Moonman Inbound, Part 5

It took the first alien to get through the first shed for the people of Earth to wake the fuck up, to put aside their petty differences and as one to bring to those cocksuckers the fight. The Moonman saw it for himself, sitting on the couch that day and watching the television, how the president of this here great nation had taken the rostrum in three great strides, growing in stature, pride, and gravity all the while, and everywhere the bunting and the numerous and portentously glorious flags of this great nation, pointing up to the heavens; that old president himself pointing, only not at the camera but through it and into the television itself as he spoke, so that his finger actually tapped at the inside of that old screen, left behind to the Moonman like the house and everything else; tapped inside that glass with a hollow, dull summons.

That old president, thinks the Moonman, wearing the latest in jet-pack and lunar boots, all silver and technological, with the newest space-laser side-arm-weapon in a holster at his belt; tapping, saying, “C’mon, now, Moonman; I know you out there. I know you’re wanting to get you some revenge on account of it were your fugging shed them damn old alien assholes done violated.”

Glorious and regal and shimmering, the uber-moonman, the archetypal defender of the Terran surface, zooming up far above to do battle, valiant, grim; hair perfect.

Afterwards we had that colored boy that talked a good game about peace, but he turned out all right in the end, making sure to keep them Lunar battles raging, and by then it didn’t matter what anybody who came afterwards said: the Moonman knew. He knew not to believe in anything spoken but rather what they did, and in so doing called upon each one of us to give, to sacrifice; Old Glory and doing your part. He’d seen the enemy himself.

He nods, laying there in the dirt under his house before rolling over onto his back, his upper torso now like his underwear sporting an even coating of dirt. That’s good. He knows that it serves two purposes; he’s savvy to the tricks of the trade demanded by the present conflict, necessity being the mother of intervention, and all that. In fact, he reminds himself, spreading out his arms and legs now so that he lays as though a battered starfish, bulging at the center, this tactic is nothing new. Pioneered, as though he needs be reminded, by that army-commando man who was fighting aliens down in the Central American jungles back in the ’80s. Even made a movie out of it. But that was before the rest of humanity had woken up, come to its goddamned senses about the alien menace presently threatening the Earth.

The Moonman remembers seeing that news broadcast for himself, too, laying half-conscious on the couch one intolerably hot afternoon after having just come back from a stint in the shed. He’d stumbled in past the sliding glass doors and fallen onto the cushions, his vacant stare hanging over the unlit screen, until the television, turning on by itself like it sometimes did, had issued forth a Special News Broadcast for Ya’ll.

Seemed that some army man with big muscles was fighting this extra-terrestrial invader in the jungle, and in the end, all his friends having succumbed to this fighting machine, the commando had had to totally recall his inner nature, digging deep to terminate that predatory bastard in one final affirmation of humanity’s indomitable will to survive.

The Moonman smiles under the house, rocking his head over the cool dirt beneath his hair. Dang old mad-dog soldier, just like me. He lifts his head enough to watch himself flex his arm. Yeah, that old army man wasn’t too shabby in the muscles department. Nothing like me, of course, he pats his gut before returning to the sprawled position.

But that old alien in the news broadcast–whoo-dog, the Moonman howls under his breath. If that sumbitch’s camouflage didn’t just take the cake. It was one thing, the Moonman knew, to try to distinguish from its pale surface the slender and likewise pallid bodies of the gray aliens on the Moon. Scanning with a pair of binoculars from some promontory three clicks away, you’d be forgiven for feeling yourself a sitting duck, for missing with each successive sweep the nested sniper who at that moment might be fixing the center of your forehead in his sights.

But at least those grays could be seen, and never mind those chitterous bastards, neither. Because that old alien in the jungle, back in the ’80s? He didn’t just camouflage himself; no sirree. What he did was, well, using this alien sort of technology? Like some futuristic space stuff? Well: he made hisself completely and utterly invisible. And when the army man with the muscles and all his friends were looking up into the trees and shooting at god knew what, trying to catch him? Well, it didn’t work; ’cause nobody knew where the fuck he was.

Likewise the Moonman, now coated in his satellite-fooling layer of dirt. They don’t know I’m down here, he thinks. They could send a thousand little critters, all of god’s creatures fit to dig into the dirt and worm their way through the cracks in the foundation, and they still wouldn’t find him. Mind-controlled animals, suicide-volunteers sent through portals through which the zigzagged star leaked, crinkling their noses in the false twilight of the under-house, turning their little heads with quick, clipped movements, skittish and flinching as though the faintest sound were actually touching their fur, breathing a ruffled disturbance onto their little faces–the paws downward pointing at the ground, while on hind legs taught they balanced. Meanwhile the Moonman, his eyes wide and his movements smooth and premeditated, visualizing each through the arc of its completion, brings to bear his commando survival knife. Hardly a breath. Not a blink. Just the whites of the eyes amidst the brown of the dirt. The satellites up there thrown into a tizzy, engaged in between their frantic attempts to locate him in their own ongoing laser-defense, silently hurtling through space and issuing from gun nozzles a substance not quite of this world but more searingly immediate, something cutting through the fabric of reality itself, the green lines segmented, continuous, disappearing into the distance.

And yet not so much as a peep down here, nor signals from the aliens to scramble his brains and trick him into running down the street with his pants around his ankles, like they did the other night. The Moonman looks down at his empty hand. Shit. No commando survival knife. Must of left it inside. Suddenly that much less secure in this terrestrial redoubt, having no knife with its screw-off cap and hollow grip in which to store matches and a map, garrote wire, iodine tablets, fishing line and lure, pages of a nudy magazine to console him during bivouacs after having dug a hasty shelter into the side of some nameless and foreboding Lunar crater.

The mouth of the imagined hollow in that knife’s handle grows, assuming in the Moonman’s mind the same dimensions of the crater in which he lies, that ridged hollow dug up from the chalky soil so many millions of years ago. Now out of it pours dune buggies and blank-screened televisions walking on legs like the president’s silver space suit; out pour columns of troops in lock-step unison as they march in their curious and floating way, everyone scanning left and right, weapons at the low-ready; out pours a gray alien on a riding lawn-mower, the vehicle bouncing as though careening over uneven ground, a drunken Sunday chore situated on the precipice of disaster–and yet for all that the alien’s mien severe, business-like; cutting this here dang old lawn, and arresting the spread of the infection that is the grass; out pour a thousand snakes that are really just variations all of the same hose.

From out of the knife-moon’s hollow pours a liquid crescent, like the monthly waxing of the host body itself, of a spreading green liquid, irrespective, of low viscosity but somehow giving the impression of being more cohesive, more singular and unitary than plain old water, which at the slightest provocation, a boon for all air-breathing life but a bastard to deal with in low gravity, is wont to shatter and decohere into droplets, like a chandelier that has sublimated from a crystal to a liquid, in its innumerable floating parts a sum greater than its whole…

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