grade and tried to make her eat them. She had cried then but Frank didn’t have to see it because he was at the Head Teacher’s office.
He did have to write a formal apology to her and her mother though, which sucked.
Frank’s mother does not cry. She takes Frank by the ear and drags him to their local kennel. This is where her new, male friend, who’s really her boyfriend that she’s trying to keep a secret, works. She pays him to keep Frank locked up all day. It’s great.
Frank howls and whines all the way home, talking in dog language about all the new friends he made. Franks’ mother isn’t even impressed that he learnt an entire new language in just one day. Even so, for a bad day, it had been pretty good.
On Sunday Frank starts his mission to dig to the centre of the universe. The hardest part is getting through the kitchen tiles. Half an hour in and he’s still only managed to scrape in a few little scratches with his nails and teeth and the spoon his mother gave him. And so he goes across the road to Mrs Bryar’s house to borrow a pickaxe. He’s very polite the whole time.
“Good morning, Mrs Bryar.” He says when her son answers the door.
“Um,” says her son.
“Do you possibly have a pickaxe I could borrow for a small amount of time please?” He asks.
Her son shook his head and closed the door.
Frank however, is not put off. He follows the lawn around to their back garden and kicks the shed door until it swings open. He can see Mrs Bryar’s son watching him from the back window, staring with narrowed eyes. He doesn’t try to stop Frank, so Frank carries on. He finds a sledgehammer and carries it back to his project base.
It works excellently.
Frank spends the rest of the day at the kennel.
When Frank wakes up the next day he’s back at the Way’s house. Frank does not want to be in the Way’s house. Frank starts to scream.
The alien mother appears at his side a moment later. She smiles at him, “I was beginning to wonder when you’d wake up. I made pancakes but Gee tells me you only eat grass.”
“On Mondays I don’t eat anything green.” Frank says pointedly.
“Well there’s nothing green in pancakes.”
“I also don’t eat anything grown in India” Frank informs her. “Or carrots” He adds, because it feels only fair.
“I’ll bare that in mind.” She says, and then, “Now up, up, up! You can even sit on the table if you like.”
That is what sells it for Frank.
The meal is disappointingly uneventful. They all eat and talk about what they want to do with their days and the alien mother tells Frank off for eating with his feet. The alien family are getting pretty boring pretty quickly.
“After breakfast I want to show Frank my coin collection.” Gerard says, smiling sweetly at his alien mother.
“That would be nice, sweetheart.” The alien mother says, shooting a warning look at Frank.
To Frank, that choice in activity does not sound nice. That particular activity sounds as if it could end with bighting and vomit and kennels and Shea Labeouf. However, when the alien mother shoos them both upstairs, once the plates are in the sink, it doesn’t look as if Frank is going to have much of a choice.
“I just got a new Stirling.” Gerard says emphatically.
Frank scowls and spits in the direction of Gerard’s hair. Not that he would ever let on to Gerard, but Frank likes coins a lot; you can throw them off buildings and kill people with them and no one would ever suspect you because everyone carries coins around. Frank really appreciates that. Frank has always wanted to frame someone for a crime.
He thinks then about framing Gerard for something. Then he would be put in prison without a teleport and Frank would never have to see him again. Frank could take Gerard’s coin collection and drop the coins off of all the world’s tallest buildings. Or the bypass a few miles from his home because as far as he knows his passport still hasn’t arrived. The only problem with this plan was that Frank isn’t allowed to go many places by himself. Other countries and the bypass aren’t on his mother’s list of ‘Acceptable Places Frankie Can Go Without A Responsible Adult’.
This is because once Frank went night swimming in the Bryar’s duck pond and he had to have a police escort home. Frank thought it was great fun but his mother had said he was lucky to be alive, let alone a free man and gone back to the liquor cabinet.
Gerard is talking again now but Frank isn’t listening. Frank is laying face first on Gerard’s stomach, he’s not sure how he got there but Gerard’s hands are in his hair- which, yuck, he hasn’t washed that in like a week- and he’s warm and soft. Gerard’s voice is all rumbly and far away and Frank decides now is a good time to just shut his eyes and escape to Arizona for a little while.
When Frank wakes up he is alone. This makes Frank happy. However, he is still in the alien’s house, in Gerard’s room, so naturally he has to do something wicked. Hopefully something that will make Gerard cry. Frank hasn’t seen Gerard cry yet. He ponders for a little while before tipping the entirety of Gerard’s coin collection out of the window. He smiles as it clatters to the ground. He makes the bed and pads into the bathroom where he empties all of the toiletries into the sink and turns on the shower. He hangs up a few of the damp towels from the floor and continues on his search for opportunities of mischief and mayhem.
He has gotten as far as filling ever cup, bowl, box and spoon with compost from the garden when the alien mother finds him. She picks him up and plants him on the bottom step of the stairs.
He is to stay there for 12 minutes. One minute for his every year. Apparently, Supernanny has taught her this method, it supposedly works really well.
The alien mother leaves and Frank goes back to his compost duties, perplexed but all together not too put off. Aliens are weird.
He’s almost so engrossed in his activities that he misses a delightful sound slinking down the staircase. Almost, but not quite. Frank grins as the sound of Gerard’s wracked sobs filters down through the walls. Mission accomplished, he thinks and listens a little harder. Gerard is crying because all of his grapefruit shower gel has run down the sink. Apparently he wanted to show it to Frank. Frank is a little confused. He feels a little sadness inside of him.
He loves grapefruit.
He snaps out of it quickly. Feeling sad at the same time as another person is feeling sad can be easily confused with empathy. He doesn’t want Gerard to think he’s sad because Gerard is sad. So he plasters a little smile on his face and carries on listening to Gerard’s sobs as he sucksthe compost from his fingers.
This is, after all, progress, making Gerard cry. It’s all part of his plan, Frank has tactics.
Tactics are like what the army use. They are small parts of a plan that come together to complete an operation. Tactics are not to be confused with Tic-tac’s. These are small minty sweets that come in plastic boxes. You can actually get them in many different flavours however tactics to not have a taste. They are what is called an abstract noun, which means you cannot see, hear, touch, taste, smell them. Frank does not like Tic-tac’s because they feel like plastic in his mouth. Frank does like tactics because they are used in the army and they are what is making Gerard cry.
Frank decides, after a few minutes, that Gerard crying is not a nice sound. He’s all high pitched and whiny and really annoying. So Frank goes upstairs to tell him to pack it in. Maybe he will punch Gerard in the eyes so then it will hurt too much for him to cry. Yes, good plan.
Frank finds him with his alien mother and brother in the bathroom. Frank does not want to punch Gerard in the eyes if the alien mother is there because she will probably punch slime twice as hard back into his eyes.
Instead he says, “You sound ugly when you cry.”
Gerard clutches the grapefruit bottle closer to his chest and carries on weeping. Frank gives him a lecture about how he’s emotionally weak and could never join the army because even if they did let aliens in he would cry every time someone would die and his tears would clog up his vision and he would get shot a million, trillion times in the face.
Gerard looks up with big started eyes and begins to tell Frank that he doesn’t want to join the army, which is irrelevant really because no one is making him join the army, what the heck?
However, Frank interrupts him by slipping on a blob of orange goo and falling backwards down the stairs. He tumbles past the alien father, just coming in from work, and out of the front door where he crumples into the ground with an “Umf.”
The family follows him outside. Mikey laughs so hard he pees a little and Gerard cries more because he thought Frank was dead.
This only proves Frank’s point about him not being able to join the army but he doesn’t feel he can say it with enough conviction while Gerard is cradling his head and sobbing slimy green alien tears.
It's back waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa