The miserable specimen of a husband didn’t even look up when she said she was going out to get some cigarettes.
She rolled back into the street and turned the radio up loud. Mr Chips folded back his ears and pressed against the windshield. She braked for a moment, stroked Mr Chips, then pushed the gas pedal to the floor. The car shuddered, bucked, backfired, nearly expired, and lurched around a corner.
Marylou was breaking it off with the human race once and for all, leaving the whole miserable lot for good, and this time for real. The whole thing had been a mistake from the start, an ill-conceived mission to gather data about evolutionary dead-ends. High time to drive out into the desert where she’d been deposited so many years ago–thirty-five, not that there was any point in counting since no one had ever given a cold crap about her birthday or bothered to determine its exact date–to meet the Mother Ship and shake off the dust of this wreck of a planet.
She’d already loaded the ’96 Buick Century with her go-bag and a variety of human cultural artifacts (including the Twilight series in paperback and a collection of scratched CDs by the Go-Go’s and Philip Glass), all the while nursing hopes that no well-meaning friend or distraught lover or stymied therapist would ever again tell her (because she’d heard it all before) that she was talking too fast, drinking and smoking too much, fucking too many strangers, driving too recklessly, and laughing too loudly at the wrong time and basically, if you wanted to get to the heart of it, feeling too goddamn much when she wasn’t feeling nothing at all. Her brain hurt, really, when she even thought about it.
She’d left her so-called husband on the couch watching a Super Bowl half-time performance by some kinky little biped in spandex tights. He’d had his head so far buried in televised tits that he hadn’t noticed her going in and out of the house to load the car during the second quarter, taking breaks only to peek into the living room for a glimpse of Aaron Rodgers, the only human being (certainly the only NFL quarterback) worth half a rat’s turd, from what she could tell.
The miserable specimen of a husband didn’t even look up when she said she was going out to get some cigarettes. It served the son-of-a-bitch right to make his own damn supper, or at least reheat last night’s leftover tuna casserole, and then spend the rest of his allotted lifespan drinking beer with his knuckle-dragging buddies (nothing against apes, who seemed cognitively advanced, relative to humans, and until sexual maturity, quite congenial). Served him right to be shit-out-of-luck in the relationship department. The human race didn’t need the likes of him reproducing anyway.
She stood beside the Century with Mr Chips dangling from her left hand by the scruff of his neck, mewling like nobody’s business and scratching her bare thighs with his ragged claws. Mr Chips sensed big things afoot, and he tended to be a skittish cat just anyway, probably from putting up with years of that no-account asshole’s nerve-fraying ruckus – the endless noise of everything from the Arizona Cardinals games to Mad Men reruns to Metallica’s Death Magnetic to X-rated video games that (he claimed) might get her in right mood if she’d just let go of the wrong one, whatever the hell that meant.
“We’re just like Noah taking off in the ark, Mr Chips,” Marylou said, pushing the cat through an open window into the Century. Mr Chips peered over the edge of the seat at a fishbowl near the brake pedal. “I wanted to bring the best specimens home, sweetie, and only you and Lady Gaga made the cut. No point overloading the car with two of everything from this ass-sucking clod of dirt.”
Mr Chips leapt onto the dashboard and angled himself into the space beneath the windshield. Marylou studied his muddy paws and the tufts of black hair at the base of his ears, blew him a kiss and took a step away from the car to kick a patch of rust at the bottom of the driver’s door.
“Only got one more trip ahead of us, you creaky piece of junk. Just got to get us beyond Gates Pass. Don’t let me down, now.” She slid into the driver’s seat and placed her feet on either side of the fishbowl. “Don’t you worry, Lady Gaga. I got it all under control. In an hour or so, we’re leaving this shit-can of a car in the desert and heading to Q System.”
Marylou turned the ignition key and the engine struggled to life. She reached between her legs and tapped Lady Gaga’s bowl. “You’ll be perking up once the Mother Ship gets escape velocity. Q System’s just north of the Big Dipper, and if you want, we’ll stop on our way home and let you take a swim in it. It’s one big floating fish bowl in outer space, Lady Gaga. You’re gonna have stars and planets to swim around instead of your dumb castle, Mr Chips is gonna get some cosmic catnip, and we’re all gonna be happy for a change.”