The couple walked into the relieving air conditioned air of the brew pub and Japanese cuisine restaurant.
“Just 2” the perky young woman who greeted them asked?
“Could we have a table furthest from the music?”
“Oh, sure! We can go over here…” They walked back to a more secluded area in the back. There was a mock up of beer brewing tanks along one wall.
“Looks like we’re the only ones here.”
“Yeah, most people come later in the afternoon and for the lunch hour. Can I start you with something to drink?”
“Sure. I’m having water…”
“Can I get lemonade?”
“Sure. I’ll go get those and be right back.”
“Thank you” the woman said pleasantly.
“Thanks” her male companion said with a polite tight lipped smile.
They looked around for a moment. The woman picked up the menu. The man look at the table.
“No salt”, he said in a tone that suggested he knew the woman wouldn’t be surprised to hear it. “Just this giant shaker of pepper.” He picked it up and considered it, lightly tossing it in one hand to feel its heft. The woman peered over at him from behind her menu, then put the menu down and sighed philosophically.
“Have you guys decided yet or…?” asked the waitress returning with their drinks.
“Yeah, I think we have. Hey, I noticed there’s no salt on any of the tables.”
“Oh. That. Well, we don’t have any salt.”
“Oh”, said the woman quizzically.
“If there was any salt around we’d have absorbed it into ourselves” continued the waitress. The man noticed one of the other girls who worked at the restaurant watching them from the other side of the bar.
“Indeed” said the man, his eye brows lifting.
Something moved under the shirt the waitress was wearing. A tentacle slithered out in a fast easy movement, long, wavering, and wrapped around the man’s arm before he could say another word.
“Uhmm” said the man, half heartedly pulling his arm away unsuccessfully. He looked over at the woman. Suddenly a stinging sensation shot through his arm.
“We need salt to live” said the waitress. “The creatures of this planet are practically made of salt… Unnngg” she winced in sudden pain.
“Well”, said the woman finally putting down her menu. “We come from a planet that has no salt, only pepper.”
The waitress’ eyes scanned the two of them unwilling to believe what was happening.
“That’s right” said the man. “And we need pepper to live. Our blood is full of it.” He grinned. The waitress’ skin seemed to shrivel a little. She tried to pull her tentacle away but something was preventing it. She gasped for breath, turned gray and then fell to the floor.
The girl at the end of the bar began to clap. “Very impressive” she said as she walked over to them. She reached for the overly large shaker pepper.
“Do you mind?” she asked politely. She picked up the shaker and upended it over her mouth. Her mouth opened wide, then there was the sound of cracking bone and cartilage as her mouth opened to about half a foot in diameter. She began to shake pepper into it. The man and woman got up from the table and backed away. The woman produced a device and brandished it like a gun of some kind, though it didn’t look like any gun on earth.
Their war had begun.