Alex dropped the old Chevy into gear and put the pedal to the metal. Everyone in the car knew why they were driving the old Chevy to Los Angeles. It was their good luck ride. This was the same vehicle that Alex’s dad drove to LA when his band, The Pharaohs, made their first trek out west. They had all gone on to become successful musicians.
Alex and his band, Thrash Temple, were a popular three-piece metal act from Chicago but stars were made in LA. Their manager, Ralph Foster, had been in California on vacation where he’d unexpectedly run into an old friend, opportunity knocked and Ralph had managed to line up a dream gig for the band. Everyone thought this was their way in, especially Alex’s dad who insisted they drive his red 1969 Chevy Impala convertible to L.A. instead of flying.
“We’ve got to pick up Ralph at his hotel at seven, are you sure we’ll make it?” asked bass player Mike, a tall slender dude with long black hair.
“Don’t worry, we’ll make it” said Alex the group’s guitarist and singer, his blonde hair hidden behind a Slayer baseball cap, eyes fixed on the road.
Jeff, the band’s drummer, used a heavily tattooed arm to turn down the radio. The song playing was “Runaround Sue” by Dion. “These bullshit radio stations are killing me! Doesn’t anyone listen to metal around here? 1950 is making me sick!”
Alex’s eyes shifted from the asphalt road to the scenery. They’d been driving Route 66 for nearly 18 hours. The rustic towns with high tree lines were now a thing of the past, replaced by truck stops, highway diners and a long desolate stretch of highway.
“There’s nothing around here, you’re lucky we’ve got music at all.”
Jeff rolled his eyes. “You call this shit, music? This is what old farts listen to when they wanna cry about a piece of ass they lost!”
The group rolled through the next few songs in silence. Suddenly, Jeff noticed something cutting across the sky.
“Check it out, a meteorite!”
The others looked to see a huge fireball streaking across the sky.
“Looks like it might hit the ground, somewhere up around the next bend” observed Alex.
The band members watched in anticipation as the meteor flew overhead and crashed somewhere beyond their viewpoint. The sound of impact was deafening.
They eased the Chevy around the bend and came upon a large area engulfed in flames.
“This is fucking sick!” exclaimed Jeff.
The site itself was a huge flaming trench dug into the earth. It ended at a huge sphere, a fireball that seemed to resonate in an eerie blue flame.
“What the hell is it?” asked Jeff as he reached the crash site.
“It’s not a meteor.” said Alex “I’ve never heard of a meteor glowing blue”
“Maybe it’s a satellite” asked Mike walking up “You know; they fall out of the sky all the time.”
“It’s a space ship” replied Alex “And we’re about to meet the pilot.”
As if on cue, the blue flame subsided and a compartment, hidden underneath the sphere, opened!
“I don’t want to see this man!” exclaimed Jeff who did everything but tear himself away.
“I do!” said Mike who edged himself even closer to the flames.
Alex’s mind raced to the crowbar under the front seat of the Chevy.
The top of the sphere opened and out flew one of the strangest sights ever beheld by man. It was big and round like a red-skinned beach ball. It had a single eye, no nose and a tiny mouth.
“Holy shit!” exclaimed Mike, “It’s like something out of a circus!”
Alex stepped back in the direction of the Chevy. “Not so loud”, he said “don’t excite it.”
Jeff stood frozen, eyeing the creature with caution. “How can it float around like that?” he asked.
“I dunno” replied Alex. ”Maybe it has different gasses in its body.”
The creature hovered away from the crash site and moved towards the group. It had a curious expression on its face.
“Man, is it fuckin ugly” said Mike. “It reminds me of that old song, one eyed, one horned, flying purple people eater.”
Jeff let out a nervous laugh. “It’s not purple dude, it’s red”
“That song” said Alex, “The Purple People Eater” was written by a guy named Sheb Wooley. My dad knew him, used to play me the song all the time. He said Wooley used to live in these parts, I bet the song is real, these things must have crashed here back in the 50s”
Jeff looked at Mike like he was crazy. “Seriously, this is a fucking alien, dude, not a dog!”
Mike turned to Alex for support. “We found an alien, imagine the attention if we had it on stage.”
Mike had an excellent point. The upcoming concert was to be their largest to date. Plenty of studio executives were going to be present. All they needed a gimmick to stand out. The alien seemed to provide instant attention.
“Ok. Let’s take it with us, see if it’s controllable.” said Alex.
“This is an unpredictable extraterrestrial being, we should call for help” said Jeff.
He pulled out his cell phone but found it dead.
“What the hell? I charged my phone before we left.”
“Mine’s the same way, must be a result of the crash” said Alex.
“Or our buddy, draining energy like ET” said Jeff.
Mike shot Jeff a dirty look but he ignored it. “You better make sure the car starts” he added
“Are you kidding me?” said Alex, happy to change the conversation, “the Chevy never fails”
He fished the keys out of his pocket. The car started like a champ.
“Why don’t you guys see if you can put that thing into the trunk?” He asked with an uneasy grin.
Twenty minutes later, the band was back on the road. Alex was driving, Jeff was shotgun, Mike was in the back seat. The creature was in the trunk and hadn’t made a sound.
“Put on some tunes,” said Mike, “having this thing behind me is making me nervous.”
“I thought you wanted to take it?” said Jeff not able to withhold the jab.
“Fuck you bro” retorted Mike “You’re sitting back here next time we stop.”
Alex turned on the radio, a station playing metal roared to life.
“We must be close to civilization”, Jeff observed, “The radio stations are improving.”
Mike closed his eyes, enjoying the song. He felt the creature moving in the trunk, thumping along with the beat. Mike felt nervous. He imagined the creature ripping through the backseat.
“Hey bro! Pull the car over man, that thing is acting up!”
Alex pulled the car over. Everyone got out and made their way towards the trunk.
“Can’t you hear it? Something is definitely going on in there.” said Mike with a concerned look.
Alex moved to open the trunk but Jeff stopped him. “Are you sure that’s a good idea?”
Alex shrugged his shoulders, “It’s tied up, besides if this is going to be a problem I want to know before we reach civilization.”
“Wait a second.” said Jeff, he retrieved the crowbar from the front seat and handed it to Alex.
Alex threw the trunk open; inside was not what they expected. The creature changed. It was double the size and a nose had begun to grow. Two large spikes protruded from each nostril, they had holes at the tips.
“Check it out!” said Mike pointing to the holes, “What are those for?”
The creature jostled around and attempted to rise but Alex slammed the trunk down.
“This was a mistake he said, I shouldn’t have agreed to take it.”
“I’m scared but this thing is major publicity. I’m not ready to give up on it yet.” said Mike.
“Fuck that thing, let’s just go. We’ve got to meet Ralph in less than two hours” said Jeff.
“What about ET?” asked Mike.
“What about it” said Jeff, “leave it in the trunk, keep the pedal to the metal and stick to the plan”
“Are you sure?” asked Alex, a questioning look on his face.
“No, said Jeff but we don’t really have the time to deal with it right now, do we? If it becomes dangerous, I don’t have any problem beating the fuck out of it with that crowbar, do you?”
It was nearly an hour later when they heard from the beast again. Alex had the volume on the stereo cranking when Mike felt the spike nose of the creature poke into his back.
“Ahhh! What the hell! Alex, pull over quick!”
Alex pulled off to the shoulder. Mike hopped out of the car just in time to catch a glimpse of the creature’s spike nose withdrawing from the backseat.
“Did you guys see that? It’s using its nose like a straw.
Jeff pulled the crowbar out from underneath the front seat. “Alex, throw me your keys”
He popped the trunk ready to beat down the creature but dropped the crowbar to the ground and slammed the trunk down instead.
“What’s wrong dude?” asked Mike.
“That thing, it’s fucking huge man” replied Jeff. “It grew again”
Why the fuck is it getting so big?” asked Alex astonished. “What should we do?”
Jeff noticed a plywood board lying on the shoulder of the road. He grabbed it and placed it over the hole in the back seat.
“That should stop it for now, we’re too close to civilization to dump it”, said Jeff, “ I say we leave it back there, pick up Ralph then get rid of it after the gig, drive out to the desert, pop the trunk and peel off.”
The other two nodded. Mike rubbed his back. There was a small hole in the back of his shirt near the collar. The hole was outlined in blood.
“I barely felt it man, that thing was sucking out my blood like a mosquito.”
Jeff and Alex exchanged a look.
“What do you think made it so big?” Alex asked again.
“Call me crazy but I think it was the music, vibrations make it grow” responded Jeff.
Alex nodded. “I think you’re right, the creature in the song wanted to be in a band, in a strange way it makes sense. No more tunes till we’re playing on stage.”
The kids hopped back in the car and rode on in silence until they reached Ralph’s hotel.
Ralph was a high-strung short redheaded man with a foul mouth. He had been waiting for the boys to pick him up for nearly two hours. Ralph had a long standing belief that he’d die riding in an automobile, a suspicion confirmed by a local fortune teller. Ralph didn’t own a vehicle and never drove in a car alone.
“What the fuck took you bitches so long? Next time, call!”
“Sorry Ralph, our cell phones got fucked up on the way down, traffic was a bitch” said Alex.
“I told you fuckers to fly, thank god we shipped your equipment, they’re up my ass at the venue, we’d better make a sound check” Ralph gave the band a condescending stare then hopped into the back seat with his bags.
“Why the fuck, is there a dirty piece of wood back here? It just fucked up my jacket. I’m throwing this shit out!” Ralph grabbed the board but Mike stopped him.
“Sorry Ralph, the back seat is busted. We need to keep it back there.”
Jeff turned back, eyes on the board, looking for signs of the creature.
“He’s right” Alex added “my dad said to keep it there, fucked up the trunk somehow.”
“Whatever” replied Ralph, rolling his eyes “Probably a shitload of drugs back there.”
He settled down with his back against the plywood.
“Get this rust bucket moving, the venue is four miles up the street on the left.”
Alex put the Chevy in gear.
Ralph began rummaging through his bag. He pulled out a CD. “You guys gotta check out this new band I just signed, Mucus Membrane.”
Jeff and Alex exchanged a quick glance.
“Sorry Ralph, Alex’s bullshit car doesn’t have a CD player.”
Alex shrugged his shoulders but Ralph went back into his bag and pulled out a compact CD player, seconds later, the twin guitar attack of Mucus Membrane was blaring wildly throughout the car.
“Turn it off” demanded Alex.
“Why?” Ralph asked, “Don’t you think these guys jam?”
Ralph was about to say more but the creature burst out of the trunk and attached itself to Ralph’s head! Alex screeched to a halt but it was already too late. The creature had sucked out Ralph’s brain. Ralph’s premonitions about dying in a car had finally come true.
Jeff ran to the rear of the vehicle and started beating the creature with the crowbar
The creature was full on brains and dazed from the beating, it allowed Jeff to push it back into the hole inside the trunk.
“Now, what are we gonna do about this?” said Mike pointing to the gaping hole.
Jeff opened the Chevy’s glove box and pulled out a roll of duct tape. He tossed it to Mike.
“Fix it.” Mike caught the roll and started taping up the trunk.
“You know tape isn’t gonna stop it from coming back out.”
Alex placed a baseball cap over Ralph’s head. He waited till Mike was out of earshot and then approached Jeff. Mike rode on the wild side but when it came to something serious he couldn’t be trusted.
“What do you think we should do?” he asked.
Jeff scanned the area. There was a bus stop nearby. “Let’s leave him at the bus stop. Somebody will find him”
Alex’s face drained of all color. “Are you serious? I think it’s time we called the cops”
“And tell them what?” retorted Jeff, “That we found an alien on Route 66 and it sucked our manager’s brains out? Nobody will believe that! Especially the cops! We’re gonna leave him at the bus stop and play the fucking concert! This is our chance bro, our one and only.
Who knows maybe Ralph’s unexplained death will give us some free publicity.”
Alex stared at Jeff. They had played together for a long time and Alex knew Jeff was out for just one person, Jeff. He also knew leaving Ralph’s brainless body at a bus stop was morally wrong but this was their chance at stardom and couldn’t let his dad down.
“Ok dude. We’ll do it your way”, he said.
“We’ve got a sound check in twenty-five minutes.” said Mike slamming a beer. He was ready to put the whole trip to LA behind him. He hadn’t brought up the creature in the trunk or Ralph’s death since they entered the venue.
Alex was the exact opposite. He couldn’t stop thinking about the creature or Ralph’s death. He kept his eyes towards the parking lot the whole time, expecting the creature to burst through the front doors, bigger than ever.
Jeff was cool. He knew it was up to him to keep the band together. “Ok guys. I can’t tell you this whole trip hasn’t been fucked up but it doesn’t have to stay that way. Let’s have a couple drinks, get though our sound check and play our best show ever! Are you with me?”
Jeff got up from the table and held out his hand.
“Come on guys, we didn’t come this far to fail.”
The crew reluctantly got up and took it.
“I gotta hit the can” said Mike.
As Mike headed for the bathroom, Jeff turned to Alex.
“Give me the keys to the Chevy.”
“What are you gonna do?” asked Alex
“I’m gonna ditch the car and come back” said Jeff.
“Are you Crazy?” Alex shot back. “My dad will fucking kill me!”
“Wake up Alex! Your dad’s car is trashed! An alien ripped a hole in the trunk and sucked a man’s brains out. Let me take the plates off the car and dump it around the corner. Maybe somebody will take it, you can say it was stolen, happens all the time in Los Angeles. I don’t know about you but when that thing does come out, I don’t want anybody looking for me wanting answers, what do you say?”
A million scenarios ran through Alex’s mind. His dad had gone out on a limb for him lending him his pride and joy. He wouldn’t believe the alien destroyed his car or murdered his manager but a thief was another matter entirely. Alex took the keys out of his pocket and handed them to Jeff.
“There’s a screwdriver in the glove box. Throw the plates in the sewer or something, don’t let anybody see you.”
Jeff grinned. “Now that’s the Alex, I know and love, remember not a word to Mike. Let him think the car was stolen.”
“Ok man.” said Alex nervously.
“Now go find him and make sure my drum mics are set, I’ll be right back” said Jeff with a smile. He watched his friend get lost in the venue then turned towards the Chevy.
He knew the creature was still in there and probably hungry. He could hear it rustling when he took off the rear plate. Jeff started the car. His plan was to leave it in the alley just across from the hotel. He figured if he left the keys in the ignition it would be gone before tomorrow.
He just hoped who ever took it didn’t turn on the radio. He eased the Chevy into traffic but caught a red light before crossing the intersection.
Everything seemed fine until a group of four gang-bangers pulled up next to Jeff.
“Hey hippy that’s a fine ride you got, everything except for the trunk, what the fuck happened?”
Jeff could barely look over. They were pumping dance music so loud he could feel the creature shaking, purring with delight. In seconds it would be outside and ready to feed.
”Hey man, can you guys turn your tunes down?” Jeff managed with a slight smile.
The gang-banger pulled out a gun and aimed at Jeff. “Get out the car bitch!”
Jeff was out in a flash. He couldn’t believe his luck. Now, if I can just get away without getting shot or having my brains sucked out, he thought.
Two bangers hopped into the Chevy. They dialed in a dance station. In seconds they were bumping. The light changed and both cars squealed away.
A voice yelled back to Jeff. “So long sucker!!!!!!!!!”
Jeff smiled and waved back. “Have fun getting your brain sucked out.”
He watched the Chevy race down the street then unexpectedly burst into a ball of flames. He headed towards the venue hoping to do a couple shots before sound check, maybe this will be a good night after all, he thought.
An hour later, Thrash Temple hit the stage. The first two songs went well, then Mike felt something stirring in his stomach. Little did he know, the alien had left a little gift behind and the vibrations were making it grow! \m/