One Page Wonders XII - UFO Road Rage
Flash fiction is a love of mine, and so are geeky tropes and pulp-style stories of every variety. Sometimes it's the characters that spur the writing. Other times it's atmosphere, concept, magic system, or a twist. One Page Wonders blogs started as a writing exercise. Now they're digestible, one-shot stories you can read on the bus or while sneaking 5 minutes at work!
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The Hippocratic Oath doesn’t go into sleep mode at 1am on a country highway.
But how the hell would I maintain confidentiality for the alien in the car wreck?
I leave my van with its “#1 Mom” sign in park on the shoulder of highway 30 and rush toward the two-car accident a few hundred feet farther up. Thick smog clogs the air, swirling in the van’s headlights and making me fight back a cough. One vehicle is a big bubba truck with enough metal added on to make it a truck and a half. The other is…nothing. No one there.
Wait, it’s a circular, dome-topped UFO, and it’s smoking from the side opposite the numerous tailpipes. It only comes into view when I draw close enough. A grey-ish skinned, lanky alien limps away from the wreckage, one of its appendages bending at a different angle than the others. Its apron—that’s the only thing it could be with that logo and the string ties at its numerous shoulders—hangs loosely off its broken arm. Appendage. Tentacle.
Before I can get to the alien’s side and try to help, the truck driver stomps out of the untouched driver’s side and onto the cement. Flames spring out of the UFO’s damaged front section. They light the man’s visage, revealing a mop of brown hair atop a long, bony face and a body that’s more tattoos than skin. His open work shirt flaps in the hot wind rolling from the fire. At the sight of the trudging alien, he whips a pistol from his waistband at his back.
“Of course,” I snap like the impatient mother I usually am at home. “No one called emergency services. Put that away and do the responsible thing.”
The alien turns its head—flatter on the front rather than on the sides the way human heads are—to face me. Its voice vibrates on the air. “How did you know I’d drawn on him first?”
Both the truck driver and I halt in our tracks. He stops bringing his pistol up once it’s trained on the alien, who speaks to the truck driver. “You are a human male redneck with both hands directed at me.” It turns to me and says, “And you are a human female nurse, so I would expect your hands not to be extended toward me bearing a weapon.”
I look from the man’s gun to the alien’s extended appendage; the second appendage down on its right side. It fingers--fingers?--hold nothing I can see. I say, “Not a nurse. Doctor Wilhelm. You have four arms, but that isn’t a gun. None of those are. You aren’t even holding one.”
The alien retorts, “And you addressed this man as a parent addresses a child.” It faces the truck driver. “Are you? Her child?”
Something kicks into gear in the man’s head and he points the gun at the alien, his finger to the side of the trigger. “This thing hit me first. Ran me right off the road. Must’a been trying to abduct me.”
“See? Like a child justifying a tantrum. He struck my fo first. Ran me out of the air.”
“I saw the beam and everything. Your kind suck people up and mess with ‘em.”
“Look,” I say to the man and the alien. “Are either of you injured? Your upper arm on the other side there looks brok—wait, did you say ‘fo?’”
The alien keeps the supposed gun arm steadily aimed toward the man. “Flying object. Fo. I extrapolated from what the beings here call my people’s ships. I simply omitted the “u” since it has now been identified. Do you have specific inanimate space-time rewind to repair vehicles on this planet?”
The man jerks his pistol at the alien. “I ain’t got insurance, asshole. He’s about to be payin’ in more than money after what he did to my truck.”
He pulls the trigger.
The shot stops a millimeter or two into the alien’s skin above the shoulder.
“Auuuff, that stings,” it shouts, standing its ground but making no moves. “I am already injured. Do you not help those who are less fortunate or in need on this planet?”
“You’re a damn alien,” the man retorts. “You got better tech than we got already. How the hell did I not see you swerve at me?”
“This is no fault of mine. Do your eyes not function the way mine do?”
I glare my best glare at the truck driver. “You clearly can’t hurt him much, so put that down.”
The alien adds, “Unless you wish to wrestle for who is the superior being? Or I could resort to shooting you.” It shakes its extended arm threateningly.
Sizing up the alien, the truck driver takes a step back and tucks his handgun away. “I can get me a new bumper. How come I couldn’t see your ufo when it hit me?”
I step forward with a ‘let me help you’ expression and the alien obliges, turning his broken arm toward me. It knows human expressions, body language, and terminology. How long has it been observing us?
Biting back the questions, I say, “We do help those in need here, it’s just not every individual’s first instinct. Or choice.”
“But it is yours, Doctor Wilhelm?” it says.
“Yes. I took the Hippocratic Oath. It’s basically an oath to use my medical knowledge to help others.” After a moment of examining its arm, I say, “I have a sling and a splint in my van back there. We can reset the bone and splint it if you don’t mind the pain.”
“And you,” I add to the truck driver, “When you can’t see something, it’s because light isn’t reaching your eyes. I think that's why I couldn't see the fo until I was close.”
That seems to evaporate the man’s anger. He points to the fo and says, “So you can like, make any light coming off your um...fo stop reaching us?”
The alien nods once.
“Can you teach me how to make my truck that way?”