Strange Happenings in Ragnorak County

Here is my Stardust contest entry and this is a rather differently edited version than the one posted on StarDust. If you find the slang a bit difficult to read please try the version at StarDust because it is somewhat a little easier on the Southernisms.

This is the usual disclaimer. The following is a work of fiction and is meant to be taken as such. Profanity and nudity is presented within as well as TG themes. If such would offend you, please don't continue! Like a NASCAR driver, an author is just the person in front and would be nothing within the team behind them. My incredible team of editors and proofers include Holly Logan, H.E.R. and my loved one Paula. A special thanks to Angel O’Hara for just being herself! Oh, you too, Janet Nolan! Thanks for your sharp eyes!

Strange Happenings
In Ragnarok County

Well, I guess you could say it all started about a week after the big Fourth of July celebration. Scooter and I were makin' a few extra bucks helpin' clean up the park in front of the courthouse. That’s where we heard Old Josh Taylor complain to Sheriff Daly about someone stealin' his prize Rhode Island Red Rooster and leavin' a young hen in its place.

Always bein' on the watch for opportunities to make some money since we were on summer vacation, we overheard Old Josh offer two hundred dollars reward for the return of his rooster. Now, we’re pretty decent trackers, so when they finished talkin', I went right up to offer our services.

Old Josh didn’t look too thrilled that the only help he could get was two high school boys much less ones who had our reputation for findin' trouble, but I could tell he really wanted that rooster back. We made a deal that the two of us would meet him at his place after lunch, if he would chain up that junkyard mean mutt of his.

Scooter and I picked up the money comin' to us for our work in the park and headed over to Max’s for cheeseburgers. Scooter’s Dad had been after him to get that fire engine red hair of his cut, but the ornery cuss he was, Scooter kept makin' excuses. It almost came down to his shoulders and he wore it in a ponytail, usually with his prized NASA ball cap. Hey, a boy gotta eat, don’t he?

I didn’t blame him none for dodgin' his Dad, 'cause he had mean streak a mile wide when he was drinkin', and was none too friendly the rare times he was sober. Scooter’s Mom was one of the best-lookin' women in the county, as well as a good cook, and why she put up with the drinkin' no one has ever figured out.

“Bubba,” Scooter said, “Didja see those lights last night?”

Munchin' on one of Max’s “MAX” cheeseburgers loaded all-the-way didn’t leave much room for conversations, so I just gave a shake of my shaggy blond head. My Zebulon Mudcats ball cap was pushed back on my head, and nearly fell off. Hey, I know they’re only a minor league team, but I got the pitcher to autograph it!

Well, Scooter had all kinds of weird interests, from haunted houses to flyin' saucers, and I figured that was where this was headed. Sure ’nuff he got to talkin' about UFOs and wonderin' if they had “abducted” Old Josh’s rooster.

“Why in the world would Martians want to abduct a rooster for gosh sakes, Scooter?” I got out around a mouth full of chocolate shake.

“First of all, Bubba, there ain’t no Martians,” said Scooter, “NASA's had them remote controlled buggies runnin' around up there for years and they haven’t found hide nor hair of anyone at all.”

Scooter is my best friend, but sometimes he is just too smart for our own good. He always gets the highest grades in school, and if it was anyone else you’d bet he was a teacher’s pet. Nope, not Scooter. It wasn’t even 'cause he’d argue with a teacher if he thought they was wrong. Nope, the problem was that nine times out of ten he'd be right, and a lot of adults have a problem with that, for we'd all be juniors next year.

“Folks've been seein' stuff up there for a long time, Bubba. I figure that there has to be somethin' to it, even if we might not know exactly what,” Scooter said while workin' on his own shake.

“Alright Scooter, what’s up? I know you brought this up for some dog-gone reason,” I said as I was finishin' off the last of my fries. I was really wantin' to get to trackin' that chicken thief, because my half of two hundred bucks would be just thing to take Louise and Ann to the movies this weekend with a bit left over.

Don’t get me wrong here; we weren’t gonna to beat up anyone or anythin' like that. As long as we found out who did it and told the Sheriff, that was good ‘nuff for me. Besides, if we just returned that rooster, Old Josh might think we'd stolen it to start with. No Siree Bob, tellin' the Sheriff was good'nuff.

“Well, I thought while we were out trackin', we keep our eyes open for signs that a UFO landed.” Scooter put it to me.

On our way out the door, I thought about it. Scooter had good eyes and it would be easier with him helpin' rather than lettin' him go off on his own for his jack-a-lope hunt for little green men. “Alright Scooter, as long as we’re out there, it shouldn’t hurt to look for Martians too.”

I could tell he wanted to correct me about the Martians, but he had gotten what he wanted so he was willin' to let sleepin' dogs lie.”

The weather man hadn’t been lyin' when he said that it would reach 'round a hundred, but it wasn’t if we had much of a choice, because as “sure as shootin'” an afternoon thunderstorm'll come up and wash out the tracks. If we wanted that money, we had to do it in the heat of the day.

As we biked over to Old Josh’s place, I was glad both Scooter and I were in good shape from spendin' the summer doin' whatever odd jobs came our way. I was a little taller and heavier, but Scooter was the faster runner, and had better hand to eye coordination. I always told him he should pitch ball, but he refused sayin' he'd rather read than play sports. At any rate it didn’t take us long to get to Old Josh’s farm.

We were careful 'cause Damn Dog was mean. I don’t think it even had a name besides Damn Dog. It didn’t matter, though, 'cause what we found was worse. Old Josh was on the warpath cussin' and raisin' all sort of Caine. I'd rather 've fought the Damn Dog!

Seems Damn Dog had run off and one of Old Josh’s steers (gelded male cow) was now missin'. I was torn between tryin' to get him to increase the reward, and the desire to high-tail it as far away as I could get. I swear that old man could blister paint off a battleship with that evil tongue of his!

Scooter made our minds up for us, as he headed for the meadow to search for steer tracks. He had some peculiar ideas, sometimes, and he didn’t think much of cussin' in general. “Cussin' is what you do when you can’t think of any other way to say somethin',” was what he told me once.

Well, we found where the fence had been. It looked for all the world as if one of those county steam-rollers had mashed the fence down. I had my doubts that this was the right path, but Scooter was right when he said, “Even though we ain’t seein' any steer tracks, we’re followin' somethin' that was makin' a pretty big “road” here in the woods.” Hell, even my baby brother could follow the path it made.

We followed it two or three miles when Scooter spied the first of the strange spoor our live-stock thief was leavin'. It was a rabbit that was sleepin' right in the middle of that weird “road.” Scooter stepped lightly and snagged it by the scuff of the neck.

The rabbit’s eyes popped open and you could tell that we had scared the dickens out of the little thing. It did its best to get away, but Scooter had a good hold on it.

Then he started examinin' it. “Scooter, what in the world're you lookin' for? It’s a rabbit!” I told him, anxious to get on with it. The sky had started cloudin' up and it wasn’t a good idea to be out in a thunderstorm.

Scooter looked up at me and said, “Well, it’s a young female rabbit alright, but look at the paws.”

Lookin' at the paws I could see they were a pale pink, like a newborn’s and not the darker ones that a rabbit runnin' around in the woods should have. “Alright, Scooter, that is strange, but what’s that got to do with our chicken thief?”

He pushed up his NASA ball cap and said, “I don’t rightly know, but I think it's one more piece of the puzzle.” Scooter put the young rabbit down and it made some serious tracks of its own into nearest thicket.

For the next half mile or so we found more small critters, that were all for some reason just sleepin' in the middle of that mashed down path. There were a number of squirrels, some more rabbits, and even a fox, always right female and healthy, with no visible scars.

Then, we hit the jackpot or so I thought. “Look Scooter, it’s Old Josh’s steer.” I crowed happily, thinkin' of reward money. It was sure ‘nuff marked like the steer we’d seen a dozen or more times when it had busted loose before. We ran up, and just like those critters the steer was sleepin'. Bein' careful, we woke it and started leadin' it back to the farm.

“Uh, Bubba, you know we are gonna to have a problem with collectin' that reward, right?” questioned Scooter, who seemed dead set on ruinin' my good mood.

“Why’s that Scooter? Old Josh lost a cow and we’ve bringin' him a cow back, real simple.” I replied doin' my best to ignore what I already suspected.

“Bubba, he lost a steer. This ain’t a steer, though you do have the cow part right,” Scooter pointed out.

We walked on for a ways leadin' the cow in front of us not sayin' a thing . Finally not bein' able to stand it any longer, “I didn’t see any tracks leadin' to or from where “Bessie” here was sleepin'. Did you Scooter?”

Scooter shook his red ponytail, 'no.' “I didn’t see any sign around any of those other critters, either. You still think my UFO’s didn’t have anythin' to do with it?”

Just knowin' in my gut he was gonna to say it didn’t make it any better. “Well I don’t think someone used a road-roller to steal some farm animals. I suppose you‘re gonna to tell me what you think happened?”

He looked thoughtful, “Well, I’ve heard of cattle mutilations before, so I guess this could be some sort of the same. An experiment or somethin' the aliens are performin'.”

I made an unconscious gesture to protect what all those critters were missin', but I really didn’t think he was right. “Scooter I’ve seen those shows too, and those cows are always dead. You’re sayin' all these critters were male, and this thing took their wieners?”

“I don’t know Bubba, we’re just gonna to have come back tomorrow mornin' and try again.” I was in complete agreement because I still wanted that reward money.

By the time we got back to Old Josh’s, the Sheriff was there. I guess missin' a rooster was one thing, and a cow another. At first, Old Josh was glad to see us until he saw we had a cow and not a steer. He was gettin' wound up to have a fit, but the Sheriff stopped him, sayin' that we did what we should’ve done.

Old Josh wasn’t too happy and Scooter had been right when he said we weren’t gettin' any reward money. The Sheriff did question us carefully, but followin' Scooter’s lead, I didn’t add anythin' about cattle mutilations or UFOs.

With the storm comin', the Sheriff offered to throw our bikes in the back of his truck and give us a ride. Right then we heard barkin', and sure ’nuff Damn Dog came runnin' out of the woods just about where we had just come from. Predictably, Old Josh started cussin' at it for lettin' someone steal his steer. That was until Damn Dog squatted to pee! The Sheriff broke loose in a loud guffaw while Scooter and I hid ours behind sniggers.

“Josh” said the Sheriff chucklin', “I thought it was Damn Dog, not Damn Bitch!”

Scooter and I gave each other a knowin' look, because this Damn Bitch appeared exactly like Damn Dog, but for the lack of somethin' hangin'.

For the first time in my young life I saw Old Josh at a loss for words. Even more so when Damn Bitch ran up to him just like Damn Dog would have, even with complimentary growls at Scooter and me. Even the Sheriff pushed up his hat and gave his head a wonderin' scratch.

However the comin' storm made everyone go for cover and the Sheriff gave us that ride he promised. It was the typical summer thunderstorm with a lot of lightnin' and rain, and as usual, it only lasted about an hour or so, and then the sun came back out.

We thanked the Sheriff for the ride and made plans to meet up tomorrow to try again, since it was almost time for supper. I didn’t sleep too well that night, bein' excited about another try at that reward money in the mornin'. It wasn’t as if Louise was my girl or anythin', but I was hopin'! I think Ann had a crush on Scooter, but her folks weren’t too hot with the idea, with his dad drinkin' the way he did.

Mom gave me a suspicious look when I knocked out my chores so fast in the mornin', but she settled for warnin' me not to get into trouble. Scooter had a school bag over his shoulder and didn’t look like he slept well either. I suspected though, for different reasons, since his parents fight so much.

Not wantin' to pry but bein' concerned about my friend made me ask, “You okay?”

Scooter’s ponytail bounced as he nodded, “They were fightin' again,” he said.

“Your dad didn’t hit you, did he?” I asked.

Scooter gave a sad small laugh. “No, Mom told him if he ever hit one of us kids, she would hunt him down and shoot him like a rabid dog. Besides, she hits him about as often as he hits her, but she uses what ever comes to hand.”

Changin' the subject, I asked him what was in the bag, Scooter just grinned. “Stuff.”

It was much nicer bikin' to Old Josh’s place in the cool of the mornin' 'cause it was only eighty-five out. When we got there, we got the welcomin' growl from Damn Bitch, and saw Doc Johnson the vet takin' blood samples from Old Josh’s animals.

Old Josh gave us a sour look, but he called her off. I asked if any other animals had gone missin' and he replied nastily, “Ain’t enough gone missin' already?”

Doc Johnson warned us to be careful, and I could see he didn’t want us pokin' around at all, but he knew we'd just avoid him and do it anyways.

So, we went into the woods, and despite the wide trail, the rain and quickly growin' plants had obscured the path. Part of the strangeness about this was it had broken little to none of the foliage, just kinda pushed it aside.

After spendin' most of the day in the woods I was glad when Scooter dug those sandwiches out of his bag along with some bottles of water. We did find some burned marks that Scooter was sure where UFOs had landed, but after usin' this thing that he built for a science project he said that there wasn’t any radiation.

I was feelin' a mite let down when we dragged ourselves out of the woods at the end of the day, but Old Josh’s smirk made me determined to try again the next day. I was thinkin' that I would have a tussle with Scooter to get him to come back, but he seemed as eager as I was.

This time I did remember to bring some lunch, and Scooter met me ready to go. We had almost made it to Old Josh’s when we got passed by an ambulance! We gave each other a look and leaned into it, racin' to see what was up.

Damn Bitch was barkin' like mad at the yard full of cars and trucks invadin' her territory. The Sheriff was there, and the county rescue truck too. What grabbed our attention was the screamin', cussin', young woman who was bein' wrestled into the ambulance!

I was spellbound, hearin' her use language that would make a sailor blush, but Scooter grabbed my arm and showed me the “buckshot” blast in the side of Doc Johnson’s car. Tryin' not to call attention to ourselves, we edged closer to listen in on what was gonna on.

We had to be careful, 'cause Deputy Dog was here. That wasn’t his real name but he was always bullyin' folks. It wasn’t a big pond, but it was his pond, and he was the big fish. Except for the Sheriff and the Judge, of course, but he always knew how far he could go without them gettin' involved.

Doc Johnson apparently had some news for Old Josh, but when he pulled up; this young woman came out and shot at him. He'd called the Sheriff, who managed to disarm her. I couldn’t follow much of what he told the Sheriff, and I don’t think the Sheriff did either. Whatever it was had him real excited.

I looked to Scooter, but he hushed me tryin' to gather in every word. When it looked like we wouldn’t learn any more, I tugged on Scooter’s arm and gestured for us to make tracks. He nodded and we took off 'cause, we knew if the Sheriff and Deputy Dog couldn’t find us, they couldn’t order us home.

We pedaled down the road a ways and cut into the woods tryin' to cross the trail. “Scooter, did you catch any of that stuff Doc Johnson was talkin' about? He lost me after about three words.”

“Well Bubba, I think I got most of it. First of all, that woman back there was Old Josh,” he said.

“No, it couldn’t be!” I exclaimed, but there couldn’t be two people with such a foul mouth like hers. I was devastated. The way she was fightin' and cussin', there was no way anyone was gonna to let her loose anytime soon. That meant no reward money, and no reward money meant no money for dates or movies this weekend.

Pickin' up my bike, I started out of the woods. When Scooter asked, “Are you gonna to let me finish before leavin'?”

Stoppin', I motioned him to go on.

“Second,” Scooter picked back up, “All of the animals that were “taken” were indeed female, but DNA tests found that somehow their DNA has been “re-compiled.”

Seein' he'd lost me, Scooter, rephrased, “All the junk and unused stuff in their DNA has been cleaned away. This means they are healthier, more resistant to disease, and more likely to live long lives. Not only that, but Damn Bitch got hit by a car some years back and now there's no sign of even a scar.”

“Scooter,” I sighed, “I can see that you’re excited by all of this, but why should we run around in the woods with somethin' that can steal somethin' that is near and dear to my heart, without even the opportunity for a reward.”

“Well,” he said, “Think of the possibilities! There’s nothin' on earth we know of that could do this, so it has to be from UFOs”

“That ain't gonna to do it Scooter! This thing is dangerous, and I like playin' baseball and don’t care for softball! I’ll rather have the chance to use what I got before losin' them to some monster from Mars!

Seein' how that wasn’t movin' me, Scooter used his hole card, “Because you’re my friend and I’m askin' you to?”

“But that will,” I said, downcast, knowin' that whatever was pushin' him to go after this “thing” was important enough for him to pull the “friendship” card on me. I still didn’t like it, but he was my friend.

Without another word, he turned and went into the woods. I followed Scooter havin' a really bad feelin' about all of this. Once again, we found the mashed down path that a blind man could follow. I think we both saw “it” at the same time.

I don’t think I really believed the bit about UFOs, Martians and stuff. That is until I saw this “Green” Blob that sorta rolled along. It was almost a letdown, because it didn’t have fangs, tentacles, or claws. It was, just, well, a translucent “Green.”

There wasn’t any doubt that this was what we were lookin' for because we could see small critters inside it. They just looked like they were sleepin', nothin' gross or anythin'.

I looked at Scooter and whispered, “Now what, Agent Mulder?”

He reached into that bag he’d been luggin' around all week and produced one of those cheap disposable cameras. Disablin' the flash, he started takin' pictures. Me, I was just hopin' that when it “grew” teeth and came after us that he wouldn’t forget I couldn’t run as fast as he could!

Then, we just sat there and watched it meander around the woods for a while. Every now and then one of the critters inside would “drift” to the edge of the blob, and it would gently leave it on the ground. We got to see the other end of the process as Scooter called it when it “touched” a squirrel and it just went limp. Then it just rolled over the top of it and the squirrel was inside.

I was confused because it didn’t make any what I could call aggressive movements, but then it wasn’t from around here, so who knew how it was actin'. What was even more confusin' was how fascinated by this thing Scooter was.

“Hey, Scooter!” I whispered, “Are you alright? You’re actin' a little strange.”

“I’m fine, Bubba. I think it’s some kind of scientist or maybe a samplin' machine,” he replied without takin' his eyes from it.

“Heck, if you don’t count whackin' their wieners off, it is just a friendly visitor from another planet. Oops, did you need that?” I was only half jokin'. This “blob” made me uneasy, and nervous as a long tail cat in a room full of rockin' chairs.

That was when I saw Deputy Dog comin' up the trail. I grabbed Scooter and pulled him out of sight. Peerin' though the bushes we could see he had a shotgun, and was stalkin' our “Green” Blob.

I was afraid that Scooter would try to warn the cotton-pickin' thing, but he seemed content to continue takin' notes. We were both wonderin' what Deputy Dog was gonna to do and he didn’t make us wait long to find out

Bam!, Bam!, Bam! went the 12 gauge shotgun and just like he was on the firin' range, he loaded another three shells. He could’ve emptied the shotgun for what good it did him, because all the buckshot did was kinda make splashes on the Green Blob, and then it hurried away!

I do mean hurry, because it could really move when it wanted to. However, Deputy Dog hadn’t decided to call it a day yet. He ran after it, still tryin' to finish reloadin'.

Scooter sighed, “Well, so much for friendly Alien relations.”

Well, there was a reason why we called him Deputy Dog and it wasn’t because of his smarts. Scooter and I both ducked as he just gave up and started blastin' away! Bam!, Bam!, Bam!!!

Out of pure luck like out of a bad comedy skit, this bird of all things got hit by old “Dead-Eye” and fell to the ground. The Green Blob stopped cold and extended what Scooter called a pseudo-pod to the bird. Deputy Dog still havin' two more shots left in his shotgun decides that this would be a good time to use them, Bam!, Bam!

That was a mistake, because the next thing we know Green Blob is on top of Deputy Dog like a snake on crap! Blinkin' my eyes, I could see the good Deputy floatin' in that Green stuff and all of his clothes just kinda meltin' away.

Scooter’s sharp eyes spotted the plastic and metal parts from the zippers and buttons just “fall” out of the “Green Blob” along with the shotgun. It then went back to the bird and “swallowed” it, too. Now that I knew what to look for, I saw the buckshot that had struck the bird fall out of the Green Blob like all that other stuff had.

I was ready to bug out real quick-like, but damn it if Scooter didn’t have another camera in his bag and started takin' pictures regular like.

“What are you doin', Scooter? It’s time to get out of here! That thing just ate a deputy, and he had a shotgun,” I told him tryin' to keep myself calm.

“Shhh! Bubba! This is important. We get to see just what it’s doin' now. Here, you time me.” Scooter handed me his watch. Seein' he wasn’t payin' me no mind, I half thought about takin' off, but he was my friend, Damn it!

So we sat there takin' pictures as it moved around, lookin' at this and that. After about half an hour we could see that Deputy Dog was gonna to need a new name, but that didn’t alarm me as much as when the first helicopter flew over.

I don’t think the helicopter saw us or the blob, but they sure looked liked they were lookin' for somethin'. US Air Force was plainly written on the side and they were flyin' kinda low. Seein' as how no one had come to rescue Deputy Dog, even though I know everyone at Old Josh’s farm had to have heard the shots, I was thinkin' the Air Force had showed up.

Decidin' that it was time to try convincin' Scooter it was past time to get the Hell out of here, I pointed out to him that it was gettin' dark, now in addition to the Air Force who would be carryin' guns.

I ain't a genius like Scooter, but I could see my arguments weren’t doin' much good. “OK, Scooter, I give up. What're you waitin' for?” I asked my friend.

Scooter looked at me and said, “I’m waitin' to see how the Deputy comes out of the Alien.”

I was wishin' he hadn’t used that choice of words because of the visions of “chest-busters” and “Edgar-suits” they called to mind. Cursin' myself for a fool, I knew I couldn’t abandon him here with that thing around, so I tried to be patient while the Green Blob finished digestin' Deputy Dog.

We saw a few more helicopters, but about another half hour passed before the person formally known as the Deputy Dog found herself sleepin' in the middle of the trail behind the Green Blob. I just knew Scooter was gonna to try to get up close and personal and he did. Lyin' right next to her was the bird Deputy Dog had shot. Scooter nudged it, and it jumped up and flew away like nothin' had happened!

I must admit, as a woman Deputy Dog was lot better lookin'! Of course she was naked as a jaybird and didn’t look older than maybe twenty years old, as compared to the Dog who was nearer forty than thirty.

Not sure what was gonna to happen, I held my breath when Scooter woke her up. She blinked her gorgeous brown eyes a couple times, looked at us, looked down and saw her bosom and freaked!

Scooter tried to ask her if she was all right, but she jumped up screamin' somethin' about “havin' tits” and ran down the trail like a scared rabbit!

I turned and looked in the direction of the Green Blob, but it didn’t seem concerned about us or the naked girl runnin' screamin' away, though even in Ragnarok County that’s not somethin' you see everyday.

I turned back around to tell Scooter, since she was awake and headed more or less in the right direction, it was time for us to “Get” as well, but he was gone! Twistin' about to find him, I saw him walkin' right towards Green Blob shuckin' his t-shirt and droppin' his bag!

‘Oh Crap!,’ “Scooter, what the Hell are you doin'?” I yelled, runnin' after him.

Scooter handed his t-shirt to me, “Well Bubba, I think I’m gonna get myself caught and take a little nap.”

“Caught? Have you lost your mind? What do you think you’re gonna do, commune with it somehow? Didn’t you see it take Deputy Dog’s happy bits away?” I nearly screamed at him, wavin' my arms.

“Now just calm down Bubba. I saw what it did to that idiot and those animals. It looks like it was just makin' those DNA changes I was tellin' you about and not doin' any mind control or other mischief. You told me yourself that the Air Force was closin' in, and if I don’t do it now, I won’t ever be able to,” Scooter told me in a matter of fact way as he took off his jeans and boxers.

“You’ve always known I was different, but you never gave me any grief about it even when my little brother tattled ‘bout me wearin' some of my Mom’s under-things. Bubba you are a good friend, but I’ve got to do this. Hold on to these, will you? I’ll need them when I come out.” Scooter gave me his jeans as he walked away bare as the day he was born.

I stood there wonderin' if I could drag him all the way home, or knock him out or somethin'. The Green Blob had stopped movin' and gave the impression as if waitin' for him. “Scooter!” I shouted, tryin' to keep him from makin' a lastin' mistake, but he gave this sorta half smile and said, “Bye Bubba.”

Then, he stepped into the Green Blob. I stood there shocked at myself lettin' my best friend commit suicide. That’s when another helicopter flew over and my wits started comin' back.

‘Crap! If the Air Force catches this thing with Scooter inside, what were the odds they will just give him back? Not good, not good at all.’ I stuffed Scooter's clothes into his bag and threw it over my shoulder. Lookin' about in the wanin' light I found a deadfall branch and began hidin' our trail.

Since we didn’t have a storm today, we didn’t have the rain to hide the Green Blob’s trail. I did the best I could to lay a false trail usin' Scooter’s bag to “mash” down the foliage.

It was about then I saw some lights in the distance and I guessed the Air Force was comin' in. If you've never been in the woods at night, it gets Damn dark! Thankfully, Scooter’s watch had a luminous face so I could tell how long it had been since he pulled his damn stunt! ‘Damn it, only a half hour?’

Worryin' that if some of the Air Force guys might have those night-vision goggles you see them with on TV, I would never see them comin'. Not only that, but wouldn’t you know that the Green Blob just had to glow in the dark?”

The moon was comin' up and the good news was it was a “Full Thunder Moon” which was good for me. I could still see lights movin' a little closer to me in a line, which meant they definitely knew about where the Glowin' Green Blob was.

I was down to prayin' that it would let Scooter go in time for us to get away before the Air Force caught us, when all the lights went out. Whisperin' to myself, “Now what?” as even Scooter’s watch faded out.

It was just then that I heard a whine that made me look up. At first, I thought it was another helicopter, but helicopters don’t usually look like a Flyin' Saucer. Yes sirree, one genuine Flyin' Saucer, and of course, it picked tonight to come down and complicate my life.

I didn’t know how much longer Scooter had to “bake” but I decided that I'd best see what that Martian Saucer was up to. I made the best guess I could of where Glowin' Green Blob was by usin' the Moon and the North Star and worked my way over where the Saucer looked to have landed.

By the time I got to it, a little ramp had come down and one shore’nuff Martian was walkin' down it. He looked a lot like those little guys from “Mars Attacks” and was carryin' what could only be a gun, and somethin' else like a “Tri-corder.”

You can bet your last dollar that yours truly wasn’t gonna to pull that stupid, “walk out to him sayin' welcome to our happy planet.” No way, Jose! Mama Bubba’s little boy was gonna hide here in the woods and pretend to be just another bush.

Well, he walked around a bit with that “Tri-corder” thing, and then did the damnedest thing with it. Startin' near the ramp of the Saucer, he began layin' a trail with somethin' about the size and color of purple plums. He then slowly began makin' his way towards where Glowin' Green Blob was with Scooter.

I shook my head, wonderin' just how advanced these Martians was supposed to be. This was like somethin' out of The Roadrunner, with Wily Coyote layin' a trail of birdseed for the Roadrunner to follow back to the “trap.”

Keepin' low, I followed the Martian as he more or less headed towards Glowin' Green Blob, but from the crashes in the woods, the Air Force was blunderin' closer, even without any lights. I sure wasn’t the best in wood craft, and usually made more than my share of noise, but these guys made a herd of thunderin' elephants sound quiet. I guess the Air Force ain’t got much use for stalkin'.

As for as the Martian, he had enough blinkin' lights on him to make a poor man’s Christmas tree. There were lights on his suit and on most of the gadgets he was totin'. He didn’t seem to notice much, because he was so busy layin' out his trail of plums.

Darin' to stand up and climb part of the way up a tree, no fun in the dark I can tell you, I could see where all three of my problems were gonna to collide, and that was trouble I didn’t need!

I managed to find Green Glowin' Blob before the other two did. I wasn’t sure what to do, but I had to change its direction somehow. The last thing in the world I wanted to do was get anywhere near this Green threat to my family jewels! ‘Scooter you’re gonna owe me so big,’ I swore!

Abandonin' my concealment and my common sense, I walked to within about ten feet of it. Even though I was scared enough that the “boys” had pulled up nice and tight, I was glad to see Scooter’s shape driftin' near the bottom of the Green Glowin' Blob.

Just like when Scooter had approached it, the Blob stopped movin', and so did I. Rememberin' how fast it “jumped” Deputy Dog, I slowly backed away, hopin' it would follow. When it did, I almost bolted from pure fear, but the thought of the woods full of men and Martians with guns made me think twice.

Not wantin' to look away from the advancin' blob, I had to steal a glance up at the sky though the trees to get my bearin's. It seemed like it took hours for us to move around behind the Martian, but I knew that Scooter only needed a few more minutes before he was “DONE.” Findin' that thought disturbin', I concentrated on not stumblin' over somethin' in the dark.

It was about then the first shouts started from the Air Force Guys. Someone shouted that they were the Air Force and for “you” to drop your weapon. I think it was gunfire I heard first, but I honestly can’t be sure, because whatever “Ray-gun” that Martian was packin' had one Hell of a wallop!

I could see these huge blue bolts flyin' all over the place and with the tracers and muzzle flashes from the Air Force it was “War of the Worlds” all over again!

We were far enough away that not too much of it came close, but I did hear some bullets whistlin' past over my head. Hopin' that the Blob wouldn’t react like it had when Deputy Dog shot that bird, I caught my breath when it hesitated, but then started after me again.

I had what I hoped was a good idea and changed course to head for the Martian’s Saucer. It had occurred to me that maybe the Martian was after the Green Glowin' Blob, too, so that trail of “plums” might be bait of a sort. All I had to do was get close enough to the Saucer so when Scooter “dropped” I could cut across the trail of Plums and get it to follow them instead of me. Good idea right?

Meanwhile “War of the Worlds” had ended the same way movie had, with the gunfire becomin' less and less frequent until it stopped all together. A few more “Blue Bolts” flew about just to make sure I s'pose, and then they stopped, too. Not good!

Thank God Scooter finally dropped sleepin' behind the Glowin' Green Blob and the Martian’s Saucer was in sight! Followin' my plan, and hopin' that it wouldn’t speed up now it had gotten rid of Scooter; I crossed over the trail of the Martian’s “plums.”

That was where things went south! The Damn Green Blob would rather follow me rather than the “plums!” I tried it again and saw in the glow that it was pickin' up the “plums” but every time I tried to angle away, it followed me instead of the trail of plums, Yikes!

It was then the Martian showed up and I could just tell he’d had one Hell of a day. He was dirty and looked if he had fallen a time or two as well. He had his “ray-gun” clenched in his fist and it might have been my imagination, but I could almost see the “barrel” glowin' from its recent use.

I’m tellin' you it was one of those “caught between a rock and a hard place” moments, with the Green wiener eatin' Blob on one side, and the Martian fresh from slaughterin' the Air Force on the other. His eyes widened as he took in the situation and then, didn’t the dang Martian start laughin'!

Well he was makin' this sound that was like someone stranglin' a frog, so I reckoned it was laughin'. The Green Blob was gettin' a little close, so I tried to scoot a few steps away, but the Damn Martian raised his Ray-gun and I froze. Then he started laughin' again!

Oh yeah, he knew exactly the kind of “fix” I was in and he was just havin' a ball at my expense! I slowly raised my arm and pointed at his “Flyin' Saucer” and then at the Green Blob. He lowered his Ray-gun a tad and nodded.

‘Alright!, Maybe I can get me and my wiener out of here in one piece after all.’ I doubled tapped myself on the chest and then pointed at the “too Damn close” Glowin' Green Blob and then back at the “Flyin' Saucer.”

He was considerin' it I could see, and then pointed at his head and then mine. Wonderin' what he wanted I touched my Zebulon Mudcat’s Ball cap and damn if he didn’t gesture, Yes! Thinkin' nasty thoughts about Martians and crazy friends, I took off my cap and tossed it to him.

The Martian picked it up and put it on his too large head and made a “be my guest,” half bow. I did notice right off he didn’t lower his gun much, so he didn’t trust me. That was fine, because I didn’t trust him either!

The next five minutes were some of the most nerve rackin' ones I’ve ever had, but it was straightforward. All I needed to do was move to the Saucer and the Blob would follow. The next part, however, was a doozy! I had to get the Blob on the Saucer without gettin' caught, and avoid bein' double-crossed by that Damn Martian.

I took a second to form my plan and took a deep breath. The Damn Martian was still plainly amused by me and my plight. There was a tense time when he thought I was gonna go up the “ramp” but I managed to calm him down.

Standin' there about halfway up the ramp, I waited for the Blob to get onto the ramp. Then I swung myself underneath it and ran like the Devil himself was at my heels! My short hairs had curled up waitin' for one or the other of them to do somethin'. I hit the edge of the glade and slid to a stop behind an old oak.

That Damn Martian was laughin' his dang’ butt off! The Glowin' Green Blob that had start all this cotton-pickin' trouble had that dejected look a dog gets when he’s the butt of the joke, but don’t know why. How a blob could look that way is beyond me, but it did!

It gave up and just shuffled onto the “Flyin' Saucer.” The Martian started laughin' again, at the Blob I suppose. It then started up the ramp, but just before enterin' the ship still wearin' my ball cap he said, “You’re pretty Damn funny, monkey boy!” The voice sounded just like a Hollywood Actor that I’m not gonna to name because it’s just too darn corny!

Just like in the movies, the “Flyin' Saucer” hovered, folded up its “landin' legs,” and took off! I had torn my jeans sometime durin' all of this and knew that I would be hearin' from my folks about “Money don’t grow on trees.” All I could think about was, ‘Scooter you’re gonna to owe me BIG!’

Not knowin' how long it would take for the “Air Force’s Last Stand” survivors to get to me, I ran back to where the Green Blob had dropped “Sleepin' Beauty.” The Yoke was on me because even in the moonlight or maybe because of it, Scooter was a genuine, double-take, eye-poppin' looker!

It shouldn’t have surprised me, since Scooter’s Mom was a looker, too, but I wasted time we didn’t have, gawkin'. I dug Scooter’s clothes from the bag and woke her. I was half expectin' her to scream and run off like Deputy Dog.

She opened her eyes and gave me a small smile. I pointed down at her bosom and held out her stuff. Then Scooter surprised the Hell out me again. She cupped her breasts and had such an expression of absolute contentment, that I knew I was gonna to be needin' a cold shower. A Very Cold Shower!

“Bubba!” I heard her voice for the first time. “Turn around! Didn’t your Mama teach you that you shouldn’t stare at naked women?”

I thought about a reply to that one, but couldn’t think of anythin' that wouldn’t get me in trouble, so I bit my tongue. Turnin' around instead I said, “We don’t have much time. The Air Force ain’t gonna to take kindly to that Martian shootin' them up. You so owe me for tonight!

“Bubba, how many times do I have to tell you that the Green Blob ain’t a Martian. Besides, what did it use to shoot them with? It don’t got hands!” Scooter objected while I kept my back turned.

“Not that one. It was the other one that landed in the Flyin' Saucer which got into the fight with the Air Force,” I told her.

I nearly jumped when her hand touched my shoulder, and she asked me, “For real Bubba?”

Clearin' my throat, “Cross my heart and hope to die truth. We have high-tail it quick like!”

Turnin' around I could see she filled out her old clothes too darn well for my peace of mind, while tellin' myself, ‘This is Scooter! Stop starin' at her you-know-whats!’

She didn’t make it any easier when she put her hands on her hips and demanded, “Tell me you took some pictures of all of this?”

Dumbfounded, I just stood there until I saw some lights flickerin' on. “Oh shit, Scooter, we've got to go!” I said, thankful to be left off the hook. I grabbed her bag and we started runnin'. It just wasn’t fair, Scooter had always been able to outrun me, and I was thinkin' that since she was a girl now, at least I would be able to outrun her, Hell No! It was me tryin' to keep up with her!

We got back to our bikes, and she gave me a look when I headed back to Old Josh’s Farm. When we got there, it had even more trucks than this mornin'. A lot of them were Air Force, but most of the guys that came in them were helpin' their confused friends out of the woods.

It seemed no one had gotten hurt after all, but they couldn’t remember how they got there. They all just suddenly woke up in the dark. I was just thankful that the Martian hadn’t vaporized them. I spotted the person I was lookin' for and went after him in the confusion.

“Doc Johnson!” He turned around and I saw his eyes got wide when he saw Scooter’s make-over. “Doc, have you found those critters my Da’ let Old Josh borrow?” I asked him winkin'.

He gave us a long look and I wasn’t sure he was gonna go for it, but it looked like I had it figured right after all, when he asked, “You mean that hen, cow, and that dog?”

I ginned, “That’s the ones Doc. I know that you’ve been runnin' tests on the critters around here and you know that my Dad won’t mind at all you doin' all the tests you want, at our place.”

He gave the Air Force guys a sour look and said, “I’ll bring them by tomorrow but first I have some paperwork to “re-organize.” Here, let’s get you a ride home.”

My heart dropped when I saw him wave the Sheriff over, and the look the Sheriff gave me and the new Scooter, was one that I never want to see again.

Doc Johnson said, “Sheriff, Bubba just came over to remind me to bring his father’s live-stock back tomorrow. I have some paperwork to take care of. Can you give them a ride home?”

They gave each other a hard look and I’m guessin' that the Air Force had ruffled a few feathers. The Sheriff’s face broke into a grin as he made up his mind, “I’m a bit busy right now, but seein' how one of my deputies is helpin' the boys in blue with tests, of course I can.

He put his windbreaker around Scooter, to help hide how badly her clothes fit, and led us to his truck. I put our bikes in back, hopin' that no one with a sharp-eye saw that they were both boy's bikes. Everyone was still busy with the dazed survivors of my Martian’s rampage with his neuralizer gun (Device from MIB movie that erases memories), so no one bothered us.

The Sheriff gave a huff as we were leavin' the farm, “I know I shouldn’t be surprised that one of you ended up this way. We’re lucky you both didn’t lose somethin' you would rather not. My Deputy got changed too, and the Air Force hauled her away without so much as a thank you.

“I’m not gonna to let that happen to you, because we take care of our own here. I’ll talk to the Judge about keepin' everythin' straight, so you two need to keep your mouths shut. Do you hear me?”

Scooter and I both muttered, “Yes sir.”

He then gave Scooter a long look as we stopped in front of her house, “Are you gonna to be able to deal with this? You father ain’t gonna to like this much.”

Scooter with complete innocence said, “I’ve always been the brainy sort, so I don’t think bein' a girl is gonna to matter much. It’s gonna to be hard but Mama always wanted a girl, so I know she’ll help.”

Dang! I could almost see the halo Scooter was tryin' so hard to make appear! Scooter was a handful enough as a boy, and I was beginnin' to get the feelin' that no one was ready for her as a girl!

“Ya’ll wait here while I talk to your folks,” the Sheriff told us, and he went inside.

“Bubba, what was that about you wantin' the livestock that got changed?” Scooter asked as soon as he was out of sight.

“Scooter, you've always been able to out run me, but at the end you were always breathin' hard. Tonight, you out ran me and weren’t pantin' at all. If all of the critters that got changed are like that and along with bein' female, we are talkin' about some damn fine breedin' stock,” I told her, without thinkin' about what else I’d just said.

Even in the light from the front porch, I could see her blush, and I got tongue-tied once it hit me what I said. “Scooter, I didn’t mean it that way!” I sputtered.

She gave me a peck on the cheek before I knew what was happenin', and it was my turn to go scarlet! Geez, she hadn’t been a girl for a whole day yet and she was already confoundin' me! I was further along understandin' what my Da had been tryin' to tell me when he had said, “Son, no one's ever figured out what’s on a woman’s mind.” What made it so bad was this was Scooter!

Scooter just gave real girly giggle, “Don’t hurt yourself Bubba! I can hear the gears grindin' from you thinkin' so hard!”

The door opened and I gave a sigh of relief for bein' saved from further teasin' from my best friend. The Sheriff came out and told us that my parents had been phoned and told I was all right. He then told Scooter to go on in.

I watched Scooter go inside and the Sheriff gave me a knowin' look as he drove away. My folks were gonna to be so mad at me, but I had to know Scooter was gonna to be fine. Creepin' up to the front porch, I heard Scooter’s Dad shoutin' and cussin' about her bein' a fag and a lot of other things that I’m not gonna to repeat.

It was then I almost felt it more than heard the “CRACK” that I just knew Scooter'd been hit. Reachin' for the door to run in, I froze at the distinctive “CLICK CLACK” of a shotgun slide lockin' a shell home.

“I told you, you sum’bitch, if you ever hit one of my kids, I was gonna shoot you down like a rabid dog. You hit me and I knock the hell out of you back, but you don’t raise a hand to my chill’ns!” Scooter’s Mom shrieked!

The door flew open, knockin' me over as her Dad leaped off the porch as a blast of buckshot blew a hole though the reboundin' door! He ran smack into the Sheriff’s truck, as the sheriff had crept back with his lights off. I reckon he thought this might happen.

Her Mom kicked the shattered door open and jacked in another shell, clearly meanin' to follow though on her threat. The Sheriff got out of his truck in such a way that I knew he would long remember this day.

“Now, Mary-Ellen you put that scatter-gun away. No one is gonna to blame you for shootin' at this drunken fool, but if you kill him, that’s a whole 'nother story. 'Sides, it’s not right to shoot a man with his own gun,” the Sheriff told her.

She was still in a temper but she gave a sharp laugh, “Not after the divorce it ain’t! He’ll be lucky if he keeps his drawers!” she said as she gave up the shotgun. “Since you’re here, you can help me with my new daughter. That sum’bitch smacked her in the face pretty hard.”

I had already checked inside, and boy did Scooter have a shiner, but she seemed fine except for that. The Sheriff came in, looked her over, took some pictures, and had everyone make a statement. He watched me as I went home, and I knew that this time he would make sure that I really got there.

To say my folks were a little mad at me didn’t come close to the truth. They’d heard the shot and met me half way. I was lucky that they did let me tell my part of the tale before renderin' judgment. Da’ didn’t know what to think about the “live-stock” that Doc Johnson was gonna be bring over the next day if he could, but I put the best spin on it I could.

I believe that the only thing that kept me from bein' grounded the rest of the summer was that they were glad that Scooter’s Mom had kicked “that Damn Drunk” out. That was the end of one of the strangest days I have ever had or even heard of for that matter.

Well, Doc Johnson did bring the livestock over, and just like I thought, they gave us some of the best stock in the county, although they had nothin' but female offspring. Damn Bitch was a whole other story.

My Mom objected to the name so we started callin' the dog Dee Bee. Dee Bee still didn’t care much for me, but she and Scooter came to an understandin'. When it became clear she would rather hang with Scooter than with us, that was fine, since she spent so much time at my house anyways. Scooter did get pictures when Dee Bee had her litter of pups. I swear that was the most peculiar look I have ever seen on man or beast.

Scooter got a new name courtesy of the Judge, and her Mom got the divorce she wanted. Scooter wasn’t the only one to get a new name. About a month after that Day, Old Josh came back to town callin' herself Jessie.

My Da’ went over to Jessie’s place where we had been helpin' some of the other neighbors keepin' up the place until we knew what was up. Jessie, it seemed, was fine with us havin' the livestock, but did insist on the choice pick of chicks and pups and the first calf.

A few months later, she hooked up with a biker and got married, Go figure! No one knew what happened to the Deputy formerly known as Dog, until some pictures showed up in the Penthouse. Don’t suppose we will ever know that story, but the pictures did look like she was havin' a good time.

That brings us up to now. I spent nearly every penny I had saved for the tux rental, but as we walked from my truck to go inside to the Prom, I was satisfied. The gorgeous redhead on my arm gave me a little strut to my walk, because I knew I had the prettiest girl in the county.

I leaned over and whispered to her teasin'ly, “Scooter, when I said you owed me big this wasn’t what I had in mind.”

Deirdre elbowed me and smiled, “Oh, you haven’t seen nothin' yet, Mister College freshman to be, even if it did take me to tutor you to make that scholarship.”

Thinkin' back about that day when everythin' changed, “Dee, what do you think Green Blob really was?

We both looked up at the stars above as Dee said, “The answer to my prayers,” and we went inside to join the music and laughter of our classmates.


*+#*@! had a really bad day. First, a transport dropped a Moratian tourist on the wrong planet, and when he had finally run down the Smegging transport to find out where the lost Moratian had actually been dropped, it had been on a proscribed world!

He had collided into some Smegged debris that the Smegging monkey boys left in orbit after blowing up some space junk, causing him to waste three cycles waiting for maintenance to bring him the right parts.

All the while, the Moratian tourist had run around trying to talk to the locals. Unfortunately, for them, Moratians communicate via organic molecule exchange. It had changed them because it was trying to help them “speak” louder, ignorant of what it was really doing. The only good thing was the tourist was practically immune to all of their primitive weapons.

When *+#*@! finally had located the Moratian, it was being stalked by one of the native tribes, and had gotten shot at with their primitive weapons for Smegs sake! No matter, he would have had to Synapse them anyways, but it had been amusing when the young hatchling had gotten the Moratian on his trail.

The hatchling had led the tourist back to the ship, not knowing that it was just trying to ask for directions! Once it was on the ramp of course, the Moratian knew it had found someone to help it.

The tourist couldn’t understand why *+#*@! was laughing at it. Thank Smeg for the translator. He really should have Synapsed the monkey boy right between the visual receptors, but he just couldn’t bring himself to do it. After all, they had made a deal, he mused proudly, wearing the colorful native headdress. Such a clever little monkey!

The End

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