The Retiree Next Door

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
What seems like a neighbor who is a quiet retiree who likes to garden, soon turns into something else when his grub solution escapes early one morning.

Submitted: March 27, 2017

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Submitted: March 27, 2017



The Retiree Next Door


I had seen the short man, rather plump and balding, several times since he had moved in.We'd exchanged pleasantries here and there.  He introduced himself as George and I introduced myself as Mike.  Our conversations hadn't gone much further though.  After all I worked 50 hours a week and he was a retiree and it was obvious at the beginning o the first summer, he gardened and was quite good at it.  While I worked I assumed he puttered in his garden, a peaceful existence for both of us.

Until this morning, at 3:15 a.m. to be exact.At least that's what my digital clock read as I quickly pulled on a pair on my clothes to answer a knock at the door.  I heard a second, more urgent, wrap at the door as I padded down the stairs.As the third panicked wrap at the door was about to begin I pulled open the door to see George.  “Oh good you're home.”

“George its 3:15 in the morning, where else would I be?”

“Yes well you see I've got a bit of a problem.” George pushed his round thick glasses up on his nose.  He was dressed in his gardening clothes with his hair all wild, as if he had just woken up.  “You see they're loose!”

“They're loose?”  Okay I'd been busy lately, maybe I had failed to notice his acquisition of a pet or two.

“Look I'll explain as we go but you've got to help.  I only discovered the glitch in my system tonight.”


“Yeah well alright  I did discover their fondness for explosions last week when one got loose in the kitchen.  I thought they were just really excited about the popcorn in the microwave but now I'm not so sure.  Like I said an unexpected glitch”

I put on my coat and shoes and was about to go out with George when I heard the most unhuman giggle I had ever heard. George suddenly and inexplicably dove into the bush next to the step.  He emerged a moment later screaming “I got you!” with a miniature alien bug like creature trying to wriggle away.

What is that?” I asked as he put the curious little creature in a pickle jar with holes in the top and sealed it tight.

“Sort of an experiment.  Here's some gloves, they've got sharp pinchers, which of course is how they get rid o my grubs.  And watch out when they giggle.  It means they're just about to explode something.”

“Where did they come from?” I said as I ran to keep up with someone twice my age.

“I'm a retired science teacher.  I created them myself to dig into the earth and eat my grubs.  Once they have the grub, I only use one at a time to keep track easier,  I dig them back out.  Which is how I suspect they got out of the garden shed.  They escaped their cage and burrowed.  I knew that top should have been a little tighter. I check on them when I get up at 4 a.m. But I couldn't sleep today so I checked on them at 3.”

“Alright how many are we looking or?”

  “20-30 tops.”

“You don't know?”

“They multiply randomly and kind of fast.  And if they all burrow into the earth at the same time, who knows what will happen!”

 Just then an unearthly giggle echoed down our drive.  We both turned toward the sound as flames shot from a car parked on the side of the road.

“Not good.”

  “Yup not good at all.”

  “A fire truck siren wailed two streets down, almost obliterating another loud giggle.  It was going to be a long day!

© Copyright 2018 Carla Charter. All rights reserved.

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