Mr and Mrs Daniels had been married for forty years; happily married for most of them. How they had stayed married for so long was a mystery to everyone who knew them. They were as different as chalk and cheese. Mr Daniels was a quiet, reserved, private man. Mrs Daniels was the exact opposite. Telesales people had blacklisted the house, on account they could never get away from her once she had answered.
Somehow, they got along. Like the old adage says, opposites attract. Like Jack Spratt and his wife, they worked together, their differences fitting together like a jigsaw.
They argued, though. They argued about everything. What they watched on TV, which newspaper they read, what Mrs So-and-so down the road had called her baby. If Mr Daniels said the sky was blue, Mrs Daniels would do her best to argue that it was green and vice versa. It both amused and frustrated their close friends and family. Christmases and birthdays were events worthy of being televised. Holidays were a disaster zone.
One cold evening, in the middle of January, they sat as usual watching television.
“I was watching that.” exclaimed Mrs Daniels as Mr Daniels reached for the remote.
“I’m a woman. I can do both.”
“What am I meant to do? Twiddle my thumbs?”
“You could try finishing putting up that shelf in my sewing room.” retorted Mrs Daniels, as her needles click-clacked.
The sewing room was a particular bone of contempt. When their last child had finally left home, they had spent months arguing over how the box room should be used. Mrs Daniels had won, when she sneakily redecorated, while he was at the local hospital with an ingrowing toenail.
“Humph” was the only response she got, as Mr Daniels pulled out the newspaper, to finish his crossword.
“Mind you don’t get ink all over the cushion covers, I only washed them yesterday,” Mrs Daniels scolded, as Mr Daniels rolled his eyes.
A bright flash outside, distracted them from their current argument.
“What was that?” Mr Daniels asked, his mouth wide.
“How should I know?” snapped his wife, “Am I supposed to be psychic now?”
“Psychotic, more like.” he mumbled under his breath.
“Go and look.” she said, quickly as the unidentified light flashed again.
“I can’t go outside, I’ve got my slippers on.” He wiggled his feet to illustrate the fact.
“So have I.”
“You’re closer.” he said, giving it much thought.
“You’d really send your wife out to investigate? What if it’s something bad?”
Mr Daniels laughed. “What? Like burglars with big, fat flashlights, to make sure everyone knows they’re coming?”
“No, like aliens.” Mrs Daniels retorted, matter of factly.
“Aliens? In South Yorkshire?” Mr Daniels could barely keep a straight face. “You taken your tablets, love? I think you’re going doolally.”
“Go on, mock me. You won’t go though, will you?”
“I’m reading me paper.” he looked down, quickly, feigning interest in the classifieds.
“Well, I’m knitting.” She clacked her needles together harder, and louder, to drive home her point.
“You could always use your bloomin’ needles as a weapon. I can just see the front page of The Mail ‘OAP saves Planet with Knitting Needles.’” He chuckled at his own joke.
“Less of the old. Now, are you going to investigate or what?”
Mr Daniels began to laugh harder. “’Investigate’” he mocked her, “Who do you think you are, Miss flamin’ Marple?”
“Right,” she slammed down her needles and stood up, hands indignantly placed on hips. “You’ll be sorry when I’m abducted by aliens.” Flouncing from the room, she refused to look at her husband, still seething at how inconsiderate he was being.
“Don’t worry, dear, they’d soon bring you back.” he called after her, settling down into his armchair with a satisfied smile. He turned his attention back to the crossword and picked bits from his teeth with the lid of his biro.
Thirty minutes later, she hadn’t returned. Scratching his head, he decided she must be gossiping to one of the neighbours, pulling him to pieces over the garden fence. Still, he’d best go and check on her. Folding up his newspaper and placing it on the coffee table, he slipped off his comfortable slippers and slid into his boots.
Outside was deadly quiet. Eerily quiet, in fact. Making his way to next door, he was relieved to see his wife’s peppery head bobbing as she spoke. There was something odd, though. Something was casting a strange light on her face, as she moved. Tentatively, he stepped closer, his palms growing sweaty. He rubbed his eyes, barely believing what he was seeing.
There, in front of him was a spaceship. He’d never seen one before, and wasn’t generally accustomed to believing in such things, but there was no mistaking that it was a spaceship. Similarly, there was no mistaking that the beings his wife was chattering away to were aliens. Their faces shone green and their eyes bulged. They stared at his wife, with a horrified expression.
“Oh, there you are. I was just telling these lovely alien folk about that day trip we took to Cleethorpes last year…”
The tallest, and probably the leader of the group rolled his eyes and made a strange gargling sound.
Mr Daniels simply stared.
“We underestimated your powers.” spoke the alien in a robotic tone. “We are no match for your greatness. Our sources failed us.”
Mr Daniels scratched his head.
A second alien stepped forward, “We knew nothing of your Deadly Talking Woman. She is zapping our powers with her non-stop chattering.” The alien clutched at his head, as though in pain.
The first alien spoke again, “We surrender. Please do us no further harm with your incessant talking. We shall leave you in peace.”
Slowly, tentatively, they backed towards their spaceship.
As they watched the spaceship disappear into the distance, Mrs Daniels folded her arms across her bosom.
“Well, for a superior life form, they don’t seem to have many manners. How rude.”