“War of the Worlds was stupid,” Jake said, his nasal voice grating on Jessica’s nerves. “People would have never reacted like that to an alien invasion. We would have kicked their asses as soon as they appeared in the sky.” He went back down the rabbit hole of American military superiority and the belief that people were at their core brave and valiant.
Jessica had no idea where he got that idea? Probably movies. She looked over at Evan who looked as bored as she felt. He gave her a single sidelong look and turned back to Jake. His face a mask.
“How do you know aliens are not already here,” he asked Jake.
“Because we would have kicked their asses already.” Jake looked sure of himself.
“Because not all of us are alien obsesses nut jobs,” the woman next to Jake said with a roll of her eyes. She tried to catch Jessica’s eyes, looking for commiseration, but she just gave the woman a half smile and shrug.
“Do you talk like this at work?” She asked Jake.
“Of course,” Jake said, either immune to her tone or too self absorbed to even notice it. “Every knows that the aliens are staying away because of us. There is a secret treaty between US and like half the world, because they know we will be the ones that will have to protect the rest of the world if they showed up.”
“He told us all about the bunker you guys have and the guns and stuff he has stock piled, you telling me you are not part of this?” Evan knew Jake’s wife was not interested in his alien obsession. He had deduced that from previous conversations. Tonight was the first time Jessica and Evan met Abbi. She was about what they expected. Small, mousy, wirey, and quite possible mad.
“He told you those are for aliens?” Abbi shot her husband a brief glare and her lip turned up in a sneer. “We are not insane.” She sniffed in annoyance. “Those are for the inevitable meltdown of US society when the communist finally manage to corrupt the highest levels of our government. It twill be up to those of us who planned ahead and made sure we would have enough food, water, and weapons to take our government back. We are not crazy.”
Jessica blinked a couple times rapidly, struggling to figure out what to say next when the waiter appeared and spared her, at least for a moment. She quickly asked fo’r a box for her food and took a drink of her water before speaking again.
“So the alien thing is just to keep people from finding out?” She asked as calmly as she could. This conversation had taken a weird turn, She tried to catch Evan’s eye again, but his mask was firmly in place. Her brother had a world class poker face.
“Don’t listen to him,” Abbi said, her face showing her level of annoyance. “There are no aliens. That is what the commies want us to think while they go through the government screaming ‘Free health care!’ and ‘Save the whales!’” She snorted. “Aliens are bullshit.”
“Aliens are bullshit,” Evan said as if tasting the words. His voice was neutral, but there was just a hint of amusement.
“They are not,” Jake said, heat building in his voice to match the red flush crawling up from his collar. “They are out there and waiting, waiting for America to fall before they sweep in and raze the planet and steal our children and mate with our women.”
“Mate with your women?” Evan looked stricken. “Is that what you are afraid of?” Jessica hoped the slip went unnoticed and gave his ankle a kick under the table before turning back to Abbi.
“I cannot imagine,” she said, her voice oh so sincere. “Communists, are that close, really? How do you know what you need to protect yourself? We live in an apartment with our sister.” She opened her gray eyes wide.
“It doesn’t really matter if it is aliens or commies,” Jake said, head held high. “For all we know, they are the same people.”
“So they are here?” Evan asked calmly. He took a sip of his water and held their coworker’s gaze.
“Not in big ships looking to invade, they know better.” Even nodded in understanding and cut him off before he could start on the ass kicking speech again.
“But they are infiltrating the government as communists in order to destroy this country since we are the only ones who have any hope of defeating them?”
“Not as communists, at least not outright they call themselves progressive, or socialists, but don’t be fooled, they are communists.” Abbi looked very earnest.
“This is terrible news,” Evan said with no trace of emotion. “We should probably go home and make sure our sister is aware.” He said, pulling out his wallet and handing a small stack of bills to the waiter just as he appeared with a box. He waved off the offer of change and pushed out his chair.
“We will see you at work Monday, Jake.” He said politely. “I hope.” Jessica offered a wobbly smile. She dared not look around. Everyone in the dining room must be looking at them by now.
Once outside, Jessica looped her arm through Evan’s and laughed.
“They are so close, yet so far away from the truth,” her white teeth flashed in a bright smile. “And here you were, worried that he might actually know something.”
“Yes, I am glad to not have to kill him,” Evan agreed. “Too many people would have noticed. Even if they do not agree with the loony, they notice when they are quiet.”
“Agreed,” his sister said as they walked through the softly falling snow. Their secrets were still safe.
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