(I took Piccadilly’s Complete the Story journal literally and connected each of its prompts into one continuous narrative. Here’s what happened. As in the journal itself, prompts are in bold. Previous episodes are in the “completing the story” category.)
“I’ll explain. I’ve lived in this town my whole life, and most of the time that’s fine by me. But in late fall when the sky fills with birds migrating south for the winter, traveling thousands of miles, I get homesick for places I’ve never been. Places like-“
He was interrupted by the sound of a truck backing up to the loading dock.
“We’re on the clock. Move it or you’re fired,” snarled the deputy volunteer assistant manager, not even bothering to look in our direction.
“Time to human,” I thought to Brett, struggling to assemble my rudimentary endoskeleton into a standing position while simultaneously thinking in the first person again. It was a monumental task. “Do you know how the larynx works?”
Brett opened his mouth and gave a screech that caused several of our co-workers to stare in shock. The truck slammed into a pole.
“Sorry,” Brett said loudly. “Taco Bell.”
Our co-workers exchanged knowing looks and edged away from Brett’s posterior.
“Come on,” I said, wrapping my excessive metacarpals around Brett’s arm. The deputy volunteer assistant manager was glaring at us again. “I really need this internship.”
Brett sighed. “Fine. Help me lift this box of tapes.”
Together, we struggled the box onto the sales floor.
“How did you know?” I asked, not sure I wanted the answer. I thought I had been careful. I thought she – the deputy volunteer assistant manager – had been on a bender the entire time our alien hivemind had been consuming the contents of the Sweatin’ to the Oldies tapes, rendering miles of Richard Simmons’ on-film gyrations into our sweet, silky alien goo bodies.
Remembering all this was very difficult when I had to translate it into human brain meats, but I kept trying. Mastering the nuances of my disguise was even more important than our alien mission, even if I couldn’t yet admit that to Brett. Until Brett mastered his own Brett-suit, I couldn’t be certain that he was trustworthy.
“I can feel it,” Brett said to the top of the box. “Her beady little eyes. Like microbeads exfoliating my scalp.”
“Okay, okay, I get it,” I said as we parked to box beside the video display. “Settle down. We’ll kill the microbead industry too, while we’re here.”
We started loading the Sweatin’ to the Oldies tapes onto the display. I hesitated at first, my human brain meats twinging with the memory that the tape cartridges were now empty. Then I remember the store’s no-returns policy and set to work shelving those tapes with a will.
Twelve hours later, we’d finished.
“Let’s go buy a kale smoothie,” said Brett.
The wind whispered through the dark, empty trees like a warning in a foreign language. Winter was coming, and with winter would come our inevitable victory over this inferior meat-based race and its incomprehensible voting systems.
This nonsense brought to you by coffee. Buy me one and keep the story going.