lan Bard of Nantucket was almost as well known as the man in that limerick when he said his last words: "You lousy Aliens ain't welcome here!" before they turned him into a little pile of dust with their cobalt blue ray guns. Despite his poor grammar, Bard achieved some manner of fame as the first American casualty in what came to be called the Fifth Intergalactic War.

The rest of the inhabitants of the island about 60 miles offshore Massachusetts were more docile and willingly turned over their homes and property to the invaders, though that didn't stop them from being "dusted" as the term came to be known, until the Anthorpens declared the invasion to be a success and moved on to Martha's Vineyard and eventually the entire Commonwealth.

While some measure of resistance was met in New Hampshire, a state known for the strong independence of its residents, even the people who had steadfastly opposed a state sales tax for 225 years were ultimately no match for the seven foot tall, three legged creatures from the planet Anthorpe, who had anyone the inclination or time to ask them before they were dusted, actually enjoyed the task of conquering the country, state by state, with the aid of their weapons which looked like a cross between a carbine from the 1800's and one of those little wire things kids dipped in liquid and blew bubbles.

The extraterrestrials did encounter major resistance in tiny Rhode Island, mostly because of Alexander Butterman, better known as "The Colonel," a former University of Rhode Island football player, who received the Platinum Star in the first Intergalactic War for shooting seven invading ships from the skies over Little Compton while flying his heavily damaged rocket plane, landing in the Sakonnet River and swimming to shore. Unfortunately, he also destroyed the Sakonnet River Bridge and the majority of Tiverton residents starved to death when unable to obtain supplies.

Butterman, who made a fortune selling mobile homes in a scorched five acre site in downtown Providence, thought his war career long over when for no apparent reason the Anthorpeans invaded what little was left of the former United States in 2023 -- the New England states, minus Vermont, which long ago was annexed by Canada and, of course New Jersey, which had never been attacked and now was home to seven million, most of them refugees from other states.

"We'll get those three legged bastards," the Colonel shouted upon hearing of the fall of Massachusetts and New Hampshire. "They won't get past Cranston, if I have anything to say about it"

And he did. He went door to mobile home door, gathering able bodied residents and arming them with guns he had stolen from the former National Guard Armory in West Warwick. ‘Will these things stop the invaders?" one of his small army asked.

"Hell yes," the Colonel responded, taking one of the weapons and blowing a five inch hole in the trunk of one the few trees left in the city.

"These creatures are mostly plant life. We're going to dip all our bullets in pesticides and watch them shrivel up before they can turn any more of us to dust."

It wasn't that easy, though the invaders were susceptible to both the bullets and the poison, but they also multiplied like crazy in earth's atmosphere, forcing Butterman to add a liquid contraceptive to the bullet dip.

"It's sort of fun watching these bastards mate," Butterman told Elise Rogavin, who was property manager for his mobile home empire as they hid behind the burned out walls of a Dunkin Donuts, watching a pair of Anthorpeans couple, two of their three legs wrapped around each other's lower torso, the creatures grinding together while their third leg probed the round hole in each other's face.

"Ugh," Elise said as she watched the coupling, "they're frenching each other."

Butterman just nodded, and took aim with his weapon waiting for the slightly musical sound the aliens made when they climaxed, to blow them apart. "Gives new meaning to the term Kingdom come, huh, Elise?"

Butterman laughed as he pulled the trigger. "Wanna try some of our own fun," he added, eying the comely redhead, who responded with a slight smile and said, "We still have to save Cranston, Alexander."

* * *

Butterman and Elise were seated at a table overlooking Spectacle Lake at Twins Oaks Restaurant when Dr. Kenten Blade, an oceanographer at the University of Rhode Island, walked through the door.

"Hey it's Mr. Wizard," shouted Butterman.

The scientist gave him a blank look. "Hello Colonel and the beautiful Elise. Nice to see you again."

"See that little pile of dust by the front door, Doc?" Butterman asked. Blade looked down at his feet and stamped them on the rug. "Ah, I think I walked right through it."

"Ha!" the Colonel laughed. "That was Artie Ventura, former maître d here. The Anthorpeans shot him just as Elise and I arrived.

"Well, now I see why you got such a nice table," Blade replied. "So why did you invite me?"

"Have a seat, Kenten," Elise offered, pointing to the chair next to her.

"We need your help in beating back the aliens."

"That's only Elise's opinion," Butterman said. "I think we are doing fine."

"Tell that to Mr. Ventura," Blade offered.

Before Butterman could respond, the lights in the restaurant flickered and a bright flash could be seen outside. The three ran to the window and watched as a large Anthorpeans ship was floating in the lake, and a dozen or so of the aliens could be seen on its long deck, looking over the starboard rail Four heavily armed aliens stood in the bow, pointing toward shore with their weapons.

"Look at those creatures!" Elise exclaimed. "It's like they are having fun."

"I'll show them some fun," Butterman shouted, reaching for his weapon and running toward the door.

A few seconds later Elise and the scientist saw Butterman firing rapidly at the Anthorpean ship. Every few seconds there was a bright flame and one of the aliens disappeared, appendages feebly waving. A window on the ship slid open and a long arm came through holding a weapon, panning the area. The Colonel aimed at it, but missed, and ran back in the restaurant, yelling for his companions to go out the back door.

Behind the restaurant the three could hear the Anthorpean ship firing at the front of the building. "Best baked stuffed shrimp ever," the Colonel said sadly, "gone forever," as the building went up in flames. He saw three more alien vessels skimming over the treetops.

"Looks like they are getting ready to land," Butterman said, pointing to the ships.

"Must have something to do with the water," Blade suggested. "And their plant-like body structure."

"Yes," Elise added, "that may be how they get nourishment, much like plants in a garden."

"I've got their nourishment right here," Butterman said, waving his weapon.

The sounds of the alien ships became louder as one flew right over their heads.

"Take cover!" Butterman shouted, as he ran into the back of a store, telling Blade and Elise to follow. "We'll hide in here and plan our next step."

"This is a Job Lot," the Colonel said, pointing to table after table of merchandise bought on the cheap. Unlike most buildings in Cranston, the interior of their shelter was in good shape.

"I wonder why this place has been spared in all the fighting." Blade asked.

Butterman put his finger to his lips, pointing to the front of the store, whispering, "Stay here. I'm going to check." He low-crawled out of the room, rifle slung across his back.

"Be careful, Colonel," Elise whispered, and grabbed Blade's hand. Butterman was back in a minute, waving his companions away from the door. "This looks like it was or still is an Anthorpean staging area. There's always lots of food at a Job Lot, expired stuff, with enough preservatives for decades."

"Are any of the creatures out there?" Blade asked.

"I didn't see any, but with their ships close by, they could come in any time," Butterman said.

"We should get out of here, now!" Elise urged.

"No, wait," Blade pulled a notebook from his jacket pocket and began writing numbers, covering three pages with the scribbling. "Considering what we saw in the lake, I think we have a way to stop these aliens, more effectively than with guns," he looked at Butterman."

"Nothing is more effective than a gun." The Colonel tapped his rifle.

"Just hear me out, Butterman. The aliens need water to stay alive, much like a growing plant does, but if you overwater a plant, it shrivels up and dies, and I believe the same thing will happen to our invaders. Every place they've attacked has been near water. Remember the massacre at Canobie Lake Park? Five hundred killed, half of them while riding the Tilt a Whirl."

"I know," he answered, "fifty of those metal tea cups came loose and were last seen soaring over Nashua."

"Same thing at the new Rocky Point park," Elise said excitedly, grabbing Blade's arm. They attacked the Shore Dinner Hall and blasted it off the foundation and into the water. There was so much clam chowder, the sea turned white, dotted with soggy clam cakes."

"So, you want to drown these things, right?"

"Yes, Colonel, we can wait until the alien leadership comes back here to regroup and call in an airship equipped with a water cannon. One of us can open the sky light and we can flood this place."

"That sounds dangerous," Elise said," looking at the scientist.

"Not a bad idea, doc," Butterman said. I'll can call in the water strike, and have a platoon of soldiers in the front of the store to pick off those trying to escape."

"But will killing the alien leadership stop them?" Elise asked. Blade consulted his notebook. "My theory is that all these creatures come from one big tree, so to speak. You notice that when one is shot, the nearby ones recoil in pain. I think by drowning the head of the trees, so to speak, we'll injure the rest of them and they'll leave before they incur any more damage."

It wasn't long before the trio heard noise from the front of the store, and secured their spot in the back room. Butterman again crawled out their door to look and reported at least 100 of the aliens grouped around a carton of Zenitis Preserves, passing out jars of what the Colonel thought was apricot jam.

"They're eating now," he reported back. "Good, we want to get them in the water before an hour's up and the food digests," he suggested. He looked at his two companions. The scientist had his arm around Elise's waist. Her head was on his shoulder.

Butterman, with a sad smile on his face, said, "I guess I'll be the one to open the skylight."

"Be careful, Alexander," Elise said. "Kenton and I are going over to CVS; I think it's still standing. We'll wait for you there."

Butterman looked around the room, and was able to make a ladder out of plastic lawn furniture cartons to reach the skylight. The aliens seemed obvious to any noise he made, while sucking the jam from the glass jars. With some difficulty he was able to open the window and watched the airship move into position. His communicator beeped to tell him the soldiers were in place on the street outside. He waved, and then moved out of the way as gallons of water shot through the opening in the roof. He was probably safer staying on top of the cartons than anywhere else, as he watched the water rapidly fill the room, and he was sure, the front of the store. It wasn't long before he heard the firing designed to keep the Anthopeans pinned inside the building. A few swam in the store room, where the Colonel calmly shot them before they could escape.

When an alien died, they made a low pitched noise, just the opposite of their mating cry. The Job Lot was soon filled with a moaning sound, sounding something like, Butterman thought, the noise shoppers often made when they found a sale item sold out at the store.

The water was starting to reach the ceiling, and Butterman's ladder of cardboard cartons had broken up, sending him sailing rapidly out the back door in a rush of water headed towards Reservoir Avenue. Perched atop a carton, Butterman wielded a paddle he'd taken from pallet of rubber rafts, changed course to take him past CVS, where he saw Elise and Dr. Kenton Blade locked in an embrace something like the Anthorpean mating ritual.

"Fast learners," he said, giving them a military salute as he sailed by, raising his rifle every so often to pick off the last remaining Anthorpeans as they tried in vain to reach Route 10 and the safer confines of northern Rhode Island. His attention was so focused on killing as many aliens as he could, he failed to see the two Anthorpeans, partially hidden by a street light, silently glide into the water seated in a two man kayak, and, using that always helpful third foot, softly paddle about twenty yards behind Butterman's floating carton, raising their weapons to their spongy green shoulders.

-end-

CONTENTS


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After a career as a newspaper reporter and editor in Connecticut and Rhode Island, and on the development staff of a Community Action Program in Rhode Island, David Howard retired in 2011 and devoted much of his free time to polishing short stories he had been writing all his life. In 1999 and 2000 he attended Vermont College and received a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing. He refers to it as "a ticket to write," due to the fact that he learned how to critique and revise a story.

His short fiction has appeared in a number of magazines, some of them on line publications, a world he feels provides excellent opportunities for both writers and readers. Among his publications are: Kitchen Magic in Black Fox Literary Magazine, Time is Money in Boston Literary Magazine, Skeeball Kids in Plots with Guns, Breakfast Advice in Foliate Oak Literary Magazine, Take that Stephen King, Buzz Off Sue Grafton in Fiction on the Web..

He conducted writing workshops for the Writer's Circle of Rhode Island, co-editing that organization's first anthology and contributing short stories to its next four editions.

After spending over 40 years in Rhode Island, he recently moved to Massachusetts where he lives with Sandra. He makes frequent trips to North Carolina to visit his daughter, also a writer, and her family. Some of his published work is set in a fictional town called Pleasure Beach and a long term goal is to publish enough of these stories to fill a book.