Wacky Wednesday – “Exposure”

25 Sep

Jared closed the bathroom door.

He regarded his face in the mirror, crinkling his brow, grimacing through closed teeth, pulling down his cheeks. He poked and prodded the flesh. He noted its increased elasticity with no small amount of annoyance; he’d have to put in another resupply request. This one was almost brand new, but was already showing signs of wear. He forced a sigh from his lungs, and made his mouth into a frown.

“Dude, hurry up! I wanna get there, like, tonight!”

Jared increased his vocal volume by two point seven decibels (which he had discovered was an excellent level for making oneself heard without sounding upset or provoking a response), and said “Gimme a fuckin’ minute! Jeez.” He’d have to work quickly – Brad seemed particularly edgy tonight. Perhaps some ceremonial social intoxication and the promise of coitus would alleviate his increased stress levels. Jared reached a finger behind his ear and felt for the tiny flap of skin which hid there, disguised as a dermal imperfection. He seized it between his digits and pulled forward, and his face fell away with a wet sucking sound.

Dropping it into the sink, Jared regarded his true countenance with relief. The fleshy, ape-like features of the human face would always seem vulgar and primitive to him – nothing at all as beautiful or elegant as his own scabrous chitin, fluted nostrils, or lidless ocular pads. It was a shame that this façade was still necessary. Jared could hardly wait for the covert campaign to finish, so that assimilation might begin in earnest. Then, this ridiculous costume would no longer be necessary – and, as an added bonus, he would never again have to imitate that idiotic troglodyte, Brad. The mere thought–

Dude! What’s the holdup, bro? Kelly texted me, like, three minutes ago!”

And there he was, pounding on the bathroom door in a fit of impatience. It was laughable, really, the way these creatures were controlled by their chemistry. Brad was practically coughing in a cloud of his own hormones, and he wasn’t even aware of it. Jared, however, was acutely aware. The stink of Brad’s primal musk was strong enough to gag his olfactoroid slits.

Picturing a screaming Brad strapped to a vivisection table, reminding himself that it would all be worth it, Jared seized a hand towel and hastily mopped his glistening faceplates. Placing the fleshy sack over his face again, he hoped that the cursory absorption would be sufficient; if he secreted any more moisture he risked compromising the mask entirely, and at a human social function, no less.

Jared’s human face frowned into the mirror. It would have to do for now.

He opened the door and almost walked straight into Brad, whose facial features expressed frustration. Jared noted this, fixing his own in what he hoped was a passable representation of defiant readiness. Raising an eyebrow, he made his mouth say, “Waiting on you, bro.”

Brad’s grimace was deeply satisfying. As they exited the dwelling together, Jared felt his spirits lift. This night may yet hold some promise after all.

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