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Story 6

Libby A. Smith

Libby A. Smith is a two-time winner of the Little Rock Free Press' Literary Contest. Besides writing, she is also a movie and stage actor in the Little Rock area, including three appearances with The Weekend Theater and La Petite Roche productions of "The Rocky Horror Show."

By day, she is an administrative assistant for the state of Arkansas. She lives in Little Rock with her three cats, where she's a member of the Central Arkansas Speculative Fiction Writers Group.

Other stories have appeared in Caliber Comic's "Negative Burn" and "Dominique: Protect and Serve," Hanthercraft Publications' "Tandra" and "Dragonroc" universe comics and website, and Shanda Fantasy Art's "Atomic Mouse." 

She also adapted The Rainbow Bridge story to poetry form for counted cross stitch designer Sue Hillis' design "The Story of the Rainbow Bridge."

When I asked Libby how she would classify The Newcomers she said, "Let's call it country sci fi." That works for us. Suffice it to say any alien should think twice before messing with Miss Bea's Pyrex cookware.


By Libby A. Smith

“Good grief, Vern, wipe those dirty boots off before you come a storming in on my clean floor,” Bea demanded.  She wiped her hands on the apron she perpetually wore during waking hours.

                “Miss Bea, I’m sorry but it’s those newcomers….”

                “I don’t care! Go back out onto the back porch and wipe your feet.”  She pointed her right index finger at him, then at the door. He muttered some not so fit-for-mixed-company words under his breath, before going back out the kitchen door. She could hear his feet scrapping across the mat.

                Bea found the newcomers pleasant folk.  Certainly more so than the flatlanders who came up the mountain demanding songs be sang over and over into highfalutin recording thingamajigs with wax cylinders, family lineages be detailed in little black notebooks, and moonshine recipes divulged.  Fact was, these small, thin, gray people kept quiet.  They never asked a question or made a noise at all.  Yet it was easy to figure what they wanted seeing as it just sort of popped into a body’s mind.

                Not everyone had taken as kindly to them as Bea.  She couldn’t rightly blame Constable Vernon Cotton for being a little on the suspicious side.  They’d landed smack dab on his outhouse a few Sundays before, flattening it along with the chicken coup.  Seeing as neither Vern nor the chickens were in residence at the time, Bea figured, “No harm, no fowl.”

                Vernon, however, being a man, just couldn’t get over the loss of the privy.  He’d gone so far as to round up a posse armed with shotguns, pellet guns, and Marcellus’ great-great-grandfather’s flintlock.  Never had Bea set her eyes upon such an unthreatening looking group of sons-of-guns in her eighty some odd years.

                Vern came back in a much more civilized manner even if the fire in his eyes betrayed his real feelings.  “As I was trying to explain...”

                “Cap off, young man!”

                He yanked the hat off his head with one hand, running the other across his balding head.  “Dang it, Miss Bea!  Those newcomers are all heading back into that flying ship monstrosity!”

                “And what business is it of ours?  Ain’t no law saying they can’t all go back into their own home, get a little shut eye.”

                “Their home is sitting on my outhouse!  Smashed my chicken coup to smithereens and then some.”

                “Then maybe it’s time you invested in some of that indoor plumbing, Constable.  And you haven’t had so much as a laying hen since you started calling on the Widow Hopkins ten years ago.  Fact is, you ought to get hitched to her while you are both spry enough to get up to marital antics,” Bea said.

                Vern grunted in aggravation, pulling a chair out from the worn, handmade wooden table, plopping down heavily.  “Those newcomers from God knows where in the sky appear to be about to fly the coup!”

                “You’ve had it in for those poor fellows, or gals, or whatever they are since they came.”  Bea took a cup from her cabinet, pouring coffee from the pot always warming on her wood stove.  “Fact is, the Good Book says something about entertaining strangers for they might just be angels from on high.  Seeing as that flying contraption came down from the sky, and that one fellow, or gal, took such great interest in the church choir last Sunday, I’m thinking they might be just that, angels.”

                “Those creatures aren’t angels, Miss Bea.” Vern took the offered cup, sitting it down without taking a sip as he stood.  “Those are aliens!  I saw a picture show when I was in Little Rock a few years ago about how they come here wanting to invade to take our water and women folk.”

                “Aliens? Could be.  The choir thing didn’t work out so well, seeing as they don’t seem to be able to make a sound. Never seen the choir director so flustered and he’s the easily flustered kind.  I do reckon the preacher was right when he said it improved our soprano section.  As for evil, judge not!  You saw how much they love my macaroni and cheese.  Gobbled it right up like a drunk with a bottle of moonshine on a Saturday night.  Did you know I made them a special batch?  Delivered it right up to that ship.  Even put it in my good Pyrex covered dish my Ma left me when she passed on to Glory.  Of course, I showed them how my name was painted on the bottom so they’d know to return it to me.  Figured they might not know proper covered-dish etiquette.”

                “That’s just it, Miss Bea, they’re taking things, not returning them.” Vern put his cap back on, then rested his hand on the pistol he always carried at his side.  “I got suspicious when I spotted one carrying Bob’s still right out of the woods right up the ramp into that oversized flying contraption.  One had a load of books from the schoolhouse.  The laundry from Eliza… I mean Widow Hopkin’s line.  They even managed to get the cross off the top of the Good Living Gospel of Jesus Church.  A regular parade of thievery.  I tried grabbing one of them when it ignored me, asking what was going on. Pulled right out of my grasp!”

                “You saying they’re collecting things?”

                “Yep. Just like those flatlanders up here two summers ago did, only those folks spoke out loud and offered us cash for what they took.  I doubt you’ll be getting that dish back.”

                Bea ran into her living room, yanking her late Daddy’s hunting rifle from its resting place above the mantle and extra cartridges from their hiding place behind a sofa cushion.  Without so much as pausing, she rushed past Vern.  “What ya waiting for? Ain’t no excuse for not returning a covered dish when a lady’s taken the time to paint her name on the bottom!”

-The End-

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