Short Story
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         They Finally Came and Got Him
                                                        By Rose Titus


No one really knew much about Old Man Jenkins.  We weren’t even really
sure if he had a first name, or how old he was.  We just all called him Old Man
Jenkins.   But it’s sad that he’s gone.  We really miss him; he was fun to have
around.  And we all thought he was crazy, with the way he used to talk.

He’d talk about everything.  Like most old people, he was an expert in
everything:  politics, money, sports, music, cars…  but the one thing he never
stopped talking about was the aliens.

Old Man Jenkins would sit there with his old yellow dog on the front steps of
his old house in the middle of our neighborhood and yell at us kids for making
noise.  One day our baseball landed right in front of him, but he laughed and
threw it back.  That’s when we started talking to him.  Our parents told us to
not listen to him too much, because he was crazy, but he was a nice old man
once you got to know him.  He would invite us in for ice cream sometimes, too.

But if you got him to talk about it, he would always talk about the aliens.

They abducted him once, he said, when he was young.  It was the 1960’s,
and he was young and wanting to travel the world, like most young men did in
those days.  Nowadays, I suppose most of us don’t bother to see the world,
since there doesn’t seem to be much to see in the world lately that isn’t rotten.

He would tell of how he was driving his old ’52 Chevy across country, to see
America, to drive out to California, and not stop until he would walk on the
beach and get his toes into the Pacific.  His plan was to either get a good job
and stay there, or if he didn’t get a job, he would come back home and get a
job at his uncle’s gas station, learn to fix cars and stuff.

But as his story goes, he only made it half way there.  He would park his car
off the side of the road at night, pull over, park behind trees so the local
sheriff’s deputies wouldn’t give him a problem, take out his sleeping bag,
build a small camp fire with whatever he could find, cook some beans, then
sleep under the stars all night.  In the morning he would stop at a diner for
breakfast, then travel on drifting down the road.  Sometimes he would stop
along the way and work odd jobs for cash, but then move on.  I guess that
was a young man’s dream back then, to get into an old car, take some cash,
bring some cans of food, a knife, a sleeping bag, some tools in case the car
had a bad day, and put an old guitar in the back seat – and that was all you
needed back then.

One night, Young Man Jenkins – because he was not Old Man Jenkins yet –
he parked his car in a farmer’s field and ate out of a tin can and after playing
his guitar to himself and the coyotes, then he got into his sleeping bag to rest
peacefully under the night sky, listening to the song of the crickets, drifting off
into sleep, and that’s when it happened.

That’s when They came and took him.

He woke up and there was a bright light, brighter than the sun, but he could
look into it and it didn’t hurt his eyes.  Something landed close by where he
slept, shaped like a large metallic disk.  We all call them UFO’s today, but
back then, they called them flying saucers.  These small men came down the
ramp, that’s what he called them, little men, but they were what we call the
“Greys” today – he said they were short and skinny with big heads and large
dark eyes.  They all wore the same skintight black uniforms, no buttons, no
zippers, just tight black silk like material, with matching boots.  They all
marched down the ramp toward him…

Old Jenkins used to tell us how he next woke up on a steel table, with all
these horrible, big eyed, strange creatures hovering over him, putting probes
into strange places, sticking needles…  he used to say how he remembered
they took his brain out of his head, looked it over, decided it was probably
useless, and then put it back into his head because they decided they didn’t
want it.  Next they removed other parts of Old Jenkins, so that’s why he never
had any kids.  He said they put that back on, too, but it never worked right
after they took it off and put it back on.  When the aliens removed the probe
from up his ass he sat up and screamed and got off the table and ran into a
dark corridor, ran down the hall, trying to find his way out.

He went into several rooms trying to find an exit.  One room had all these
giant insect like creatures, sitting at a conference table, as if having a
meeting.  They looked at him and hissed.  He kept running and went into
another room, and saw all these glass jars filled with what looked like half
human, half alien babies suspended in blue liquid.   He kept going and came
upon some men dressed in military fatigues.  One of the men looked at him
and asked, “Do you know where we are?  Last place we were was Da Nang.”  
He said, “Hell, no, I have no idea where this place is!”  One of the soldiers
said to the other, “Well, at least we’re not getting shot at.”

Jenkins kept running until he came upon a video screen that showed the
Earth down below…  he screamed and kept running until finally a metal door
in the corridor opened and a beautiful blonde woman in a long white dress
appeared.

“She told me that I had been chosen!” he would say, though he never knew
what the hell he had been chosen for.  Her name was Princess Alura, and
she represented the Star Brothers who came from the Pleiades star system.  
She ordered the horrible little gray aliens to release him and send him back
to Earth, and told him that one day she would return for him in her own ship,
and take him away with her to join the Star Brotherhood.

Next Jenkins woke up in the farmer’s field, in his sleeping bag, and wondered
if it had all been a nightmare.   He looked at his watch and realized it was
noontime, and got into his car and drove to the nearest town in search of
food.  He sat at alone at a table in a diner eating blueberry pie and drinking
coffee and wondering what it all had meant, and suddenly in front of him was
a man dressed all in black, black suit, black tie, black hat, even black
sunglasses.  He looked at the man in black, “Where did you come from?  I
didn’t see you when I came in.”

The man in black sat in the seat opposite him, and said, “You didn’t see
anything last night. It was all a dream.  That’s all.  It was just a strange dream.”

“Yeah?  That’s good to know.  Hey, how did you—?”

But then the man was gone, as if he disintegrated.

So Jenkins got into his car and hit the gas all the way home, only stopping to
fill the gas.  He did not stop for food, to sleep, anything… he never made it to
California.  He went home, worked in the gas station around the corner from
his house all his life.  Never went anywhere else.

We always liked him, when he wasn’t yelling at us kids.  When he would tell
his crazy stories about the aliens, it would make us laugh.  The week before
he disappeared, he was on his front step with his suitcase next to him.

I pulled my bike over, “He, Jenkins, yah goin’ somewhere?”

“Yeah.  I got this feeling, she’s finally gonna come and pick me up.”

“Who?”

“Alura.  She’s finally coming for me.  Soon, I think.”

I was like, “Oh come on, old man, you crazy.”

“She’s coming for me.  I just know it.”

I laughed and rode my bike home.  I didn’t tell anybody, because we all
already knew he was nuts.

But later that night is when it happened.  I woke up, and the house was
shaking, like as if there was an earthquake.  I was real scared.  I screamed
for my mom, and she didn’t answer.  I got up and ran down the hall, and my
mom was looking out the window.  “What the hell is going on?” she said,
“Some kind of explosion!”

The shaking stopped, so it wasn’t an earthquake.  There was just this bright
light coming through the windows, without any sound.  Then suddenly the
light died down.  It was all darkness again.

“What the hell is going on?” my mother said again.  “This neighborhood has
gone crazy.  Boy, you get yourself back to bed so you can be in school and
make something of yourself so you can get out of this damn neighborhood!”

“Yeah, mom.”  I went back to bed, but I didn’t sleep.  I wondered what was
going on, too.  Mom said there was an explosion, but I didn’t hear any loud
noise.

I was tired all day in school, and the other kids asked if I was up partying all
night.  “No,” I said.  “Anybody know anything about an explosion last
night?”        
“What you talkin’ about, an explosion?” they said, “You crazy?”

“Naw.  Never mind.”

When I got home I went to see if crazy Jenkins was okay.   I don’t know why, I
guess I just was worried about him.  The front door to his house was half
opened, so I went in.

“Jenkins?  Hey, old man?  You there?”  But he wasn’t there.  The house was
empty.  In the middle of the living room floor was his suitcase.  I figure maybe
he just went to the grocery store or something, and forgot to lock his door.

Then I saw the man in black, right there, standing in the doorway.  He was
just like Old Man Jenkins described, black suit, black hat, dark glasses.

“Huh?  Who are you?”

“George forgot his suitcase,” said the man in black.  He came in and picked it
up off the living room floor.  “I’ll just bring it to him.”

“His name is George?”

“George Jenkins, yes, that’s his name, I believe.”

“Where is he?  Is he okay?”

“Oh he’s fine.  He’s just going to be traveling.  That’s all.  George says he’s
always wanted to travel, but he never really got around to it since that last trip
he took.”  He walked out with the suitcase and shut the door behind him.

I went after him, “Hey, mister!”  But there was no one there.  No one on the
front step, no one on the sidewalk, no one on the street, no car driving
away…  No one.  So, Old Man Jenkins wasn’t crazy after all.   Because they
finally came and got him!
                       
About Rose Titus

Rose Titus works two
jobs to support her
writing habit.  She exists
somewhere in a suburb
in cold, dreary New
England, with three pain
in the arse cats and a
very out of date
Macintosh.  She also
has a restored classic
Buick that gets her to
the grocery store.

Her work has previously
appeared in Lost
Worlds, Lynx Eye, Bog
Gob, Mausoleum,
Midnight Times, Blood
Moon Rising, The Bugle,
Weird Terrain, Descend,
and Wicked Wheels.