A Cupcake a Day Keeps the Aliens Away

The ice cream slid off Colin Dunn’s cone and plopped into the sand when the first creature strode out of the surf.

His eyes bulged, and his jaw hung down to his chest. All around him, the unusually-warm British summer day continued as usual. Children laughed and played and threw balls and frisbees. Fathers lay and reddened to the shade of lobsters beneath the sun’s heat, cans of beer in hand. Mothers called and chirped and slathered small children head-to-toe in coatings of suncream. He continued to grip the empty cone, which crumbled within his ever-tightening clutch.

The tip of its head rose above the foam of a crested wave, and rivulets of brine trickled down its helmet. The face—or the place one should have been—came next into view. It had the texture of a metallic marble ball’s smooth, reflective surface. It might have been the helmet’s visor were it not for the fact that cheeks narrowed straight into an organic jaw. Thousands of tiny needle-like teeth lined the maw that curved from side to side like a jack-o’-lantern. One would have said the creature grinned from ear to ear, but the humanoid had no ears of which to speak.

It wore a puffy black-grey spacesuit, not too dissimilar to those of our astronauts. Two backpack-like straps folded over its shoulders. They met at the chest, where a small, coffin-shaped device blinked electronic eyes. Coiled wires and cables spun away from the gadget and disappeared into the straps.

If Colin had lived in a science fiction movie, the figure might have said I come in peace. But Colin lived in the real world. The being that lacked facial features above its mouth pointed its triple-barreled device. The bikini-clad woman with a bat and ball had time to shriek before a tongue of lightning lashed out. She exploded into a splattery cloud of red mist. Fine droplets of body-warm crimson rained down over the beachgoers.

Two more invaders emerged from the water. Mere seconds later, 17 more people had disintegrated. Body parts flew and cascaded over the sand and plopped into the brine. The focus of the blue-orange energy beam zipped and zapped, this way and that, across the idyllic scene.

Colin shifted his eyes to his potbelly bulging out over the top of his Speedos. He turned his gaze to his empty ice cream cone. Colin glanced back at the carnage around him—blood, guts, and gore. With its optical nerve trailing behind it like a tadpole’s tail, a single eyeball stared up at him from the sand. Granules stuck to the orb’s gooey surface.

It had arrived, his moment to shine. His opportunity to show them all the hero he could be. He would reveal the stuff of which he—Colin Dunn—was made. He narrowed his eyes and steeled his nerves. Colin sucked in a deep breath and sucked in his considerable gut. He planted one firm foot forward, shoulders square.

And then the tanned, muscular man next to him detonated.

He left behind a bloody patch of sand and Hawaiian swim shorts.

Colin squealed and threw the remnants of his ice cream cone into the air. Like a startled squid dispensing ink. He turned and dove for the shelter of an overturned deck chair. He landed on something soft and doughy, which turned out to be two similar gammon-faced men.

If Colin had confronted the strangers, he would have met a similar fate to the other victims. But instead, the one to approach happened to be a pigtailed little girl in a pink tutu swimsuit. Colin peered through the slats of the deckchair as the child marched towards them. His heart thudded in his chest.

The blonde girl waved both hands at the armed invaders. “STOP! STOP, STOP!” She spoke with the authority known only by tiny children and grown idiots.

And—miracle of miracles—they obeyed. They stood not much taller than the girl. With their visorless helmets, they waited like street hoodlums, weapons still in hand. But, for the time being, they stopped with their onslaught.

The child halted several feet away. She planted her fists on her hips and tilted her head. “Why are you doing this?”

The lead figure, gun still pointed outward, turned its head to one companion, and then to the other. The one shook its head. The other did that all-time favoured human expression—it shrugged. The leader returned its eyeless stare to the child.

A second passed by.

Two.

Three.

With its non-weapon-holding hand, it pressed something on its chest panel. When it spoke—with chitters and clicks—a robotic voice translated through a speaker.

“Human infant, what is wrong is being made right. The precarious dynamics of this precious pale blue dot are being disrupted by you humans. Your lot are reviled planet-wide.”

An adult might have blanked at a comment like that, but the girl wasted no time responding. “But you’ve only just gotten here! How can you know anything about us?”

“Incorrect, human infant. For quite some of your Earth time, your planet has been visited by us. The globe has been travelled, and many different species have been contacted. Some of the most intelligent life forms on the planet. Dolphins. Whales. Octopuses. Even less intelligent beings, such as sharks and fish, have been conferred with by our kind. The same thing about your sort has been said by all. A simple conclusion has been arrived at by us: kill on sight.”

Somewhere, not too far away, a dog issued a volley of barks. Someone shouted, “Cupcake! Cupcake! Stop! Stop! Bad dog, bad dog, bad—”

“Well, what did they say about us? In Miss Bishop’s class, we have two goldfish—Tom and Jerry—and they live a great life. In fact, Tom’s gotten rather chubby.”

The alien chittered its insectoid language once more. “They said that they are captured by you in their millions. They said they are consumed by you—sometimes whilst alive. They said that their habitats are ruined by your kind. Many things were said by them, human infant. Too many to describe, all awful.” It paused and then added: “And two fish is not a big enough sample size.”

“You spoke to them all?”

“Enough of them were spoken to.”

“Well, not every person eats live octopusses. I’ve never eated one.” The child shook her head. “Eaten one.”

“Irrelevant. Every species which has been contacted has only—”

CUPCAKE!

A woman in denim shorts and rollerblades staggered onto the scene. She clutched a red dog lead in a white-knuckle grip. At the end of the lead, pulled a small, black-and-white Boston terrier. The dog barked and struggled towards the meeting between the child and the visitors.

“Cup…” The woman gasped for breath. “…cake.” She collapsed face-first into the sand, the terrier’s leash still wound around one hand. The dog paid her unconscious owner no mind and advanced as far as the anchored lead would allow. She barked and jumped up at the leader of the trio.

The chief of the invaders pressed a button on its coffin-shaped chest piece. Cupcake, the Boston terrier, continued to bark. In Colin Dunn’s rapidly-crumbling mind, he could’ve sworn the alien listened to the animal.

The figure uttered its insectoid clicks, which translated into dog barks. When the noise came forth from the individual, Cupcake paused, and her ears pricked up. After that, the two conversed back and forth until the tiny child finally interrupted.

“What’re you guys saying? Dontcha know it’s rude to ignore someone?”

The chief tilted its head towards the girl. “Some excellent points have been made by Cupcake, defender of the humans. We have been informed by Cupcake of the good humans do for her species. And—though we are puzzled by these alliances—she told us of all that is done for their nemesis, the cat. This information must be communicated back to our commanders. There, it will be further debated by our most remarkable minds. If this information is verified, humans will be relegated from kill on sight status.”

The alien gestured to its compatriots, and the trio holstered their weapons. “Until we meet again, brave, foolish human infant.” Several dog barks came from its chest, and Cupcake barked back. The stranger made a curious sign with its three-fingered hand. And then it pressed a button and stuttered out of existence—with the other two—like old TV static.

All signs of them vanished from the beachfront. Only the many, many bloodstains across the sands indicated that they’d been there at all.

The little girl threw her hand up in the air and whooped. “We did it, Cupcake! Yay!”

Cupcake, the Boston terrier, grinned up at her.

And then the dog defecated in the sand.


Monday 16 January 2023

Written for the January 2023 #BlogBattle: Dynamic

12 thoughts on “A Cupcake a Day Keeps the Aliens Away

  1. Gary

    I’d say they had a fair conclusion on us Joshua. Really missed our banter and exchanges. Nice look to the new look website too. Had a bit of a revamp on mine too. Still a work in progress mind.

    Very “We come in peace, shoot to kill,” although I do believe there was a near reference to that somewhere! Love the concept of aliens with ranging universal translators too. I’m pretty sure pets would, mostly, be a tad bias though if said owner lined their pockets with treats.

    It had me thinking of Dr Who with John Pertwee (I think) with the sea devils emerging from the ocean. Not sure he was sporting speedos or ice cream cone relics mind.

    Imagine the potential for shark influxes pot tidal retreat too. Fair bit of chum to collect on the way out methinks.

    Enjoyable as always and a pleasure to see you dip back in.

    If you recall I had a hiatus a while back. Almost stopped writing then too.

    Happy New Year my writing amigo

    • Joshua G. J. Insole

      Thanks, Gary!

      It’s been nice to pop back in. I aim to poke my head in a bit more regularly this year.

      I’ve had this idea bouncing around my mind for a while now. What if aliens didn’t speak to us as first contact? What would the other species say about us? What conclusions would the visitors arrive at? Would any animals speak up for us? So I thought a return to BB would be a good place to play around with this notion.

      I look forward to reading your piece—it’s been far too long since I’ve delved into your many worlds!

      • Gary

        My pleasure Joshua. Like I said I’ve really missed our exchanges… but like good friends (I hope) we can drop straight back as if no time passed at all.

        What you said there is exactly how I ponder such too. In fact I explore it in the I Am Corona series. I think you might like that given what you said.

        I hope you can join in more too, no pressure of course. Well a bit haha

  2. aebranson

    Glad to see you back! Enjoyably twisted story as always, and hope they keep coming in the months ahead. The detail and gore were as I remembered, although with some amusement I first wondered if the bulging eyes and hanging jaw referred to the alien instead of Colin. 🙂 Your actual description of the alien(s) was quite vivid, and the coffin-shaped device on the chest was a nice touch of foreshadowing. Colin’s thought of revealing what stuff he was made of hinted dark humor – he was seeing too much of what everybody else was made of. I did sort of forget about him during the girl’s conversation with the alien, but he does add a comedic element. Also, I briefly thought the aliens might not really be aliens at all, but just underwater denizens who got fed up. But no, they were aliens. Entertaining yet again!

    • Joshua G. J. Insole

      Thanks, A.E.!

      Nice to see how you’re all doing. I like the idea of revealing what he is made of as he sees what everyone else is made of. I didn’t even consider that!

      Yes, I wanted him to be a bit of a comedic red herring. We think he’s going to be the hero, but no. So instead, a girl and a dog save the day for him.

      I look forward to having a read of your story soon!

  3. deteremineddespitewp

    Shrewdly told. The notion that aliens would be influenced by the tales from other inhabitants of this planet is an astute twist… we really don’t have a good track record do we? Also Colin as a generally hapless witness kind of sums up the situation.
    Small voluble dog and determined equally small girl. Defenders and Councils for the Defence of Humanity, I do like the concept.

    (Also brings back fond memories of reading ‘Strange Tales’ comics back in the early 60s. One story of an elderly short sighted lady scaring off a muscular reptilian alien scout because he noticed she was wearing the then common fox fur ruff -with head; he deduced she was a mighty warrior- so what were the rest like?)

    • Joshua G. J. Insole

      Thanks very much! Yeah, I was thinking in all of those old movies how lucky we were to be the first point of contact… As you say, we certainly don’t have a good track record! I think we all like to imagine we’d be the little girl, but I reckon I’d definitely be Colin in this situation.

      That story sounds marvellous, I’ll have to find a way to read Strange Tales online—it was a bit before my time!

      • deteremineddespitewp

        Yep. There are many Colins amongst us.

        I’ll have go looking through the various sites for that issue too. Ahh ,the days when Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko and Stan Lee were as gods to us born in the 1950s

  4. Sam "Goldie" Kirk

    Hi, Joshua! Popping in just to say hi or staying a bit longer with us this time around? Hope you’re staying golden.

    Your first sentence made me want to stop reading the story. Plopped ice cream? A HUGE tragedy. Not sure if I can recover. But I must read on. For ice cream justice!

    Wires and electronics in water? Takes courage!

    “And then the tanned, muscular man next to him detonated.” Amazing interjection. Too bad, though. I wanted to see what Colin wanted to do (i.e. hero stuff).

    What a fun idea for the story. The closing lines made me chuckle. Just perfect.

    • Joshua G. J. Insole

      Hi Sam! I’m doing well, I hope you are too! I think at the moment I’m just popping in. Life is a bit crazy at the moment! I do hope to return to BB in a bit more of a regular manner later on in the year once I’ve wrangled the wild horse that is my life!

      I know, I thought I’d start with a bang—or a plop. Glad you liked it! I’ll be reading your piece soon. 🙂

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