Sunday, April 7, 2013

The door chimed with a lilt, a lisp. The night clerk looked up, thick bone ridges instead of eyebrows and hollow cheeks that twitched: a smile.

"Hello." He said to The Octopus. "Haven't seen your kind around here in a while."

"My kind?"

"Sure."

"Sure what?"

"Sure, yes, your kind. Your other worldly, universe tromping kind." The man leaned back, head resting on hands, the knuckles of which: resting on nicotine color wall paper, peeling at the seams. "You're pretty good, most people either don't see you or pass you off as a person, eh?"

"Yes. Except Todd."

"He your driver?"

"Friend."

"Sure, sure." The man's teeth were like the wallpaper. "Friend, eh? How long you known him?"

The Octopus blinked.

They stared quietly at each other for a while. The Octopus moved up to the counter and stretched, slid its body onto the counter, assiduously avoiding the ornate attention bell. The Octopus signed, very slowly: No trouble, please.

The clerk laughed, a phlegmy, oily sound. "You gonna threaten me, boy?"

The Octopus laughed, its beak scratching against the counter's plastic top. "No." it signed. "No treats."

"You missed an "H" in there."

"No."

"Oh."

"Yes." The Octopus was on the night clerk, three arms wrapped around his wiry throat, another two arms each wrapped around the man's. The last arm poked the night clerk in the eye. "No struggling." The Octopus clumsily signed. It continued: No fighting. No tasting. No licking. No penetrating. No invasions. Nod if understood.

Very slowly, the night clerk nodded.