by Anita Marie Moscoso
a story inspired by ‘The Grand Tour’ at the Soul Food Cafe:
Last Summer Mata Dark and her family took a vacation.
Mata was almost 20 at the time and during her entire twenty years of life none of the Dark Family had set foot off of the Olympic Mountain Range in Washington State. They had never traveled further then 40 miles away from their hometown of Leaning Birches.
It’s because Mata’s Father was a workaholic and he had this thing about being replaced. He was terrified of losing his job.
” Lord Derby, do you really believe there’s a line of people waiting for to take your job? ” Mata’s mom Rue screamed at the top of her lungs while waving around a bunch of travel pamphlets in her hand.
Mom had wanted a vacation in the worst way and she felt like if she didn’t get this trip she wouldn’t have the energy to fight for another.
Derby’s eyes crossed a little like they always do when he thinks to hard and finally he said, ” I’m sure there’s a few people who would love to do my job. And do you know what Rue? They’re probably a lot younger and smarter and quicker then me. Don’t ask me to take a chance on losing the only thing I’ve ever been good at in my life.”
Rue who’s eyes never crossed when she thought to hard lowered her voice and said ” Derby you are the hardest working man in town and you’ve earned a vacation. Promise me you’ll think about it.”
Derby who adored his wife and family as much as he adored his job gave in about a week after that argument. He came home one night from work and out of nowhere asked Rue would she mind if they took a road trip? He had a route and a destination picked out. He even had a leather folder that read “ USA TOURS” full of flyers, confirmation forms and event tickets.
The travel agent he had worked with in town had even got them t-shirts to wear.
Mata’s Mom looked through the folder and then she unfolded one of the T-Shirts and held it up. ” You’ve got to be kidding. ” was all she could think to say.
The shirt read:
” UFO PALOOZA 2006 “
Derby smiled and shook his head. ” Pack up, we leave at Dawn “
Mata’s brother 15-year-old brother Wilton not only wore the t-shirt the morning they left he went out to Joker’s Galore the night before and bought a set of ” Deeply Boppers” to wear on his head too.
The ” Deely Boppers ” were silver antenna with gold balls at the top that were the size of marbles. When you turned your head something in them shifted and made a crackling sound.
Mata took one long hard look at her brother, walked out the front door and then jumped on her motorcycle and rode at break neck speed into town and bought herself a set too.
Mata and her brother Wilton had agreed with each other sometime during that very long drive that if Mom said the words, ‘ UFO’s? Are you kidding me Derby UFO’s? Our one and only vacation as a family is to celebrate something that doesn’t exist?” one more time they were both going to jump out of the car and take their chances on the New Mexico Desert, the New Mexico Sun and until they decided it sounded like fun the mutants that were suppose to have been created by the first Atomic Test back in 1945.
” Hey Mom ” Wilton asked, ” do you think there really are Radioactive Mutants out here? “
” Well I haven’t seen any but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist…am I right Derby? “
Derby reached over and patted her shoulder and said, ” That’s the Spirit Querida “
The little town was almost full of people dressed up like aliens, there were also a lot of people not dressed like aliens and they all seemed to know a lot about space travel and where you could get ” Saucer Burgers “, ” Milkyway Meals ” and everyone wanted to know if you were able to get reservations to stay at the ” Station 51 Hotel “
Most of the Dark Family were secretly pleased they were staying at the ” Place to Be ” for the Festival but they kept it to themselves because of the look on Rue’s face.
Rue’s face was this mask; she looked like someone had attached strings to her eyebrows and yanked them straight up.
She had speechless since they arrived in town, which was actually a relief.
Finally she opened her mouth, breathed and said ” God in Heaven ” and then she went back to the hotel and ordered a blood red steak and drank Strawberry Margaritas until she couldn’t focus her eyes.
After that she went back out and joined her family.
Derby talked Rue into joining a UFO Watcher’s Group and by the time they got back from spending an evening learning to plot their own star charts and joined in on a few debates about the Roswell Incident and watched a video of a genuine Alien Autopsy it was obvious Rue was having a good time.
At least her eyebrows had gone back to their normal spot on her forehead and she had quit saying ” God in Heaven ” everytime someone walked by.
So it really turned out to be a good trip and on their last night Rue and Derby went out with some new friends to make arrangements to get together for next year’s festival and Mata and Wilton went shopping.
Mata and Wilton decided to go and pick up some souvenirs for their friends back home and they spent a lot of time talking to Mr. Fanshaw who ran the little Museum just around the street from the hotel.
They talked to Mr Fanshaw about their Mom and their Dad and their home back in Washington.
Mr Fanshaw, Mata and Wilton were pleased to discover knew all about Aliens and he also knew at least an hours worth of top drawer ghost stories and as he packed up Mata and Wilton’s purchases he asked, ” so tell me about your Mom, in the end she had a good time? Is she a believer now do you think? “
” Doubt it, ” Wilton said “she doesn’t have much going in the way of imagination.”
” Sorry to hear that…its a curse of the Modern Age ” Mr Fanshaw said sadly. Then he asked, “and what does she do for a living? “
” Homemaker, ” Mata told him ” she use to be a Phlebotomist. That’s how she met our Dad. See the offices she worked at used to get busted into and vandalized all of the time. One night she got attacked and our Dad actually saved her from being killed. They’ve been together ever since”
” And what does your Dad do? ” Mr Fanshaw asked.
” He’s a Vampire Hunter ” Wilton said from behind a stack of packages and then he and Mata thanked Mr Fanshaw for all of his time and as the two young people left the Museum Mr. Fanshaw heard Mata say ” hey Wilton we should talk to Dad about The Triangle for our next trip…”