Shock of the Other by
127,000 miles beyond Earths lunar orbit, outbound along home system interplanet shipping lane 27-342-D
The night had passed quietly enough. Every night passed quietly aboard the Valdosta Star. The Val-Star, as she was known, was a pregnant-looking intersystem freighter that made the Europa run from Earth twice a year. Her crew were mainly young, eager shipmates who signed on just to log the hours. Hours that would lead to better ships and farther distances. Distances to the edges of the known space, maybe beyond.
Her skipper was beyond all of that. Beyond caring about adventure since he once had all the adventure one could want in a lifetime. Beyond wanting to see the unknown since he had seen it years ago when he too had shipped out on the deep-space transports. Now older, tired, and much too fat to fit into those suspended animation tubes, all he wanted was an easy run to make enough to retire. Just to retire and get away from all these...
Captain! Temporal event dead ahead! We have a shear, sir! TEMPORAL SHEAR!!
The sudden appearance of a wormhole almost right on top of the ship flung the giant behemoth to the side like a toy! Just as the rift flashed, the Captain was amazed to see something amazing shoot out of the it like a rifle bullet! That something flashed past the bridge window, just missing a collision with the Val-Star! It looked, for all the world, like a blonde woman dressed in one of those SuperGirl costumes with her arms and legs wrapped around a man whose clothes were on fire! It looked like she was having sex with him! As the sight receded into the darkness of space, the Captain swore he saw something flailing a lot of arms through a small window in a large pod on the mans back! As quickly as it had appeared, it was gone. Silence returned to the bridge of the Val-Star until the First Officer leaned over to murmur to the Captain.
How would you like to log that, Captain. The Captain was still looking out the port window with his mouth open when the seriousness of the question sunk in. He cleared his throat nervously, straightened his uniform, and took the pen to make the entry himself.
Monotony broken, 1543 hours. Entertainment unusual.
I will retire upon first planetfall, with drunken intentions.
Traversing the Solar System on course for the outer planets
William was extremely upset! Right in the middle of the passage, Lillith decided that she simply had to make love. Try as he might, she would not take no for an answer! What was with her lately? This isnt like her! Well, a little, but not like this! And shes just getting worse! His thoughts were disturbed by a small asteroid that shattered as they impacted it squarely. Phil must be having fits! Why isnt Lillith flying properly? Shes just letting us carry on in the direction we left the wormhole, hitting whatever gets in our way! Was that a ship back there? Damn! Shes got me in a vise with those legs of hers! I wish I could speak, Id give her hell for this!
As if waking from a dream, Lillith suddenly released William. Their momentum continued to carry them away from their intended direction. For a moment, she seemed confused, but soon took him by the hand and swung around to head straight for Earth. Glancing nervously back at him, she saw his confused and somewhat angry expression. She could only mouth the word Sorry and smile her best I-know-I-did-something-bad smile. That always made William smile back, it was just too silly to see her do that. It worked this time as well.
They flew past the Earths moon closely and so rapidly that it gave William a bit of vertigo to see the surface pull away like that. He had to look up and focus on the Earth ahead to get rid of that terrible feeling of disorientation. As it faded, other, more personal feelings began to replace it.
He was coming home.
Grant Park, Chicago, Illinois
The bandshell area always looked like a dump after a summer Sunday night concert. If there was a market for wax paper with ketchup and mustard smeared on it, not to mention the cola cups all over, then Sheila would be the richest woman in the city. No more living down on 35th St., off State. No more of that! Shed move up to the North Side, where the money is! But today, she had work and the trash barrels filled quickly.
Hearing a slight whoosh overhead, she looked up in time to see a white woman dressed in a skimpy blue bathing suit and a red cape settle to the ground holding a large man in her arms. The man was wearing nothing more than a few ashes. Ashes dont cover much.
Oooooo! Hey, honey! Better tell Nature Boy to cover that bad thang up! The Man dont let nothin that badnnasty hang out roun here, hear what ahm sayin? Shielas head bobbed from side to side in a motion unique to her lavish and expressive culture as she reproached the newcomers through a broad, gleaming smile.
Lillith was a bit startled by the loud voice from the boisterous black woman. Sheila laughed and waved her arms continuously to tell the couple how much trouble they were in, even though Shiela made it plain that she personally didnt care. If fact, she explained, she just might join them! Hell, the whole city should get naked!
William waved meekly to her as he struggled to get the container open. Phil must not have much air left in there! He must be frightened and cold! They had to get him out! Besides, Williams other pair of pants were in there. The hatch creaked and finally gave way.
There was no immediate movement as William called frantically into the cylinder. Finally, a small fuzzy head appeared and tentatively looked out.
Sir? Is this Earth?
What? Yeah. Yeah! Were here! You okay? I was worr...
Phil sprang out of the pod and scampered wildly toward a set of bushes on the side of the bandshell. William and Lillith only looked at each other in surprise.
Ooooo! You gots a puppy withcha too! Yall clean up his messin now! I aint gonna pick up no puppy poop!
As William dug through the container for his pants, Lillith raised her hand in an effort to reassure Sheila that no puppies were present.
No, no, its okay! Hes a Tetrite!
Honey, I dont care if he a Mason or not! He poop them shrubs, you be fillin this baggy your own damn self!
Lillith was speechless as she accepted a small white plastic baggy from Shiela. William hopped on one leg twice, tripped, and fell down as he struggled to get his jeans on. Phil peed contentedly in the bushes.
The entourage from Tetra had arrived on Earth.
Walking west on Monroe St., crossing State Street
Traffic was backed up for blocks. Crowds were forming on already crowded streets. The focus of their curiosity was a beautiful blonde woman, a barefoot and shirtless man, and a large fuzzy brown creature with five legs and a need to greet everyone in sight.
Willm, isnt it beautiful downtown! I love the sights!
Honey, we ARE the sights! Dont you think it would be better if we flew?
Oh, no! This is ...Hi!...This is wonderful! Oh look! A baby! Teekoo, teekoo! As Lillith koochie-kooed an unamused infant in a stroller, William closed his eyes momentarily and shook his head in wonder. What the hell have we gotten ourselves into?
A sudden burst of crowd noise behind him was an immediate reminder that Phil was on the ground. That thought caused him to be concerned that Phil might be stepped on in this crowd. William was surprised to see everyone pulling back away from Phil. In fact, he was scaring the hell out of most of the people!
Phil! You alright back there? Wanta ride a bit? William slapped his shoulder.
Oh, no sir! This is quite worthwhile! So many wonderful Terrans! Where do they all come from?
Is that yet another planet, sir?
William smiled. You catch on fast, Phil.
A young boy in the crowd suddenly made himself be heard.
I bet he eats people and spits out their bowels! William froze in his tracks.
Learned a new word today, kid?
An older woman called out. What kind of dog is that?
William yelled back as more people started to shout questions. Hes not a dog! Hes a Tetrite! That was the last word the crowd allowed him to say.
What he say?
He said thats right!
Does he bite?
He eats bowels!
How did you train him to talk?
Dont touch it! It might have rabids!
Yeah, thats what I said!
How the hell does he get away with no leash! Wheres a cop!
Somebody called the cops?
Did you steal it?
I heard they got it from Lincoln Park! Yeah, on the news!
They stole it from Lincoln Park!
Venezulian Sloth...or something.
Its wild! Look out!
People started to panic as the fear spread that Phil would suddenly attack. The confused Tetrite stood alone in the middle of the sidewalk watching people pull back to get away from him. Some folks threw whatever they could get their hands on. Some threw to warn him away from themselves. Others, tried to see if they could kill it. William intercepted a large piece of curb directly over Phils head. William had seen enough!
Thats it! Phil! Come on! Phil scampered up William and held on to his shoulder. William ran the half-block distance to catch up with Lillith, who was still blissfully enjoying the city sights. Grabbing her suddenly by the arm, he motioned with his hand and firmly said Up! She didnt know why, but she saw he meant it. A quick nod, an arm around him, and they were in the air, rising high above the crowd.
Whats the problem, darling?
The people werent dealing well with Phil, Lillith. I had to get him out of there.
Phil looked down at the crowd. Sir, there was so much speculation. Why did they not simply converse with me. I would have been very glad indeed to do so.
I guess youre too different, Phil. Its much too much work to actually try to understand something new. Much easier to just guess a bit and call it a day.
That is true, sir. They must be very busy and efficient beings!
William cast a sideways glance to Lillith. Yeah, Phil. Very busy. Very efficient.
The visitors continued down Monroe to the Chicago River where Lillith turned sharply north. William suddenly realized that he had no idea where they were going.
Lillith, whats the deal?
Where are we going?
Wha? How do you know about the Palmer House?
I have friends there.
William stared silently at Lillith for a moment before he turned to Phil.
She has friends there.
She makes new friends quite easily, sir.
Turning back to Lillith, William spoke suspiciously.
Makes friends easily.
Lillith shrugged and smiled her sweetest smile of innocence.
The sidewalk outside the entrance to the Palmer House Hotel
Most people scattered as Lillith descended to the surface. Almost immediately, a thin man in a red uniform came out of the hotel entrance and embraced Lillith.
Miss Lillith! How good to see you once again! I saw you come down! You caused quite a stir in the Loop this morning! I heard all about it on the radio! Will you be staying with us again this time? William shook his head. They had no money.
Yes, Jonathan, wed love to. William slumped. Id like you to meet my mate, Willm. Willm, Jonathan. And this is Phil. Hes a Tetrite.
Tetra? You havent heard of Tetra? Well, hes from there. Where can we get some seaweed? William stepped in.
Excuse me, Jonathan. Family discussion time.
William took Lillith by the arm and led her a few steps away. Jonathan looked down curiously at Phil as the Tetrite waved an enthusiastic greeting in return.
Lillith, we cant afford to stay at the Palmer House! Hell, we cant afford to stay anywhere! We have no money!
I have money...somewhere.
Money? What money? How much money?
I dunno. Lots, I think.
Lots you think? Look honey, I brought along the money I had on me when I first crashed on Tetra. See? Fifty-seven dollars, but that wont buy us a night in the Palmer House. Lets call Aunt Laurie and see if shell put us up.
Lillith shook her head. No, honey. Ill just talk to Cecil!
Cecil? Who the hell is...
Lillith spun back to Jonathan who was engaged in an animated conversation with Phil about crickets in the rooms.
Jonathan? Is Cecil around? I dont see his box.
We had to move it down the street just a bit, Miss Lillith. But hes spending more time with us these days.
Thats good to hear! Will you tell him Im here?
Certainly! Hell be soooo glad to see you again! Jonathan excused himself and stepped back into the hotel. William mimicked his last sentence with the appropriate whining.
...soooooo glad to see you again! Lillith, who the hell is Cecil?
Hes an old friend that I helped out one time. Lillith suddenly appeared preoccupied with Williams chest. You know your pecs are getting bigger, honey? I like that! Her hands circled his chest slowly until her thumbs flicked his nipples. It made him jump.
Cut that out! Why do we have to see Cecil?
To get help with money. Cecil always helps with that. Lillith looked down Williams body as her voice grew warm. Do you know only your jeans keep you from being naked and I could rip them off of you in the blink of an eye? Lillith was starting to press her body firmly against his. William backed into a newspaper vending machine.
No, Lillith! Not here! Not on the street! Wait until were alone somewhere!
Where? Her hands flowed over his body faster and faster.
I dont know! But not here!
Heres nice. Are you becoming shy? You never were before.
Cabs were honking their horns in appreciation as Lillith moved her hips suggestively. William had already turned every shade of red. He was now working through the purples. Phil! Whats going on? Why is she doing this! William was starting to get panicky.
I dont know sir. She does seem to be quite motivated!
Taye! I am so motivated! Lillith was holding William off the ground by his hips as she rubbed his body up and down against hers. Somewhere up the street, someone smashed their car into the rear of another. Suddenly, a squeaky, elderly voice shrieked from the hotel entrance.
Theres my space girl Lilly!
Lillith immediately let William go and bounded like a schoolgirl toward the voice. As William crashed noisily on top of the newspaper vending machines, Lillith embraced an old, short, bald man with bad teeth. It was Cecil.
Cecil! How are you! Oooo, its so good to see you!
William mumbled under his breath as he climbed out of the wreckage of the metal newspaper boxes. Uncle Cecil. How nice.
Cecil and Lillith stopped hugging long enough for Cecil to see William brushing himself off.
Thats my mate, Cecil. Hes Willm!
Hello, Bill. Whaddya say?
I say..... hello Cecil.
As if William wasnt there, Cecil turned serious for a moment and lowered his voice to Lillith.
How does he treat you, Lilly? Is he good to you?
Lillith shrugged as if she were bored. Mmm, yeah. William couldnt believe she said it like that!
Cecil continued with his serious questions.
How about sex-sex, Lilly? You a happy girl? Hm? Good boom-boom?
Again Lillith shrugged without enthusiasm. Mmmm, I guess. William almost levitated off the ground.
Cecil flung a hand in the air to wave William away.
Just making sure my Lillys happy, young man. The tiny old man wagged a bony finger up at Williams face. Dont let me hear about you giving her any trouble or youll have all the trouble you can deal with from ME!
William felt completely powerless to do or say anything to the diminutive codger barking at him. In exasperation, he could only look down to the ground, waiting patiently for the lecture to end. Finally, Cecil turned and lumbered back over to a grinning Lillith.
Come on here, Lilly. Lets get you all settled into your suite. They still have your usual place all ready for you. Do you know they actually tried to let someone else in there last year during some damn trade show at McCormick Place! I told Jonathan hell no!, thats what I said. We pay them good money and nobody uses that suite except my good girl, Lilly! And thats that!
Lillith smiled and blushed behind her shoulder as William and Phil looked on in amazement. As Cecil led Lillith toward the hotel entrance, he cast an eye back at William to see if he was following. He was.
Whoa, Lil Abner! This hotel wants shoes and shirt or no service! You wait here with your dog. Cecil put his arm around Lilliths waist as he escorted her back into the hotel. William simply sat down on a bent Tribune box and sighed. Phil joined him.
You must be very pleased to be back on your home planet, sir! Do you plan to show the Mistress around the city soon? William shrugged and sounded very disgruntled.
Suddenly, Lillith came running back out of the hotel. Bending at the waist and holding his face in her hands, she firmly kissed him. The kiss was deep, long, and wonderful. Releasing his lips from the heaven of her own, her smile beamed brightly.
Ill see you upstairs, darling. Get the key at the front desk. Cecil wants to show me something, so Ill see you later. Love you! A final kiss and she bounded back into the hotel. William was starting to feel like events were completely out of his control. It was then that Phil clarified the situation for him.
Events seem to be very much out of your control, sir. Perhaps a reasonable plan of action would be to wait here to see what occurs next.
William nodded. Yeah, I guess. He sighed heavily and turned to watch the traffic, resigned to the situation. He didnt have long to do so before Jonathan shuffled up to him loaded with shoes and shirts of various description.
Miss Lillith insisted that you have a wide choice, sir. I could only guess at sizes. Is there anything here that suits you?
William spotted a pair of brown leather loafers that looked nice. Let me try those, Jonathan. Thanks.
Jonathan waited patiently while William tried on the shoes. It seemed like a good time for some questions.
Hey, Jonathan. Whos this Cecil guy and whats the deal with him and Lillith? William was having trouble getting the shoe over his heel without a shoehorn.
Oh, Cecil used to live on the street. Years ago he lost his entire family in a car wreck. He blamed himself. Used to be a big-wig investment banker way back when. Then the crash and he let every...dont force the shoe, sir. Its not the right size. Try this pair. Anyway, after the crash, he didnt care about anything anymore. Let it all go. Ended up on the street. He used to sleep in the alcove by the alleyway, right over there. Then, a few years ago, Miss Lillith and Miss Kara, thats her sister...
Yeah, I know.
Yes, well, they were walking down the street right here when Mister Cecil tried to kill himself by laying in the road at night. At least I think he was trying to kill himself. He never said. So, anyway, this big ol bread truck turns the corner and doesnt see him laying there. But Miss Lillith did. She grabbed that truck and just lifted it right over Mister Cecil. Her sister, Miss Kara was very upset with her. Something about non-interference with the species? You ever hear about that?
Yep. Its one of their rules.
Oh, that makes sense, I guess. So, Mister Cecil opens his eyes and first thing he sees is Miss Lillith bending down over him. Well, I dont know but Im told Miss Lillith looks sort of like Mister Cecils dead daughter, so he takes to her right away. She picks him up and takes him back to his box, you know? And then she gives him one of the Powerball lotto tickets that she and Miss Kara had bought earlier that day for fun. Told him it might just be lucky. Well, guess what. That ticket came in! It was the only winning ticket! Mister Cecil won millions! Phil interrupted.
Excuse me, sir. What is Powerball?
William answered. Powerball is just a lottery run by a group of states, Phil. The pot gets very big that way.
Its the numbers game, only legal.
I see. So Mister Cecil correctly surmised the numeric values and was given a large prize for doing so.
Phil scratched an itch as he thought about the reasons for doing such a thing. Jonathan continued as William tried on the last pair of shoes.
Well, Mister Cecil, he remembers what Miss Lillith did for him and he wouldnt spend a penny until she came back. When she did, he told her all about it and he wants her to have half of it all. She doesnt want any of it. You know, sir, I dont think Miss Lillith knows what money can be used for. So anyway, Mister Cecil finally talks her into taking a third. He took another third and the last third he gave to some charity of the homeless.
William finally found a pair of shoes that would fit. He picked out a stripped shirt and tried it on too.
So, tell me Jonathan. How much did Cecil and Lillith win?
Each third was forty-seven million, after taxes. The shirt was suddenly shredded.
Forty-seven MILLION? Jonathan held out another shirt for the bug-eyed William to try on. Phil noticed that William was responding curiously to the news.
Is that a great deal of money, sir?
Yes, Phil, thats a VERY great deal of money. Jonathan wasnt finished.
Well, youll love this part. Cecil, you remember that I told you he was an investment banker? Well, he turns around and invests it for Miss Lillith and himself. And hes done verrrrry well with that money.
William closed his eyes in anticipation. Okay, Jonathan. How well?
Jonathan leaned closer and lowered his voice. Well, Mister Cecil wont say, but the word in the hotel is that theyre both worth over three-hundred million dollars!
William sat down slowly and stared into the distance as Jonathan held out a long strip of leather with a bright brass buckle on one end.
Would you like a belt, sir?
William nodded slowly as he continued to stare at nothing.
Yeah, a good stiff one.
William and Phil moved through the entrance to the Palmer House and entered the great main lobby. Phil slowed to a stop immediately as he looked up at the looming ornate ceiling. He was stunned to see the intricate golden columns, the exquisite carpet, the stylish furnishings, and the artistic lighting that gave it all a rich, luxurious hue. The entire majestic ambiance bombarded his senses and left him unable to even move. William, suddenly alone, looked back and returned to the dazzled Tetrite. In all the excitement, William had forgotten that this visitor from another world might never have seen something like this.
What do you think, Phil? Do you like it?
Awe filled the little Tetrites voice. Oh, sir! What a wonderful species that is capable of such creativity! Do they do such things to please their god?
No, Phil. They do such things to please themselves.
William led Phil down the stairs into the central lobby. Phil turned his head constantly to take it all in. He was overwhelmed by it all. As they passed an elderly lady sitting quietly in a chair, she looked up from behind her magazine in time for Phil to speak to her.
You are a marvelous species!
Without showing any more expression than a slight smile, the stately lady responded with calm elegance.
Thank you. We try.
She returned to her magazine in silence.
William and Phil walked slowly into the room as four porters struggled with the Arion container.
Better set that on the floor, guys. I dont think the furniture is going to handle it. All four gladly set it down, stretched their aching backs, and put their hands out. William fumbled through his old crumpled bills and handed over a single ten. Split it up, guys. Thanks. Four faces contorted as they did the division of four into ten. Even William knew it wouldnt work. He tipped a second ten which brought smiles all around. They each thanked him, wished him a pleasant stay, and left. William replace the remaining thirty-seven dollars into his pocket and sighed.
Phil was exploring the new habitat and trundled by an ominous, dark chamber that caught his attention. He peered into the darkness, but could make out little detail. A challenge!
Sir, what chamber is this?
William didnt even have to look up. Thats the bathroom, Phil. Want to check it out?
That would be pleasant, sir!
William stepped around Phil and flipped the light switch up. Immediately, Phil saw a gleaming room filled with mirrors and shiny white formations of all kinds. Stepping forward into this amazing place, Phil touched the side of one of the structures. The stone was smooth, polished to an unbelievable finish! It must have taken true craftsmen decades to learn how to do such precision work! Polished steel mechanisms adorned every stone structure. It was time to investigate their function. The information would be most welcome!
William had just lifted the phone handset to call Aunt Laurie when he heard a voice.
Willm? Lilliths breathy voice came from the bedroom of the suite. William nearly jumped out of his new shoes when he heard her.
Honey? I though you were going to go with Cecil someplace. He set the handset down and walked into the bedroom. The huge bed was covered in pillows just like Lilliths old bed back on Tetra. Her foot dangled from under the pillows. William noticed that her slender toes were crossed.
Naye, I couldnt wait any longer! I had to come upstairs to you! Her voice sounded as if she was out of breath. The foot slid back under the pillows as the top of the mountain gave way to a rising blonde head. Lillith rose to her knees, brought her arms up to beckon William, wiggling her fingers. The look on her face was pure lust as her blue eyes burned with a fire William had never seen before. Her naked body seemed to shake slightly with a nervous tension as her breathing grew rapid.
William wasnt sure why she was in such a hurry, but at least they werent screwing on the newspaper boxes in the street! As he unbuttoned his shirt, he smiled with the knowledge that his lover wanted him. With one step, he was within reach of the young Velorian.
With blinding swiftness, Lillith grabbed the surprised man by the shirt and flung him on his back. She shredded every swatch of clothing off of his body with a wild desperation, almost grunting, as handfuls of shirt, jeans, and even socks were pulled away and discarded. Finally, having peeled him completely, Lilliths mouth fell open with a long sigh as she slid her body up and down the length of him, reveling in the contact of their bodies. William was astonished at how unusually hard every part of her felt! Her nipples were like granite! It convinced him that there was something very wrong here!
Lillith, .....wait a ......wait a minute... Lillith seemed to explode!
NO! She slapped away his hand that tried to push her back. Her breathing became nearly uncontrollable as she struggled to hold him down. Slipping his hard manhood into herself suddenly, she let out a moan that bordered on a scream! She had him now! Her sex clamped tightly around him as she humped, first slowly, then faster and faster. Ignoring his calls to her, holding him tighter with every move he made to get away, she stroked her captive lover intensely!
Between gasps, Lillith would shout out something in Velorian that made no sense at all to William. There was no lovemaking here, this was just screwing! Hard sex with no room for a tender moment! Lillith was brutally hard on him as her grip grew ever tighter. William could not move, could do nothing but submit to this treatment and hope that she wouldnt tighten her hold any further.
Lilliths hips moved so fast now, they were a blur! She seemed to be straining to reach some point of arousal that just eluded her no matter how hard she tried. The frustration came to the surface as she humped harder, squeezed tighter, and clenched her teeth from the strain. It was only a matter of a few seconds before William began to see stars. His pleas went unheeded and soon, as his vision narrowed to a small opening in a dark tunnel, his mind slipped into unconsciousness.
It was long minutes before Lillith noticed that Williams body had gone completely limp. A shock, as if from electricity, shot through her as she suddenly realized what she had done. Frantically, she called to William while tapping his cheek with her open hand. Tears streamed down her cheek when he did not respond.
Skietra! What have I done to you? Im so sorry, darling! Im so sorry! As she cried on his chest, William recovered and blinked his eyes open once again.
Lillith? His voice was weak, but had a powerful effect on her as her head came up with a start! Before he could say a word, Lillith framed his face with her hands and tried to explain.
Oh, darling, Im so sorry! I dont know why I did that. I really dont. Somethings wrong with me and I dont know what it is. I just get these feelings that come over me and all I can do is try to control them, but then they get stronger and stronger and I cant do anything to stop them and when youre here everything just gets crazy and I want to make love so bad and I do love you so much! I do love you, honey, I love you, love you, love you...
Peppering his face with quick kisses interspersed with love you... marked the return of the old Lillith. William sat up, a motion that did little to slow Lilliths kissing. She only wrapped her long legs around his waist so she could continue.
Lillith...<mmph> Lilliths head turned slowly as her tongue searched insistently in Williams mouth. Finally, he pulled back, ending the kiss.
Lillith, we are going to find out whats going on here. Youre just not yourself! Lillith buried her face in his neck as she moaned an embarrassed response.
I knoooooowwwww. It made William smile at how cute she could be.
Listen, kitten. Lets call Aunt Laurie and find out which hospital my brother is in. Okay?
....kay. Lillith didnt move.
Honest, kitten, lets get up now. Lillith snuggled, trying to hide a mischievous smile, but she still would not let him go.
Now William knew that all was back to normal. They did this just about every other morning back home. So he did what he always did when she would stall - he stood up anyway. Lillith remained wrapped around him. William knew she would soon tire of it and she did before he even reached the bedroom door. He kissed her once more as she stood before him.
Ill love you forever, kitten. Her smile back was big enough to scrunch her nose. Lillith adored hearing that. Now go get dressed while I call Laurie. A quick slap on her butt got her moving in the right direction with a playful squeal. William watched her exaggerated sexy walk for a few moments before stepping into the other room to find a telephone.
From the bathroom, the sound of repeated toilet flushing greeted William. With the bathroom door pulled closed, he first thought that Phil was using the toilet. But the flushing continued without stop!
Phil? Is there a problem in there?
Oh, no sir! Its really quite wonderful!
William wasnt sure what that meant. Phil, are you using the toilet?
There was a pause before he answered. I am not sure, sir.
William turned the knob and swung the door open. There, in the toilet bowl, was Phil. One of his legs reached up to the flushing handle. He appeared to be enjoying himself as he flushed the toilet again and again.
Oh, sir! This is really quite invigorating! What a wonderful bathing appliance! The quantity of water seems to be rather limited for each application of the control device, but the resulting cascading water refreshes one quite readily! Would we be able to obtain one of these appliances for use back on Tetra? Two more flushes marked the end of Phils short remarks.
William kneeled down beside the white porcelain toilet. He wasnt quite sure if he could keep a straight face for the time it would take him to say what he was about to say.
Um....Phil? Phil suddenly sensed a serious tone in Williams voice. He immediately stopped flushing the toilet and looked up at William. His dark beady eyes became concerned.
I, uh, I told you this was a bath room, didnt I.
Quite so, sir.
So you, naturally,...um...bathed.
Phil, I have to tell you something else about this room and, William tapped his finger on the side of the toilet, making Phils eyes look down at them, including this appliance as well. Phils eyes moved back up to William.
Lillith smoothed the clinging, blue summer dress with her hands as she walked out of the bedroom. She jumped at the sudden sound of a yelling Tetrite.
OH, MY GOODNESS!!!
Out of the bathroom tumbled Phil, shaking and spitting, wrapping himself in a large hotel towel. Behind him followed William, trying unsuccessfully to keep from laughing.
Phil! PHIL! Its okay, Phil! They clean them everyday and Lillith and I dont need it, so its probably just fine.
Phil peered out of the towel. Probably, sir? My goodness, how distasteful! Phil rolled in the towel again, trying desperately to get dry. William gathered him up and took him back into the bathroom.
Come on, Phil. Lets give you a bath in the proper bathtub. Youll feel better, guaranteed!
I would appreciate instruction on each of the appliance structures in this room, sir.
You got it, Phil. Lets see what we have to work with.
William opened each cabinet, looking for anything that would make Phils bath more pleasant. He suddenly found the Mother Load!
Oh, look, Phil! Mr. Bubble! What do you think?
I do not know the gentleman, sir. I can give you no opinion.
No, Phil, I mean do you want a bubble bath?
Phils head rotated, a sure sign of confusion. I have no bubbles to bathe, sir. Williams eyes narrowed. Sorry, sir. I truly did not understand the question. William nodded, lowered the seat and the lid on the toilet, and patted the top of the lid.
Sit up here, buddy, and Ill draw you a proper bath, courtesy of Mr. Bubble.
Phil climbed quickly up onto the toilet lid and regarded the smiling face on the box.
He does have a pleasant countenance, sir.
Okay, honey, Phils all settled in his bubble bath. You dont have a yellow rubber duck around here anywhere, do you? Might as well give him the full experience.
Lillith didnt even turn around as she continued to comb her long hair.
Second sink, left drawer, in the back. William swiveled immediately back to the bathroom.
Two squeaks made Phil look up from his pleasant cocoon of white bubbles. William set a small, yellow duck on the edge of the tub.
There you go, buddy!
Phil tapped the duck curiously. There I go how, sir?
To get the full Terran bathing experience, every bubble bath must be accompanied by an appropriate rubber duck. William turned and almost made it out the door before a calm question from Phil stopped him.
What purpose does this serve, sir? It is not sentient. It is an air-filled, artificial representation.
Its a bathing companion, Phil. Enjoy!
Phil squeaked the duck twice and looked back up at William. Most festive, sir. Thank you. He didnt sound enthusiastic. William smiled.
Try it again, Phil. Maybe itll grow on you.
As William left the room, Phil squeaked the duck repeatedly, trying hard to see the value in it.
William finally hung up the phone as Lillith unplugged the curling appliance with an exasperated flair. No matter how hard she tried, her invulnerable hair resisted all attempts to set a wave or curl in it. William couldnt understand why she even tried.
Lillith, your hair is perfect. Why bother?
I want to make it different, honey. Dont you think some curls would be cute right about here and here? Lillith was tinkering again. William stood behind her, looking at their reflection in the mirror. Drawing her hair gently back, he tried not to fix the problem, only join in the tinkering.
Those would, hon! Too bad about that curling thing. What do you think about braids or tails? Lillith jumped.
Oooo! A big woven braid would be cute with this dress! Would you do me?
William crossed two hair groups momentarily. Not sure I remember how to do this, honey. You better show me again.
Without a hint of complaint at having to repeat an old lesson, Lillith turned slightly to allow her to see better in the mirror and took Williams hands in hers to guide him. Within minutes, the old lesson was remembered completely and William was rapidly weaving a large braid that any Minnesota farmgirl would be proud to wear. Lillith seemed to almost purr under his touch as her eyes closed slightly while he worked. The silence lasted a while before she spoke.
So, where do we have to go, hon? Is your brother in the city?
He was. Laurie moved him up north to be closer to her. Hes in Lake Forest now.
Nope. About thirty or forty minutes if we drove. But we dont have anything to drive, so I guess we fly.
I have something to drive. William smiled at her mistake.
You do, eh. What would that be? As if she knew anything about driving!
Im not sure what it is. I only used it once. Do you know they have all kinds of rules here about that stuff? It was hard at first, but Cecil showed me all about it. He got me a....a.....diplo....um, automatic...
Yep! Diplomatic license! He took care of everything!
Good ol Cecil. William sounded just a tad annoyed, but Lillith missed that.
Yep! Good ol Cecil! Lets drive, honey. Its so much fun! I can call downstairs and ask Jonathan to pull it around to the front door for us!
William was really enjoying this! All right, honey, you do that. What on Earth would a Velorian from Tetra know about driving! This would be good, he thought. Finishing the braid, he let Lillith make her call.
Jonathan said about twenty minutes, Willm. We better get Phil out of the bathing enclosure. He might be hungry.
William was already heading to the bathroom and the almost constant squeaking.
Phil! PHIL! The squeaking stopped. Time to go. Lets rinse and dry, buddy.
Phil only announced that the duck was ineffective at enhancing the experience. William shrugged.
As William, Lillith, and Phil left the hotel, there was nothing parked at the curb except a couple of cabs. Lillith didnt seem upset at all, just curious as to why that was.
Maybe were too early, Willm. What does twenty minutes mean?
It means were flying up north, hon. Lets just take it slow so you dont get all messed up and... A sudden rumble from a nearby parking garage got Williams attention. He knew that sound. Almost immediately, Jonathan came down the ramp and parked directly in front of Lillith. It was a relatively new, bright yellow Harley-Davidson Millennium Classic Electra-Glide with the huge 150 cubic-inch Dreadnought engine. Jonathan seemed relieved to get off of it. Lillith bounced excitedly as she squeaked Isnt it cute?
As William stood silently by, Lillith removed the large trunk lid and handed it to Jonathan. Picking up Phil, she placed him into the trunk and patted his head. Phil looked over the edge of the trunk to the street, trying to judge the distance in case the urge to jump out became overwhelming. A pair of sleek sunglasses were retrieved from one of the saddlebags, along with a pair of black leather gloves. Once these were in place, Lillith slung her long leg over the idling machine, gave the throttle grip a couple of quick twists to rattle every window on the street, and smiled innocently at the still speechless William.
William slowly turned to Jonathan, his expression frozen in amazement. He almost sounded like he was pleading.
I want to go home now, Jonathan.
Dont we all, sir.
To be continued.....