Tabitha Hart was not satisfied with her life she realized while dipping a powdered doughnut in her coffee. Not in an existential crisis sort of way, not really. It was just the when she was a kid, her mother told her she could be anything— a princess, a superhero, even a sheriff if she wanted. And after pursuing the latter, she decided it sucked.
Sure, she had expected the hard work and slow days, but after chasing after the sheriff all day like a puppy chases a frisbee, the deputy of Herrington was pooped.
She tore off another piece of doughnut, her nose coated in thick white powder. Lukewarm coffee dripped down her crisp khaki uniform and as sunlight poured through the cafe window, she stared off into it. She meant to look as dramatic and angst-ridden as she felt, but she only looked like a grumpy twenty-four-year-old with a loose ponytail and a stained shirt. Bells chimed. The man who entered had a sort of hop to his step, his lumpy backpack dragging on the cracked linoleum floor. Tabitha recognized him immediately and sighed. She glanced up at the bridge of his nose and counted. Six strips of tape. Six strips of tape that kept his glasses intact. "I make money now," were the first words out of her mouth when he slid into the worn booth. "I can buy you new glasses."
Cairo snorted, digging scratches into the leather cushions with his stubby nails. "Whaddaya mean? I like my glasses broken. Gives them character, Tabby." He smiled, wide and boyish, curls of uncombed hair in her eyes. She sighed and rubbed the smooth nylon of her her pistol holster, a new habit of hers. Her elbow knocked her crumpled coffee cup, still half-full and eerily hot. "Whatever you say, Cairo." He grunted then, his plaid shirt tugging at his shoulders, dumping his saggy backpack onto the table. It rattled and the coffee cup jumped. Warm liquid flew over the edge and splashed all over Tabitha's lap. He didn't even apologize, didn't even notice for the most part as Tabitha grunted with rage.
"So I made a new gun to blow up things with!" He unzipped the bag and dug another one of his inventions on the table. It was shaped like a gun, though its hilt came to a curve and it had a little pink spike on the end. Tabitha drew in a long breath.
"That's what bazookas are for, Cairo." She winced and ripped all the napkins out of the napkin holder, crumpling them like paper flowers to stuff in her lap. The coffee soaked through her pants and burned her thighs. She grimaced, Cairo's happy chatter a background noise. Not that Cairo and his little inventions weren't interesting—they were, it's just that when an 180-degree substance bleeds through your pants, that's what you pay attention to. She was pretty sure her flesh was cooking, and as Cairo waved his hands and bounced around, she couldn't find it in her to listen or even look at him.
Which made it funny when the aliens came.
Not that it was unusual for space aliens to stop by Herrington. t was the one thing that made Herrington a little interesting, though it definitely did not make it a tourist hotspot. Tabitha wondered that sometimes, why some towns got the biggest balls of yarn or the heaviest stacks of hay and Herrington got the dopey aliens.
But these aliens were different. They didn't come in cheerful little red and white rockets like the others.
They came in a cheerful red and white saucer. And they landed in the middle of the street.
"Hey," Cairo said, snapping his fingers in Tabitha's face, "is that your car?"
She looked up from the drenched napkins. "My car? What about my—"
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Epic Tales from Beautiful Minds: An Ooorah AnthologyScience Fiction
Inspired by @rskovach's DECAMERON 2.0, EPIC TALES FROM BEAUTIFUL MINDS is a sci-fi anthology. Spread across multiple sub-genres, EPIC TALES features short stories from Wattpad's best sci-fi writers. The majority of these different sub-genres feature...