Alice, Joe, and Marvinbyleapyearguy©
Once again, if you can't take a little humor, then step away now.
I pulled my brand new used '53 GMC pickup onto the knoll, and turned the key to the off position. It was a gorgeous sundown, just right for puttin' away a few beers. I handed Al, my buddy, a couple of cans of Lucky Lager, he was right on top of it with his churchkey. He punched though the steel cans with ease, and handed me my frothy brew. Ah, there's nothin' like that first big swig, it clears the dust away on the first swallow as it tickles from the tip of your tongue to stomach.
As I stared out over the crusty Nevada landscape, Al let loose a belch. I looked over at him, he just smiled and raised his skinny right leg up to the dashboard. Al didn't say much, never has, and I reckon he never will. That's ok, sometimes you just know what your buddy is thinkin'. This was one of those times, I handed him another Lucky. Pfffst, that was music to ol' Al, the sound of another million bubbles about to give up their life for his pleasure.
As the red-orange sun fizzled down into the mountains to the west, I asked Al, "Have you ever seen anything so goddamned pretty?" Al cocked his left eye, and looked over quizzically, "Yeah, I know there's nothing out there, but that's what makes this place so special. Ain't it beautiful," I said with a grin.
The sun was only a memory, and the darkness took the land. My eye caught the speck of light coming out of the south, it was coming fast, faster than anything we'd ever seen before. My door was now open, and I was sitting ninety degrees from the usual driving position. My 10 x 50 binoculars were trained on the eerie blue-green trail, Al was clicking off pictures as fast as the camera would allow. The craft covered the fifty-mile span in just under a minute, a few seconds later it announced itself to our ears with a thunderous exclamation point then continued on to obscurity.
"U F O!" Al chuckled, in his decidedly German accent. Al didn't speak a whole lot of English, maybe that's why he was so quiet.
"I'd say about mach four or so, what do you say?" I asked.
"Ya, mak vier," he nodded.
Damn, mach four, over three thousand miles per hour. That's pretty damn fast for this day and age, too damn bad nobody would ever hear about it... Seven or eight years back, the sound barrier had been breached for the first time. Some young hotshot Air Force punk, had strapped a rocket to his ass and made the first sonic boom doing seven hundred miles an hour at forty thousand feet. Al and I, just saw a jet airplane quadruple that speed at a hundred feet off the desert floor.
"You want this last beer?" I prodded Al.
"Ya," Al was such a verbose chap.
We made our way back to the research center hidden in plain sight in the middle of jackrabbit central. Area Forty-nine, this place is so top secret that the scorpions had to sign nondisclosure agreements. Everybody working here knows why we have to live in the middle of nowhere, but very few of them are happy about it. I personally find it to be a perfect place to concentrate, no distractions and no goddamn people staring over my shoulder.
Al, he'd lived in the shit-hole concentration camps the Nazi's ran during the war. As long as he had a loaf of bread and a beer, he'd live in the basement of an outhouse and be happy about it. A lot of my people are defectors, some German, some Russian, and they were happy to be able to think what they wanted. The top minds in the world were all gathered here, they are a strange bunch, but we do things here that are beyond the range of human comprehension.
Oh, I should probably tell you who I am since I'm doing all the talking. Joe Hill, or as Al calls me, Cho. I'm the one in charge of this scientific sideshow, the ringmaster of the cerebral carnival. I had trained for aeronautics in college, I flew bombers during the war. After discharge I needed more excitement than civilian life provided, so I got my adrenaline rush working for the Central Intelligence Group. Within a year we became the CIA, spies and clandestine operations. I was injured on the job, I can't talk about where or how, but let's say it wasn't an office accident. I went back to school after my mishap to catch up on the latest in jet technology. With my well-rounded background in airplanes and spies, I was contacted to set up a new project in the Nevada desert. Well here we are, and I love every minute.
Dropping Al and his camera off at the photography lab completed my day. "I wonder what Alice has in store for me tonight?" I thought. Alice, my wife, is not too domestic, she probably concocted some variation of her sagebrush stew for dinner. Alice is a zoologist, hence she doesn't believe in eating meat. I guess I love her but damn, a hamburger would sure be nice once in a while.
There was a pot boiling on the stove when I came through the back door of our cottage, it smelled a lot better than sagebrush soup. I was about to taste the boiling soup, when Alice walked in and noticed the hot spoon about to touch my lips.
"JOE! No don't eat that!" she quickly took the spoon away leaving me confused, "I've been boiling the organic matter away from the beetle exoskeletons,"
I thought to myself, "Beetles huh, I wonder what they'd taste like with cheese and mustard?"
Alice gave me a quick peck on the cheek, which is about as adventurous as she'd get with the lights on. Alice and I were not what you'd call the romantic type, she was a scientist, and didn't feel the same romantic inclinations as most women. She did recognize biological needs, and although what little sex we did have was satisfactory, there was closeness in our relationship that I missed. I'm not the syrupy sweet type, but it would be nice once in a while to just have a warm understanding body to hold.
Well, I should consider myself lucky to have found Alice, the hours I work, the secrets I must keep and the seclusion of our life, would surely have driven any other woman to the verge of insanity. Alice, like me, thrives on this place, the wildlife and its diversity keep her studying happily. While technically I'm her boss, I don't even pretend to be. The only things I know about the animals here in the desert are some of them would be tasty smothered in gravy.
I never have had to worry about Alice around here, she is an old hand with the primitive life out here. Hell, that's how we met in the first place, I got lost out here on my initial scouting trip. She's the one that saved my stupid ass, it had grown dark and she found me wandering aimlessly lost. She fed me and gave me a place to stay for the night, and in the morning she pointed me in the right direction.
It was purely a chance meeting, but I got a chance to return the favor when I next saw her. She was lost on the university campus when we ran into each other, I was the one that got to point her in the direction she was looking for. I also talked her into a date, repaying her for the kindness she had accorded me in the desert. Although we had nothing in common, we kind of fit together in an odd sort of way. Alice was the opposite of my first wife, she wasn't the type to betray me.
We spent quite a few evenings together while I was finalizing plans on the Area, she was putting together her next expedition. I don't think it was love, but it seemed like the sensible thing to do, so we were married right before we both moved to central Nevada. It's been two years now, and I really think this is going to last, if she'd only learn to cook.
When the sun came up the next morning, I tried to work the kinks out of my back. These twin beds, damn, they were going to have to go. I would have to put my foot down on this matter, the next time she was in a biological mood. We'd been married long enough now, it's not like other people didn't know that we fucked, jeez. A man should be comfortable in his own home, even if it means his wife has to sleep next to him, in the same damn bed...
Al, already had the 8 x 10 photographs laid out on the conference table when I waltzed in to work.
In his best English, he said pointing his finger, "Cho, you zee dis!" he said rather excitedly.
I looked at the photographic evidence of the flight we'd witnessed last night, "Yeah that was some show, nice pictures by the way," I replied without the same enthusiasm.
"Nein Cho, look dis," he pointed to a specific spot on one of the pictures.
I took a magnifying glass from the table, I picked up the photo and tried to find some more light. There was an object a short distance behind the X 97G jet, I couldn't quite make it out. Al and I studied the other photos, it was in them all. At first we thought it was a smudge on the lens, but the object was not in the same spot in all of the pictures. There was no doubt about it, something had been following the X 97. AL had only been joking about UFO's last night, but there it was in black and white.
It's very difficult to understand the ramifications of what we just discovered. A new life form, jeezus that's almost as unimaginable as putting a man on the moon. Something had to be in that thing controlling it, what in the world did it look like, where did it come from and just how smart were they? But the thing that worried me the most, what did they want from us?
That scared the hell out of me, I've been to war before, but we had as good or better equipment than the enemy. What type of weapons could these... things bring to bear? Their technology was obviously ages ahead of us, so if it came down to it, could we defend ourselves from an attack?
The Area is a civilian run community, but we have no delusions about where our funding comes from. What possible use would a supersonic airplane have? The military of course, that's who we ultimately worked for. We did have a few military personnel stationed here, but they were mostly pilots or observers. Our security force was effective, but too small to handle an invasion. I could call the Department of Defense, but the last thing we needed were twenty thousand soldiers running around blabbing about the incredible things they saw. It would only take an hour for the world to know about the Area, then what? Area Fifty was not quite complete, so we weren't ready for the public to know about us yet. We all knew that day would come, but the hope was that we'd be moved into the newer more secure Area Fifty by then.
It's simple logic to be one or two steps ahead of what you tell people. When we let the press on to a new airplane, it would already be old news to us. When the general public hears about the amazing new X 97 jet, we will be developing the X 124. My daddy told me once, if you give a dog a bone to chew on, he won't hunt. Smoke and mirrors as they say.
As a matter of security, I had little choice but to sit on the information Al had uncovered. We simply couldn't tell anyone, it was far too risky. Mac, Al and I, we would be the only ones to know until it was necessary to call in the Calvary. Roy MacIntire, "Mac", was the security chief for the facility, he was as tough as they come, but he was also blessed with more common sense than anybody I knew. Mac was in total agreement with me, nobody was to know...yet.
When I finally got home, it was around midnight. It had been one hell of a day, I was crawling into my tiny lonely bed when I realized something was wrong. Alice wasn't there in her bed, this didn't fit, she was always home when I arrived this late. I got up and searched our small home, she was gone, but where? Alice had free run of the Area for her studies, but there was a six o'clock curfew in effect for all but essential personnel. I had an uneasy feeling when I called Mac.
When I arrived at the security HQ, Mac was giving final instructions to the search team. He handed me a cup of coffee and sat down with me. "Joe, I'm going to ask some questions of you that you probably aren't going to like. This is only routine, so please don't get upset at me for doing my job, ok?" he asked calmly.
I knew the drill, this was all standard stuff that'd happened a hundred times before. I took a deep breath, "Yeah, go ahead."
"Can you think of any reason for Alice to have left you, any fights lately?"
"Did she say anything about where she was going today, any chance that she would veer from her itinerary?"
"I suppose there is always that chance, if she ran into something interesting. She might have lost track of her plan, but she surely would have realized it after a while. This is so unlike her, she follows a pretty strict routine and she follows the curfew."
"Joe, how have you and Alice been getting along in the bedroom?"
"I know what you're getting at, and that would have been a valid question with my ex-wife, but not Alice. Her pussy doesn't rule her brain, if she was having an affair, she'd be more likely to tell me about it than to try to cover it up."
"Well that's an interesting observation Joe, but what makes you think she different than any other woman?" he sat a little closer to me trying to read my face.
"She a scientist Mac, just like all the other guys running around out here. Do you ever have trouble finding out what you want to know from them? It's not logical for them to lie. It fucks up the data."
"I never really looked at it that way, they are a pretty talkative bunch. You probably wouldn't believe some of the shit that I hear." He told me with a smirk.
"Yeah, I bet I would. Don't forget who you're talking to, remember me, Joe the ex CIA spook. I'm suspicious by nature, that's a part of me that will never go away now. I could tell you some pretty interesting things about you and your wife's love life."
"Now wait just a fucking minute Joe, I... I... I..."
"Don't get all riled up Mac, I only said it to prove a point. There's not much that goes on around here that gets past me. If Alice were fucking around, I'd know it." I gave Mac the same smirk.
Even though I trusted Alice, Mac had stuck a nerve. I couldn't help wondering if the lonely life we led had gotten to her. I been here before, did I have a clue that time? The answer was no, none what so ever. I started to worry that Alice was just like that other cheating bitch, I know everything that goes on at this place but could I have missed what was happening under my own eyes?
The search went on for another day before I couldn't stand the waiting, I had to get out there and look too. I got in my pickup and headed to all the spots that Alice frequented. I found no sign that she'd been to any one of them. She'd taught me a great deal about tracking in the last couple of years. I found literally thousands of animal tracks, but absolutely none of Alice's'.
I'd been without sleep for three days, I decided to go back the compound for more food and water. I would get a few hours of sleep and continue my search in the morning. I never knew how attached I'd become to Alice until she was gone. I had vowed to myself that I'd never let anyone in deep enough to cause the pain that my first wife had. I'd loved her with everything I had, and she had fallen for another guy while I was risking my life everyday at twenty-five thousand feet over Germany. But now Alice was all I could think about, was she just a different version of my ex?
I could barely keep my eyes open, the dirt road was rutted and I followed it like a train follows it's track. I barely got my foot on the brake in time to avoid running over Alice. She was wandering down the road in front of me, more of a stagger than a walk. I had the door open and one foot on the ground, before my pickup had even ground to a stop. Alice was naked and completely covered in the fine dust from the road. As I got to her and turned her to face me, she collapsed in my arms.
She was freezing cold, I wrapped her in a blanket and turned the heater on high. It seemed to take hours to cover the twenty miles back the main compound, my old GMC was no X 97, what the hell did I expect. We went straight to the infirmary. Alice was hypothermic and severely dehydrated, her feet were abraded and blistered from the lack of shoes. She didn't seem to have any other injuries, but the doctors checked her thoroughly. I collapsed in the waiting room from exhaustion and relief.
Mac was with me when I woke up six hours later, he was handing me coffee again. Alice was still asleep, but she was doing fine physically. Where in the hell had she been, and why was she wandering down that road naked? Alice knew better than to be out in the desert like that, is was a sure bet that there was a lot to this story. We all would have to wait for her to wake up to find out what it was.
When Alice came to she was agitated, she seemed very nervous and insisted to be let go. Against the doctor's wishes, I drove Alice home. As soon as we entered the house, Alice threw her arms around me and started to cry. She clung to me as the tears fell, I held her quietly until she was calm enough to speak.
"Joe, I had to get out of that place. I need you to hold me, God I never want to go through anything like that again," she was crying again, not just tears, but shaking and sobbing. She was terrified of something, but what?
"What is it sweetie? You can tell me, you're safe now. Let it out," I said soothingly.
"Joe, you won't believe me," she said between sobs.
"Come on honey, you can tell me, I'm your husband, it's ok," I said assuring her.
"They took me, they held me against my will. Joe, they did things to me," she trailed off and started crying again.
With all the crying, it took a very long time to get through the whole story. I'll try to sum it all up for you as best I can, it was a pretty incredible tale.
Alice was in bed the night she went missing, she had not yet fallen asleep. She told me that a strange tightening sensation came over her, like her body was being compressed. She was becoming smaller as if she were shrinking, she said as she looked down towards her feet, she became transparent like a ghost. That was her last memory before waking naked on a metal table. She was strapped down, and hooked up with tubes and electrodes.
A soothing mechanical voice tried to assure her that she would not be harmed in any way, she was merely being studied. They even called her by her name, they told her they knew much about her and wanted to experience her thoughts and knowledge. They were sucking the thoughts from her brain directly, and then the unthinkable, they started to stimulate her sexually. The voice told her that they needed the emotional response from her brain, the entity didn't have the physical characteristics to experience it otherwise.
Against her will she was stimulated electrically, she described her orgasms in great detail like a scientist would. "Joe, I've never felt that way before..."
Well this was just fucking great, I'm a fucking cuckold to some goddamned Martian. How the fuck do you compete with that, I ask you? First it's one cheating bitch, and now this. Jesus H Christ, when will I ever learn that I was meant to be a fucking bachelor. Women, you can't live with them and you can't live with them.
I began with sarcasm in my voice, "I'm so sorry I wasn't enough for you Alice, I guess that now you've had better sex from an alien you'll be moving on to greener pastures. Is that it Alice, do you love the little green bastard, will I be invited to the wedding..." I got up and left Alice sitting there. Out on the porch I rolled my self a cigarette. As I watched the match burn out, I felt like it was a symbol of my life, a bright blue and yellow flame fading to a smoldering red ember.
All of the old feelings of betrayal came flooding back to me. Susan, my first wife, had shit on me big time. She had taken all the love I had to give and when it wasn't enough, she found some goddamn Jody to scratch her itch. Jody wasn't his name, for any of you not familiar with the term. Jody was the name of any guy that was back home fucking our women, while we soldiers went off to war to do our duty. Hell, his name might have been Jody for all I know, but I never bothered to find out.