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Authors: Nate Ball

Alien in My Pocket

BOOK: Alien in My Pocket
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01

Totally Crackers

I
'm guessing you can't imagine how your life gets turned upside down when an alien flies through your bedroom window and crash-lands his spaceship on your bed.

I know I couldn't. Until it happened to me.

My life wasn't just turned upside down; it was pulled inside out, tied in a knot, and beaten like an egg.

At least that's what it felt like.

As I've learned, this alien was named Amp. He was from the planet Erde. He was sent to Earth to gather information about how to take over our planet. But after his first day here, he decided that attacking Earth would be a disaster for the people of Erde. Humans were too big—Amp was no bigger than a fat hamster—and too hard to predict.

Problem was, his ship wasn't working and his radio wasn't transmitting. Amp had no way to call off the attack. We had more than a few days, but not more than a few months. So an impending attack on planet Earth by a bunch of Erdian dudes not much bigger than avocados was always in the back of our minds—though if the Erdian dudes are like Amp, I can't say I'm too worried.

“We need more Ritz crackers,” Amp said, pulling on my lower lip.

“Amp, I'm sleeping,” I mumbled, not opening my eyes. “Let go of my lip.”

“All you do is sleep,” he said, yanking my bottom lip up over my top lip. “Can you go down to the kitchen and get me some more?”

I opened one eye and focused it as best I could on my glowing clock. “It's 3:12 in the morning, Amp! I'm off duty.”

At that point, my secret alien roommate released my lip and proceeded to dump Ritz cracker crumbs from the crinkly paper wrapper all over my face.

“AMP!” I shouted, sitting up, flicking crumbs from my eyelids, snorting crumbs out of my nose. “That was just rude,” I hissed.

“Well, as long as you're up,” his high-pitched voice said from the dark, “you might as well go on a Ritz cracker run. I'll wait here.”

It may sound cute and harmless and fascinating to have a four-inch-tall, blue-skinned, three-fingered alien hanging out in your room, but he was getting under my skin. My life as a fourth grader was slipping out of control.

Amp's diet of Ritz crackers and SweeTarts was also becoming annoying. He had no need for variety. Worst of all, he apparently never slept.

“Have you seen my helmet?” he asked.

“I can't see anything! It's dark!” I snapped. “Humans need to sleep, okay? We've gone over this, Amp. Now pipe down, or I'll drop-kick you all the way back to Erde.” I collapsed back into my warm pillow.

My outburst won me just five seconds of silence. “Touchy,” came his reply.

“Annoying,” I said between clenched teeth.

I heard Amp whisper into the little device he wore on his wrist.

“Council Note: Humans appear to need to lie down, close their eyes, and breathe deeply for eight hours a day. It appears necessary for them to function well and stay healthy.”

“What I wouldn't give for eight hours,” I growled. “You keep me up most nights.”

“I'm unsure how this civilization ever gets things done,” he concluded.

“I'm unsure why I haven't stuffed that voice recorder up your nose,” I simmered.

“Do you mind if I turn on the lights?” he said.

AAGH!
That was it! I slapped the mattress with both hands, threw my legs off the side of the bed, and yanked up my covers as I stood.

“WHOA!” came Amp's cry, as he was sent tumbling somewhere in the blackness. Served him right.

“You need to work on your manners,” I growled. As I pulled open my door, I heard one of my little brother's crawling robots scamper past my feet and into my room. Reaching out quickly with my foot, I flipped it onto its back and into the hall. Its gears and legs worked furiously, trying to find the floor. Was everybody in this house trying to drive me insane?

Without another word, I stomped down the hall, descended the stairs, and did a face-plant on the living room couch. I was finally safe from Amp's pestering. He rarely left my room on account of Mr. Jinxy, our cat; Smokey, our dog; and Taylor, my pesky little brother.

Since Amp had entered my life, my grades had headed south, my parents thought I had concentration issues, and my chances of making the travel baseball team were fading fast. Worst of all, my hope for the future of mankind was starting to dim.

All this, plus too many nights on our lumpy couch.

Lucky for me, before my eyes could start tearing up, I fell asleep.

As you can see, living with an alien is a lot harder than it sounds.

02

Couch Head

“W
ow, it looks like your head is exploding,” my little brother Taylor said when he saw my roosterlike hairdo. “Did you cock-a-doodle-doo at sunrise?”

I gave him a blank stare.

I was still in my pajamas, wrapped in my sheets and blankets. My eyes were only half open. I had managed to make it to the fridge before plopping down at the kitchen table, but hadn't yet made it upstairs to get ready for school.

Apparently, I had bedhead.

“Whoa, it's the ghost of Christmas past,” my dad exclaimed, bursting into the kitchen and making a beeline to the coffee pot. “Is that what you're wearing to school?”

Everybody in my house was a comedian.

“Well, look what the cat dragged in,” my mom chuckled when she saw me half-asleep in front of my slice of cold pizza. She folded her arms and gave me the look. “How are things going with General Washington at Valley Forge?”

“Funny, Mom,” I said, closing my eyes.

“Cold pizza?” she said with a
tsk-tsk
. She snatched the slice away before I could grab it. “Let me get something proper for a growing baseball player. I picked up thirteen SweeTart wrappers in your room yesterday.”

I groaned. “Mom, please don't go snooping in my room.”

“Since when is putting clean and folded laundry in your room snooping?” she said, digging around in the refrigerator.

“Zack slept on the couch again,” Taylor tattletaled. “I thought he was a robber. I almost hit him in the head with a lamp.”

“With that hairdo, it looks like you actually did,” Dad said, not looking up from reading emails on his smartphone.

“And who were you talking to all night?” Taylor asked. “Do you have someone hiding in your room?”

I gulped.

“Oh dear, you've been talking in your sleep again?” Mom said, spooning peach yogurt into a small bowl.

“It's not just talking,” Taylor continued. “It's like he's arguing and doing weird voices.”

“I've also heard you up at odd hours of the night, dear. Maybe I should call Dr. Bell and ask him what he thinks.” She placed the yogurt in front of me.

“I hate yogurt,” I said flatly.

“You don't
hate
anything,” Dad said, looking up from his phone. “You dislike things, Zack, you do not hate them.”

“Oh, I dislike a lot of things,” I said. “But yogurt I definitely hate.”

“Fine, I'll make you eggs,” Mom said, giving the bowl of yogurt to my dad.

“I dislike yogurt,” Dad said, giving me a sideways glance and pushing the yogurt in front of my brother. Taylor happily attacked the bowl of peach yogurt with one of the electric spoons he had invented.

I honestly felt like crying.

“I've got an email here from your teacher, Miss Martin,” Dad said slowly, apparently reading as he spoke.

“Uh-oh, that can't be good,” Taylor said.

“She says everyone's ideas for the science fair are due today,” he said.

“I'm doing a new spider robot,” Taylor announced proudly.

“Son, this is your chance,” Dad said, raising an eyebrow at me. “The science fair project is fifty percent of your science grade.”

“What are you going to do, Zack?” my mom asked as she cracked eggs into a sizzling frying pan.

“It's kind of hard to explain,” I lied.

“That means he doesn't have an idea yet,” Taylor said.

Dad gave Taylor a look, then turned back to me. “You remember our deal: if your grades slip, no baseball.”

I stared at the spot on the table where my cold pizza used to be. “I swear I'm all set with something really good,” I lied. Again.

My mom turned around from the stove. “I'm sure it'll be great, Zack. You started off with such a bang, but you've seemed a bit distracted lately. It sounds like you have your focus back now.”

“It does?” Taylor squawked. “Look at him. He looks like he got run over by a tractor.”

“That's enough,” Dad said to Taylor.

Taylor made a face at me.

A steaming plate of gross-looking, half-cooked scrambled eggs was placed before me. It reminded me of my life: a steaming, gooey mess. “Ugh,” I said.

I needed an idea for my science project fast, and I knew just who was going to help me come up with one.

BOOK: Alien in My Pocket
13.52Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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