Dorm Room Drama
Tomas woke in his dorm room with bright sunlight prying open his lids. This, however, confused him as he was sure he’d drawn the shades before crawling into bed just after dawn. He really shouldn’t have partied into the wee hours with a test coming up this afternoon. Rubbing sleep from his eyes, he tried to focus on the light source, but it was so bright his eyes watered which didn’t help his vision much.
“Gods say wake now. Planet which am on?” A strange, chittering type voice came from somewhere behind the light.
“Huh?” asked Tomas. This dream was taking on some interesting elements. Next he’d be talking to a two humped llama. He stretched his lanky eighteen-year-old body and scratched his head.
A sharp electric jolt hit his bellybutton and traveled in all directions through his body at once. “Hey!” His hand twitched as he tried to shade his eyes to get a glimpse of whoever was attacking him.
“Planet,” demanded the disembodied voice, “which am on?” The bright light flickered for a moment before returning to blind him once more. “Hurry, am we. Response immediate enforced. Speak.”
“Get that light out of my eyes. Did you jolt me with electricity? Is this a dream, or what? Simon, is that you, you goddamned bastard? Is this payback for the night with Shannon?” Half convinced he was being played, Tomas blinked hard. “You sumbitch… I said, get that light out of my eyes.”
“Limited am you.” The bright light went out, cloaking the bedroom in darkness. “Met needs, answer must.”
Tomas ran his fingers through his hair, tousling it a bit. His eyes quit smarting, but he still couldn’t see anyone, Simon or otherwise. “I’m going to turn on the light. Don’t jolt me or anything, okay?” He reached across the bed and switched on the lamp. His eyes grew huge and round. “What are you?”
“Stupid, you.” A tall, spindly spider-like creature stood in the corner of his room, like a monster who’d just jumped out of the closet. Pale orange mandibles snapped shut below yellow eyes on short stalks. Four of the legs were placed squarely on the ground, two others were cleaning the eyes with swiping motions, and the last two seemed to be pointing a weapon of some kind in his direction.
Tomas bristled. “Hey now, I got B’s on my finals last month. Who you callin’ stupid?”
“Hurry must. Answer planet which am?”
“You’re on Earth, pal. You think I’m stupid and you don’t even know which planet you’re on? Gimme a break.” Tomas took another long look at his visitor. “And put those things down. You tryin’ to hurt someone or something?”
“No Earth. Stupid you. Wrong am you.” Mandibles clicked and clacked but the creature put the weapons in a long pouch attached by a belt around its slender middle.
“Hey listen here, you… you nightmare. I’m telling you this is Earth and I should know, I’m a human.” He swung his legs over the side of the bed and started to stand, but was shoved rudely back by the top two legs, or were they arms. “This is the weirdest dream I’ve ever had.” But the spider’s arms were hard, and he felt bruises rising under his t-shirt. “Okay, it’s clear you’re not a human, so just where are you from?” He was now convinced that he was no longer dreaming.
The creature ignored Tomas and began scanning the room. It walked over to his desk and picked up a book, tearing the cover off.
“Hey, I need that,” Tomas said, jumping out of bed and grabbing it from the monster’s mouth. “Don’t eat my textbook.” He moved back as the spider-like creature advanced on him, mandibles clicking.
“Me give now, or die will you.”
Tomas quickly handed over the book, backing away from the monster as it leafed through the pages. “Okay, okay, keep your shirt on. No one has to die over a book.” He looked at the cover that had been discarded and now lay on the floor. “What do you want with a book on the animal kingdom anyway?”
His monster visitor ignored him, its entire head glowing a bright orange for a long moment. It turned the book upside down and started leafing through it from back to front. Tomas started to edge toward the door, but quickly one spider-like leg blocked his exit, while another shoved him again. Tomas rubbed at his chest, watching as it tore one page after another out and threw them around him, all over the room.
“Backwards. Gods right.”
“Backwards, you say?”
“Yes. Left to right. Idiots human subset write also top to bottom.”
“Surely the preferred direction of writing is arbitrary.”
“Gods say not. See also stupidities your other. Zones time many. Nouns follow descriptors. System measurement adequate but universal not. Flow electricity plus to minus. Humans backwards ways many.”
“Well, we don’t have a single planetary government to set or enforce standards.”
“Problem also. Gods like not. Humans sloppy. Query: we fix.” Once more the creature’s head glowed as he seemed to be listening to something far away.
“Answer, no! Don’t fix what ain’t broken, pal.” Tomas had stopped trying to make for the door and was instead now inching toward the bathroom. “Maybe you’re the stupid ones, ever think of that?”
“Gods say we species superior to humans.”
“Well, they would, wouldn’t they? Otherwise you wouldn’t think of them as gods, now would you?”
The creature’s eyes stopped weaving through the air as it considered Tomas, staring him down. The orange glow enveloped his head, then traveled down to cover its entire body.
“Gods say Earthlings stupid. Must fix to prepare for we.”
Tomas had reached the bathroom door. Without saying another word, he darted inside and locked the door. The eighteen-year-old began frantically searching the cupboards under the sink. A strange boom sounded just outside the door and it shook. He scrambled on all fours away from the door, clutching his weapon. Two more booms and the door shattered.
Standing on its bottom four legs, the top four all wielding weapons, the tall spindly spider-like creature stared him down. Every part of its body glowed bright orange. “Gods say exterminate must.”
“I totally agree,” Tomas answered evenly. He rose on his two human legs, took aim, and let loose a long stream of pesticide, aiming right for the mandibles and eyes. Walking toward the creature, he kept spraying. As the nightmare alien backed up, Tomas began stalking him, following his every move. He paused only long enough to shake the can, then continued spraying.
The creature sank down until all eight legs were on the ground, now no larger than a malamute. The orange glow slowly faded away. Tomas kept spraying until the monster stopped quivering, and then a little longer just for good measure.
“Gods be damned,” he said as he stepped over the dead body and headed for the door. “We need another religion here on Earth like we need a plague of spiders. We’ve got enough trouble without your Gods here.”
He gathered up the scattered pages of his textbook. “How will I explain this to Professor Crumb?” He stared at the dead body on the floor. “Never mind. I’ll take him this instead. That ought to bring my grade up to an A.”