What's a boy to do when his Grandfather's new wife comes from another planet?
Gramps says she learned that from Yoda. Mostly for his part he comes home and sits on the back porch of the double-wide reading the daily paper or fussing about with his laptop. Before you get any ideas he’s not that old, he is. But not real old. He still has all his teeth, the ones that weren’t knocked out years ago in a fishing accident and drives as fast as he can get his Chevy to go.
Anyhow, on with the story. Gramps, my sister Cecelia and I came back from fishing on a Saturday afternoon to the trailer park from across the railroad tracks…Cecelia reeled in a channel catfish. As soon as we walked into the double-wide, Dad and Mom were glued to the television and they said that NASA had finally admitted to knowing about space aliens. I thought that was wild and C.C. kept asking if they were showing pictures.
Gramps blew it off and went out back with a Pepsi and a newspaper. That’s all we talked about for days. That’s all anyone talked about for days. Except Gramps. Other people in the trailer park tried to form some sort of a welcoming committee but Gramps shot those ideas down. He just stated a few facts like ‘They’re the ones that crashed in Roswell in 1947…Its 2017…Ain’t been here yet because we ain’t a tourist destination…”
What could you say to that?
Then it got weird. Gramps was pulling a double shift at the scrapyard so instead of coming home at seven in the morning he’d be home about five. Mom sent Dad to the corner grocery store for several bags of nachos and Cecelia went down the road to her friend Bonjo’s. Actually, her name’s Betty but everyone calls her Bonjo. As for me, I glued myself to the television because now they’re showing pictures of the space aliens. They look like turkeys and come from a star called Epsilon Eridani about fourteen light years away. I just got up when I noticed a yellow taxicab pull up…I figured something happened to Gramp’s Chevy so I went for a Pepsi. Mom yelled at me for not getting the door as she got it. I had just opened my bottle when she screamed. Then somebody else screamed. Then as I saw it, I screamed.
Standing on the front porch is a five-foot space turkey. She had two suitcases.
“Well,” she finally said as Mom passed out. “I guess we got through the customary greetings…” she then looked at me. “I’m Charlene…I use to date your grandfather. Thought I’d stop in for a visit and stay for a few.”
“Really?” I said blankly.
“Really,” she answered.
We stared at each other.
“Okay,” Charlene finally spoke, breaking the silence. “I’m not really a space turkey I’m an Avian Grey. I don’t read minds at a distance but I can if I stick my claw upside your pumpkin, over either hippocampus. I’ve been on earth before and dated your grandfather forty-years ago on Vandenberg AFB. I’m widowed and I’m looking up old boyfriends…Now can I come in or am I going to make a nest on the front porch?”
I let her in. “You remember my Gramps from that long ago?”
“I only dated one human in my life…”
“Why one?” I asked then I felt stupid for saying it.
“He wasn’t scared of me,” she shrugged. “Most people do that,” she nodded toward my mother still passed out on the floor. “Him? He poked me in the chest and thought I was a stage prop for a government psychological experiment.”
That’s Gramps for you.
Once I got use to looking at her, I liked her too. Then Dad came home. By now Charlene is talking with Mom on the back porch about this, that and the other thing like they were best friends. Dad saw her, walked over to her and poked her on the shoulder.
“You’re real,” he said looking her over perplexed. He then offered her a bag of nachos.
“You look so much like your father,” Charlene grinned as she poked Dad in the chest. “Got that same look on your face too…”
“They dated years ago,” Mom shrugged.
“I can see that,” Dad muttered blankly. “I suppose we’re not eating chicken for dinner?”
“I hope not,” Charlene shrugged…Just like Gramps. “Every time I see fried chicken or a baked turkey I think it’s somebody I know…”
“Hamburgers?” I suggested.
“I love hamburgers!” Charlene smiled. Her teeth were black cones and she did have a beak sort of. “The best I ever had were AAFES…Loved them with fries and a vanilla milkshake.”
“We should go to the sonic…They have the best burgers in the region,” Mom suggested.
Then Gramps showed up. He walked out onto the back porch and froze stiff when he saw Charlene. She stood up and smiled, the way she posed said it all. She had a thing for Gramps. What he did was act like himself, except younger.
“Well there little darling,” Gramps smiled, turning loosely sideways and imitating John Wayne. “Been awhile hasn’t it?”
“Too long,” Charlene replied as she wiggled sideways a tad. “I’m available…My chicks have grown up and flown the coop…”
“I can travel now,” Gramps eerily smiled. “Want to go out for a hamburger?”
She ate six hamburgers. I really enjoyed hearing about her exploits with the Avian Foreign Service. She wasn’t a spy or anything, she just answered the phones and processed data on six different worlds and knew all about the universe beyond earth. What surprised me was when the Pennsylvania State Police showed up. I figured they’d arrest her or do something like that, instead they ran her passport and just chatted a bit. The other patrons at the sonic just played it cool. Except for the waitress…She screamed and almost passed out.
French fries make Charlene really happy, like a bird. That night we sat around a fire out back and Charlene and Gramps chatted up a storm. He must’ve had a real thing for her years ago. He called off work the next day and they went fishing. C.C. and Bonjo went to the corner store and got hair stiffener and made their hair stick up like Charlene’s comb. One of the things I noticed is when she was around Gramps, her comb turned from its normal pasty white to a pink. I think she really liked him too.
Then I had the most unnerving thought, and so did C.C. and Bonjo. Truthfully, they figured it out before I did. Charlene was going to be my new grandmother! I didn’t want to believe it, that I’d end up with a space turkey for a grandmother. Well, she wormed her way into family life anyhow. It was embarrassing to come home from school and see her shave the sides of C.C.’s skull and stiff her hair up. Before long Bonjo went for it and so did most of the girls in my school. And worse! She decided to stay! She moved down the road to a small apartment complex and Gramps got weird! He sold the Chevy and bought a motorcycle!
“Chris, I may be old but I ain’t dead yet!” he laughed as he and Charlene, riding the passenger seat, sped off for a week-end. I couldn’t believe it! In the space of a few weeks my life turned upside down. Just when I was getting use to Gramps being a cranky old man he gets hooked-up with a space bird from another planet. Well if there was something good that came out of it is he didn’t give the business to Mom anymore.
Then I got the business at school. My friends and enemies would look at me and flap their arms like a chicken and make turkey sounds. I knew it was getting bad when my best friend wouldn’t let me eat chicken…Said it might be a relative to Charlene. Even when she wasn’t around, she was around.
I have a few more things to say about that turkey. When she took us hostage in the grocery section of Wal-Mart. She wouldn’t go near the eggs, she said every time she opened a carton of them, all she could do is think they were orphans. Same thing on Thanksgiving, she hid in her flat and became nervous. When asked why, all she did is say she is fifty-five kilograms of white meat and wasn’t taking any chances. It even got worse, C.C. and Bonjo learned Avian.
The final straw came on a Thursday when she visited Gramps. A squadron of wild turkeys took to scratching around the double-wide. Hundreds of them, turkeys everywhere. That was the final straw for Charlene. She claimed to be able to almost hear them think and said they mistook her for a minor deity. It wasn’t just a one day thing either. Everywhere she went, a flock of wild turkeys would show up. Soon, you couldn’t walk anywhere because the wild turkeys would try to peck you to death, not to mention the noise and loose feathers.
The solution came with a two-fold answer. Charlene and Gramps eloped and as they spent their honeymoon at Niagara Falls, the trailer park residents ate the flock of turkeys. Eventually, Gramps and my new Grandmother had to move to Avia. The Thanksgiving Holiday wore on Granny’s nerves bad. Frankly, I never thought I’d miss that grumpy old man.
On the plus side, I now spend summer vacations on Avia. The Avian are very friendly and outgoing but they all sort of look alike. Sometimes I can’t tell the difference between Charlene and any other hen walking about. Gramps can, only because he lives among them. We still go fishing but he isn’t as grumpy. He still works, at a scrapyard on Avia as a security guard. As for me, C.C. introduced me to Nelly, her Avian friend. I think I might be turning into Gramps. When we met, she said there were a few things as a human I’d have to learn about her first. She then said she didn’t go well with cranberry sauce, and showed me the can before she pitched it into the trash. She then bit me. She asked me how I liked that…. Now thinking about it, I might be in love…
The Author has published in soft-cover 'He Came From Earth' and 'Hunters, Killers, Madmen, Part 1'. Available at Amazon.com