Meet the Bartletts


Karen Yeo

The ball of white light lit up the dark morning sky, hovered about thirty metres above the ground for a few seconds and then dropped like a stone out of sight.

Samantha Bartlett wore a bemused face as she watched the flying saucer from the kitchen window. That was something you didn't see every day. "How weird," she said, understating the situation somewhat.

Behind her Bruce Bartlett bounced into the kitchen like any other normal eleven year old boy. "Hi Mum, what's weird?"

"I just saw a UFO."

Bruce laughed, noticed his mother wasn't and stopped. "You're joking, right?"

Sam shook her head.

Bruce frowned as he drowned a gigantic bowl of cereal under a gallon of milk. "Have you been drinking Dad's whiskey again?"

Sam winced at the memory of Bob's home made whiskey. It had nearly taken the enamel from their teeth. God only knew what it did to their insides. "Of course not! I know what I saw, young man, it was a flying saucer. It landed over in Shuster's field. I am going to wake your father -- we need to tell the authorities."

A worried look crossed Bruce's features. "Don't do that, whatever you do."

"What? Don't wake your father?"

"No. Don't contact the authorities," Bruce said. "Do you know what happens to people who phone up the police and tell them they have seen a UFO? They disappear." His tone wouldn't have disgraced the Biblical prophet of doom at Armageddon.

"Don't be so silly," Sam said. "You're eleven. What do you know about anything?"

"It's on the internet," Bruce explained. "They're always on about that type of stuff."

Sam raised a sceptical eyebrow. "Have you been watching your father's dodgy sci-fi DVDs again?"

Bruce shook his head. "I read it online. There are hundreds of people who reported seeing a UFO and then disappeared."

Sam gave her son a disapproving look. "I think it's about time we got a parental lock on that PC."


"Hush, Bob, do you hear that?"

Bob Bartlett was sceptical, although he'd the good grace not to mention this to Sam. "I wasn't saying anything."

"Be quiet and listen." Sam ordered.

They were at the entrance to Shuster's field. It had been laying fallow for a number of years and the grass was shoulder high. It was hard to tell if anything was lurking there; you could probably hide a whole fleet of spaceships.

Bob listened. "I can't hear anything."

"Can't you hear that buzzing?"

Bob continued to listen "No."

"Well, I can," Sam said.

The buzzing grew louder.

"I hear it now."

"It's getting louder." Sam said.

"Or closer," Bob added. He mused now that if his wife had indeed seen a flying saucer, then there was no reason to believe that the occupants would come forth spouting all that benign 'we come in peace' nonsense. Suddenly searching for a UFO didn't seem amusing; a shiver ran down his spine.

"Let's go home. This is silly," he said.

"No, come on, let's go and have a look."

Bob was less than keen. "What are you going to do if it is a spaceship?"

"I hadn't thought about that," Sam admitted. "Phone the police. I guess."

"The police? You'd be better off phoning the papers. You phone the Daily Globe and I'll guarantee within ten minutes the place will be crawling with reporters, photographers and scantily clad page three stunners."

"I think we should just concentrate on finding the ship first."

Bob frowned. "This is private property. Shuster will go bananas if he catches us in here. You know what he's like. And what if what you saw wasn't a spaceship, but was a bomb, or something?"

"Don't be ridiculous."

"I am in my pyjamas and a duffel coat, looking in old man Shuster's top field for a spaceship at 7 AM," Bob said. "If that ain't ridiculous, then I don't know what is."

"Stop moaning, I know what I saw. Are you coming, or are you scared to walk through a field of long grass?"

Bob was about to answer, when the grass parted before them and a giant figure appeared. "Jesus H Christ! A bloody robot," he cursed. It was a robot, a big silver bastard with pale red eyes and fists like two huge silver bunches of bananas.

"Oh dear-" Bob managed, before the robot bopped him on the head and it all went black.

"Oh…" Sam managed, before the same fate befell her.


"Greetings, Earthlet."

Bob opened his eyes to look directly into three huge, pale blue eyes.

"Agggh!" he exclaimed, trying to move but finding himself strapped tightly down. Instead he took another look at the eyes. "Agggh!!" he added.

The eyes were set in a noseless, hairless but humanoid face, which in turn was connected to a short, slim framed body, with two legs, two arms and long, slender fingered hands. "You Earthlets do have a limited vocabulary," the alien said.

"Where is my wife?" Bob demanded, not noticing how much like the legendary 'Roswell alien' the creature looked.

"Ah, a coherent speech manner," the alien said. "It's about time. All the others we captured went into some kind of deep shock and never came out. I was beginning to doubt your intelligence, limited though it is."

Bob did not reply. What could you say to that? Certainly nothing polite

"Earthlet, my name is Jeff," the alien continued slowly, as if speaking to a child, or an idiot. "I am the leader of a -- what?"

An unseen alien jabbered something incomprehensible from behind Bob and came into view. Jeff jabbered something and a heated discussion broke out. It became fiercer, until finally it was ended by Jeff dealing a heavy blow to the back of the other alien's head.

Jeff glared at Bob, shouted something totally incomprehensible and stormed from the room like a manic midget.

What was all that about?

Bob decided he really didn't need to know. Instead he took a look around the room.

It was a large domed room full of sinister looking machinery and operating tables. In one corner was the silver robot, motionless. Where have I seen that thing before? Bob pondered. Apart from when it kidnapped us of course.

No time for that, he told himself. I have to get out of here.

Bob strained manfully at the straps for a few moments then gave up. They were far too tight and were obviously not going to break.

"This is bad, this is really bad."

"Enjoying yourself, Honey?" Sam said suddenly.

"Sam?" Bob moved the only part of his body that he could, his head. "Are you ok? Where are you?"

Sam smiled thinly not that Bob could see. "I'm behind you. I think my straps are a little loose, I might be able to get my hand out."


Sam fiddled about with the bonds around her wrists and after a very tense few minutes was free. Unfortunately that led to another problem, the robot.

As soon as Sam's hand was free the robot lumbered toward them, his intentions definitely not benign.

The sudden recollection of where he knew the robot from came to Bob. "Klaatu Barada Nikto!" he cried.

The robot stopped dead in its tracks.

Bob smiled at his wife's look of extreme surprise. "I thought I recognised that robot. And you said I was wasting my time watching all those old fifties films."

Sam gave her husband a look that said 'this is not the time or place for this'.

"See, aren't you glad I have seen The Day the Earth Stood Still so many times?"

Sam didn't look very glad. "Let's get out of here. I've had quite enough of spaceships for one day."

"Do you know the way out?"

Sam shrugged. "How hard can it be? It's a small ship."


Sam opened yet another door. "Through here perhaps."

"It's a kitchen," Bob said.

Jeff dropped the sandwich he was making and glared at the pair. "How did you escape?" he bellowed.

"We humans are smarter than you think," Bob said.

Jeff took a step towards the pair. He drew himself up to his full height, which was a disappointing 4'2". "I don't know how you freed yourselves, but you will die for your interference in our plans."

"What plans?" Bob asked.

Jeff pointed at the pair with a laser bread knife. "Our plans to take over this pathetic world and claim it as our own, of course, what else?" He ignited the knife and a small five inch laser blade appeared. He leapt forward brandishing the makeshift weapon.

Bob ducked out of the way of the oncoming psycho and made a grab for the nearest weapon, a knife. He pressed the only button on the knife and another tiny laser blade appeared.

The pair held their laser knifes menacingly and began to encircle each other.

Jeff lunged. "You cannot escape! No one must know we are here until it is too late."

Bob parried. He may not have been a trained soldier like Jeff, but he was the hero of this tale and heroes have a vital trait that normal people can never hope to possess, blind luck. Besides, he had memorized every laser sword duel from all six of those movies…

"Take that!" Jeff cried, driving a blow at Bob that pierced his jacket and ripped a huge cut down his chest.

Bob ran a finger down the cut. Luckily it wasn't too deep and was within the bounds of what a hero could expect to receive in such a duel.

"Ha! Flesh wound!" he laughed. Ouch! That stings, he added to himself, wondering when it was that he had become a hero.

Sam leant on the door frame and watched the pair dancing around the kitchen like they were auditioning for 'Come dancing'.

"I'd appreciate a little help, Honey," Bob said as he and Jeff pranced past.

Jeff was ahead on points now -- after all, there is only so long that luck can hold out against superior skill. He pounded Bob again and again and our hero was hard pushed to parry every blow.

Sam considered how lucky it was that the Alien's ship had the same gravity and air as Earth and how they all spoke perfect English. Then again they wouldn't have been trying to take over Earth, if they were too different would they?

Jeff kicked Bob's knife from his hand. It flew across the kitchen and stuck in the fridge door, dislodging a few pig shaped fridge magnets. "Now I have you at my mercy!"

Bob punched the alien straight in the chin. "I think not!"

Jeff staggered back dropping the knife. He shook his head, smiled and then took up the classic kung fu pose, as made famous by the legendary Bruce Lee.

How would an alien know about kung fu? Bob mused, taken slightly aback.

Jeff sprang forward with a variety of death kicks, killer punches and the like. "Hiya!" he cried out.

Bob cried out himself as he was kicked across the kitchen, to land painfully amongst a pile of pots and pans.

"Now I -- oof!" Jeff said and dropped down to the floor a very surprised look on his face.

Behind him Sam dropped the frying pan. "Sorry. I was getting bored," she explained, moving to help Bob to his feet. "We'd better get that wound patched up, too," she added.

Bob looked down at the gash in his side. It was a flesh wound, but it looked awfully deep and blood was oozing out at an alarming rate. He winced, reverting to type and leaving behind his hero persona forever. "Is that loon dead?"

Sam shrugged. "He doesn't look too healthy. But then, neither do you. Come on, let's get out of here."


"So we contacted the police and rushed back home to make sure that you were okay," Sam finished.

Bruce, who had been listening intently to the tale, shook his head. "Mum, Dad, that story was the biggest pile of rubbish I've ever heard. Spacemen, spaceships and giant robots, ha! I'd never have believed that you guys could have such vivid imaginations."

Bob pulled up his shirt and pointed to the bandage on his side. "What about this? And the hole in my good coat?"

Bruce rolled his eyes. "I've seen paper cuts worse than that. And that coat had holes in it before."

Sam and Bob exchanged looks of despair. "I knew there was a reason that parenting book was in the three-for-five-dollars bin," Bob said.

Bruce chuckled to himself and shook his head again. "Parents! Wake me when the dinosaurs eat the neighbors."


© 2006 by Karen Yeo

Bio: Karen says, "I am 33 and live in South London. I have been writing for a number of years, but this is the first story I have sent to a web-site. I have previously had articles printed in local papers. I am married to a writer."

E-mail: Karen Yeo

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