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My colleagues and I had just built a radio. “Hey Carl. Let’s try this baby out!” I say in a fit of enthusiasm.
Carl responds with just as much, if not more, enthusiasm as me, “Okay Bob! Let’s see if our months of hard work have finally paid off.” With a swift movement, the room is filled with static.
“It works!” I exclaimed.
“Yes I know. Let’s wait to see if it picks up any…” Carl was saying before he was cut off mid sentence as a transmission blared through.
“Mayday! Mayday! We have been hit. Requesting landing clearance.”
I snatched the radio up and responded, “Granted. Land next to the building and we will let you in.” Carl and I grabbed our spacesuits and went outside to meet the mysterious pilot. . And what we saw was amazing. The pilot looked exactly like me in every aspect. Down to the black hair, blue eyes, and even skin tone, a pale white. “Hello Stranger, what’s your name?” I asked curiously.
“Cletus. Cletus Brown” he said.
Carl greeted him, “Well come on in and tell us what happened.” We walked inside the science facility and take off our spacesuits. Carl grabbed three beers out of the fridge and started handing them out.
“So?” I inquired, “What brings you all the way out here to the moon, Mr. Brown?”
“Oh, you can call me Cletus. What are your names?”
“I’m Carl” “I’m Bob.” We both spoke simultaneously.
“What brings you all the way out here to the moon?” I repeated my question
“Well, you see, Bob…” Cletus said, “I was just out on a quick trip through space as a sort of vacation when I was hit by a meteor. Instead of trying to re-enter the atmosphere of earth with a damaged aircraft, I headed straight for here. So that is why I am all the way out here on the moon.”
“Oh,” said Carl, “We’ll have our mechanic take a look at it and get it all fixed up in a jiffy. In the meantime you can stay in one of the special rooms we have here at the facility.”
Cletus replied, “Oh, thank you so much, but I wouldn’t want to be a burden to you or to anyone here.”
“It’s no problem at all.” I said, “You can stay with my family and me if you would like. It is a much better living arrangement than the facility.”
“That would be great if you wouldn’t mind,” Cletus said humbly.
“It’s no problem at all. My wife is always saying we need to have guests over more often,” I said jokingly.
After we finished our beers, I took Cletus back home with me to meet my family. “Here is my beautiful wife, Jennifer, and my two darling kids. My oldest is Steve, six, and my youngest is Jack, who is 4.”
“Hi, it’s a pleasure to meet you. I’m Cletus.”
As the night progresses Jennifer and I make dinner, while Cletus is busy playing with the kids. “What does he do?” Jennifer asked me.
“I don’t know. His helicopter was hit by a meteor, and he had to land outside the facility. Instead of making him stay in those cramped rooms they call apartments, I offered him our home for the night while his helicopter gets fixed.”
“Don’t you think that’s dangerous, Bob? You just met this guy, and your letting him stay at our house?”
“Look at him. Does he look like the type of guy who would rob this place? He’s over there playing with the kids. Does that really look like the actions of a criminal?”
“I guess not” Jennifer and I continued making the rest of scrumptious meal in silence.
My family, Cletus, and I finished up our meal of roasted chicken, homemade mashed potatoes with gravy, and freshly picked green beans. “That was a lovely meal. Thank you,” said Cletus.
“Oh, you’re quite welcome,” said Jennifer.
“Okay, kids, time for bed,” I said escorting the kids to their rooms
“Cletus, come help me wash up these dishes,” said, Jennifer, grabbing a handful of plates and walking to the kitchen with Cletus “So, what is it that you do, Cletus.”
“I’m an entrepreneur. You ever heard of Skunk-Scented Candles?” he asked.
“No, I haven’t, but they sound disgusting. Who would want to buy something like that?”
“Surprisingly, a lot of people. The demand is high for them back on Earth which is why I’ve been able to earn a lot of money from something that sounds so disgusting but works so well.”
I enter the kitchen with arms full of blankets and pillows. “Here you go, Cletus. There’s a bed upstairs for you. Just follow me.” I climb up the stairs with Cletus following close behind. “Here you are. Nice and cozy. The bathroom is down the hall to the left.” I said pointing.
“Thank you for opening your house up to me,” Cletus said.
“It’s no problem. Well, goodnight, the miss and I have to get up early tomorrow.”
“Goodnight, and thanks again.”
The next morning I went to check on both Cletus and the kids. To my surprise, Cletus wasn’t in the guest room. Down the hall I panicked when I saw that the door to the kid’s room was smashed to pieces on the ground. “Jack? Steve? Where are you?” I shouted in fright. “Right here daddy,” a voice came from the closet. I opened the door and out came Steve, who told me, “A monster came in during the night and took Jack. I don’t know where he went, Daddy.” Running down the stairs, I scream, “Jennifer have you seen Cletus or Jack? I can’t find them anywhere.”
Praying that my fears were irrational, I rushed to the phone to call Carl at the facility, “Hello, Carl, is Cletus’s helicopter still there?” I stammered.
“I don’t know. Let me go check,” he said, “No, it’s not there. Why? What’s the matter?”
“He took my kid, man. He just took him,” I said stuttering into the phone.
“He took what?”
“He took Jack. Cletus took Jack while I was asleep. Can you start up the chopper and get a team together? I’m going after him.”
“Okay, hurry. By the time you get here, we will be ready to go.”
I hurried to the front door and started putting on my spacesuit. “Where are you going, Bob” asked Jennifer in a pitiful voice, tears streaming down her face.
I hurried out into the vast expanse of darkness that surrounded my house without answering her. When I arrived at the facility, I saw the crew Carl had gathered. They looked like the type of people you would see in a biker bar at midnight, big burly men with big muscles and a tough attitude. I felt confident of the success of this mission. “Thanks for the help Carl, lets head out before he has too much of a lead on us that we can’t find him” I said. We rushed into the copter and fly into space in search of his aircraft.
“There he is!” yelled one of the crew members.
I looked ahead of us and just as surely as the sky is blue, there was Cletus flying right ahead of us towards Planet X. “Where is he going?” I asked surprised. “He does know that Planet X is filled with dangerous aliens, right?”
“I guess,” said Carl. “We should follow him down to see what he is planning to do.”
We followed him through the rough atmosphere of the planet and landed in a hangar filled with aircraft similar to the ones we have back on the moon and earth. Watching from afar, we saw as he dragged Jack through the hangar to a building not far from where we landed. “We have to go after him.” I exclaimed to Carl.
“We will don’t worry. Once we get him in cornered, we will take him down and you can grab Jack and take him to safety.” The crew hoisted me into a vent above the door. I crawled slowly through the narrow pipes looking down through barred openings while Carl and the crew moved stealthily below. As we approached a door, we heard Cletus talking to someone just on the other side of the door.
“He’s here. He came after his son like we had planned,” Cletus said.
“Perfect we can make him work for us then. Make sure you capture him when he appears. Did he come with anyone else?” the voice asked.
“Not that I know of. He wouldn’t risk the lives of others just to save his son.”
“Perfect. When we have him in our custody we can make him build us one of those radios that he built on the moon.”
Hearing this I signaled for my crew to get by the door and wait for a commotion to start before they come in. I jump down from above Cletus and take him to the ground using him as a pillow.
“Haha! What good timing,” said the person that looked just like Cletus and myself.
“So, you must be the mastermind behind this operation. What do you want with me and my radio?” I asked.
“Well you see. The radio you have is much greater than you think it is capable of. It can reach the farthest stretches of the Galaxy. So when you build us one, and you will build us one, we can contact all other aliens throughout it and invade the planet you call Earth.”
“NO I won’t. I will never work for you!” I leapt toward Jack as if I was a Puma trying to catch its prey that is up in a tree. Hearing this, my team burst through the door, and take down Cletus and the mastermind.
“I told you I wasn’t going to work for you,” I said mockingly.
“This isn’t over!” Bellowed Cletus, “You will rue this day for the rest of your life!”
“Ya whatever.” With Jack in my arms, The crew and I return to the Hanger. “Hey you” I said to one of the members, “Run to the chopper and send out a message saying we found Jack and that he is okay.”
As the crew member starts yelling sending out the message, “Hello is anyone listening? We found the kid. We’re about to board…” The aliens swarm the hangar with explosions going off everywhere.
“Oh no! They are here! Get to the Choppa Jack! Run!” As I returned fire into the oncoming aliens I began to wonder if Cletus was really after my kid or was he actually after me. As the battle wore on we fled to the surrounding vegetation for cover and continued to defend from the onslaught brought upon us by the aliens. Years passed as we continued our struggle to leave this barren planet. The battle lasted for hours.
“Dad? When are we going to go back home,” Jack said.
“Soon, we just have to get back to the hangar then we can get out of here,” I said, trying to calm him. Eventually we got the upper hand on the aliens. We started driving them back. After a few more hours we were able to get back into the Hangar. “Carl! Go start up the copter we will be right there,” I yelled over the rain of gunfire and explosions that were going off all around us. Carl sprinted under the cover of the other aircraft toward ours and started it up.
“C’mon guys! Let’s get out of here.” I yelled to my crew. We all ran to the Chopper. As the last person entered Carl took off from the hangar and weaved through the bullets that were flying at us. After clearing the Atmosphere we sent out a nuclear war head in the direction of the hangar.
“I told you I wasn’t going to work for you,” I said as I watched the war head enter Planet X’s Atmosphere. “Okay guys lets head on home.” We flew the rest of the way home in silence. As we arrived we say our families waiting in abundance around the landing pad. Jennifer ran toward me with tears in her eyes saying, “My baby; my baby!” We returned home, a family once again having learned to not let strangers into our house anymore.