image captured from the May 1951 issue of Planet Stories
My quick Flash Fiction for the day. Written in one sitting in about 40 minutes. No editing or revision. Likely to have some errors.
The Hartufaans and the Kinsloab
I have always had a dislike of the Hartufaans, the whole mouth-in-yer-tummy thing always given me butterflies, so unnerving and strange. When they speak, do you look at one of their three heads - or their mouth? This one jabbed the business end of the huge Snook Mark VII pistol in my face.
“Fthargg!” It demanded. I looked at the abdomen-located mouth. “Karveen tutoth!
“Pal, back off,” I gently eased the pistol’s barrel to the side and away from my head. “I cannot understand you. Poking me with your toy is not helping the matter.”
One of the Hartufaan’s three heads uttered a sound, perhaps a curse word, and then one of its three arms reached up to the Transvalator - it looked like an old model - around the central neck and turned a few knobs and switches. A horrendous screech boomed from the speaker until he turned the knobs just right. The alien cleared his throat.
“Kindly hand over the Kinsloab 3000,” said a soft and lovely female voice, he had the wrong setting on the Transvalator. People always make that mistake on the older models. The “Sexy Vixen: voice modulator setting was right next to the “Intimidating Asshole” setting. That is not the official names but after seeing this exact thing happen too often, its what I call them. I could see he was annoyed when his twenty-four eyes rolled.
I admit it, I chuckled. He jabbed the pistol into my forehead, guess he did not find his voice mistake as funny as I did. “Okay, okay.”
I stood and he backed up a step, still keeping the pistol leveled at my head. “The Kinsloab. And no tricks,” said the sexy voice.
My eyes dropped to the mouth again, habit I guess, your eyes go to the source of the voice.
“You looking at my kernibbles? Eyes up here buddy,” the Transvalator collar turned the anger in his voice into a sultry vixen, not the effect he was going for. I chuckled again. I could not help it. I willed my eyes to one of his head. Ugh, which one? I opted for a sort of visual dance: looking at one for a bit, then another for a few seconds, then the third. Cycle and repeat.
“Look, I don’t know what your kernibbles are, and frankly I don’t want to,” I raised my hands in the air into the being-robbed pose. “The Transvalator is in my safe there in the corner. I can get it for you, just keep that finger easy on the trigger. I find my head valuable and want to keep it.”
He waved me to the corner with a wave of the Snook. “No tricksies or you will have no head. You humans are known for your trickery. Open the safe.”
“No tricks pal. You want the Kinsloab, I want my head. We can make a trade,” I moved to the safe and began spinning the dial. I knew this moment would come. I created the Kinsloab for just these kinds of alien assholes. If the Kinsloab was dropped on this guy’s homeworld, everyone would be pacified in less than a week. And by pacified, I mean dead. It was a world killer. How this guy found out I had completed my work and was optioning it to the government, I had no idea. I work in total secret. There must be a mole in the government, most likely in the X-Project Division, the division I worked for. “So pal, how’d you find out about my little invention?”
“Shut it human, open the safe,” was his/her reply.
“Seriously, I am curious,” I stopped spinning the dial and turned to face the stomach-mouthed, three headed, three armed, and twenty-four headed monster. “You are going to ice me after I give the Kinsloab to you anyway, where’s the damage?”
“You really want to know?” Somewhere hidden under the sexy voice was a presumptuous and arrogant twerp with a gun. He straightened himself and his large stomach-mouth grew a wide grin. “You have an easily bought traitor in your organization. Now open the safe! I will not ask again. More delays and you lose a foot.” The pistol lowered to aim at my right foot.
“I bet it is Chuck Hinsely. Never liked that dirty rat,” I remembered him driving a fancy new Ford last week, now I knew how he was able to afford the purchase. I spun back around and began fumbling with the dial. “Oh drat! Forgot where I was, have to start over.”
“Enough human! Open the safe!” He jabbed the pistol in the middle of my back. He was close. Perfect.
I spun the dial and opened the safe. With a bit of daring-do swath, I quickly stood to the side of the safe and exposed the empty innards.
The Hartufaan stepped forward to examine the dark inside of the safe and lowered himself to get a better look. That was when my fist hit head number two square in the middle of the forehead. The creature grunted, a sort of sexy gasp, and reeled back. My other left hand grabbed the Snook and kept the muzzle pointed away from anything precious while my right hit another head, this time number one as it was on the right side. With that the Hartufaan fell back and lost his grip on the Snook, it bounced away from the fallen alien to land at my feet.
I picked up the pistol and pointed at…oh hell, the mouth? I was not sure where this guy’s most precious spot was. By the look on the twenty-four eyes, I was on the mark. “Look here pal, you are going to stay put. No funny moves.”
I hit the small switch on my belt and turned on the Commlink. “Jonesy, you hear me?”
The young voice of Robert Jones replied. “Yeah boss, I can hear you.”
“Good. Our ruse worked. I have a none too happy Hartufaan here in the lab. You want to bring up the SecurCuffs and call Director X? Let him know Hinsely is the problem.”
“You got it boss.” The comm went dead.
Two of the three hands of the Hartufaan were rubbing the two struck heads. The look in the twenty-four eyes was not a happy one. “You fooled me once human, it will not happen again. My people will get their revenge!” That darned female voice made the threat fall flat.
“Never mess with the Earth pal. The X-Division is always one step ahead of scum like you.”