Once upon a time, there were two lovely young people named Larry and Hazel. In the same circle of friends for a few years, their friendship had given way to mutual, but secret feelings for the other. Hazel would never have believed Larry could care for her, and the thought of Hazel harbouring affection for him was one Larry entertained in daydreams only.
One day, their mutual friend Silas threw a party. A perk of having a mutual Silas, both Hazel and Larry attended said party. Standing near each other slightly awkwardly, Hazel suddenly spotted her friend Bob. As he approached, she greeted him enthusiastically, hoping he could aid her and Larry in conversation they both seemed deficient in tonight. “Bob!” she said with a smile, “have you met Larry?” Larry didn’t miss the smile she gave Bob, and it struck him deep in his gut. Excusing himself glumly, he left and made his way to the bar.
Hazel stared after him in disbelief. He didn’t want to talk to her at all, meet her friends, anything? Bob engaged her in friendly conversation, and, grateful for the distraction, she laughed and tried to enjoy herself. Larry, pretending not to watch her, downed a glass of beer, smiled at the pretty blonde who had arrived at the bar, and offered to buy her a drink.
It is fortunate, perhaps, that these tragic events were interrupted by an Unusual Occurrence: suddenly, a hole was cut out of the ceiling, causing a perfectly round slab to fall and land directly on a table, missing all the party-goers but smashing many glasses. As they all watched in awe and not a little terror, a UFO descended slowly through the hole, and landed neatly on top of the round slab of ceiling. A door hummed open at the side, and an alien hopped out, looked around, sauntered over to the food, and picked up the plate of cake.
It was a lovely cake; a sponge covered in whipped cream, with strawberries and chocolate hail all over it. As the guests watched with apprehension, the alien took up the knife next to it with a flourish, cut a large slice rather messily, and gobbled it down. A gruesome smile spread over its face, and deliberately, he hopped back to his UFO with the rest of the plate, making pleased garbled noises, and jumped back inside. The door hummed closed again, and before anyone could think to stop him, the UFO was rising up to the hole in the ceiling again, and was gone in a few seconds.
Immediately the guests seemed to snap out of their daze, and started rushing around assessing and cleaning up the damage. The piece of ceiling, they concluded, probably couldn’t be put back with tape or glue – no, a completely new roof would probably be required.
Hazel, already depressed from watching Larry flirt with the pretty blonde was a bit overwhelmed at this point, and she sat down, buried her face in her hands and started sobbing. Larry looked up and saw her, and leaving the pretty blonde at the bar, went to her immediately. Ignoring her when she was flirting with someone else he could do, but he just couldn’t take her tears.
“Hazel! Hazel, what’s wrong??” he said, pulling up a chair and touching her shoulder. Hazel sniffed. “I – I just – I was really looking forward to that cake…” she lied, with a hiccup. Larry’s brow furrowed in confusion, but, hesitating only a second, he picked up her hand and held it, comfortingly. Hazel looked down at their hands and up again, shyly, and gave him a slight smile. Larry’s face softened as he gazed at her, seeing the sun and the stars in her eyes, and he squeezed her hand gently. “Well then,” he said, “why don’t we go and get you some more cake.” And still holding hands, they left the party in its shambled state, and made their way to the cake shop.
[Plot supplied by Jonathan Cooke]