8. The Exchange

Right. So here I am. I've had a fortnight of waffling around with the odd sick photo thrown in to satisfy the sadists out there. I haven't had a shower in two weeks, my dog pheromones are wearing out and I'm starting to look as bad as old deceased Johnny. And finally when my chance comes back to reclaim Alien what do I do? I reply to the letter with this one:

Exchange will not take place today. Payment was consumed yesterday because it was rotting. Due to unprecedented delay in proceedings caused by yourselves we had no choice but no scoff the whole lot with two other swines.

Besides, the alien's keeper shall be out of the office at 13:00.

We now do this on my terms. The exchange will take place next week sometime. YOU await instructions. If anything has happened to the alien by God I swear you'll pay.

X

The sad truth was I was booked in to play Badminton during lunchtime that day and hence couldn't make the exchange. Hey, fitness is a priority, ok??!! Anyway, I also wanted to exert my stronghold on the situation and not lead them into a false sense of security. The risk I took was that they would puncture Alien and terminate all proceedings, but thank goodness they didn't.

The following Thursday (8th August 2002) we received a message saying that the exchange would take place at 14:00 at a predetermined location. No other information on the dropoff/pickup was supplied. Out of anger at the audacity of the delay I took a sledgehammer to the computer and therefore lost the original message, so I cannot quote it here (and you thought the "dog ate my homework" excuse was good).

But anyway Chris "Captain Cool" and I walked over to the location but there was nobody there. Not even Alien. We asked the receptionist whether she had seen Alien and with some look of surprise she said she hadn't, and we then asked her to look out for him and, more specifically, for the culprit carrying him. We waited at the exchange point for another 15 minutes. Nothing happened, so we went back.

At this point I started suspecting Chris as the abductor. Someone mentioned that this was a possibility because it is expectedly ironic that the person I trust the most would end up being the person betraying me:


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SUSPECT 5: CHRIS "CAPTAIN COOL"

Chris is under the false illusion that one's purpose in life is to seek good surf. I am also perpetually trying to convince him of the truth that I am a superior human being to him but he never buys it. He drives a bright blue tank and never ceases to smile. It is this unreal never-ending happiness of his that is also a source of suspicion. It is unlikely that Chris perpetrated these acts, but it is not impossible. I have not ruled him out. If he did do it, it is the greatest act of betrayal in all of human (and alien) history.

But as I had no proof to accuse Chris, I had to move on.

After the abductors stood us up at the exchange point I was mad and proceeded to doctor the jelly babies. Suggestions were raised in the past to dust them in a powdering of tasteless laxative powder or to inject some kind of chemical into them as revenge, but I never acted on these. But now I was furious and needed to do something to them! With no laxative or cyanide at hand I proceeded to decapitate all 26 jelly-babies:

I put them back in the bag and with a little snigger of glee I waited.

10 minutes later someone walking by tells me that he saw a big pink alien in the bushes by the predetermined location. ALIEN!! I grabbed Chris (with a suspicious glare) and ran to find Alien in the bushes:

We asked the receptionist who had put him there, and she didn't notice. "You didn't notice???!! How could you not notice someone carrying in a bright pink life-size alien??". She just shrugged. I think she was bought with a quarter of the ransom (albeit now all decapitated). We took Alien from his misery, left the ransom where he was and before we returned I asked her to look out to see who would come to collect it.

A few minutes after returning and in the midst of nursing Alien's wounds I call the receptionist and she says she hasn't seen anyone. She walks to the bushes to check and she sees that the ransom is GONE! She must be bought over.

That was my last opportunity to discover who the culprit was. And in line with the cursed theme of this story, such fortune did not come to pass.

********************

At least I have Alien back after all that trauma. I do not know who did this and probably never will, but I have love again and that is what counts the most.

But seriously though, after all is said and done, take look at this photograph (of Simon, the first and prime suspect) and tell me if you think he is guilty.

I still, and until the day I find out the truth, will always most certainly do.