Pa turned the van from the forestry track and onto a bohreen leading to the main road. He was perched forward on the driver’s seat, carefully gauging the distance between the ditches. Martina was sat back in the seat beside him.
‘Are you scared Martina?’
‘Not really, I’m just not too sure how this plan is going to work’
‘Ah, trust Kevin, he’s pretty smart, at least when it comes to this sort of stuff, he’s hardly going to send us off on a mission for nothing’
Martina cracked the ring pull from the top of a beer can.
‘Where’d the Dutch Gold come from?’
‘I took a couple of yer man’s cans from the back, he’s hardly gonna miss them, d’ya want one?’
‘Wait, who’s cans?’
‘I dunno, the pisshead asleep in the back there’
Pa slowed the van to a crawl and glanced over his shoulder at the partition to the back.
‘Hold on, what? Is there someone in the back?’
‘Yeah, I thought you knew’
‘What the fuck, how long have they been there?’
‘I dunno Pa, since earlier tonight I suppose, I thought he was a friend of yours’
‘Shit, did you not hear what Kev said -there’s alien spies about …we’ll be vapourized in a heartbeat if he’s one of them’
Pa braked and swung the van towards the entrance to a small field
‘When this thing stops moving Martina, open your door and run like fuck …okay?’
Pa turned to see an empty space and open door where Martina had been. The van rattled violently to a standstill. Pa jumped out his door and dived behind a hedge.
‘Pa, is that you?’, whispered a voice.
‘Fuck Martina, you can move when you want to, stay low, we’ll need to…’
There were interrupted by the sound of banging from inside the back of the van, and it began rocking from side to side.
‘Looks like we got out in the nick of time, whatever was in the back is awake’
‘I can see that Pa, but we’re going to need the van back …what’ll we do?’
‘I’ve an idea, just follow my lead, okay’
Pa placed his hand on Martina’s shoulder and began shouting over the hedge:
‘Here, spaceman, there’s a squad of commando’s out here, and we have the van surrounded. Open the door and throw your weapon out, and no tricks …if you try anything smart we’ll fucking incinerate you’.
He then turned and whispered to Martina, ‘if you see a tentacle coming out the door, run for your life’
The van rocked again, and the door handle rattled.
‘That back door’s tricky to open Pa, maybe the creature’s stuck’
‘Don’t shoot, I’m unarmed’, shouted a voice, ‘I think I’ve been kidnapped. Help me, I’m trapped’
‘I don’t think that’s an alien Pa’
‘You’re probably right, but we should be careful’
‘Help’ came the voice again.
‘How will we know for sure it’s not a trick?’
‘I dunno, or wait, I’ve an idea …what about telekinesis?’
‘I’m not sure Pa, I’ve never tried it’
‘No, not for us, for the alien, I’m pretty sure that’s how they communicate’
‘What do you mean?’
‘I mean we can set a trap’
Pa shouted again:
‘How many fingers am I about to hold up?’
‘What?’, replied the voice.
‘How many fingers am I about to hold up?’
‘What, are ye for real?’
‘Answer the question spaceman?’
‘Uh, erm, three?’
Pa flashed a grin and a thumbs up at Martina
‘Wrong, four …fair play, just had to be sure you weren’t an alien; hold on and I’ll open the door for you’.
The person that stepped out of the back of the van smelled of beer and urine. He was grateful to be out of the van and not facing into a hail of bullets. He was also gratefull to be offered a lift back to the party, and happy to make small talk.
‘Sorry again about that, I must’ve got into the wrong van, or else the lads stuck me in yours for a joke, anyway whad’ye think of the party, not a bad night huh?’
‘Yeah, not bad, except now we need a spaceship to stop an alien invasion, which is gonna be a ton of hassle’
‘I take it ye two’ve been at the acid’
‘how’d ya know? I’m not sure if we’ve any left though if you’re looking for some, Martina, do we…’
‘ah no thanks lads, erm, you’re grand …I’ll leave ye to it. Some night for it though, what with the comet and all’
‘You mean the alien mothership, I guess so …shit!’
Pa jammed on the brakes and turned to his passengers.
‘I’ve just realized I’ve been driving with the lights on, we’re a sitting duck target for them’
He turned the lights off, peered up at the sky, and continued driving.
‘Jesus man, will ya keep the lights on! Erm, I mean, lads, those aliens are probably back up in their flying saucer, yeah …so you might as well drive with the lights on, yeah, just so ya don’t kill someone, actually, do you know what lads, I just remembered I’ve to fetch something outta the woods here, can ye pull over?’
‘But we’re nearly back at the party, are you sure?’
‘Yeah, yeah, that’s grand, just let me out’
Pa pulled the van up.
‘right lads, have a good one, and good luck with the, erm, aliens’
The man was gone before Pa or Martina could reply.
‘Sound man that fella’
‘Yeah, pure sound, he even left us a bag of cans’
‘I tell ya what Martina, he gave me some hop …I was full sure it was an alien in the van’
‘Me too, goes to show, you can’t judge a book by the cover’
‘What do you mean?, he looked exactly like a human, and it turned out he was a human’
‘I dunno, it’s just a saying – anyway, we should go and see how Kev is getting on’
Pa and Martina found Kevin exactly where they had left him. He was sitting at the edge of the makeshift car park smoking. There was no sign of a take off strip.
Pa walked over to him and gestured towards the trees.
‘Ya haven’t made much progress’
‘Yeah, well, I’ve had Beavis and Butthead helping me’
Kevin nodding towards his two new friends, who were now standing next to a tree and bickering over the finer points of space travel.
‘Did ye two get the materials?’
‘The fuckin materials ye went off to get, what materials do ya think?’
‘Oh shit, sorry Kev, I forgot all about them, Pa, I was supposed to give you a list of stuff we need to get for the spaceship’.
Martina passed a tiny piece of card to Pa, who squinted at it.
‘Kev is this a joke?, what the fuck is 16B CPU? Do ya think I’m James Bond, what’s the point of writing us a list in code?’
‘It’s a sixteen bit microprocessor, we’ll need it to control the gravitational charge in the hyperdrive; if we don’t get hold of one there’s no hope for humanity’
Kevin glanced between Martina, Pa, the sky, and his drunken advisors.
‘fuck it, this is pointless, we can do nothing without one, I might as well just give up’.
Martina lit a joint and passed it to Kevin, ‘take it easy, it’s not your fault’
‘It doesn’t matter whose fault it is, we’re running out of time …every human that ever lived is gonna die, and all because I couldn’t get hold of a stupid microchip’.
Pa clicked his fingers.
‘Gerry McLoughlin’s into computers, he’s bound to have one -we could call up to him’.
Kevin took a slow drag on the spliff and spat behind him ‘I’m not calling up to Gerry McLoughlin, he’s a bollox’.
‘I suppose it is late to be calling’
Pa took hold of the joint and inhaled.
‘he might be asleep by now’
He slowly exhaled.
‘but lads, ye know what, we should go wake him, it’s the end of the world’.
Martina nodded in agreement.
‘Ah, Gerry won’t mind, we can bring him up a few cans, plus he’ll be saving humanity’.