A tentacle slid around my throat. Then a second wrapped around my mouth. I bit down on the mucus-covered limb and warm pus exploded down my gullet. Blech! The tentacle withdrew for an instant then slipped around my pelvis and inner thigh. Christ!
Leaning on the thrusters, I aimed for the three-story flowers that covered the planet. I had a plan. I flew the space pod into a gigantic stem. The velocity of the crash triggered the safety bags which smashed the canister holding the squid creature. The roots, now free from their housing, grabbed onto my head.
"Lao, what's going on down there?" Tanisha said through the communicator.
"I'm tied up right now. I'll get back to you." I inched my gun from the holster using my pinky.
"Stop screwing around, the star cruiser is going to leave in five minutes. You need to drop that thing off and get back pronto."
That ‘thing’ she referred to was a once beautiful pink and florescent green flower. I made the mistake of breaking protocol and took it from the planet while on recon. Luckily for Tanisha, she was allergic, so she asked me to return the flora before it sprouted pissed off appendages. I should’ve tossed it in the incinerator when I had the chance.
"Lao, what are you doing?"
"I'm working on it!" The gun hit the floor with a thud. I would've been able to grab it if I wasn't still strapped to my seat. I jabbed my thumb into the buckle to disengage the harness, but the grip from the squid flower kept the straps from releasing.
"Lao, they’re warming up the vapor boosters. Get your ass back up here."
Pushing against the front console I arched my back. I slowly lifted myself from the chair. I felt the seat belt loosen but my foot slipped off the nuclear shifter, kicking my drink holder. It launched the coffee thermos at my head. Arrg! The viciously hot java splashed against my face and the squid roots.
The flower released me, but I just lost five thousand credit chips of Earthbuck's coffee. That shit ain't cheap!
"You little bastard." I opened the cargo doors and kicked it out. That's the last time I give flowers to a woman.
A purple vine shot into the pod. It yanked my legs out from under me. My head to hit the floor. I heard Tanisha screaming in the distance.
"Lao! We're leaving. I'll come back for you! I'll come back!"
The vine dragged me onto the planet.
When Tanisha finally arrived, nine cycles later, she found me working in my flower stem cabin.
"And I was worried this whole time that you'd be in trouble." Tanisha said leaning against the doorway.
"Lucky for me humans are not considered good plant food. As it turns out, I'm toxic."
"I could have told you that."
I grabbed her by the waist and drew her close. "You left me here for a long time."
"I know. I'm sorry."
"You know you owe me right?"
"I know whatever you want. I'm yours." Tanisha brushed her nose against mine.
"Great! I need you to schedule a freight transport cruiser." I took her hand and led her behind the cabin. "As it turns out, this planet grows coffee beans the size of boulders."
"Lao, we’re rich!"
"What do you mean WE?"
Then we kissed.
"Good to the Last Drop"
Copyright: © 2010 Jimmy Calabrese