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Jesse McCracken section one Assignment # 1- THE OLIVE-GRAINGERS Steadying himself, intently examining the reflection in the mirror, Alfred OliveGrainger begins pacing around his room. He sits down on his bed and leans over, suddenly gagging. He quietly groans and sits up. His chest heaves again and he coughs up blood onto his hand. He pulls a handkerchief out of his pocket and quickly wipes it off. Reaching a hand back behind his head, the callous tips of his fingers gently trace over a small wound on the back of his neck, etched into the shape of an “X”. He gets in front of the mirror again. His hair slicked over in a sleek comb-over and a thin mustache below his nose, he straightens his black leather jacket, keeping a stern face. He turns the light off, closes his door and moves to the kitchen. His mother sits in a chair at the end of the table. Her high heels shine from the whites of the kitchen. Her dress is short, ivory and spotted in yellow polka dots. Her face is a perfect glow, her lipstick as smooth and red as a cherry. She gets out of her chair, resting her sewing on the table. She moves gracefully over to the radio and turns up “Manhattan” by Ella Fitzgerald. She turns around in a swirl, smiling at Alfred. “We’ll have Manhattan, the Bronx and Staton Island too..” she sings. “How are you Alfred, is it not a wonderful evening?” she smiles again, wider. “Yes ma, wonderful indeed,” he replies. “I just got a call from Francis asking me to come to the bar for a beer with him and Jonny.” Alfred moves across the room and gives his mother a kiss on each cheek. Skeptically he turns back to her, not quite reaching the door to leave.


“You haven’t heard anything about Dad yet…have you? Any word at all from his work?” he questions, almost apprehensively. His mother forces a smile as a tear rolls down her cheek. “Let’s just keep our heads high for now, everything will go back to normal soon, it’s only been a few days, there is no need for panic yet.” Another salted tear falls off her face. “Alright then ma, it’ll be alright,” Alfred says moving over to hug her. “Just go,” she utters, “Have a good time, and remember I love you. Everything will be fine.” “I love you too ma.” He leaves the house as the sky gets darker and thunder is heard in the distance. Alfred Olive walks down the street holding his jacket over his head. Rain pours down as thunder and lightning steadily crack the sky. Somber lamps light the street where women wearing skirts and high boots stand scattered throughout. One sign lights up a darkened section of the street. In pink neon, it reads: Scotts’ Drinks. Alfred steps up to the door and without hesitating, walks in. His eyes search the room frantically. The bar has lights hanging above it while the rest of the room is visible only in small spots created by candlelight. Alfred begins to walk over to the bar but out of the corner of his eye catches a man motioning him to come over. He makes his way over to the booth even though he cannot make out this


man’s features. Alfred sits down across from him. Before he can say anything, the man removes his hat and stares into Alfred’s face. “Dad!” Alfred gasps, getting up to embrace his father. “Alfred, sit down,” he says sternly, keeping his head down. “I’m sorry, thank god it’s you, ” “Shhh, keep it down, we need to talk” his father retorts. “Alfred, I am in charge of a special department of the government created in cooperation with Truman in 1942.” “Dad, why all this secrecy lately?” Alfred asks. “Alfred. Let me speak please.” Alfred takes a sip of the martini, and then begins to choke, almost spitting his drink back out. His father pulls a packet of cigarettes from his pocket. The box reads: Natural American Spirit. He places one on his cracked lips and strikes a match. “Dad, you don’t smoke,” Alfred says nervously. Smoke billows out of his father’s mouth, clouding above them. “This department is called the EEU; the Extraterrestrial Extraction Unit.” “Twenty- seven years ago a large rock from space landed on a farm outside a small Texan town. I had just received a government position in the strategy sector of the war effort, and I was working in Washington. A few agents and I were assigned to


investigate. When we reached the place, I found the husband and wife in the barn. The wife lay face down in the center, burned black all over. The husband had scorched her alive, and then proceeded to start tearing off his own flesh before shooting himself.” His father adjusts his tie and takes another drag from his cigarette. He wipes the sweat off his brow and takes a drink of his whiskey. “I was there when we cut them open to see how this was tied to the rock. Parasites spilt from both of their bodies. These parasites were breeding inside their bodies, eventually causing the host to go to extreme measures to be rid of them. Since 1942, twenty-three other rocks housing identical parasites have landed across America. My unit has been able to successfully contain this infection so far.” Alfred stares blankly at his father and asks, “Why did you bring me here to tell me this, what does this have to do with me?” “Alfred, when we formed this unit, I swore no matter where the infection reached, no matter whom it reached, I would carry out my duty. And my duty is to contain and destroy the parasite and its host.” His father butts his cigarette into an ashtray and does up his suit jacket. He puts his hat back on and straightens it out. “Alfred, the wound on the back of your neck. The parasite has reached you. You are infected.” “You must come with me now.” Alfred looks around the room again. He shakes his head dizzily.


“But I am your son!” he groans. “This was not easy, but I have seen first hand what will happen to you, to others around you. We must go now, follow me.” His father stands up straight and motions his head towards the door. Alfred pleads, “Dad, you can’t be serious.” He begins to sob, but seconds after his head hits the table the table with a slam as he passes out. “You said you would give him tonight John! You promised me!” Hesitating, Alfred opens his eyes and looks around. He is propped up on the couch in his living room. His mother and father stand far apart in the kitchen yelling at each other. In the corner of the living room two large men wearing suits stand with their hands in their pockets, talking casually. “He is your son!” His mother is hysterical now; she latches onto his father and looks up at him crying. “I told you what must be done!” He points over at Alfred. “And he is no longer my son!” Alfred squints and leans over in pain. He begins to cough and cannot stop. Blood comes up out of his mouth and he reaches for his handkerchief. He puts it over his mouth and continues to cough. More blood soaks through the kerchief and he falls to the ground with his mouth wide open. He begins to gag again as a small bug shaped like a centipede comes out, making its way across the floor. One of the men in suits steps on the bug. Alfred’s eyes go black.


mccracken_assignment1  

and a thin mustache below his nose, he straightens his black leather jacket, keeping a He gets in front of the mirror again. His hair slicke...

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