I was congratulating myself on selling a set of tires on eBay and being able to pay the rent, when it happened. It wasn’t much of a sound, just a crack like a toy popgun might make, but it got my attention. Since the dog was outside and I was alone in the house, I turned to see what made the noise.
“Take me to your leader,” it said. I put down the joint and turned back to look at the computer. It seemed normal; no fuzzy lines, no blinking lights, nothing.
“Take me to your leader,” I heard for the second time. I took a deep breath and swirled around in my chair. It was still there, a two-foot version of C-3PO, except he was wearing a six-shooter. I squeezed my eyes shut and sat very still. That’s when I heard the second pop. “Make my day,” something said in a voice that sounded like Dirty Harry.
I opened one eye and tried to focus on what I was seeing. Now there were two of them. The second one had his gun drawn and was pointing it at me.
“Okay,” I said to myself, “just stay calm.” Either someone was playing a joke, or dear ‘ole’ dad was right about the dope. None of my friends could pull off this type of stunt, so I took a hit and wondered if I was one toke over.
That’s when Reefer started barking. “Well,” I said to my visitors, “we’ll see what the dog thinks.” I eased past my new friends and slipped into the hall. I took a good look, before letting in the sixty-pound mutt, but didn’t see any spaceships. The dog bounced in, and was jumping all over me when I heard another snap.
I turned in time to see a third robot materializing in the middle of the kitchen. Reefer froze, pointer style. “Get it, boy,” I commanded and the dog bounded forward, knocking the thing over. “Danger! Danger!” it intoned. The dog circled it several times before taking a sniff. With a childlike whimper, he tucked tail and begged to go outside.
I let the dog out, thinking, “It can’t be the drugs, or the dog wouldn’t have reacted.” I stood staring at the invaders, somewhere between fascinated and terrified. The only thing I could think to do was turn on the nightly news, certain that the local broadcaster would be doing “War of the Worlds” live. It was politics, weather and sports as usual, nothing to explain the three robots in my home.
The fourth one arrived as I was turning off the TV, and said, “Howdy, Partner,” in a John Wayne voice. When my heart stopped racing, I decided to check this one out. I got a hammer from the garage, and carefully tapped its head. When nothing happened, I got braver and hit it harder; still nothing, no reaction, no dent, no explosions.
“Well, Partner,” I said to Wayne, which is what I decided to call him, “you seem harmless.”
“Harmless,” he replied in my voice.
“Actually, you’re kind of cute.”
“Cute,” he agreed.
“Okay, Wayne, where did you and your buddies come from? Could you tell me that?”
He just blinked his bright red eyes. “Cute, harmless,” he repeated while five more C-3PO’s burst into the room. “Cute, harmless,” they all claimed, eyes blinking.
“Yeah,” I thought, “so was Chucky.”
When Reefer barked, I let him in just to have some normal company. The poor dog had to be coaxed with a biscuit. After downing the treat, Reefer sat on his haunches, and eyed the group gathered in the living room. After a bit he tiptoed up to one and sniffed. We both jumped when the robot drew his six-shooter and pulled the trigger. Out popped a tiny Confederate flag. Reefer grabbed the flag and trotted over to me looking for another treat. He didn’t even react when two more robots showed up.
“Reefer,” I said, “I think we’re in the Twilight Zone.”
“Twilight Zone,” Wayne agreed.
“Maybe I should call someone,” I told Reefer, ignoring Wayne. “Who ya gonna call?” I asked aloud.
“Ghost Busters?” Wayne suggested.
That’s when I flushed my stash down the toilet and went to the fridge for a Bud.
“What’s up?” Wayne asked.
“What’s up is I’m under attack by stupid robots.”
“Stupid robots! Circle the wagons!” Wayne advised.
There I was, an out-of-work, dope-smoking high school dropout surrounded by weird space aliens, when it hit me.
“Wayne,” I asked, “how many more of you are coming?”
He didn’t answer, just blinked his Christmas tree eyes. It didn’t matter. I knew a sweet deal when I saw one. I grabbed my digital camera.
“Kodak moment?” Wayne asked.
“EBay moment,” I answered.
Kathleen Mack has returned to writing after an absence of 40 years. A reprint of an article on writing, “Ten Road Signs For The Beginning Writer”, recently appeared in AbsoluteWrite.com. She has published a monthly sewing column, short stories for children, fantasy, and a number of articles. Her writing has appeared in magazines such as AARP Magazine, Popular Needlework, Farm Wife News, Bread For Children, Capper’s Weekly, Penman Magazine, Faith at Work, and others. Currently she is writing fiction just for the fun of it. She can be contacted at email@example.com.