Dreamed 1985/9/5 by Chris Wayan
Monsters from another dimension attack Earth, hunting for a treasure: half-cylinders of a silky, tough, rutilated semi-precious stone. It looks a bit like Tiger's Eye. But they don't look in mines or jewelry stores or even lapidary shops. They impersonate Federal agents and invade the office of a political campaign! They seem to expect to find Tiger's Eye there.
Look, it makes more sense than most of our trans-dimensional monster invasions.
One of the monsters calls in sick. I'm a doctor, so I get to be the first human to examine one of these people. He shambles into my office, looking like a sad old turtle fired from his job as a door-to-door salesman. Gray, tired, discouraged. The alien lies on his back on the foam-rubber floor of my office and complains "I got a rash behind my armpits near the shoulderblades"--not that I see any shoulderblades. I don't listen very well, I'm afraid: fresh out of med school, I'm trying to recall what they said about Turtle Rash. He's definitely part turtle--short, round, with a shell, and flipper-claws, and a bald leather head with an angry, jutting, snapping jaw.
He says "I contracted this rash in prehistoric times; it gives me strange powers. I have a fever to find the Treasure... and a curse. You know our people can change shape, right? Well, I've been limited to only two forms--and only this one is human." THIS ONE? He thinks an itchy turtle passes for human? Man, what's the OTHER one like?
He tells me. The other form's the problem. It keeps coming forth unwanted, like a werewolf at full moon. "I get itchy, and then four heads come out, plesiosaur heads, and... and I EAT PEOPLE!" He says it with a nasty bravado, but his voice sounds fake--like he's compelled, guilty, and out of control, but would rather tell himself he's wicked and powerful.
I tell him "Lie on your stomach on the foam pad and turn into the other form you fear so." Despite myself, I can't believe it when HE STARTS SPROUTING HEADS. They strike at me, but only half-heartedly yet--and half-sized too, AND only half here--glassy and thin. "NOW do you believe me?" snaps the patient, as his other heads snap at me in a toothier way...
I drag the growing plesiosaur into my office and lock him in. Shall I call the cops? The AMA? The SPCA? But while I'm dialing, the office door opens behind me, and I turn to see the tall slender form of my secretary slipping in after some record... I hear a shriek, then crashing.
I rush to the door. The four-headed plesiosaur is holding her off the floor, in one mouth. It grins and waves her at me, like a dog worrying a rag doll. It's not eating her. It's FLAUNTING her!
"So that's what Plesiosaurs live on!" I think. "Emotional blackmail."
NOTES IN THE MORNING
THE NEXT DAY
Miriel calls in sick--like the plesiosaur. Down with a virus. The stress got to be too much--bit her and suspended her... blackmail! Or maybe it'd be fairer to describe it as a strike--by her body, demanding better working conditions.
Trapped in its jaws, she surrendered. Soon after, she quit that job. And got healthier, and less... snappish.
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