‘Earlier this year I was abducted by aliens.’
I just stared at her. She ignored me, seemingly oblivious to all around her as she sipped her Darjeeling. ‘Aliens,’ I echoed, trying to suppress my instinctive sarcasm.
Alina shrugged. ‘Maybe they were creatures from another dimension,’ she said. ‘I didn’t actually see a spacecraft. One moment I was standing at the bus stop, cursing the bus for being half an hour late – and, trust me, at eleven o’clock at night in the middle of February, half an hour is a fucking long time. Especially when you’re wearing a short skirt and stilettos. The seats at the bus stop were metal, and probably cold enough to freeze to bare skin. I would have phoned for a taxi except my mobile was playing up.
‘So I was standing there in the dark, cursing my own stupidity for not having dressed more sanely, pacing about to try and keep warm, and this light came over the hill. “Finally!” I said, thinking it was the bloody bus at last. And that’s the last thing I remember before waking up in the alien spaceship. Or wherever.’
Her expression was sincere, her tone matter-of-fact. Alina seemed indifferent about whether I believed her. Which of course I didn’t, but she seemed to believe she had been abducted. Maybe something had happened that night. Maybe someone had spiked her vodka with LSD or something. ‘So,’ I said, ‘you woke up tied naked to an operating table surrounded by aliens probing you with their instruments.’
She smiled at this. ‘No, I woke up tied to an operating table, but still fully clothed. Or, at least, as clothed as I had been, which wasn’t exactly fully. I was sans underwear, which was yet another reason why I would have been ranting at the bus driver if the aliens hadn’t got me first.
‘There were two aliens,’ she started, then fell silent. She sipped her tea quietly for a minute, her eyes distant, as if lost in meditation or memories.
‘And were they,’ I asked, ‘beautiful, cybernetically enhanced alpha males, gorgeously muscled with huge, rampant cocks?’
Alina laughed. ‘That would have been nice. Kidnapped and taken to their planet for mating and breeding, a never-ending stream of vigorous young men awaiting their turn with me. It’s quite a nice fantasy. But no, there was nothing remotely human about my aliens. They were more like, well, you know those huge spiders in The Hobbit?’
‘Imagine them with no legs. Just a huge, bloated body, black and slightly furry, about this big’ – she stretched out her arms – ‘with two large, unblinking eyes and a sharp-lipped mouth. They were grotesque creatures. I screamed like a little girl when I opened my eyes and saw them. There was nothing even remotely erotic about them, not even the tentacles.’
‘Tentacles!’ I shouted, and laughed. I think everyone in the café turned to look at us at that point, and my laughter gave way to embarrassment. ‘Sorry,’ I muttered.
Alina’s frown softened to a gentle humour. ‘Yes, tentacles, sprouting out from above and around its mouth like a wild Belgian moustache. Eight to the left, eight to the right, some as thin as a pencil, two as thick as my wrists, and all very long. I had very little doubt what they planned to use their tentacles for, and despite my terror I must admit to a sudden tingling excitement as they slithered between my wide-spread legs and under my skirt to my unprotected –’
‘Hold on,’ I interrupted. ‘Are you seriously telling me you got abducted by the aliens from War of the Worlds?’
She burst out laughing. ‘Okay, you got me,’ she said, grinning.