But where have they landed? To begin to answer that question our author Larry Winchester turns the microphone over to that international charmer Dick Ridpath:
Okay, so Daphne pulls us out of this port, green foul smoke churning all around us, no idea where we are, we all tumble down this ramp, and then well, here’s where it starts to get weird -- or weirder I should say.
We’re in this sort of institutional short grey hallway, lit with fluorescent light, and now this hallway is filling up with this horrible smoke pouring out of the port behind us, so we rush forward and there’s what looks like an elevator, I mean a closed elevator door, with a button there, a single button, so I put my thumb on it, and the doors slide open, we all pile in amidst this churning fog of vile smoke, and there’s only one button on the inside elevator wall, so I press that, the doors close, we feel the elevator going down, we’re all hacking and coughing, and after a minute the elevator stops, the doors open again, and outside is this pale blue hotel corridor.
We step out into the corridor, a small cloud of the green smoke billowing out with us.
The elevator doors close behind us.
Wisps of smoke being sucked quietly into ventilation grills.
The little electric sign above the elevator says we’re on the forty-third floor. Okay.
Daphne and Harvey are looking at me. As if I know what’s going on.
“It’s my fault,” says Daphne.
“No it isn’t, sweety,” I say.
“Yes it is,” she says. “I had to pee. I couldn’t find a ladies’ room. So I peed in this grill. And that’s when all that vile smoke started coming out.” She turned and looked at the elevator. “I completely ruined that flying saucer.”
“Well, you didn’t know,” I said. “About the grill, I mean.”
Harvey took out a pack of Tareytons.
“When ya gotta go,” he said.
He looked awful, covered all over with blood. And then I looked down at myself and saw that I looked just as bad if not worse. My blood, Hans’s blood, plus I had little bits of Hans’s brains all over me. Daphne was somewhat less liberally splattered with my blood and the little spaceman’s phosphorescent green blood.
Harvey lit a cigarette.
“How you feeling, Harve?” I asked.
“Well, ‘ceptin’ I feel a little like I been mule-kicked in the gut, I feel fine, sir.”
“Yeah, me too,” I said.
“We look a fright,” said Daphne. “And by the way, doesn’t it look weird somehow in here?”
She was right, it did look weird. It was the color of everything. Not just the pale blue of the walls but the quality of the color of everything, including our own gory selves. It all looked somehow like a movie, like Technicolor.
Then a door opens down the hall, and Joey Bishop peeks out. Or at least someone who looked a hell of a lot like the Joey Bishop of, say, Ocean’s 11. And he turns back into the room and says, “Tell the boss they’re here.”
He gave us a “come on over” wave of his hand and said, “Come on in. The boss is waiting.”
And he goes back into the room, leaving the door open.
Harvey turns and stares at me.
Daphne turns and stares at me.
“Okay, let’s go,” I said.
They’re both just standing there looking at me.
As if I had even the slightest idea.****
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