The cholos arose silently from their prone positions and watched the opening door. Ruben pulled his bandana out of his pocket and tied it around his face, covering his nose as the smell grew thicker. The others followed suit.
The door opened wider and out from the ship came scrambling these tiny purple creatures who seemed to be made of light though they smelled horribly rotten. They were small, not more than three feet and seemed bent and crookedly shaped to the young men who watched from the ground. They had long, gnarly teeth - fangs really, that hung in a massive overbite that left their mouths open and gaping. The stench was getting even more powerful and the quiet of the park seemed to be waiting for something to happen.
Suddenly, a screech of tires exploded into the silence followed by the sounds of running feet. The aliens stopped their descent and stood for a moment as if scanning the new threat. Ruben, peripheral vision and other senses sharp, saw and heard the homies arrival and closed his eyes for a brief second. He felt stronger now with the neighborhood there but still had no idea what these foul creatures wanted from him. By their stench and the hairs prickling up on the back of his neck, he knew nothing good would come of this visit. They weren’t here to party.
They were here to rumble.
From all around the park he could hear low whistles and, “Holy shit, what the fuck is that?” as the neighborhood realized they had a spaceship and aliens in Lincoln Park. A vato named Dopey was running from the direction of the driveway on Valley holding a long, heavy chain. He almost ran right smack into the ship before he saw it. In horror, Ruben and the homies saw a purple creature turn towards Dopey and suck him right into its gaping maw, chain and all. The creature spit and all that was left of Dopey was a puddle of purple slime and two broken links of chain.
From all over the park, howls of outrage, grief and horror thundered in the air.
“It’s on motherfuckers!”
“Hijos de la chingada!” were repeated over and over as the creature just slowly turned its crooked head and opened up its mouth. Ruben could feel the gravitational pull and knew the creature would suck yet another of his homeboys into the horrible mouth. He whistled a long, sharp sound and the park fell instantly silent. He raised his hand in the air, pointing and shouted, “Run!” Everyone hauled ass in the direction he pointed – to the hill just beyond the gym.
The aliens laughed to themselves at how easily these seeming Gods could be killed.
They knew then that they were no Gods, only pathetic little creatures. They were in no hurry so they watched in amusement as their food ran, all the while tracking their scent and energy as they lumbered off the ship and towards the hill.
On the hill, the homies were regrouping. Ruben, with all the strategic brilliance of a four-star general gave orders.
“We know from poor Dopey that chains are nada so probably all metal will be no good. Still, everyone with a cuete get on the roof of the gym and go sniper on those pieces of shit.
“Who’s good at throwing knives? Yeah, ok all of you over there behind the trees. Mujeres to the rear over by the pool. Maybe water will kill them and si no, there are the showers and other places to hide behind in the building.”
Quickly, the neighborhood grouped themselves at his direction. There were a couple of vatos with blowtorches and Ruben put them at the frontlines. The younger vatos he sent running home to gather sticks, chemicals, whatever they could find. It was a good way to get them out of danger too. This was a war he didn’t know how to fight, but damn it, he was going to try everything he could. He shuddered thinking about Dopey, but shook it off. Damned if he was going to end up as a puddle of purple spit on the asphalt. He thought of his girl Smiley and their little boy at home with his mother. Then, as if he conjured her, there she was on the hill looking at him as she panted from her long run. Her long black hair blew in the wind and she looked both fierce and scared. He knew then she had seen what happened to Dopey.
He pointed to the pool area where he’d sent all the other women and she slowly shook her head. “No way, babe. We fight together, we die together,” she whispered still out of breath.
Ruben shrugged and said, “Well hell, what did you bring to this party?”
She laughed. “All I have is a can of Aquanet and some mascara. I just ran when I heard stuff was going down.”
“Fuck it” he said. “Pull that bitch out and spray the bastards if you need to. At the very least it might blind them and give us a little time to haul ass up out of here.” He whirled around to take a good, long look at her, kissed her fiercely, then pulled away. He nodded his head and turned back to watch the parking lot. The creatures were getting closer and the guys on the roof started shooting.
More shots, then stillness as the creatures just kept slowly moving towards the hill. One stopped long enough to pick up a bullet by inhaling it then turned. It opened its mouth and inhaled again as the air around the park seemed to shimmer with purple-scented funk.
Cholos flew off the roof screaming into the creature’s mouth, guns and all. They went down fighting, kicking and beating the creatures, but down they went.
The last guy on the roof turned and ran, leaping off into the swimming pool and coming up on the other end. Ruben, Smiley and the others froze in terror as their friends were consumed.
One of the creatures started after the lone guy from the roof who was sopping wet and still running in his soggy denim shorts. His chanclas made a wet, squishy sound as they slapped against the concrete. He kept running, trying to make it up the hill where the rest of them were trying to figure out what to do next. Ruben and Smiley shook themselves off and began to make their way down the right side of the hill to help him.
As they ran, the running man (Ruben remembered his name was Alex) stumbled and lost a chancla. Without thinking, he bent to pick it up only to feel the creature’s hot and nasty breath starting to suck him in. He felt his body begin to lift off the ground and in terror, he pulled his left arm back as far as he could and hurled the soaking chancla at the creature.
He heard a cry of agony and in surprise found himself sitting on the grass.
Alex heard cheers from the homeboys on the hill and to his utter shock, he saw the creature gasping on the ground his wet chancla sticking out of its head. It wasn’t dead but it was hurt and hurt bad.
Alex jumped up and ran the few feet left to Ruben and Smiley. Together, they ran back up the hill to the rest of the group.