“Does anyone know who this man is? Was he with anyone?” Angela asks.
A small crowd of beach tourists gathered around, everyone wondering who the mysterious man with a question mark tattooed on his forehead and wearing a navy blue wool sweater on a 90 degree summer day at the beach is.
“Eww! Mommy, look! That man’s nakie nakie!” a little girl giggled and pointed at the man’s lower parts. Indeed, he was exposed for all to see. The girl’s mother blushed as she looked at what her daughter was exclaiming about. She covered the girl’s eyes and tugged her away, looking at Angela with a stern look as if it was her idea of a good joke to have a naked guy lying about.
“Can I have a towel to …uh… cover this man up?”
“This outta do it,” a muscular man handed her his towel, it was green sea turtles on it which she recognized from the tourist trap of a gift shop on Main St. She placed it gently on the man’s lower half, slightly tucking it beneath his legs so it wouldn’t fly away.
“Can you watch him for a moment?” she asked the man that handed her the towel. He nodded once, all seriousness. Angela turned from the group and pulled a walkie-talkie from her waist.
“Todd? Come in, Todd, this is Keyhole Bay Base, Angela speaking. Todd?”
She turned back and could hear the excited high pitched voice of a little boy saying “… he’s come to observe us, I bet and this is just a human disguise! And beneath it he’s got green skin and a big head and big black eyes and his alien aircraft is hiding beneath the water and…” Another little boy started to cry at this talk of aliens.
“Jeremy, that’s enough!” said a very red looking woman.
“Todd here, roger.”
“Todd! I need your help here. There’s this guy… he was half-naked and he’s still unconscious. I’m not sure what to do, he might need medical attention. Come please!” A few moments passed before his staticky voice came back on.
“Ang, I told you to say ‘roger’ when you’re done talking. Roger.” Angela closed her eyes and clenched her teeth. She’d told Todd a million times not to call her Ang. She took a deep breath and controlled her anger.
“Whatever. Just get here.”
“Can’t. Some old guy’s foot fell through the rope bridge to the lighthouse; I’m taking him to the ranger’s station. Roger.”
Great, she thought. She looked back and the man was still not awake. “Just get here as soon as you can. Uh, roger.”
“You got it, roger, over and out.”
Angela tucked the walkie-talkie back into her waistband. She walked about to the small group that was still surrounding the man on the ground. She could see the gentle rise and fall of his even breathing. Maybe he was just drunk and passed out. It wouldn’t be the first time something like that has happened.
“He was just mumbling something but it was in some language I’d never heard before. He hasn’t woken up,” a woman told her as she approached.
The sun was high overhead and sweat was pooling slightly above Angela’s lips. She couldn’t see any obvious wounds or bleeding, she decided to move the man to the shade. Two men helped move him beneath her lookout hut. Angela thanked all the onlookers, telling them that help was on the way. Angela wondered about giving the man some water, his skin was red and his curly hair was stiff with salt water and sand. She went up to the hut and pulled a water bottle from the mini fridge, taking a swig from it. The clock ticked, it was only noon. She went back out with the water bottle, hoping Todd wouldn’t be much longer.
“Oh!” she said and stopped short of reaching the man still lying on the ground. A tall, pale woman stood over him with her fingers tensed and spread apart. When she heard Angela coming she turned to face her. She was wearing a long gray t-shirt several sizes too big that had SAVE THE PLANET printed on it. Her bright green eyes were wide open as if she didn’t want to lose at a staring contest. She looked eerily like the man: thin lips, nearly white curly hair and a long nose. After a few uncomfortable seconds Angela cleared her throat.
“Do you know this man?” The women looked like she was in pain, she’d not blinked once. “We found him lying like that on the beach unconscious. I’m waiting for another ranger to come and give him medical attention.” The woman’s eyes grew wider at hearing this and Angela was sure they would pop out of her skull. She shook her head no. Angela wasn’t sure why she was doing that and even though it was hot, goose bumps rose on Angela’s skin. This was creepy. Todd, where are you?
“Um… you can wait here too, if you’d like. I’m sure it won’t be much longer…”
Again the woman shook her head and looked down at the man, cocking her head to the right. She bent down and touched his forehead with three of her fingers, sweeping them down gently to his chin, her fingers catching slightly on his parted and dry lips. To Angela’s surprise, the woman scooped the man up as if he weighed no more than a small child. She looked at Angela and opened her mouth in an “O” shape as if to say something and then spun around, running into the surrounding forest. Angela stood there, looking into the trees where the mysterious pair disappeared. Still unsure of the morning’s events, she shrieked when Todd came up behind her and tapping her on the shoulder.
“Geez!” He said, lifting up his hands to show he came in peace. “What’s wrong, where’s the guy you told me about?”
“She took him into the forest, she just took him.”
“What? What do you mean? Angela?” Todd took her shoulders in his hands and shook her a bit, trying to get her to focus her attention on him.
“I don’t know.” She looked at him. “This was supposed to be an easy summer job and so far it’s been hell! I quit!” She took the walkie-talkie and threw it on the ground. She went to the hut, grabbed her stuff and left, Todd stared at her retreating figure. She didn’t look back and she never spoke of the day’s weird events to anyone.
“Seriously? I can’t get a break!” said Todd, kicking up some sand and looking off at the forest where Angela said the guy had gone. He could see a soft lump of gray; he walked towards it to get a closer look. Todd squatted besides it, picking it up with a stick. A t-shirt with SAVE THE PLANET printed on it and further ahead was a discarded towel with green sea turtles on it. In the ground he could see bare human footprints and then giant three toed footprints. A rustling noise came from ahead and Todd looked up like a deer in headlights.
“Hello?” Todd called. He stood up and before he knew it, he was snatched from behind a tree by the alien duo, never to be seen again.