Five: Face to face all over the place
1, Mel lost his motel in a poker game; he met a man who claimed
to be an alien in Part
2; in Part 3,
he found himself in alien surroundings; and in Part
4, Mel befriended some strange beings looking for trouble
in an out-of-this-world bar ...
Part Five: Face to face all over the place
Following Mel's lead, the dogmen drew knives from their tunics
-- huge blades with strangely back-curved handles to accommodate
their paw-hands. The dogmen appeared to be knife-wielding experts.
Much like an earthly barfight, it erupted full force
from a moment of relative calm after the initial blow. It was
a far greater spectacle when it did erupt, however, as alien weapons
of incredible power were brought into play alongside the fisticuffs
of various non-human forms. Lances of light burst across the room,
vaporizing hapless targets, but not even marring the room or its
furnishings. Beings fought with oddly shaped arms, legs and other
limbs. Some grew new appendages solely for the purpose of knocking
the crap out of others.
Mel, Ramon and the rest of the dogmen hunched down
behind tables to avoid the crossfire. Ramon shook his knife in
the direction of some "Gray Hand" vampires, who were
fighting with fang and fist, taking a nip of the red stuff when
"Bloodsuckers!" said Ramon. "I would
kick their asses directly if I could get through the crossfire!"
Mel noticed that he looked genuinely sad at the obstacle.
"De nada," sighed Ramon. He motioned and
Mel and his new comrades made their way to a dark hallway where
there was no fighting. One of the dogmen dragged a table over
and produced a glowing disk. He placed it on the tabletop and
began spinning it on its edge, making tiny nudges to adjust its
Ramon turned to Mel: "The device will take
us where we want to go. Just be a minute. Make sure you stand
within three meters."
Mel nodded, then turned as he felt a twinge of danger.
Mel spun about to face a hideous being, a round
bulb of a creature with spindly legs and a flat head that reminded
him of a stingray. It hissed and clacked its claws, which were
covered in armor like the shell of an insect. Mel's stomach did
a flip-flop and he brought his toy-like zapper to bear -- just
in time for the creature's pounce.
His shot caught the creature in mid flight. There
was no report, or any sound at all, when he pulled the trigger.
But the thing's abdomen exploded violently, scattering legs in
all directions and dropping the flat head at Mel's feet.
Ramon turned at the gruesome splattering sound,
and uttered a short bark of amazement. "You'd better hide
that, diblillo. If it's even rumored that you have one, everyone
will be after your ass to steal or destroy the zapper."
Mel looked down at the unassuming red pistol. "It
doesn't seem that bad, Ramon."
"It is, diblillo. Blows a hole through anything.
Mel tucked the zapper back in the pocket of his
red sweatshirt, thankful for the little plastic trigger guard
that would keep the weapon from being accidentally fired.
"Diego could tell you more about it,"
said Ramon, pointing to the dogman who was spinning the glowing
disc. "Maybe later."
Mel heard a high-pitched whine, and Diego, kneeling
by the table, began to spin the disc more swiftly. The whine grew
louder, and Ramon motioned to Mel and the dogmen to come closer.
Before Mel could take a step, he was struck from the side.
Another of the rust-colored humanoids was pushing
him forward and roaring as though Mel was a tackling dummy --
forcing Mel down the corridor. The humanoid's charge was so violent
that Mel didn't have time to set his feet and stop.
Over a russet shoulder he could see the dogmen
and their disc, surrounded by a sort of crackling energy, almost
like mood lightning. He knew he had to get within three meters.
Mel leaned down and forced the humanoid backwards, both of them
roaring now. Ramon gestured frantically, and Mel was almost there
when he saw the dogmen disappear in a bright flash. He wasn't
But the device wasn't done. Thin bolts snaked out and touched
the humanoid. He faded too, but screaming and clutching his heart.
The same happened to Mel -- the bolts zapped him -- causing wild
heart palpitations. He doubled over in pain, and when he looked
up again, he was standing in front of his old Motor Gotel.
Jesus, thought Mel, maybe it was a weird
dream. He looked up at the Gotel's sign and did a double take.
It read: "DIMPE'S MOTOR GOTEL." He rushed into the office.
There at the counter was the pig-eyed alien blackmailer,
"What the fuck are you doing in my Gotel?"
Mel implored, as Dimpe let out a surprised whimper and jumped
out the back door without a word.
"Come back here, you fat fuck!" Mel jumped
over the counter and out the door. The rear gate was swinging
open, and, when Mel ran through it, Dimpe was nowhere to be seen.
"Fine. But I know where you live, you bandejo!"
Confused, Mel began to walk to the train yard.
He arrived at the boxcar shortly. No one was around,
but when Mel neared the steps someone stepped out of the car.
It was the mustachioed old man Mel had seen at his first visit
"Hey, pops! Where's Dimpe?" Mel asked.
The old man looked perplexed, swinging his cane
indecisively. "Excuse me," he uttered, and attempted
to brush past Mel.
Mel grabbed the old man by his free arm. "You
stay right here and answer my questions or I'll kick your ass
good, old or young."
"Not in this world you won't." Mel blinked
at the man's strange statement, and in that instant the cane connected
with his head. Crumpled on the ground, head spinning, Mel tried
to get up and pursue.
"You old fart, I'll
" The old man
spun with extraordinary speed and swept Mel's feet out from under
him, cracking him on the head again on the way down. When at last
Mel could rise, the old man was gone.
"What is it," Mel said aloud, "with
people these days?"
Once inside the train car, he listened for signs
of life. Nothing. Then he opened the latch of the concealed door
and burst in like he had seen on a million cop shows.
Someone was standing at the filing cabinet, facing
away from Mel. It wasn't Dimpe. The man was tall, wearing jeans
and Wellington boots just like Mel's. He was even wearing
a sweatshirt, colored a bright green. The head was topped with
unnaturally yellow hair.
"Is this some kind of a joke? Where's that
The man turned, and when Mel saw a face identical
to his own, he knew that it was no joke -- and no dream.
"Who the hell are you?" asked the yellow-haired
green-sweatshirted man. And for once, Mel could say that he honestly
didn't know the answer.