Life & Times

Tales of creatures and outer space

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This caller ID is the greatest thing since sliced bread. I can get into whatever character I want, before I answer the phone. It’s like havin’ ESP or somethin’. I’m tellin’ you this because I got a call from a phone creature this week.

The phone rang, and the ID said, “Unknown Caller.”

I thought about it for a second before I picked up the receiver. I cleared my voice and picked up.

“It’s me,” I said in a low, mysterious voice. I didn’t hear anything. I repeated, “It’s me,” then I heard that little click, and I knew for sure it was a phone creature.

“It’s me,” I said again.

“Mr. Mitchum?” the voice on the other end said.

“It’s me. The crow flies south.” I said.

“Uh, I beg your pardon.”

“The crow flies south,” I said. “I repeat; the crow flies south.”

“I’m sorry,” said the creature. “I don’t understand.”

“Give me the counter sign,” I said.

“Sir?”

“The counter sign. Don’t you know the counter sign?”

“Uh, no sir. I’m afraid you have me mixed up with someone else.”

“Oh,” I said, changin’ to a cheerier voice. “Never mind. Forget what I said.”

“Uh, OK….This is Mr. Mitchum, isn’t it?”

“Uh, sure. Yeah, that’s it. I mean, yeah, that’s my name. Mr. Mitchum. That’s me.”

“OK…uh… Mr. Mitchum, we have a wonderful deal going, where we can set you up with a satellite dish and three receivers at no charge….”

“Nope, don’t want ‘em,” I said.

“But let me tell you about the …”

“No,” I said. “They use those things to read your mind. I don’t want nobody else readin’ my mind.”

“No sir,” the creature chuckled. “These are for your TV.”

“Ha! That’s what they want you to think. I know. Do you know how I know?”

“I’m afraid you’ve been misinformed,” the creature said.

“No, you’ve been misinformed. I know; I’ve been there.”

“Been where?”

“There,” I said. “You know, up there.”

“Up there?”

“Yeah, up there. Oh, it was horrible. You see, it all started when I was out in the desert one night lookin’ for an Elvis cactus.”

“An Elvis cactus?”

“Yeah,” I said. “That’s a cactus that looks like Elvis. They’re really rare, you know.”

“Sounds like it,” he said sarcastically.

“Yeah, anywho, I had found one that looked like Michael Jackson, but those are a dime a dozen, so I continued my search. I didn’t realize it, but I had crossed over into a secret government experimental provin’ ground.”

“Area 51?” the creature asked.

“SHHHHH!” I said. “Don’t say that over the phone. Like I was sayin’, I crossed over into their provin’ ground, and that’s when I heard the noise.” I waited for the creature to take the bait.

“What noise?”

“A sort of whirlin’ sound. I ducked down behind a cactus, and the next thing I knew there was a blindin’ light up above me. I looked up and there was a giant round flyin’ machine.”

“A flying saucer?”

“No, it looked more like a commode lid. But it had lights all around the bottom. Then a light slowly descended, grabbed me, and pulled me up. And the next thing I knew, I was on this here table, nekked as a Jaybird, and surrounded by these little bitty creatures with great big heads and bugged out eyes.”

“Are you for real?” the phone creature asked.

“Wow,” I said. “That’s the same question they asked me.”

“You could understand them?”

“Well, it was kind of weird. They didn’t talk like normal folks. They clicked.”

“Clicked?”

“Yeah, sort of like when you turn the light switch on and off. Well, at least the old light switches. These new ones don’t click no more. I like the old ones that clicked, don’t you?”

“Uh, I never really thought about it. But what happened on the space ship?”

“Well,” I said in a conspiratorial tone,” even though they clicked when they talked, I could understand what they were sayin’. Don’t ask me how, but I could. I didn’t answer his question about if I was real or not, I just turned my head and looked out a window. I could see the earth disappearin’ in the distance. Then I saw one of the little creatures comin’ at me with a long needle lookin’ thing about the size of a knittin’ needle. Then he stuck it in my belly button. I flopped around on that table like a guinea pig on a gas grill. When I settled down, he looked into my face and started clickin’.”

“What did he say?” asked the phone creature.

“He said, ‘Turn your head and cough.’”

“Do what?”

“Yeah, then they pushed somethin’ up my nose and into my brain. I think it was some kind of computer chip or somethin’. Then they flew me back down and threw me back out where I had been hidin’ behind that cactus. I stayed there for a couple of days and finally got up enough strength to crawl back to my car.”

“Did you tell anyone, besides me, about this?”

“Heck yeah, but they thought I was nuts.”

“Really,” the creatures said in a patronizin' tone.

“Yeah, and the side effects of this chip they pushed up my nose is about to wreck my marriage.”

“How so?”

“Well, for one thing, every time I pass gas, the garage door goes up.” It got really quite on the other end.

“You need help,” the creature finally said, and hung up.

I started laughin’, as I hung up the phone. Sometimes I crack myself up. I was wipin’ the tears out of my eyes when I looked up, and there was my wife Janet, givin’ me one of “those” looks.

“What?” I said.

“You need help,” she said. I started laughin’ again.

“That’s what he said,” I chuckled.

“Do you think we can get that chip in your brain adjusted?” she said.

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“Well, instead of the garage door going up, it would be better if it raised the windows.”

She thinks she’s so funny.

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