Chapter 12: Man Time

Chapter 12: Man Time

A Chapter by Reese P. Holmes

At seven the next morning both young women were already dressed and puttering about Sarah's apartment when Pen, in Charlie's father's old pinstriped blue and white pyjamas, sleepily got off the couch to go to the bathroom. “Good morning Spaceman!” Nicole blithely greeted. The slouched man groaned and sniffled at her with closed eyes, then shut the bathroom door behind him. The ebony haired woman mocked a sigh of relief, loud enough for him to hear it. “Thanks for closing the door this time!”

The grumpy alien glared through the door with his eyes still closed as if she'd somehow feel his look psychically, which by now he was pretty certain she was incapable of doing. While he used the toilet he was greeted by the bathroom's health analysis system, or as Nicole dubbed it, HAS.

As HAS had told him before, his DNA couldn't be properly processed and there was an error in the health database. He mused, 'HAS not worked at all for me.'

The sleepy madman plucked a banana from the kitchenette counter and sat himself beside the black and blond haired ladies, both of whom were sipping away at their coffee. “So, what's our plan today?” he mumbled, clearing his throat afterward. Both women groaned, “We've got to go to work.” He gave a little nod as he wiped the sleep from his eyes. “How interesting. I can't wait to see what human jobs are like.” The two looked at one another with growing realization.

Several minutes later...

Sarah frowned, looking down at Charlie on the life sized video chat of her bedroom wall. “I'm sorry Charlie, I just can't watch him; I have work and so does Nicole and I really don't think leaving him by himself is an option.”

“I'm sorry Pen, but I can't just take you to work with me, end of discussion!” Nicole apologized in irritation as she was brushing her hair in Sarah's little bathroom.

Despite being in separate rooms, both men replied simultaneously, “But I can't be alone with him!”


An hour later Pen was brought to Charlie's little home within its unusually large gated property in Queens. “Bye Pen; I'll pick you up tonight, okay?” Sarah reassured as she gave him a sheepish smile. He pouted at her, his arms crossed, “Yeah, if I'm still here to be picked up.” The blond glared as she looked away, actually seeming annoyed, “Just get out, please.” Pen raised a brow at her and bit his lip in alarm. “Yes ma'am,” he replied with wide eyes as he uncrossed his arms and exited the vehicle. As he was let into the front door, neither irritable man looked at the other. “Thanks again Charlie!” Sarah called from out her car window and waved before driving off.

The front door closed and without even a word, Charlie curled up on his beat up old sofa and went back to watching a show from the living room's wall interface. Pen sat beside him with a quick permission seeking glance and then began watching the show as he unlaced his old canvas shoes he'd gotten from the hospital.

None of the show appeared to make a lick of sense to the alien, so in order to stave off boredom he glided over to the electric piano that sat on a stand in the living room and turned it on. It quietly hummed with electricity and he gleefully looked over the many buttons available to press. He started with the white ones, then the black, and then all of the little options available to change the sound until Charlie grew tired of the noise. “Will you just stop it?” he groaned.

“Well, what am I supposed to do then?” Pen sniveled as he shut it off. The annoyed Irishman turned away from his show. “I don't care! Just stop bothering me will you?”

“I'd rather be out and about than babysat by you humans. I don't see why-” Pen was cut off by the glare Charlie's eyes. “No, thing is, I'm not babysitting you; I'm making sure you don't do anything stupid. Y'know, for your sake. Your paperwork isn't finished yet and you could be kicked out of the country to who knows where, so until that's all taken care of, you're laying low and we're watching over you in order to help you do so.”

“Yeah, but I'm not a child either. I think I can take care of myself, personally,” Pen attested before coughing a few times to clear his throat. Charlie sighed heavily. “I'm just doing as I'm told. Neither of us want to get in trouble with Nicole or Sarah, and therefore we're stuck with each other. Sorry.”

“Can we at least go out somewhere?” Pen begged. “This place is so boring that it's giving me a headache! Yesterday I wanted to explore Earth but Nicole wouldn't let me, all because I wasn't properly clothed according to her, which is silly reasoning at best. I need to get out and do things!” Charlie stopped his video and rested his head roughly against the sofa. “Do you have something in mind at least?”

“I do,” the stringy man confirmed as he pulled out his glasses. “I read on the internet about a 'Museum of Natural History', fascinating place filled with fossils and scientific theories and diagrams and the like, and it's right here in the city! It looks absolutely fabulous!”

Charlie scoffed at him. “Do we have to? I mean, why would you want to go there?”

“Yes, we have to, otherwise I'll just sneak off and do so by myself. Don't test me because I will! And what do you mean, why would I want to go? Of course I want to go! What a stupid question! Why wouldn't you want to go?” Pen defended.

“Alright then, how are you going to go? You need to have money to do anything in the city,” Charlie smugly returned.

“Money? How primitive. You guys seriously use money?” The alien rolled his eyes as he shook his head, nearly laughing. “How cute!”

The redhead frowned at his reaction. “Most of the world uses money. It's everywhere! Without money, you can't accomplish anything.”

“Yeah well, money skews everything out of order, becomes worthless sometimes for instance during a disaster, whereas food and services don't, and then you get the hoarders who hoard all their favors until everyone owes them everything, and then they get to rule over everyone in a power play. How terrible.”

“That's nice Pen, very enlightening and all, but here in New York City, we have to fork over cash for anything and everything. Only the air and rain is free here.”

“Oh well, I'm still going! See you later Charlie! Or maybe never, who knows! The future is limitless!”

“Ugh, okay okay! Just let me get my coat alright?!”

Pen stepped onto the long, impractical looking vehicle, “Hello bus driver!” he greeted with a grin. His look turned ponderous. “Why are you called a bus driver if you don't drive the bus?” The elderly man turned his head to look at the odd passenger, “Exact change only.”

Charlie pushed Pen aside and paid for both of them with a perturbed look. “Pen, don't talk to the bus driver! Can't you read the sign?” He was starting to see what Sarah meant about it not being a good idea to leave him alone. The alien shook his head as he regained his footing in the crowded aisle with a little twirl, “Still working on it,” he glibly replied as he coasted to the only two available neighboring seats.

Pressing a hand against his face and rubbing his unkempt brows, Charlie addressed the driver apologetically, “I'm so sorry about him; he's touched.” The elderly man raised an eyebrow silently and rolled his eyes. The short Irishman nodded, rubbing his hand against his lips. He lingered for just a second longer and then rushed with only half the grace of his companion to sit beside him.

Pen cricked his neck as he settled in the seat, crossing his long, graceful legs. “Why is he called a bus driver?” he asked sincerely. The redhead closed his eyes tiredly, then looked over at his fellow traveler, trying to be patient as he spoke. “Because, if the bus needs to be controlled manually, he's the one who will drive it. He also makes the bus stop at non-designated areas if the flag sensors fail. Besides, before buses were automatic, they actually drove the entire time and I guess the name just stuck.”

The tall brunette gasped, wide eyed. “Ohhh,” he marveled, “That's very interesting! You see, where I'm from people don't have many land vehicles, and they most certainly don't go driving around in them. Way too dangerous if you ask me and terribly inefficient.” Charlie huffed. “My car is ground bound and manual and I've never been in a single accident, thank you very much.” Pen chortled, “I have one word for you, and that word is 'statistics', my friend. Your personal data says nothing! I'll bet you humans get into plenty of accidents with those things!”

The portly antique car lover glared daggers before conceding his point. “Yeah! But,” he trailed off, unable to offer a retort with any sort of value. Instead, he decided to change the subject. “So tell me again why we have to take the bus?” he asked while covertly pointing at an elderly woman fiddling with her false teeth.

Pen turned and watched inquisitively, a smile emerging. “To view the life of you humans of course! You're all so fascinating!”

“And horribly flawed as well, according to you,” Charlie added. The alien looked at him momentarily before looking innocently up. “No no no, just a bit primitive. Who knows? Perhaps you'll have some sort of technology I've never seen before!”

“But you doubt it, sounds like,” the redhead surmised after a bit of a pause. Pen stilled and inhaled with a wince, “Yeah, probably.” Charlie sighed at him, a bit annoyed. “You're such an arrogant jerk.”

“Am I? Is that what I am?” Pen's attentions were distracted before an obviously sardonic answer could be provided. He whipped around and excitedly pointed out the window of the bus, his hand tapping on the glass. “Now what are all those wheeled stands selling? Seems they're on every street corner!”

Charlie leaned over Pen to look out the window, “You mean the hotdog stands? They sell food and soda, the best kind of fast food around. Want to try it? There's always a stand in front of the museum,” he offered.

“Yes! Hotdogs, that's something new! They sound delicious! Hot and dogs!” Pen practically drooled at the thought, but he wiped his mouth in time to prevent any sort of show. Charlie thought to correct that they weren't in fact, dogs, but only for a second. He just found it too funny.

In front of the museum steps, sure enough, there was a hotdog stand. Charlie ordered two foot long dogs with the works, plus two cans of Monty Do. They sat on the long front steps, off to the side to allow for foot traffic, and Charlie handed Pen his half. The alien rolled the cold can in his hands and placed it in his lap, vexed as to how to open it. He turned his attention to the huge link of meat product inside sliced bread, topped with red, yellow and green sauces. He looked to Charlie for reference, who was already chowing down, just biting the whole thing and getting bits of it in his beard. Pen licked the ketchup and mustard and started to cough. The short Irish man gave him a look of annoyance. “Just bite it! It's supposed to be eaten all together.”

Pen took a bite and melted into the stairs. “Hooooo that is good. So good. Why is human food always so good??” He took another and another until it was gone, then coughed and gasped for air.

“You really need to learn how to pace yourself. Anyway, if you think you love that, you've gotta try soda,” Charlie guaranteed as he opened his own. Pen turned to look when he heard the pop, but he couldn't quite figure out what Charlie had done to puncture the can. He poked at it a few times and handed it to his human. “I don't know how to open this.”

Charlie watched him in disbelief. “Seriously? You invent things I can't even begin to imagine and yet you need me to teach you how to open a can of soda?”

Pen concurred unabashedly.

“Very well,” Charlie declared as he dipped a finger, flicked and pushed the can open. He handed it to the scientist, who was absolutely flabbergasted. The non-human took one sip of the drink and his eyes widened perceptively. “Whoa!”

Charlie frowned. “You don't like it?”

“No no, I do! Its fizziness just caught me by surprise is all,” Pen paused to take another sip, “And it's really, really sweet. That's just so weird, but it's awesome!”

The two laughed and clinked their cans, then chugged down a good portion of their drinks. Charlie burped, causing the alien to giggle before he let out an eruptive burp of his own, one five times that magnitude. It echoed from the opposing building and caught the attention of several policemen, who narrowed their eyes at the two young men.

They chortled mischievously and hit each other in the arm. Charlie gestured before getting up, “We may have just worn out our welcome here. I think it's time we went inside anyway.” Pen nodded in agreement and they entered the museum.

© 2014 Reese P. Holmes

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Added on January 20, 2014
Last Updated on January 20, 2014
Tags: Singularity Effect, War, Aliens, Teleportation, Space travel, Adventure, Action