Alicia Basilica

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“It’s happening now, man! We’re turning into aliens, and that’s insanely awesome!” Tommy took a hit. He held it inside then released a thick white cloud into the interior of his car. “We’re evolving into super-humans,” he continued. “Omnipotent, omniscient rock stars of the Galaxy! That’s freakin’ awesome, man!”

“We won’t live to see it,” Jake mentioned.

“Doesn’t matter, man…We already know it’s happening.”

Some people see a face on the moon, but Jake wasn’t one of them. He reclined his head backward and peered through the car’s moonroof. A grey crater that shined blindingly against the stars, that’s what he saw. No face. He squinted, then tried to leave his eyes unfocused. Still, nothing. He glanced at Tommy in the driver’s seat.

He had been staring at the empty 40s and cigarette butts littered along Pershing Road. His cream-colored skin appeared ghastly white under moonglow. His beard had grown too long for his face. In a funny way, Tommy reminded Jake of Lincoln. He even had the same long, pointed nose and bushy eyebrows. Jake stared at Tommy for a moment. Abraham Lincoln in a Sublime t-shirt and cargo shorts. A top hat! He needed one.

Tommy crossed his legs and put his feet sideways on the dash. His loafers had about nine million miles on them and nearly nine million forms of bacteria. He never wore socks. Jake didn’t want to look at these things. Not again. Not every time. He turned his head, then glared at his reflection in the passenger window. It was kind of hilarious, actually. The perfectly round head, the straight collar bones, the long arms, long torso, long legs, the zero percent body fat. He looked like a skeleton in a leather jacket. Jake started laughing out loud. It almost took Tommy too, though neither had known why.

“That’s the Blue Cheese, man.” Tommy started up in his usual drawling way, never shifting focus. “My buddy down in Tom’s River used to get these muscle spasms. He’d just be spazzing out all the time, but I gave him some, no more problems. Same thing happened with my girl’s uncle. He kept kicking in his sleep, so his wife sent him to the couch. I gave him some too, and you want to know what happened? Man’s back in bed. That’s what happened.”

“Blue Cheese?”

“That’s right, man. Blue Cheese.”

Jake sighed and looked out through the moonroof again. “You ever see a face on the moon?” He leaned against the headrest, folding his arms across his chest.

Tommy’s glare peeled off the concrete and eventually migrated to the stars. “It looks like South America,” he mentioned.

“You don’t see a face?”

“I see South America.”

“Some people see a face.”

“That’s nothing. You know, they found a face on Mars now too.”

“There’s no face on Mars!” Jake picked a roach from the ashtray and a lighter from his pocket. “People assumed they found a face, but stronger telescopes already debunked the face. There is no face.”

“Nah way, man! They found one! It has a third eye and a black tower — shit looks crazy. I’ve seen pictures. See, they don’t want you knowing about it, man. That’s why they say it’s not there anymore, but it’s there, man. Like the Mayan’s. You’re telling me a whole civilization just goes missing? Nah way, man! That shit just don’t happen.”

Jake exhaled thick white smoke. It settled like fog over him, so he swatted his hand through the air. “Maybe they were iced,” he said, then snuffed it out inside a can of soda.

“Listen, man… You ever see the painting Madonna with Saint Giovannino?” Tommy waited for Jake to shake his head before he continued. “It shows the Virgin Mary with a freakin’ UFO over her shoulder! A UFO! It’s right there in the painting from a million years ago, man! The Church covered up the whole thing…”

“It’s all about money.”

“Exactly!”

“That’s all it ever is…”

“Speaking of?”

“Yeah.”

“Great.”

“Thanks.”

“Listen, man,” Tommy started again, his words falling into each other like dominos. “That’s Gelato. If you don’t like it, just let me know, man. I also got Cherry Pie, but I was saving it for another buddy of mine. He’s stressed out with his kid.”

“Everyone’s stressed.” Jake opened a pill bottle, brought it to his nose, then tucked everything inside his pocket.

“Ah, well, man, Gelato’s good for that.”

“Yeah?”

“Yeah, man. Gelato’s perfect. I also got it in vapes, candy, rocks, wax…”

“Everlasting Gobstoppers?”

“You said it, man.” Tommy chuckled as they bumped fists. “Hey, try this….”

Jake leaned against the headrest; a green teddy bear held hostage below his tongue. A large statue honoring the mayor, Patrick Flannagan, stood at Green Street and Pershing Road. It posed a considerable blind spot for drivers that Jake enjoyed watching sometimes. He gazed upon the mayor's protruding figure. Tommy’s girlfriend, Cindy, was related somehow. He might’ve been her father. Jake could see the resemblance in the statue. Golden hair, golden skin. She could’ve been King Midas’s daughter. Jake laughed to himself. The woman damn well thought she was, actually.

CRASH! A rock smashed into the rear windshield! The glass cracked faster than ice! Jake felt his heart suddenly race! His stomach suddenly turned, his palms suddenly soaked. He swallowed the green teddy bear and screamed, “Holy shit!” without knowing words had passed through his lips. Holy goddamn shit!

“Thomas Joseph Moretti!” Cindy’s voice carried well down Green Street. “Get out of that car! We need to talk!”

Tommy did not move a single muscle. He was still reclining with his loafers upon the dash. Jake saw Midas’s daughter in the rearview, standing proud in her yellow dress and golden stilettos. She wobbled back a step then regained her footing. Cindy placed a hand on her hip too. The way she did this gave Jake the impression of it being necessary for her balance. He started shaking his head, but it made him dizzy. Tommy hadn’t moved.

“Dude!” Jake sat straight. “For Christ’s sake, go talk to her before she hurls another! She’ll get you clipped! Shit, man! What did you do?”

“She thinks I cheated on her.” Tommy gazed absently into the rearview. Cindy had shifted her weight. “My ex told her we hooked-up or some shit. I don’t know. I wasn’t paying attention, man. She kept yelling.”

“Well, did you?”

“Nah, man…but that’s not what matters.”

Jake shrugged. When he left Tommy’s car, Cindy just staggered and stumbled into the passenger’s seat. It would’ve been excellent for Tommy if those aliens could’ve beamed him up then. She was yelling and hitting him with her stiletto. He was just taking it, all of it, while glaring straight ahead. The Lincoln Memorial. It looked like Cindy was beating the goddamn Lincoln Memorial with the heel of her stiletto. Jake went back to his car and drove away.

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