John and Cici return to St. Louis just in time for Cici to make her eye doctor appointment, but for some odd reason her apartment door seems jammed. The alien time traveler John Smith confesses he might have created a box that produces an endless supply of Thin Mints to assuage Cici's junk food habit. Will they be able to break the door down, stop the inter-dimensional cookie manufacturing, and save the building from collapsing before it's too late?
I’d forgotten all about the Girl Scout cookies. Big mistake!
It was perfectly understandable. After all, we’d been flittering mindlessly about the galaxy, unwinding and enjoying ourselves for several weeks when I remembered I had an optometrist appointment. I’d been squinting a lot lately while observing exploding supernovae—from a respectable distance—which gave me a slight headache on occasion, but whatever the reason for recalling the annual meeting with Dr. McFeely, I hated to miss it.
I had to work hard to convince my tour guide and boyfriend, the alien time traveler John Smith, to hang up his hat—fez, Stetson, fedora, whatever he was in the mood for that day—and transport me back to St. Louis in the twenty-first century. Yes, I had to give him the exact date and insist on accuracy. I didn’t care to arrive seventy-five years late for my eye exam.
“Cici, I don’t understand why you need your eyes fixed,” John had said, rumpling his forehead in thought as he finagled a loose wire back into place on the underside of the transmat machine’s control panel. “Your eyes look perfectly fine to me, unless you’ve got some new ones on order. Want some red ones instead of blue? Tired of just the two? Maybe you want a third one in the back of your head?”
“A third eye could come in handy—especially when running away from angry aliens with blow darts whose sand sculptures we accidentally trampled upon landing on their beach.” I sighed and rubbed my ankle where one particularly nasty spearhead had made contact. “How the hell were we supposed to know those tiny bumps weren’t just cosmic ant hills? Isn’t there some way to make this crazy machine shrink or expand us to the correct proportions whenever we land on a planet?”
He paused for a moment and pursed his lips.
I found John Smith—not his real name of course, but then again, he’d never shared his actual name with me—to be quite endearing when he made this sort of expression, no matter which one of the Doctors I envisioned him to be that day. That’s one advantage to having a chameleon-like alien as a boyfriend who changes his appearance with input from your subconscious. You never grow tired of his face. Today he was looking decidedly Peter Capaldi with a mix of Christopher Eccleston’s cute ears.
“We’d need a trans-dimensional stabilizer and a very good chart on just how big is big on any particular world, but I think you’re on to something, Cici Connors. No wonder I like having you around.” John connected two wires together and created a spark of electricity that caused him to jump backward several feet. “There. Good as new.”
“You said that the last time you tried to get me back to Earth on time for an appointment. Thank goodness the hairdressers of eighteenth century Vienna are so accommodating.”
He gave a swift nod toward the purple-blue police call box we’d appropriated from the local Doctor Who fan club for housing our transmat device. Together we stepped inside so we could disappear from Ant Hill World in privacy.
Within seconds, we arrived at my apartment building’s laundry area in the basement, still not suspecting what had really happened with the Girl Scout cookies in our absence.
Now, every year I diligently purchase cookies from my local Girl Scouts, three charming—okay, they’re not always that charming—young ladies from downstairs, the Menendez sisters. I had been a Brownie myself long, long ago in a galaxy far, far away called Texas, so I enjoy supporting the organization and helping these girls earn a free trip to summer camp. I buy a fair amount from each of the sisters so none will feel left out, and this year I made a sizable donation since John Smith’s Who Knows sci-fi convention had been a big success, and I had some extra spending money for a change.
I’m also addicted to the darn things. There, I readily admit it. I can’t get enough Thin Mints, and those greedy Menendez girls had beaten a quick path to my door just a few weeks prior to our latest excursion to feed my habit. I bought five boxes of cookies from each sister, at least one or two boxes of each flavor they were selling, but the majority of the boxes were Thin Mints. I won’t lie to you. Those cookies are more addicting than heroin to me.
Now my addiction was about to become my undoing.
We had parked our version of the TARDIS in the corner of the laundry room with an old blanket tossed over it to keep curious looks to a minimum and walked upstairs to my second-floor apartment. My key seemed to fit in the lock, but the handle wouldn’t turn and the door wouldn’t budge an inch. I threw up my arms in frustration and shook my head.
“What is wrong with the door? Strange. I sure hope my landlord hasn’t locked me out of my apartment for non-payment of rent.”
“Impossible—remember, this is only twenty-four hours after we left, and the last time before we left Earth we jumped ahead to the distant future, took out your accrued interest on your savings, and pre-paid your rent all the way up to 2075. Your landlord absolutely adores you.” John fished in his jacket pockets for a small device that somewhat mimicked the Doctor’s sonic screwdriver and pointed it at the lock. Nothing happened. “Maybe it’s rusty.”
“Are you sure we’ve returned to Earth in the right time zone?”