Morgan squinted trying to block out the light that had rudely awakened her. She knew it was Saturday but force of habit caused her to wake at her normal 6:00 AM. Why was every muscle in her body aching like she had just run a 3-day marathon and why was she still in her clothes? Then it all came back to her, as she crept out of the bed and walked to her door opening it softly to see if the sun had disturbed her interplanetary houseguest. He was still asleep on the floor where he passed out. She didn't want to remember the struggle of getting him down the stairs and into her basement apartment, which was probably the reason for her achy body.
She sighed, closed the door and striped off all the soiled, wrinkled clothes and head for the bathroom. Turning on the shower she stepped into the warm flowing water and washed away the dirty rain and mud. If it wasn't heaven, it came pretty doggone close.
Snatching the nearest towel from the wall she dried and went back to her bedroom grabbing a pair of green flannel lounging pants, white tee shirt, slipping her feet into her well worn, pink and purple, booty slippers. Taking a long white cotton cloth, she had left hanging on the back of her big black rocking chair; she wrapped the material tightly around her head concealing her wet messy hair.
Walking back into the living room she contemplated what to do with her visitor. She couldn't just let him lay there in those wet grimy clothes, not only did he smell musky, but Martian or not it could make him sick. She walked over to see if she could wake him and not give him a heart attack in the process, "Hey, hey Simon. Come on wake up, you have to get those wet clothes off," she said kneeling down and shaking him gently on the shoulder.
The Martian stranger tried to open his eyes but covered them with his arm blocking out the light of the morning sun, "Would you mind making it a little darker, the light really hurts my eyes," he requested in a sleepy, husky, voice.
"Oh, I'm sorry hold on a minute," Morgan stood up and went to pull the blinds covering the large window that let in most of the sunlight during the morning hours. It was odd how the apartment was situated so the morning sun could stream in even though her window was below the sidewalk.
"Is that better?" she smiled taking a seat on the coffee table.
"Yeah thanks, but if you could get my specks, it would help even more."
Morgan at first didn't know what he was talking about, but then remembered the strange sunglasses she'd brought in the night before and set on the stand by her bed. "Just a second I'll get them." She retrieved the odd glasses and handed them to him. He slipped them on his face then smiled being able to see her clearer, "I got a little trouble seeing and the specks help me focus."
Do you remember anything more now that you've rested? I know somebody must be worried about you." Morgan blushed seeing the admiring scan he was giving her.
He laid his head back and tried to concentrate, but it was still vague and fuzzy. "Sorry, it's still clear as mud."
"We have time. I'm sure you'll remember before too long, but for now you really need to clean up and change those clothes." Morgan held her nose and waved her hand.
"Yeah, I guess dirty wet fur does smells pretty bad. You mind if I borrow your shower?"
"No, in fact I insist. Can you make it on your own, you banged yourself up pretty bad last night?"
"Yeah, I think if you can just give me a hand standing, I can make it."
Morgan smiled and knelt back down. He rolled over on his side and with one arm around her shoulder slowly stood. He was a little wobbly at first, but with her help they made it to the bathroom. He sat down on the toilet seat cover and caught his breath, the pain in his arm and ribs were still pretty bad, but he could tell they weren't broken.
"I don't think you can stand long enough for a shower," she plugged up the tub and began filling it with semi hot water. "Let me help you off with the coat and vest and you can handle the other things yourself."
Taking off the glasses, he placed them on the back of the toilet and with her help, he slowly removed his injured arm out of the long sleeved leather coat. She helped him ease off the black leather vest. He pulled off the odd brown glove and she reached behind him, moving his thick dirty ponytail and removed the red scarf wrapped around his neck. Kneeling down in front of him, she put a towel on her lap and lifted his foot to help pull of his black biker boots.
"Umm you don't have to do that," he said, shocked that she wouldn't mind such a dirty humbling task.
"Like you can get them off yourself. It's okay really. I don't mind," she looked up at him and the amber twinkle in his eyes made her breath catch. She looked down quickly and pulled the other boot off.
Standing she reached up to a white metal basket that hung on the wall and put the shampoo and body wash on the back of the tub. "I'll take these thing out and hang the in the kitchen to dry. Just toss the pants over in the corner and I'll get them later," she left him closing the door behind her.
The dirty Martian wasn't too keen on the whole bath idea, but he had to admit he was a little overly ripe, even for him. He rubbed his injured shoulder and grit his teeth to reach up and undo the leather cord that kept his hair confined. He shook loose the masses of dirty tan hair that fell down around his shoulders and almost to his waist. He began removing the belts, kneepads, anything else that needed removing and eased over to the tub. The water was almost to the top, so he shut it off and slowly slid into the hot, but relaxing water.
After more than an hour Morgan got a little worried and knocked on the bathroom door, "Hey Simon, you okay in there?"
"Yeah, I'm fine, but I need something to put on."
"No problem. I stepped out and picked you up a few things. I hope they fit, I guessed the sizes?" She reached arm hand into the door just enough to get the bag as close to him as possible. A long snake like thing wrapped around the bag and she screamed, releasing it quickly.
"Sorry, it's just my tail."
"Your tail, of course, what's a Martian mouse without a tail, makes logical sense?" Morgan shut the door and leaned against the wall.
After a few more minutes the bathroom door opened and he stood clad in a loose fitting pair of gray wide leg sweat pants that tied in the front with a white cord, but carried the matching gray sweat jacket that zipped up the front, "I couldn't get my arms in this thing, I need a little help, if you don't mind?"
Morgan tried to remain very nonchalant about how he was built, but it proved an almost impossible task since this guy had the chest, neck, and arms that put every man she had ever met to shame. She took the jacket from his hand and helped him slip his arms into it making it necessary to stand very close to him but she just smiled while lifting the long hair off his back so the jacket would go up on his massive shoulders.
"You really should comb your hair while it's wet, that way it won't tangle up on you," she suggested shyly.
"Yeah, I know, but getting my arms to reach back really hurts," he attempted to show her.
"Well, I can do it for you if you'd like. Go sit on the couch and I'll get the comb and brush. I can braid it if you want."
"I don't know what that is, but I'm game," he smiled as he sat on the soft comfortable couch and let his body relax. Soon Morgan returned with a basket filled with all sort of hair paraphernalia. She climbed on the back of the couch placing her knees on either side of his shoulders. She was careful not to pull too hard since he was already in enough pain from his injuries.
"Umm, Simon, do you mind if I ask, what these red things are and how careful should I be?"
"They are antenna and don't worry about them. Just do whatever braiding normally has you do. Can I ask you a question?"
"Sure," she took a container of smooth white liquid from the basket and poured a sizable amount into the palm of her hand rubbing them together and began working the herb smelling liquid through his hair.
"Since we don't know my name, why do you keep calling me, Simon?"
She had to giggle, " It's just you remind me of this cartoon character I loved as a kid and you are what I would imagine he would be all grown up. Would you like to see?"
"The cartoon, sure why not?"
Morgan hopped down off the couch and hurried to her room and dug out her Chipmunk Adventure tape and slid it into the VCR. She climbed back to her spot behind him and continued working the tangles from his long wet hair.
As the tape played he actually began laughing at the little tan furred, glass wearing character, in the long blue robe looking outfit. Something about him always being the reasonable one, the one with the plan to get them out of trouble, was so familiar. He could even vaguely remember persons that fit the personality of the other two little boys. The wild, ego driven, starter of most of the trouble and the sweet, chubby, compassionate, caring, little guy who would cry sadly if someone else got hurt. He could almost put faces to their older counter parts, but the memory just wouldn't come through.
Soon Morgan had him all combed out and had taken his hair and twisted it into long ropes, then twisting the ropes into one thick ponytail that hung down his back except for the two loose braids that hung on either side of his head and the thick bushy bangs were still falling below his brow almost hiding his left eye.
She handed him a mirror and he smiled, "Not bad. So that's what braiding is? It's different, I'll say that."
"And you can keep it in for days before redoing it. How's the bod? Still achy?"
"Yeah, but it's getting better and I think Simon fits too."
"Good," she gently touched his shoulder before climbing down. "Okay Simon, "I'm going to make this couch into a decent bed and get you settled and then how about some food? A guy your size must eat a ton." She walked into her bedroom and returned with clean sheets and a light blue king size blanket.
He started to move out of her way, but she told him to stay put because she would make the bed around him, "To pay for school I worked as a nurse's aid for three years. If I can't do anything else, I can make a bed with a body in it." After she'd finished he let his head rest on the large pillows she had place behind him feeling like these moments of peace and relaxation were very rare.
"Now I'll go see what I can whip up, by the way, what do Martians eat, anyhow?"
Before he could think, automatically he said, "dogs and root beer."
Morgan gave him a sickened look, "Dogs! You eat dogs? That's disgusting! I can't do that! I can't cook a dog! Besides I think that's illegal!"
He looked at her, puzzled by her upset reaction then chuckled painfully, "Not the four legged kind, hot dogs, the things you put in a bun."
"Oh, well, those I have," she laughed and went to the kitchen.
Fixing him a sizable tray of bunned hot dogs, with every condiment she had in her kitchen and pouring a good amount of cranberry juice into a large glass, she brought it into him and placed the tray on the coffee table, kneeling next to it. After fluffing up his pillows so he can sit more upright she held a large cloth napkin just in front of his chin, "heads up."
He gave her a curious look but complied and she slipped the white cloth up around his neck and over his upper chest, "You have to stay in these things until I can get you something else to wear so we have to keep them clean," she reached over and put the tray on his lap and sat on the coffee table where it had been, "Sorry, no Root beer, but I can get some later."
As he ate she watched him curiously, "so anything pop into that furry head of yours, a name, a place, maybe even a face."
"Not yet," he spoke between bites as he practically inhaled the food.
"Well, then we have to find you somewhere to stay. I'm not comfortable with you staying here, so here's my plan. There's a very small apartment just above me and I know the landlord real well. He's wanted someone to live there, but he has to be very particular because of being confined to a wheel chair. While you were cleaning up, I took the liberty and gave him a call. I told him that you were a friend who was looking for something small and out if the way. That you really needed your privacy because of a rare genetic skin and bone condition, and you weren't crazy about people seeing you. He said he more than understood and trusted my judgment, so now you have a new home. And don't worry about the cost, if you helped him around the place you won't have to pay any rent."
"I don't understand something . Miss..Miss," he looked at her realizing she never told him her name.
"Oh excuse my bad manners. My name is Morgan, Morgan Blair," she smiled and reached out her hand in a friendly gesture.
With his free hand he took hold of it and shook it lightly, "well, Miss Blair, most people wouldn't be so quick to lend such a generous helping hand. I don't want to sound like I'm ungrateful, but do you always take such good care of strays?"
Once more those strange beautiful pink eyes were peering over the dark shades watching her so intently it made Morgan nervous and she stood to walk to the window. She aimlessly ran her finger in the dust that had accumulated on the sill, "Just call me Morgan and no, but I couldn't help thinking, if I were you, how frightened I would be. So far from home and family, with no memory to link me to what I know, it must be horrible. Anyway it's hard to turn away such a cute stray," she turned and gave him a sweet smile.
He actually blushed and quickly picked up another hot dog, but before sticking it in his mouth, she could hear him shyly whisper, "Oh."
After eating Simon quickly fell back asleep and stayed that way for the rest of that day and completely through the night.
The next morning Morgan was up and out by the time the noise of someone moving around in the kitchen woke him. He reached around to retrieve the specks that were close by on the coffee table.
To his surprise a young man with straight black hair neatly pulled back into a long braid and a friendly bright smile appeared at the kitchen door. It had to be the guy Morgan had told him about seeing that he was sitting in one of the sleekest looking wheel chairs Simon had ever seen.
"Morning, sorry I was trying to fix some breakfast without waking you. Morgan told me you had gotten pretty banged up and needed your rest. She'll have my head if you tell her I disturbed you."
"Your secrets safe with me. Where did she get off to so early," Simon yawned swing his feet to the floor, making sure his tail was well hidden and trying to shake the last little bit of sleepiness from his mind.
"She has made you her new project. She said she wanted to get you some basic essential for your new place. Which means that every store in the mall will make a sizable profit by the time she's finished.
"Man, I didn't want her to spend any money on me. She's already done more than I could ever repay."
"First of all if you value that furry pelt you won't say anything about repaying her, she's just like that. I worry that one-day she'll trust the wrong person and get herself in big trouble, but than that's why I'm here. Come on, you like pancakes I'm told I make the best in Chi town."
Simon sat at the small table and watched the young man move around the kitchen like he was floating on a stream of air. It was obvious he had been in the kitchen before since he found where everything was kept with no difficulty, "Sit. A guy your size must eat at least twenty of these things." The young man place a healthy pile of the golden cakes in front of Simon and pushed the syrup and butter closer to his reach.
"Since Morgan said you're a very private kind of guy I guess I'll give you the 411 on me, if you feel like listening."
Simon smiled as he began consuming the wonderful smelling breakfast set before him, "Sure, I'm a good listener."
"The name is Shimar Muyo and the condensed version is I was born with no legs and a rare muscle condition. My parents were pretty well off and took great care of me. They won't let me feel sorry for myself and encouraged me to do as much as I could. Since I couldn't do a lot of physical stuff I used my time to exercise the only muscle that wasn't affected, my mind. I seem to have a gift for computers and machines so I spend most of my time trying to improve the lives of the physically impaired."
"Your parents must be real proud of you,"
"They were, before they died about 4 years ago," he added quickly still feeling the hurt of their deaths.
"Oh, sorry," Simon said with a strange connection to the feel of lost family.
"Thanks, they left me pretty well set financially and I bought this place. It's big enough for my mad scientist experiments without nosy neighbors getting in my business. Morgan and I hooked up at art show about a month after she moved backed from Jersey. She took care of the gardening and ran errands for me. I was pretty lonely before she came to live here," a soft affection glowed covered his light tan face.
"So you guys an item?" Simon looked up over the glasses in a familiar gesture.
"Nah, she's kind of seeing some, snobby, high class, business type. I don't have time for all that hearts and flowers junk," he waved his hand moving back to the stove to restock Simon's supply of pancakes.
"My, my and they say women gossip," Morgan teased as she walked into the apartment her arms filled to capacity with bags.
To be continued .