Note: Today begins our first installment of Aliens Abducting Annoying Assholes Anonymous, in which readers send me stories about annoying people they know, and I write a story in which the annoying person gets abducted by aliens. First up is an anonymously submitted tale about an office worker who stinks…and gives her coworker the stink-eye.
Darryl hunched down over his computer, trying to breathe through his mouth. It was bad enough his cubicle-mate, Brandy, smelled like she hadn’t showered since the last time he used his phone to make a phone call. But now she was giving him the stink-eye, which was ironic considering she was the one who stank.
What did I ever do to her? Darryl had no idea. Well, he’d thought about leaving a stick of deodorant on her desk, but he never actually did it, so what was her problem?
His computer dinged to let him know a new message had arrived, and he clicked it on, leaning over and pulling his shirt over his nose as he did so. What did Brandy do, spray on Eau de Garbage every morning?
Signature needed urgently for shipment downstairs, read the message.
Finally! He could leave the cubicle! He almost breathed a sigh of relief, but decided to wait on taking a deep breath until he was clear of the cubicle.
He took the stairs, savoring the clean air, and walked slowly to the loading dock in the warehouse’s first floor, ambling past stacks of boxes and pallets of merchandise. At the door, he was greeted by a short man in a UPS uniform, brown cap pulled low over his face.
“Sign here.” The short man shoved the usual tablet at Darryl. His hands had a strangely grayish pallor. Was he sick? Maybe Darryl could catch whatever he had and spend a few sick days at home…away from Brandy. Better yet, maybe his nose would get stopped up and he couldn’t smell her!
“Sure, sure.” He signed and handed back the tablet. The delivery driver handed him a box and hurried back to his truck.
“OPEN IMMEDIATELY,” read a neon orange sticker on the box.
Darryl was in no rush to get back to his desk, so he sat down on the nearest pallet and tore into the box. Inside was a small, round, black device that he guessed to be some sort of Bluetooth speaker. Oddly, there was no packing slip or instructions of any kind. Was this for a customer shipment? Without proper documentation, he had no idea. Hopefully he’d get a phone call or email to explain it later.
After killing some time in the break room, drinking bad coffee and chatting with coworkers about the Lakers’ latest loss, he begrudgingly dragged himself back upstairs and returned to his cubicle, strange black device in tow.
The smell assaulted his nostrils and he sat down, dumping the device on the desk. Brandy turned, gave him a filthy look, and another wave of body odor hit him. She smelled somewhat like how he imagined roadkill smelled after baking on the highway in the July heat for four or five days. He nodded and turned back to his desk, slapping his tie over his nose. How many minutes until he could leave for lunch?
Just then, a noise from above caught his attention and he looked up, tie still draped over his nostrils.
His first thought was that the smell had driven him insane. He couldn’t actually be staring at a bright light pouring through a hole in the ceiling, or an Escalade-sized spaceship swooping through and hovering over Brandy’s desk.
She looked up with alarm. “What the hell?”
The spaceship was round and suspiciously saucer-shaped, with tiny lights studding the edges. It looked an awful lot like a prop from some old black-and-white science fiction movie. Darryl blinked several times, but it was still there, and then a hatch popped open on the side and an alien leaned out.
It was a little gray guy with a top-heavy head, large black eyes and a tiny, pinched nose which was probably an advantage so close to Brandy.
It pointed at her. “You must come with me.”
“I will not!”
“Our sensors picked up your scent. Your human suit is failing.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Brandy backed away, but the spaceship followed her, and the alien extended a hand with what looked like a small, oddly smooth handgun.
“I’m afraid you do. You escaped from us months ago, and you’d still be getting away with it, but I guess you didn’t know you have to shower regularly to keep your human suit from leaking your scent.” The gray alien pointed at her. “You will return to the garbage barge and resume serving your sentence.”
“This whole thing is crazy.” Brandy backed away. “I’m no alien.”
“Yes, you are, and the scent signature leaking from you suit confirms it.” The alien fired the weapon and Brandy slumped to the ground. It—Darryl had no idea how to tell the sex of an alien—hopped out of the spaceship, slung her over its shoulder like she weighed nothing, and climbed back up into the ship.
“What was she serving time for?” Darryl asked.
The alien paused, four-fingered hand on the doorframe. “She served on our governing council, and was caught misusing public funds. Unlike you humans, we don’t respond to that sort of offense by voting the politician in to another term—we remove them from office and sentence them to twenty years of servitude on a garbage barge. We do apologize for any inconvenience. Say, could you toss me that GPS device? Now that we’ve found her, we’d like it back.”
It pointed at the black “speaker.”
“Sure thing.” Darryl tossed it to the alien and gave him a friendly wave as the hatch closed and the ship flew away. Then he sat down, took a deep breath, and exhaled a sigh of relief.
The alien’s planet sounded nice. Maybe one day he’d take a vacation there.