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Replies: 245 (Who?), Viewed: 54370 times.
Page 10 of 10
#226 Old 24th Apr 2018 at 6:55 PM
this isn't on a permanent hiatus is it?

I May Be Life Dumb But I'm Sim Smart(mostly).
My Tumblr
Mad Poster
#227 Old 22nd May 2018 at 11:14 PM
...the evil smuggling cartel was destroyed in a violent shoot-out with the police. The "cow of compliance" was a listening device, but also disbursed noxious gases that caused Sims near it to turn into mindless zombies. The zombie madness destroyed most of the inhabitants, and the others moved away. The End.
OK, not. But I needed closure. Maybe "SOMEONE" would like to add an alternate ending.

Stand up, speak out. Just not to me..
Original Poster
#228 Old 18th Jun 2018 at 7:31 PM
I apologize for my long break from storytelling--in addition to the many fun surprises in my family life, recently my computer took a dive so I have been laboriously replacing everything.

I think i mentioned my thumb problem before? It was actually broken, and because i didn't get it seen to immediately, it got worse, and i am still in a brace. Not fun, and hard to type.

I am not sure when i will be able to get back to actual posting, but the next chapter is "What happened to Daniel?" and I am working on it.

I will not abandon you!
Original Poster
#229 Old 29th Jul 2018 at 9:40 PM Last edited by grumpy_otter : 29th Jul 2018 at 10:09 PM.
To keep you posted--my hard drive crashed, which means all my saved pictures for the story were lost too. I have sent my hard drive to a computer expert friend, and he says he thinks he may be able to recover some, but it will take time. So, i can wait awhile, or reboot my Pleasantview and start over from scratch, trying to recreate all my original pictures and hosting them at a different image-hosting site. While I am not against doing that, it would be my least-favorite option as it may be really tough to get all the same pictures and I might have to change the story. So I'm still hoping the old ones may be recoverable, for a while, at least.

So in the meantime, now that my thumb is healed and I can compute again, I am going to begin work on the other story I have been planning, set in Riverblossom Hills. Once I have a definitive answer about my pictures for "A Pleasant Story," I will switch right back to it!

I love Sims storytelling and am anxious to resume!
Original Poster
#230 Old 21st Nov 2018 at 4:12 PM
Howdy! I am back to work on this! Chapter One has been recreated with pictures, and I am excited to get through all of them and continue the story!
Field Researcher
#231 Old 13th Dec 2018 at 9:24 PM
Oh no, so sorry to hear about your computer troubles. I've been following this story and was sad to see it go on hiatus, but I'm happy to see that it may come back! It was really entertaining and reminded me of the TS2 exchange days back when people would play Pleasantview and post stories about their rendition of the neighborhood. I used to love those!
Original Poster
#232 Old 14th Dec 2018 at 10:25 AM
Originally Posted by Modder
Oh no, so sorry to hear about your computer troubles. I've been following this story and was sad to see it go on hiatus, but I'm happy to see that it may come back! It was really entertaining and reminded me of the TS2 exchange days back when people would play Pleasantview and post stories about their rendition of the neighborhood. I used to love those!

So glad you are enjoying it! I plan to keep on with it--am working on Chapter 8 right now. Thank you!
Mad Poster
#233 Old 14th Dec 2018 at 10:56 PM
Sounds like you will be posting from the beginning; I need that, as it is all a blur now..

Stand up, speak out. Just not to me..
Original Poster
#234 Old 26th Dec 2018 at 8:58 PM
Originally Posted by grammapat
Sounds like you will be posting from the beginning; I need that, as it is all a blur now..

Yes! I have been working back through and re-creating the whole thing. I was moving right along and doing well when I did something that messed up my whole game. I tried to fix it and failed, so I had to restart the whole thing AGAIN! That takes a long time as i have all the secondary characters to re-create and all the relationships to establish before I can start the actual story.

So what I've done this time is to make a backup copy of the story at the very beginning so if anything happens again, i won't have to start from scratch.

So now I can get back to working on the Chapter 8 redo, and hopefully it will proceed smoothly this time!

Please don't point out if you notice anyone looks a little different from last time, lol--I didn't have pictures to work from to recreate the characters, so I was working from memory!

Brandi's first chapter should be up soon!
Test Subject
#235 Old 3rd Feb 2019 at 4:45 PM
Well-written story. Rich plot and targeted overturns that make the story very interesting. Well done
Mad Poster
#236 Old 4th Feb 2019 at 6:20 AM
Originally Posted by Xariss
Well-written story. Rich plot and targeted overturns that make the story very interesting. Well done

What? You found her new version? And what is a "targeted overturn"?

Stand up, speak out. Just not to me..
Test Subject
#237 Old 6th Feb 2019 at 3:21 PM
Originally Posted by grammapat
What? You found her new version? And what is a "targeted overturn"?

No, sorry i don't. Overturn is when elements of the plot change unexpectedly. Such as Angela it was natural to go to Academie Le Tour but instead at the last moment she decides to go to La Fiesta Tech.
Original Poster
#238 Old 10th Feb 2019 at 8:58 PM
Originally Posted by Xariss
Well-written story. Rich plot and targeted overturns that make the story very interesting. Well done

Thank you so much! I am working on the next (redo) chapter now and should have it posted soon! I appreciate your kind words.
#239 Old 11th Mar 2019 at 8:45 AM
I just read through the whole thing to date - it's a shame the pictures are missing, apart from the first few chapters,, but it reads well even without them. Great work, and I look forward to the rest of the story, whenever it may continue.
Original Poster
#240 Old 23rd Mar 2019 at 10:58 PM
Originally Posted by aelflaed
I just read through the whole thing to date - it's a shame the pictures are missing, apart from the first few chapters,, but it reads well even without them. Great work, and I look forward to the rest of the story, whenever it may continue.

I am still working on it--whenever I get a chance! And thank you for the kind words!
Original Poster
#241 Old 20th Jun 2022 at 4:37 PM
Default A Pleasant Story - Chapter Thirty-Three - Unpleasant Surprises
Well hey, y’all! Only four years for a new chapter! I had a lot of turmoil including being forced to move from my home, but things have finally settled a bit. I’ve never forgotten the story and keep composing it in my head, so am glad to be back! I’ve actually been working on it again for a while but just doing some editing to the last few chapters. If you are an old reader you might want to revisit them as I changed a few things.

A Pleasant Story

Chapter Thirty-Three

Unpleasant Surprises

Kaylynn swept Mitch into her arms and snuggled him tightly. She couldn't believe that he'd become a child in only a few minutes. Mary-Sue was outside, anxiously awaiting Lilith's arrival. She hadn't seen her since she'd left her at college, and was looking forward to hearing how her studies were going.

Mary-Sue ran to greet Lilith when came up the walk and gave her a big hug.

"I'm so happy to see you!" she exclaimed. "How is school going! I want to hear everything!"

Lilith laughed and said, "We talk on the phone almost every day, Mom. I think I've kept you up to date! But everything's fine. I like my classes and I like my housemates. In fact, I brought one with me!"

Lilith gestured and Mary-Sue jumped a bit to realize that she was introducing her to an odd-looking person. Lilith had told her that her roommate was an alien, but she hadn't expected her to be quite so . . . green.

"Mom," Lilith continued, "this is Stella Terrano, my roommate at school."

Mary-Sue extended her hand and shook Stella's and said, "It's nice to meet you."

Stella replied, "Greetings to you, parental unit of Lilith Pleasant. I am much gratified to be summoned to the natal celebration for the brother of Lilith."

Mary-Sue gulped a little, then smiled. "Well come on in and meet him," she said. "And I'm sure he wants to see his big sister, too."

As they moved toward the house, Mary-Sue said to Lilith, "Have you heard from your sister? I invited her, of course, but she said she was too busy studying to come."

Lilith shook her head. "I haven't talked to her since before she went to college. And I don't really expect to hear from her."

Mary-Sue shook her head sadly. "I was hoping a bit of maturity would get rid of some of her resentment. Oh well."

She walked into the house and introduced Stella to Kaylynn and Mitch.

Mitch seemed to take to Stella immediately, and held up his arms for her to pick him up.

"So diminutive a creature I did not expect. This is the initial immature human I have met," Stella said, not unkindly.

Stella reached down and picked him up, then tossed him into the air. Mitch squealed with excitement and Lilith laughed.

"Is he small? What are children like on your planet, Stella?" Lilith asked her.

"Our progeny are incubated in fibrous husks until maturity," Stella said. "Emergence occurs at approximately twice this dimension."

"Fibrous husks?" Lilith repeated. "That sounds . . . interesting."

"Interesting it is, in comparison to universal forms of reproductions. My colleagues have discovered many diverse forms of maturation across the galaxy," Stella explained.

Suddenly a thought seemed to strike her and she set Mitch down. She stood absolutely still until Lilith said, “Are you okay, Stella?”

Stella turned to her and nodded. “I am indubitably well, friend Lilith. A sudden speculation detained my processes of interaction. I am returned to orderly proceeding once again.”

Mitch held his arms out to Stella insistently, and she complied by tickling him.

"Looks like you have a new friend, Stella!" Lilith said

Mitch was squealing happily, then seemed to notice Lilith for the first time and held his arms out to her. Lilith picked him up him and snuggled him and Mitch grabbed on to her and made his cute baby noises.

"I guess he didn't forget you while you were away," Kaylynn told her.

Lilith smiled and asked, "Can I bring him to the cake?"

Kaylynn smiled and nodded to Lilith.

"Gather round--it's time!" she told them.

Lilith held Mitch at the cake as the others began to cheer him into his childhood form.

Stella observed the commotion of the adults, and wondered if it was appropriate to join in. On her planet, the emergence of the young from their husks was a much more somber, though still joyful, occasion.

She shrugged her shoulders and began to holler and blow the noisemaker she found in her hand. She cheered as loudly as the others as Lilith helped Mitch blow out the candles on his cake and then set him on the floor.

Mitch tottered uncertainly, then jumped into his child shape and did a little dance of happiness.

Kaylynn reached down to give him a big hug as all the guests cheered their congratulations.

Mitch immediately ran over to Lilith and asked her to play with him and she took him outside to swing him around as he squealed happily.

"You can't toss me in the air anymore, but this is better!" He declared happily.

Mary-Sue then called everyone to come have some birthday cake. As Mitch waited for Stella to sit next to him, he asked, “Can you tell me about the planet where you come from, Stella?”

Stella nodded and told them, “Many units of distance comprise the traveling time to my planet. To reveal it to humans would be pleasurable, but none have journeyed to the vicinity. The colors it encompasses are not encountered on your world.”

“What’s it called?’ Mitch asked.

Stella paused and Lilith laughed. “Go ahead, Stella,” she said.

Stella then made the odd chirping and whistling sounds that sounded like birds, and Mitch’s eyes grew wide.

“I don’t think I can say that!” he said.

Stella nodded. “Humans falter at reproducing cacophony. Dwelling companion Lilith previously rendezvoused with difficulties of impersonation. Shared amusement ensued.”

Mary-Sue chuckled. “Well, Stella, you are the first alien we’ve met, and it has been a pleasure, and a learning experience!”

Stella was helping to clean up the dishes when Mary-Sue felt a familiar sensation. She stood from the table, twirled, and bloop! It was clear she was indeed expecting.

Mitch ran to her and immediately began to talk to her belly. "Hi baby! I'll be your big brother! Even though I'm not really your big brother! We'll have fun!"

Mary-Sue smiled at him.

The party was over then, and Mitch and Kaylynn and Mary-Sue said goodbye to the girls. Mitch wanted especially to talk to Stella again so he said to Lilith, "Maybe I could come visit your college sometimes."

Lilith nodded. "Sure! That would be fun. I've got exams soon, but maybe next semester you could come."

Stella said to him "Many compliments, miniature sibling of Lilith. It is my optimism that our journeys will rendezvous subsequently."

Mitch looked at her and squinched his eyebrows. "Huh?" he said.

Lilith laughed. "She means she hopes you two will meet again."

"Oh!" Mitch said, "Yeah, me too, Stella!"

Mitch waved goodbye to them, then went back to the dining room to finish the dishes.

Suddenly he screamed and ran to the window. "Mom! Mom!" he yelled, "There's an old man out there!"

Kaylynn jumped up and went to the window with him, but shook her said. "I don't see anyone, honey. Are you sure you saw someone?"

Mitch pointed out and said, "He was right there! He must have run away when he saw me."

He continued, “He looked weird. More weird than Stella from Lilith’s college. She was nice.”

Kaylynn imagined the strange man in her mind.

The next day before school, Kaylynn took Mitch to the mall so he could choose an outfit for himself that he liked. When he emerged from the dressing room, she complimented him on his choice.

"It's like your dress, Mom," he explained. You have angles and I have diamonds and the color is almost the same, sort of."

"Well that's great, honey. As long as you like it!" Kaylynn told him.

As they exited the mall, Mitch suddenly paused and looked back. He'd heard a man yelling behind him and stopped to listen.

"Whatever you do," the man was yelling, "work at it with all your heart as working for plumbob, and not for your simly desires!"

Mitch's jaw dropped and he yelled at Kaylynn, "Mom! Mom!"

But she was already through the mall doors so he ran after her. "Mom! That man back there--the one yelling--he's the man I saw last night looking in the window!"

Kaylynn walked to the door and looked through. The man seemed vaguely familiar, but she couldn't place him. She hoped he wasn't dangerous; he seemed a bit crazy.

She turned back to Mitch. "I see him honey. If he bothers us again I'll take care of it. But let's get home now."

As they walked home, Mitch stopped in front of an abandoned building and asked, "What's this place, Mom? It looks spooky."

Kaylynn looked at it. "It's just an abandoned building, not spooky. Those trees are dead only because no one has taken care of them."

"Can we go in and look around?" Mitch asked.

"I guess so," Kaylynn said. "Just be careful not to fall through any of the holes."

They stepped carefully up on the porch. Despite the fact that there were gaps in the deck, and missing stairs, Kaylynn noticed that the building seemed to be in pretty good shape--it just needed a bit of work. It must have been beautiful when it was built. She loved the stone and the woodwork on the walls.

They walked inside and looked at the furniture and equipment that was piled up haphazardly in the main room.

"What do you suppose used to be here?" Mitch asked her.

"It looks like a restaurant or a bakery," Kaylynn told him. "Those are food display cases. And those are kitchen counters for cooking."

"It's really cool," Mitch said. "I'd like it if you fixed it up."

Kaylynn nodded, the germ of an idea beginning to form in her mind. She looked through a room to her left and found a dirty and stripped kitchen area.

It needed a lot of work, and she hadn't planned to have her own place so soon, but how perfect could it be? There was a large kitchen, an ample dining room, and maybe in this condition it wouldn't cost too much.

As they walked back outside, Kaylynn took a last look. "It could be really elegant," she thought to herself. "Maybe someday."

They turned to go and continued home.

When they got home, they greeted Mary-Sue and she asked, “Did you and Mitch have a nice outing?"

Kaylynn nodded vigorously, and told Mary-Sue about the strange man they'd seen at the mall. "I had the weirdest feeling looking at him. He seemed really familiar."

Mary-Sue said, "I had the same feeling last night. I'd like to know what he's up to."

Kaylynn hugged Mitch as he headed off to school, then told Mary-Sue, "We saw the neatest place on the way home. It looked like it used to be a restaurant but it was all run-down. I'll have to look it up and find out how much it is and maybe I can save enough to buy it."

Mary-Sue said, "Why wait? You're working and I'm sure you could get a bank loan for it. I could co-sign with the house as collateral."

"Are you kidding?" Kaylynn said. "Really?"

"Why not?" Mary-Sue said. "I've eaten your cooking! I'd bet it will be the best place in town!"

Kaylynn hugged her and then ran to the computer to check the real estate listings and found that it was priced at 23,000 simoleons.

"That's not super-cheap," Mary-Sue said, “but it's manageable. This house is worth 150, at least. Why don't we walk down to the bank right now?"

Kaylynn and Mary-Sue walked over to the Pleasantview National Bank. As they approached the front doors she commented, "Boy, they sure like to make this place look intimidating, don't they?"

Mary-Sue nodded her agreement.

They entered the large, echoing lobby and approached a woman sitting at a desk near the door.

She stared at them with large, odd eyes.

"Hi," Mary-Sue said, "We'd like to speak to someone about getting a loan to purchase property? Can you help us?"

The woman hesitated as she looked them up and down, then nodded.

"You'll need to see Ms. Abbadon, the manager," she said. "She's at the desk at the back of the building. Go ahead."

She gestured with her right hand toward the columns in the middle of the lobby.

As they walked toward the rear of the building Mary-Sue looked up toward the balcony and saw an eerie-looking man watching them.

He looked down at them as well.

Mary-Sue shuddered and followed Kaylynn toward the back of the building.

They neared a luxurious cubicle desk where a thin, pale woman sat.

Mary-Sue approached her and said, "Ms. Abbadon? We wanted to talk about a real estate loan. This is Kaylynn Langerak and I am Mary-Sue Pleasant."

After asking them to be seated, the woman asked, "Pleasant? Are you the wife of Daniel Pleasant?"

Mary-Sue nodded. "I was, but we're divorced now.”

"I am very glad you came in," Ms. Abbadon continued. "We were getting ready to initiate foreclosure proceedings. The mortgage has not been paid for some time."

"What?" Mary-Sue asked, "What mortgage? We didn't have a mortgage."

Ms. Abbadon explained, "Daniel Pleasant applied for a mortgage on your home about three years ago. He'd kept up the payments until fairly recently, but now the loan is in default."

Mary-Sue and Kaylynn both gasped. "How much did he borrow?"

"The amount currently owed is over 100,000 simoleons. I'll need to consult the paperwork to give you the exact amount. But in order to prevent foreclosure you will need to make a payment within the week."

Mary-Sue just stared silently.

Ms. Abbadon spoke again. "Would you like me to check the paperwork? Can you make a payment today?"

Mary-Sue stood, staggered back a bit and swayed off balance. She felt like she might faint. Damn Daniel!

"Can I get back to you? I need to check my accounts."

"Of course," Ms. Abbadon said, "but don't leave it too long. You have four days."

Mary-Sue nodded, and swayed again, and suddenly Kaylynn was next to her, grabbing her arm and leading her to a couch in the waiting area.

"Here," she said, "sit down until you feel better."

Mary-Sue sank onto the couch and shook her head in disbelief.

"I knew he was a liar, and a cheat, but I never thought he'd put us in debt like this. That bastard!"

Kaylynn nodded sympathetically.

"Why don't we go home," she suggested. "We'll figure something out."

Mary-Sue nodded and stood. Her dizziness had passed and now she wanted nothing more than to find Daniel and figure out what he'd done to them.

“Let's go home. I can call Carla. Maybe she can investigate."

They walked out past a man typing at a computer terminal and Kaylynn thought to herself that the people working at this bank sure were strange-looking.

When they arrived home, they found Cassandra waiting for them.

She was delighted to learn of Mary-Sue's condition and immediately began talking to her stomach, as everyone seemed to enjoy doing these days.

Cassandra said, "Remember when we met Cyd at the mall that day? I bet you never thought it would turn out like this!"

Mary-Sue nodded distractedly. "I know, he's really great, but I've got other troubles right now."

"What's wrong?" Cassandra said, "Tell me about it."

Mary-Sue nodded, but said, "Let me sit down. It hasn't been the greatest day."

When they were settled on the couch, Mary-Sue told her about the day's discoveries including Kaylynn finding the old restaurant, and their visit to the bank.

When Mary-Sue told her about the mortgage on the house, Cassandra jumped up and seethed through clenched teeth, "That asshole. Well, don't worry. I am going to take care of this." She pulled her cell phone from her inventory and began to dial.

Mary-Sue began to speak but Cassandra waved for silence.

She listened to Cassandra's side of the conversation curiously.

"This is Cassandra Goth. I want to make a transfer."

"Mary-Sue Pleasant."

"200,000 Simoleons."

Mary-Sue started to object; it sounded like Cassandra was going to give her a fortune! She began to stand but was suddenly startled by Cassandra shrieking.

"WHAT?! He did WHAT?! Oh my plumbob, WHEN!?"

"How much is left?"

"Are you kidding me?"

"All right, tomorrow. See you then."

She hung up the phone and turned to Mary-Sue angrily.

"I've got no money left. There's less than 1000 simoleons in the bank. My Dad depleted our account three days ago. There's nothing left."

"How can that be?" Mary-Sue asked her. "What did he buy?"

"I don't know," Cassandra replied. "I am going home now to ask him, and then meet with our accountan. I can't believe this!"

She took a deep breath. "I'm so sorry," she continued. "I thought I'd be able to help you."

Mary-Sue gave her a hug and said reassuringly, "It's okay--I'm going to call Carla and see if she can investigate, or find out if it was even legal. You go ahead, and let me know what you find out."

Cassandra nodded and left, muttering to herself.

Mary-Sue then called Carla, who came right over and gave her a hug of congratulations about the baby.

Mary-Sue told her about the troubles with the mortgage.

"I can't believe he could even take out a mortgage without my signature--I thought the house was in both our names!"

"Do you think he could have forged your signature?" Carla asked her.

"I suppose so," Mary-Sue replied. "I just find that hard to believe. I never thought he'd steal from me and the twins like that. I even thought you could only get mortgages on large business complexes!"

"Maybe he thought he'd be able to pay it back before you found out," Carla suggested.

"Maybe," Mary-Sue replied. "It's still slimy though. I guess I shouldn't be surprised. Daniel was always bad at managing simoleons."

She shook her head and continued. "And now poor Cassandra is having the same problems."

She filled Carla in about what she knew about the Goth family finances.

“I’ll look into it, Mary-Sue. It seems like somebody definitely belongs in jail!”

As she left, Carla thought about what they'd said and thought maybe it would have been better to go outside so the cow couldn't hear them. "Oh well," she thought. "If the Abbadons are behind this, they know about it anyway."

Mary-Sue then called Cyd; she couldn't wait any longer to tell him about the baby.

When he answered she said, "Can you come over? I have some news."

He was delighted to hear from her and said he'd come over right away.

She went outside to wait for him and soon noticed him walking up the sidewalk.

Cyd paused for a moment as he realized she looked different, then began to run.

When he arrived and saw her maternity wear, he immediately began jumping up and down and squealing like an excited kid, then gave her a hug.

"Really?" Mary-Sue asked. "You're okay with this?"

"You bet!" he shouted. "Kids are the best! This is awesome! Hello, baby!”

Mary-Sue grabbed him and kissed him in relief. What a lucky day when she'd met him!

When she released him he looked at her carefully and said, "But are you okay? You don't look happy. Is something wrong?"

Mary-Sue told him all the horrible news about the money and the restaurant and the mortgage. Cyd was sympathetic, but urged her not to worry. “Let’s go lie down and we can talk it over.”

As they got settled on the bed he said, "I have an idea. If I sell my house, there should be plenty to . . . "

"Oh no Cyd, you can't do that," Mary-Sue objected.

He responded, "It makes sense, though. I'm not living there anymore, and the Newson's have a big house. The oldest kids will be going to college soon, and you and the baby could move in with us. Then you could just give this house to the bank instead of trying to pay off Daniel's debt. Or sell it and pay off the mortgage anyway. And there might even be enough to invest in Kaylynn's restaurant."

Mary-Sue thought about what he'd said. Just having him be hopeful and positive made her feel better. But then she stopped and said, "Kaylynn and Mitch. What would they do?"

Cyd didn't hesitate, "They can come too!"

"Is there enough room?" she asked him.

"We'll make room!" Cyd announced.

Mary-Sue grabbed him gratefully and snuggled up close.

"Thank you so much," she told him. "I've been so worried. You make me feel like everything will work out."

"It WILL work out," he said. "We can do it! And we can do other things, too!”

Later, as Mary-Sue settled down to sleep, she felt safe.

Cyd left early to go to work, and Mary-Sue got dressed and went to tell Kaylynn of their plans.

"Are you sure?" Kaylynn asked them. "That's a whole lot of kids in one house. And are you sure you want to sell this one, Mary-Sue?"

Mary-Sue nodded. "I don't really have a sentimental attachment here. It was where Daniel lived. If the girls were still here it might be different, but since they're gone, I think it would be nice to have a new place. With you and Mitch."

Kaylynn turned to Mary-Sue and said, "I don't think I've said this enough. I am so sorry about how our friendship started, but I can't regret it now. I am glad you and the girls became part of my life."

Mary-Sue smiled at her. "I think we'll do okay."

Original Poster
#242 Old 22nd Jun 2022 at 1:50 AM
Default A Pleasant Story - Chapter Thirty-Four - Close Encounters of the Sim Kind

A Pleasant Story

Chapter Thirty-Four

Close Encounters of the Sim Kind

Stella couldn’t sleep. The idea that had come to her at Mitch’s birthday celebration would not stop nagging her brain. She looked down at Lilith sleeping soundly and her thoughts became resolute.

“Tomorrow,” she said to herself, “I will gather my housemates and set the plan in motion.”

The next day, the Shifting Paradymes household were all together as they sat down for dinner, spaghetti made by Zoe. As she served, Gunnar commented favorably on her outfit, but Mitch just thanked her.

Once they were all together, Stella explained her plan to them.

“Initiation of action must commence. The town of Pleasantview has experienced disturbing interruptions of alien visitation. Past occasions have been transitory; two recent occurrences have been permanent. Conclusion is made that student extra-terrestrials must be consulted. Information may be forthcoming upon interrogation. Companions of this dwelling are invited accomplices.”

Lilith looked at her and clarified, “You want us to go with you to the alien dorm? Cygnus House?”

Stella nodded and said, “Forthwith we navigate from the dwelling.”

Mitch and Gunnar both declined as they had evening classes, but the girls agreed to go with Stella to talk to the alien students. They cleaned up the dinner dishes, then followed Stella.

She led them across campus to a large glass building at the edge of the college grounds. As they approached, they stopped in amazement and looked up. At night, it seemed to glow like a spaceship on the horizon.

“Holy cow,” said Zoe.

“Whoa,” said Jasmine.

“Cool!” said Lilith.

Stella had instructed them that the alien students had some unusual rituals when greeting visitors, and the girls steeled themselves to approach.

“Well,” said Jasmine. “Here goes,” and led the others toward the entrance.

Stella was waiting for them on the sidewalk and said, “Arrange selves in singular direction at side, awaiting detection.”

They stood near the sidewalk and waited while Stella went inside the building. In a few minutes the alien students had come outside and faced them in two rows on the opposite side of the sidewalk.

Stella told her alien friends the names of her housemates.

“First acquaintance is Zoe,” she said.

The aliens repeated, in unison, “Zoe is greeted.”

They repeated the same procedure for Jasmine and Lilith. Lilith thought they all looked amazing—cool clothes and cool looks. She couldn’t believe she was talking to eight beings from another world—nine if you counted Stella!

“Enter now,” Stella called, “and arrange selves in seating area.” They followed her inside the dorm and sat in a comfortable lounge area. The aliens milled around sort of aimlessly and Zoe tried to make conversation.

“So, were you all friends back on your home planet?”

The entire alien group wandered away then and stood in a group, exchanging whistling sounds. Lilith nudged Zoe and asked, “Did we offend them?”

“No idea,” Zoe replied, and shrugged.

They stopped speaking as two aliens left the group and sat down opposite them. The humans sat quietly, feeling awkward, and waited.

The silence stretched out until suddenly the female alien said, “Designation Lyra Cygnus.”

The humans stayed silent, not quite sure how to respond.

The male alien looked toward the other and shrugged, then said, “Designation Corvus Ursa.”

The humans were again befuddled.

Jasmine hesitantly said, “Are you guys telling us names of stars?”

The aliens looked befuddled.

They were saved from further awkwardness by the arrival of Stella, who said, “The appropriate time for abbreviated conversation has concluded. Humans are requested to repair to meeting area.”

Somewhat relieved, they followed Stella over to a large dining area and took seats among the alien students. Conversation was a bit livelier here, as it was clear the aliens were discussing the abductions of Dina and Bella.

Lilith told them what she knew, including that she had experienced an abduction during her teen years, but had been returned promptly.

The aliens all seemed startled that humans had been abducted without being returned, and Jasmine asked if that had ever happened before. The aliens all agreed that they’d never heard of such a case before.

Some of the aliens began whistling in their native language, and Stella stood and spoke to Lilith.

“Friend and sharer of dwelling Lilith, rudeness is disreputable and I request your forbearance. Alien siblings must discuss matters peculiar to our being and would request a brief departure of human comrades. Would Lilith and Zoe and Jasmine care to explore unusual dwelling of alien beings?”

Lilith nodded and gestured to Zoe and Jasmine. “Hey, they need us to make ourselves scarce. Stella said we can explore the dorm.”

As Zoe and Jasmine stood to join Lilith, Stella said, “Friend Lilith will inform me of proper rebuttal to return rudeness.”

Lilith smiled and said, “It’s all good, Stella, we understand.” She led the other two toward the door that led outside to the stairs. They heard the bird whistles and chirping of intense concentration beginning as they exited to the outside.

They climbed the outdoor stairs that led to the second floor and Jasmine asked, “I wonder why all their stairs are on the outside? Might be inconvenient in rain or snow.”

Zoe replied, “Maybe they can levitate through the floors on the inside in inclement weather.”

They all laughed, but wouldn’t really be surprised if it turned out to be true.

On the second floor, they found a room with skill-building items like a piano and exercise machines.

“This dorm is awesome,” Lilith said. “A setup like this must cost a bundle!”

On the third floor, they found rows of fun alien beds.

Then they climbed the final stairs that led to the roof. There they found enough telescopes for all the aliens to stargaze at once, and the remains of a spacecraft half-buried in the desert in the distance.

“I wonder how long we need to wander?” Zoe asked.

“I don’t know,” Jasmine said. “I imagine Stella will call us when they’re done. What do you think they’re talking about?”

“I’m not sure,” Lilith said, “But Stella got really focused and intense yesterday at my brother’s birthday party. We’d been talking about how aliens were born on her planet—something about ‘fibrous husks.’ And I think she wants to ask the other students about human abductions.”

“You know what?” Zoe said, “I think those words the aliens were saying when we were on the couch might have been their names. Corvus and Lyra? We’ll have to ask Stella later.”

They heard Stella’s voice then, summoning them back downstairs. When they got there, the other aliens were at the front of the house and Stella said, “Departure is imminent. I will demonstrate procedure. Pursue subsequently.”

They walked behind Stella out the front door where all the alien students were assembled to say goodbye.

As they left, Zoe said, “Hey Stella, what were the names of your friends? We weren’t sure.”

Stella began reciting a list, “Octans Circinus, Ara Lynx, Hercules Hydra, Lyra Cygnus . . .”

Zoe exclaimed and interjected, “I knew it! Names! Go on, Stella.”

She continued, “Volans Crater, Tucana Columba, Corvus Ursa, and Andromeda Serpens.”

Jasmine gulped. “That’s quite a mouthful.”

Stella explained, “All designations are chosen prior to earth arrival. Chosen designations indicate universal phenomenon. Compatriots’ names reveal galaxies.”

They all nodded in understanding, and continued walking down the sidewalk, rather amazed and enlightened by their recent encounter.

After she walked her roommates home, Stella returned to Cygnus House to confer with her alien friends. In chirps and birdsong, they agreed that it would be necessary to contact pollinations technicians from the galaxies to find out why some humans had not been returned from their abduction experiences.

Each of them manned a telescope set to the “Summon Aliens” setting.

They stayed at the telescopes the whole night, but no alien contact ever came.

As dawn was about to break, they gathered to discuss this development. Stella whistled that she’d never been unsuccessful in talking to other aliens, and the rest agreed. They decided to try again soon, then Corvus chirped, “Stella, would Lilith be agreeable to social outing?”

The next day, Mitch was relaxing at his easel when he answered a knock at the door. He opened it to find three green people standing there.

“Uh, hello,” he said awkwardly.

One of the aliens stepped forward and said, “We bring greetings to the dwelling mate of comrade Stella and new acquaintances Lilith, Zoe, and Jasmine. Interruption of their sojourn is requested for pursuit of conversation and invitation.”

Mitch stood silently, not quite sure what he was supposed to do. They stared at each other for a bit, then Mitch asked, “Did you want to see the girls?”

The alien agreed enthusiastically. “Of a certainly, appreciation would be offered for the beckoning of the named dwellers of this abode.”

Mitch finally figured out what to do and hollered for Zoe and the girls.

The girls came downstairs to talk to the aliens, and this time understood when they introduced themselves. Lilith was talking to Corvus, Zoe spoke with Octans, and Jasmine chatted with Hercules. They seemed very friendly, but their topics of conversation were a bit random.

Corvus then spoke and said, “Purpose of our visitation is inquiry that Zoe, Jasmine, and Lilith will accompany us to location of gyration and merriment.”

The girls looked at each other, then Zoe said, “Dancing? Hell yeah!”

They went to the local club on campus and proceed to bust moves and jam enthusiastically.

As the evening progressed, the girls enjoyed their vermillion escorts more and more. They were a little odd, but polite and solicitous of their feelings. It had been Jasmine’s idea to teach them to slow dance, and they participated with enthusiasm.

As Corvus and Lilith pivoted slowly on the dance floor, Corvus said, “Accompaniment of Lilith is enjoyable. Would a future encounter be welcome?”

Lilith figured out he was asking her for a date and replied shyly, “Sure, anytime.”

The next morning, Lilith’s studies were interrupted by a call from outside.

“Fair Lilith! I beckon thee!”

She went outside to find Corvus dressed for the snow and gazing up at her on the balcony.

She waved and greeted him, then smiled as he began to speak. It was familiar, somehow.

“But, soft!” he said, “what light through yonder window breaks? It is the east, and Lilith is the sun. Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon.”

Lilith laughed and pretended to swoon. “Nice job, Romeo, but that speech only works at night.”

Corvus looked startled. “Many ministrations of regret I proffer. Pleasing I thought such words would be.”

He turned and began to leave, and Lilith called out to stop him, then ran downstairs.

“It WAS pleasing,” she said. “And I’m impressed you took the time to learn Simspeare.

Corvus looked relieved and said, “Will fair Lilith accompany in my snow revels?”

She agreed and they headed off to the Plaza to enjoy the crisp winter day. Corvus changed back into his everyday clothes, and Lilith asked if he was warm enough.

“Matters of temperature affect sensation little. Beings of my variety regulate selves,” he explained.

They had a fun day. First Lilith showed Corvus how to make a snow angel.

Then Corvus showed her how to do a happy snow dance.

Their pillow fight was interrupted by a streaker, which made them both laugh.

Lilith introduced Corvus to another green-skinned person, but he seemed a bit suspicious of her.

They’d spent the day laughing and talking, but as the sun went down, Corvus was hit by lightning.

Lilith wanted to end the date so he could go home and clean up, but he told her he barely felt it, and if she didn’t mind a little soot, he’d still like to continue.

Lilith agreed, and was amused when he toasted her by saying, “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate.” She refrained from mentioning the weather wasn’t the best match for his sonnet choice. His heart was in the right place.

After they finished their meal, Corvus stood and said, “In preparation for today’s festivities, I memorized poetry and studied human customs regarding social interactions among your species. I believe it is customary, at the end of such an engagement, for the partners to touch lips together and . . .”

Lilith stopped him right there.

She skipped off happily towards home. She couldn’t remember when she’d felt so carefree, and FUN. When Lilith got home, she found her housemates standing out in the snow by the pool, and noticed flowers by the front door.

When she got to her housemates, she asked what was going on

“Stella’s in there decorating and said we had to leave while she worked on the house,” Mitch said.

They looked through the side window and saw Stella swimming through the air. Literally.

“What in the world?” Lilith exclaimed.

Then she stopped swimming and just . . . hovered.

When she disappeared from view, they moved to the front window and found her in a new location.

“If this is how aliens decorate, I can’t wait to see what she’s done,” Gunnar said. “Hang on, she’s going upstairs now. Does that mean she’s finished?”

The inquiry was answered quickly as Stella came out in a new outfit and said, “Fellow inhabitants may now view the dwelling.”

She led them inside and asked, “Do alterations meet with your approval?”

The roommates scoped the room to take in the changes, and indicated approval.

Zoe liked the new painting.

Jasmine appreciated the abstract art.

Gunnar spotted a new addition and simply commented, “What’s a nice girl like you doing in a place like this?”

Stella approached Lilith and asked, “Approval is forthcoming?”

Lilith reassured her. “Yeah, Stella, it all looks great! What made you want to do this tonight?”

Stella replied, “Mortimer Goth and family suffer bereavement from loss. It is desirous to extend beneficent invitation to them.”

Lilith nodded. “Yeah, that would be nice. I can’t imagine how they’re handling it.”

“Appreciative that you concur with instincts.” Stella turned and went back upstairs.

Lilith admired the cute cow in the kitchen.

Field Researcher
#243 Old 22nd Jun 2022 at 1:07 PM
Is that ... the COW cow?

Happy to see the two new updates.
Original Poster
#244 Old 26th Jun 2022 at 12:55 AM
Originally Posted by AnMal
Is that ... the COW cow?

Happy to see the two new updates.

It might be! That little moo shows up everywhere!

and thanks--I am very glad to be back at it.
Original Poster
#245 Old 26th Jun 2022 at 1:40 AM Last edited by grumpy_otter : 26th Jun 2022 at 1:56 AM.
Default A Pleasant Story - Chapter Thirty-Five - Suspicions

A Pleasant Story

Chapter Thirty-Five


Dustin arrived safely at college and as soon as he got his room set up he called Lainey. She squealed happily and said, “Where are you? I’m coming!”

Dustin gave her the address of his dorm, then went to the front to wait for her. He didn’t have to wait long; she came running down the street in only minutes.

Dustin went to meet her with a smile, but Lainey had other ideas. She leapt into his arms as the creepy annoying professor who rang the dorm doorbell constantly finally gave up and left.

And that was all it took. Their romance from the island was re-kindled immediately.

Lainey asked him how he was and if he’d decided what to major in.

He said, “I haven’t decided yet, so the “undecided” major seems right for now.”

“Weren’t you interested in oceanography?” Lainey asked.

“Yeah, I really did like it, but here in the desert their biology programs are more geared toward other species. I have a botany class later, so maybe that will be fun, learning about flowers and stuff.”

Dustin stopped and looked at her. “It’s so good to see you. I can’t believe I was so lucky to meet you, and now to be here with you.”

“I feel the same,” Lainey said. “Especially because I don’t know anyone here except you.”

“Lainey, I don’t want to scare you off by even saying it, but ever since I got here I’ve been thinking about . . .”

Dustin stopped himself. It would be too soon.

She looked at him curiously, waiting for him to continue.

“I’m just so glad to see you!” He said.

When they broke apart, Lainey said, “I have to go to class now, but maybe we can get together tonight. I want to hear about your family and everything.”

Dustin nodded and said, “The dorm is having a meet-and-greet dinner tonight, but we could go out after that.”

She smiled and his heart filled.

As they said goodbye, they didn’t notice that they were being observed.

Dustin was so happy that he went skipping into the dining room after Lainey left.

When the dinner began, Dustin was really happy to meet his new dorm-mates.

They all seemed nice, and Sam was interested in botany, too.

While Dustin was enjoying college, Carla was continuing her cow investigations in Pleasantview. As she approached the Picaso home, she heard Matthew yelling from inside. As she sprinted to the door, she was surprised to see that his alien baby was going to arrive right then! She also noticed the house was a mess as she approached Matthew in labor, and wrinkled her nose at the smell.

It was almost habit by now—she scanned the room for a cow and spotted it right away, then turned her attention to Matthew. She looked around for Jessica, but didn’t see her anywhere. She tried to ask Matthew, but he was too busy.

A wee green baby popped into his arms and Matthew was back in his regular clothes. Carla was going to ask him about Jessica then, but he suddenly handed the baby to her and began to yell again.

In a few short moments, ANOTHER baby was in his arms. Carla cradled hers gently and said, “Matthew, where’s Jessica? Did she already have her baby and go back to work?”

Matthew shook his head and said, “Not right now, Carla. Can you . . . can you just help me get these babies fed and in their cribs?”

They fed the twins and put them in the cribs upstairs, then returned down to the mess. Matthew suddenly grabbed his head and moaned.

Carla was startled and tried to get his attention, but he was inconsolable.

“Matthew!” she snapped, to shake him up. “Tell me what’s wrong!”

He finally composed himself and said sadly, “Jessica’s gone. We were stargazing last night and she wanted to use the big telescope and the aliens took her. And never brought her back.”

Carla was stunned. This was the THIRD person she’d heard of being taken from Pleasantview and never returned.

Matthew continued, “The kids don’t know yet. They were asleep, and now they’re at school. What am I going to tell them?”

Carla spoke soothingly to Matthew as she hugged him. “It’s okay—we’ll figure this out. Why don’t you go take a nap while I get this mess cleaned up? I’ll wake you when the kids get home.”

Matthew agreed and went to lie down as Carla began to tidy. Now she understood the mess—poor pregnant Matthew had been trying to take care of three kids by himself. For less than a day. Poor thing.

As she was finishing, the kids arrived home from school and Carla had them sit down together while she went to wake Matthew so they could tell them about what was happening and try to make a plan going forward.

When they were all assembled, she told the kids, “I’m Carla. You probably don’t remember me but I met all of you when you were just babies!”

She turned to Matthew and asked, “Do you want me to explain?”

Matthew nodded.

Carla, as gently as she could, told the children about how people were often abducted by aliens in Pleasantview, but were then usually returned a few hours later. “Many people,” she said, “like your Dad, even thought it was fun and did it more than once.”

Rigel and Vega said, “We know all that. Mom and Dad told us that’s how we got here.”

Carla nodded and continued, “The thing is . . . your Mom was taken last night but the aliens haven’t brought her back yet. We don’t know why.”

The alien kids jumped up as Pablo shouted, “When will she be back?”

Matthew spoke up then and said, “Soon, we think. It’s just a bit longer this time.” He looked at Carla worriedly. He didn’t want to scare the kids too much. “You have two new brothers upstairs—why don’t you go meet them?”

Carla sat down next to Matthew as the kids trooped up the stairs.

“Do you think it was wise to lie, Matthew?” she asked him.

“I don’t know,” he said. “I just couldn’t stand them to be worried like me. Maybe it’s true. Maybe she’ll be back soon.”

“I hope so,” Carla said. “I hope so.”

Carla left the Picasos after phoning for a Nanny to come and help Matthew with the kids. She didn’t think she had the heart to continue on her cow search anymore. Matthew had told her that Jessica was pregnant when she was taken and Carla couldn’t imagine how awful that was. It would be bad enough for anyone she loved to be taken, but in that condition!

She wanted to talk to someone who was used to investigating. She stopped and phoned John Mole and asked if he could meet her at the park.

Carla sat on a bench after checking that there were no cows around and waited for John. She had an idea, but didn’t know how to proceed to confirm it.

When John arrived, she told him about all the cows she’d found in peoples’ houses, then said, “But listen John. I actually wanted to talk to you about something else.”

“There have been three alien abductions who weren’t returned to their homes, and all of them were young women. The last one was last night and she was pregnant. Do you think it’s possible the other two were pregnant as well? Could that be the reason they haven’t been returned?”

“Wow, I don’t know,” John said. “I’d heard about two abductions but hadn’t thought about that possibility. Your friend was definitely pregnant?”

Carla nodded. “But I don’t know how we’d find out if Dina and Bella were too. As far as I know, the families weren’t aware if they were pregnant.”

John sighed. “This town has a lot of issues. I’m not sure what the next step should be. Do you know any aliens?”

Carla told him about Johnny and that he’d said he’d have his father call if he knew anything.

“Well, all I can suggest is that you ask him if being pregnant might change something about abduction. And I’ll keep working on the cow thing. I don’t think we need to confirm any more homes with them—we’ve got proof of enough already. We need to find those transmitters.”

John stood and gave her a hug.

“I’ll get the equipment I need and try to find them,” he said. “In the meantime, you just keep taking notes and keep your eyes open.”

Original Poster
#246 Old 30th Jun 2022 at 2:05 AM
Default A Pleasant Story - Chapter Thirty-Six - Making Plans

A Pleasant Story

Chapter Thirty-Six

Making Plans

Cassandra ran home from Mary-Sue’s house to find out what had happened to the Goth family money. As she entered the foyer she glanced around and noticed with relief that nothing obvious seemed to be missing.

When she got through the door she yelled for her Dad, but there was no answer.

She began to search and luckily found him napping on the couch in the living room. He looked so small and vulnerable she just gazed down at him for a moment.

“Oh, Dad, what happened?” she asked quietly.

Cassandra felt movement behind her and a shivering chill crept up her back.

She turned slowly to confront the visitor and stared in disbelief at a hooded, skeletal figure.

Suddenly her rage rose and she shrieked, “NO! IT IS NOT HIS TIME!”

“Get back you foul fiend! You cannot have him!” Cassandra advanced on the figure, who seemed to shrink before her righteous assault.

Without touching, because she had no idea what her fingers might encounter, Cassandra kept yelling and advancing, and the specter kept backing up.

Cassandra angrily forced the creature into the kitchen where it merged through the wall and eventually disappeared.

She returned to her Dad and breathed a sigh of relief as she observed him still breathing.

She gently shook him awake and helped him sit up.

“Oh, Cassandra. There you are,” he said quietly. “I was so tired.”

“I could tell,” she replied. “Dad, I have to ask you something. Did you buy something? Or things?”

Mortimer looked puzzled and shook his head. “I don’t think so. I just came home after seeing the therapist. At least, I think I did. I don’t remember. Then I was so tired I’ve just been sleeping ever since.”

“Well listen Dad, I called the bank because I wanted to help Mary-Sue and all our money is gone. There’s nothing left.”

Mortimer jumped up and shouted, “WHAT?! What do you mean?”

Cassandra explained and Mortimer took out his phone and dialed the bank.

He identified himself and then asked about his accounts.

When he hung up the phone, he told Cassandra, “There were numerous purchases all in a row. I asked what time, and it was the same time I was seeing the therapist. We’ll have to check that out. But I asked about the house and there’s no mortgage, so it was just purchases.”

“I can’t believe this,” he continued. “I don’t remember buying anything. The last thing I remember was sitting down in her chair, and then you waking me up just now.” He shook his head as though to clear it.

Cassandra said, “Don’t worry Dad, we’ll figure it out. I’m going to that therapist’s office right now and see what I can find out. You just rest.”

When Cassandra arrived at the therapist’s office she found the door open and walked in, to discover . . . nothing. The waiting room was empty.

She walked into the office area and same story—completely empty.

“I don’t think this is a coincidence,” she thought.

Suddenly she gasped and shivered.

“I fought DEATH,” she said, “And I won. Holy crap.”

Back at the Goth house, Mortimer answered the phone.

“Dinner? Well, I guess so. Thank you. We’ll see you then.”

Lilith was working on her homework when she noticed Stella walk up beside her quietly and then stare down at her.

Lilith knew that sometimes Stella wasn’t sure how to behave as a human, so she stood and said, “Did you need something Stella?”

“Appreciations for your attention, roommate Lilith. Information is offered that Mortimer Goth and his progeny Cassandra will be arriving to consumes sustenance this evening. Purpose is for contribution of merriment and exploration of events of sadness.”

“Oh, that’s a good idea,” Lilith said, “And hey, maybe I could call my mom to come, too. She’s Cassandra’s best friend.”

“Benevolent suggestion, friend Lilith,” Stella said. “Much appreciation is offered for thoughtfulness.”

Lilith nodded and smiled.

Stella then continued, “Learnings have indicated human gestures of appreciation and I am desirous of offering one.”

Lilith was a little hesitant as she said, “Okay . . .” and got ready to receive whatever Stella thought was an “offering of appreciation.”

But then she relaxed as Stella just gave her friendly hug.

When the guests arrived, Stella and Lilith greeted them and introduced them to their housemates. Mary-Sue and Mortimer seemed in fairly-good spirits, but Cassandra was troubled and answered inquiries with monosyllables.

Lilith led the guests to the table as Zoe served chef salads.

Mary-Sue inquired, “Will you be joining us, Zoe?”

Zoe replied, with a smile, “No, Lilith just asked me to cook because nobody else knows how to make anything but mac and cheese. I have to go to class soon.”

Cassandra chirped up, “I like birds.”

Once everyone was seated, Stella took her place at the head of table and said, “Many welcomes to friends Mortimer and Cassandra and parental unit of roommate Lilith. Human tradition dictates the raising and subsequent consumption of inebriating substances prior to the consumption of nutritional sustenance, preceded by a declaration of hopeful purpose.”

They all stared at her somewhat blankly, then raised their glasses as she said,

“My friends are the best friends
Loyal, willing, and able.
Now let’s get to drinking!
All glasses off the table!”

All but Cassandra raised their glasses. She just sat silently.

Lilith choked as she tried to stifle her laughter and asked, “So, where’d you learn that toast, Stella?”

Stella explained earnestly, “In preparation for this evening’s occupation of hostess to guest attendance, perusal of print and video media was effected. The speech-making was obtained from a lengthy visual performance involving the association of young male humans at a location of higher learning. Is appropriateness lacking?”

“Not at all, Stella,” Mary-Sue said. “That was very nice.”

They were about to begin to eat when Cassandra spoke. “This is all very amusing, but I thought we were asked here to talk about the alien abductions, not teach aliens how to act human.”

They were all startled at this pronouncement and sank into silence.

Stella finally answered and said, “Understanding is that convivial communication precedes matters of essential discussion among humans.”

Mortimer said, “You’re exactly right, Stella. Most human gatherings first have a period of small talk. And Cassandra knows better than to speak so rudely.”

Stella smiled at him then and said, “As is usual, Mortimer speaks wisely. Consumption shall now commence.”

They ate their salads quickly. They were delicious, but the plates started giving off green fumes before they’d finished.

Stella said, “Now that devourment is completed, proceedings shall move to matters of importance.”

Lilith quickly cleared the plates , then settled back down as Cassandra was saying, “Okay, so now can we talk about the aliens?

Stella nodded and said, “Purpose of meeting is imminent. Desire is to convey prevailing knowledge.” She went on to explain how she and the other alien students were working together to try and contact the pollination technicians who were in charge of human abductions. The difficulty was that they were a secretive lot and had not yet been amenable to contact.

She concluded, “Gathering of information from present guests is welcomed.”

Everyone chimed in with what they knew about the abductions of Bella and Dina. After they’d filled Stella in with what they knew, Mary-Sue said, “Hey, you know who should be here? Carla! I know she’s been investigating things in Pleasantview and she might have information. Plus she’s a cop, so she knows how to dig into mysteries.”

“Contribution of Mary-Sue’s acquaintance would be welcome at this assemblage. Method of contact is available on the wall hence.” She gestured toward the phone but Mary-Sue shook her head.

“Never mind, I’ve got her number in my cell.” She stood and dialed Carla’s number and explained the situation and Carla said she’d be right there.

Cassandra crooned, “I like violins.”

Once Carla arrived, Stella began to explain the situation.

“Two humans of Pleasantview have not returned from usual temporary occurrence of abduction . . . “

Carla interrupted her, “Change that number to three. Jessica Picaso has also been abducted and not returned.”

The table exclaimed in unison at this shocking news.

They told Carla about Stella’s plan to contact the pollination technicians, but that they’d been unsuccessful so far. Carla asked, “Is it possible to travel to see them? Don’t you have access to a rocket or spaceship?”

Stella explained that their location was secret, so as of right now there was no way to contact them unless they wanted to be contacted.

Cassandra interjected angrily, “So what was the point of this? We still know nothing. Stella, I appreciate you trying, but this was pointless. I’m going to go.”

Cassandra stood and left the house.

Mortimer turned to Stella and said, “I’m sorry dear. Don’t mind her. She’s just upset about her mother. And step-mother. It’s unbelievable that I’ve lost both my wives to the aliens.” He turned to Carla and said, “Can you give me the Picaso’s address? I’d like to talk to the husband about his wife’s abduction. And I might be able to offer some support.”

Carla said, “Sure, no problem. I’ll text it to you.”

Stella said, “It has been pleasurable to be in your company. Hopefulness exists that this occasion will re-occur often. So strong are feelings on this matter that I made your dinner reappear.”

As she was leaving, Carla stopped in the kitchen at a familiar sight. “Hey Lilith,” she called, “Where did you get this cow?”

“Oh, Stella got that,” she said. “She redecorated the whole place the other day.”

Stella walked up and said, “I must negate your impression. Small bovine creature was not addition by me.”

“Oh,” Lilith said, “then I wonder where it came from? Probably one of the other roommates.”

“Stella,” Carla said, “this is important. Could you ask your other roommates if they brought the cow?”

Stella agreed and went to ask the others—each denied knowing anything about the cow. She returned to the kitchen and told Carla.

“Curiosity is rising,” Stella said. “Is mammalian horned creature of significance?”

Carla nodded. “It might be part of another investigation. Do me a favor—if you find out who put it here, let me know.”

After Carla left, Stella walked Mortimer out to the curb.

“I’d like to apologize again for Cassandra,” he said. “And I’d be happy to come for a visit again. Maybe you could . . .”

His words were stopped by Stella’s lips.

“Many thanks to Mortimer,” she said.

“Well.” He said, “You’re welcome. I’ll later, see, well, I mean, I’ll see you later.”

Lilith noticed that they both seemed to enjoy the kiss.

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