From its place in my pocket, my phone began to buzz, filling the air with the silly ringtone I’d chosen for my mother; the x files theme, I thought it would go well with the cartoonish alien I’d chosen for her contact image. With a sigh, I pulled it out and mashed the answer button in frustration.
“Galileo,” my mother’s voice came.
“What?” I snapped.
“What do you want to smell like this week?”
That was her way of asking what scent of body wash I wanted. For some reason, she’s convinced that people bathe to make them smell like something else and that they put a lot of importance on said smell.
“Do they have anything like natureish? Any waterfall or stream?” I asked.
She went silent on the other end, but I could still hear the background noise of the grocery store, so I knew she didn’t hang up. I could hear her grab a bottle, making a thoughtful noise as she looked it over.
“How about Ocean Breeze?”
“Wonderful! And what would you like your hair to smell like?”
Groaning, I rolled my eyes, pinching the space between my brows.
“Just get me something clear. It doesn’t matter the smell.”
“Alright, but don’t get mad at me if I pick something you don’t like.”
She takes this all too seriously.
“You don’t have to call me every time you go grocery shopping mom.”
“But I do! I want to make sure I get the right stuff,” she complained.
“Whatever, I’ll see you at home.”
“Ok son, beep.”
She thinks you’re supposed to say beep when you turn the phone off. I think it’s because she heard the phone beep and thought it was another person. Whatever, I wish she’d go back to whatever planet she came from, and return me to whatever family she abducted me from.
Before I could put my phone away, it buzzed again, this time it played the text notification sound that I had set for my buddy Nikki; Area 51, a nice match to the history channel “Aliens” meme that I had chosen for her photo.
“Earth to space cadet. Come in space cadet,” the message read.
“This is space cadet. What’s the problem?” Nikki insists on calling me space cadet, that or stargazer.
“Food supply running low. Requesting backup.”
Translation: “My parents are out of town again and I don’t want to cook for myself so can I come over and bum a meal off you guys?”
Mom may be the strangest person in town, but she’s never been one to turn down a hungry child.
I could already smell what my mother was cooking when I walked into the house. It smelled like spaghetti, one of the things she’s actually good at cooking. That’s not saying much though, all you have to do is boil water and make sure you don’t overlook the noodles.
The big pot on the stove holding the noodles was steaming and gurgling. My mother stood over it, watching to make sure it didn’t boil over, holding her soup spoon at her side like a soldier holding her sword.
“Nikki’s coming over, so we’re gonna have to set a place for three,” I said as I opened the fridge to grab a soda.
“Ah! Galileo, don’t sneak up on me like that,” my mother yelled, whipping around.
“Sorry, did you hear what I said about Nikki?”
“Oh yes, we should be good. I made plenty of spaghetti.”
With that, my mother went back to watching her spaghetti. While she finished up, I got to work getting out the plates and bowls and silverware.
At our house, we have a strange conglomeration of tableware. We have chopsticks, forks, spoons, knives, cheese knives, ice cream scoopers, nut crackers, tuning forks, fondue forks, and skewers all in the same drawer. A normal family would keep their normal tableware in one drawer and everything else in another right? Not our family. Mom insists that all of these objects are used for eating and should therefore be stored together. What’s funny is watching her eat with a tuning fork.
When I set the table, I make sure to grab what we need for whatever we’re eating. If my mom does it, there’s no telling what she’ll put on the table. You might end up with a punch bowl to eat your dinner out of with the fondue fork she brought you. That’s why I like it better when I do it.
A knock on the door alerted me of Nikki’s arrival. Our doorbell doesn’t work; we don’t have enough visitors to warrant getting it fixed.
“I’ve got it,” I said, leaving my mom to finish up the food.
Nikki is my best friend, but I have to say she’s a total geek. She wears her curly hair up in the two pig tails that look more like puff balls than anything, her two front teeth have a tiny gap between them, her bag is decorated in space memorabilia, and her clothes are always covered in alien propaganda.
“May I come in?” She asked, shuffling in place.
“If you aren’t scared of getting probed,” I teased.
Without a moment’s hesitation, she stepped over the threshold of my house, taking off her shoes hurriedly.
Nikki’s mom and dad own a company that does something with fuel, she explained it to me once but I forgot. Her moms the president and her dad’s the CEO so they’re often out of town on business. It’s not like they don’t like her or anything, they just don’t want their kids getting caught up in everything. Nikki is the oldest of five, three boys and two girls, and they’re all a different shade of dark. Nikki’s the lightest, then her younger brother Dave, then John, then Sarah and Jamal are about the same. Her mother’s pretty light and her dad’s pretty dark, so some took after their mom and some their dad. Makes a lot of people question if they all have the same dad, but they do.
“I brought something that is sure to tell us if your mother is an alien,” she whispered, checking to make sure my mom was nowhere nearby.
“Oh god, what is it?”
Slowly, she pulled the device out from her bag, making sure to keep it hidden. It looked like a calculator and a gameboy had a crack baby. There were all sorts of buttons and wires poking out in all directions. When she pushed the on button, the screen turned on, displaying nothing but white.
“What do you think?”
“I think you made someone on amazon very happy.”
“Come on Galileo, this is the Invader Finder 2000, does that sound fake to you?”
“It sounds like your parents need to monitor your spending.”
She didn’t like that too much. As she glared at me, she pushed a button and a little tiny blue dot appeared on the screen.
“This machine scans the area for aliens, if it senses one, the blue dot will turn red. It’s supposed to do a bunch of other stuff but I haven’t figured it all out yet,” she explained.
“Time for dinner,” my mom called from the kitchen.
“Let’s take this baby for a test drive shall we?” Nikki offered, proudly heading toward the kitchen.
Rolling my eyes, I followed behind her with my arms crossed. At least tonight I’m getting dinner and a show.
The kitchen table was set with the large spaghetti pot in the center and the container of sauce sitting next to it. There was also a plate of buttered toast off to the side. My mom noticed Nikki’s little device immediately, but she didn’t seem alarmed at all.
“Ooo, what’s that?” She asked, taking her place at the table.
“It’s a new game I bought,” Nikki lied.
“That sounds fun.”
There were no serving spoons or tongs for us to get our food with. Reaching into the pot, my mom grabbed a big handful of pasta and put it on her plate before dumping a load of sauce on top. Next to go for it was Nikki, after eating with us so many times, she was used to my mother’s craziness. She kept the device hidden under the table in her lap, where she could check it occasionally during the meal.
Once everyone had gotten what they wanted, we started eating. While Nikki and I twirled our pasta into little bites around our fork, my mother grabbed at her pasta with her hands, shoving what she could into her mouth before slurping the rest up like slimy intestines. Her face was covered in red sauce after only a few bites.
“Thanks again for letting me join you, Ms M.”
“No problem Nikki. I don’t mind at all. Speaking of, where’d your parents go this week?”
“France. There’s supposed to be some big alternative fuel event going on,” Nikki replied, glancing down.
“That sounds cool. Did they tell you what it was about?’
“The only thing I caught was that it had something to do with some old algae. I didn’t really catch everything.”
“Algae? That sounds so cool!” My Mom replied excitedly, placing her sauce covered hands on the table.
Of course, the little light on Nikki’s screen stayed blue no matter how close she got it to my mother. Occasionally it would beep, but that was about it and it wasn’t even really loud enough to hear. It seemed she was getting desperate as she was trying to lean without looking suspicious.
“Say, Ms. M, wanna try my game out?” Nikki offered, holding out the little device.
My mom tilted her head in curiosity, taking the device in like it were a snake whose pattern she didn’t recognize. I guess since it was coming from Nikki she trusted it, because she took it. As soon as the little device passed from Nikki’s hands the dot turned bright red, then the entire screen turned to static before fading to all black.
“Oh no I broke it!” My mother panicked.
“Don’t worry about, I’m sure I can get it working again,” Nikki reassured here, trying to hide the triumphant grin on her face.
Groan, now I’m going to have to listen to here talk about how it’s “proven” now. Rolling my eyes, I went back to eating my noodles. Sadly, Nikki proved my suspicions right, as soon as dinner ended, while my mother started cleaning up, she dragged back to the living room with an insane look in her eyes. Once she made sure my mother hadn’t followed, she pulled me down to sit next to her on the couch.
“Did you see that? Proof! Hard evidence. I can’t wait until my fans hear about this.”
Now when she says fans she’s referring to the 200 people that follow her blog on Tumblr, although I’m pretty sure at least a fourth of them are porn bots. She’s constantly posting crazy stuff about Aliens on there and she even has a whole segment dedicated to my mom, but I refuse to read it. I’m scared to see what kind of crazy stuff she’s done that I don’t know about.
“Yeah right. You saw how that thing was glitching out, it probably just short circuited and that’s why the dot changed color,” I explained.
“Come on, Stargazer, how come it only did that when I handed it to her? It didn’t do that all throughout dinner so what was different?” Nikki questioned.
It’s hard to argue with her when she gets like this. No matter what I say she’s going to turn it down because she’s already convinced herself, so I might as well just not even try.
“I don’t know. Maybe keeping it on so long made it overheat or something? It was just a coincidence don’t get too excited.”
“Yeah right. You just want to ruin this for me,” She says, already typing up a blog post on her phone.
“Would either of you like a cold cream sandwich?” My mom says, appearing out of nowhere with three ice cream sandwiches in hand.
“Sure thing Ms. M,” Nikki laughed, taking the sandwich that was closest to her.
I took the one in the middle, leaving the last one for my mom, who happily took it and sat down in the empty recliner next to the couch. The three of us tore the packaging off and dug into our sweet treats. Nikki and I took our bites slowly, trying not to hurt our teeth from the cold, but my mom ate the whole thing in just a few huge bites. She visibly cringed, but still continued to take huge bite after huge bite.
“I’ll see you tomorrow, Gally. Thanks for letting me come over Ms. M!”
Once she finished her ice cream, Nikki stood up to leave; her typical dine and dash maneuver. She had to be back home by a certain time or the nanny would yell at her.
“No problem my dear, feel free to come again,” My mother offered.
“See you at school tinfoil head.”
Turning around, Nikki gave me the “loser” hand gesture before running off, nearly tripping on the uneven step that leads up to our front door.
I headed up to my room after she left. Without her I didn’t really have a reason to be out amongst the living, so I retreated into my sanctuary. My room is the only place in the house where everything makes sense. Unlike the rest of the place, it looks like a sane human being resides within.
The walls are covered in posters of my favorite shows and bands, my desk is neat and organised with my laptop in the middle, my clothes are put up, and my bed has matching pillows and bedding. It’s not a huge room, but there’s plenty of space for me to be me.
The bed creaked loudly when I flopped onto it, for a second I thought I broke it, but it was ok. I pulled my phone out, plugged my headphones in, and turned on some of my favorite music. Personally, I prefer Techno, but I’m not opposed to a good rap song every once in a while, all depends on what kind of mood I’m in, and right now I’m in a Techno mood. As my ears were filled with fun technologic sounds, I stared up at the ceiling thinking about Nikki’s stupid device. Not gonna lie, it was odd that it messed up right when my mom touched it, but that doesn’t really mean anything. That was a piece of junk anyway. My mom may be weird, but that doesn’t make her an alien.