Louise Armstrong Holliday is the last person on Earth you’d expect to save the human race. But when she uncovers proof that her boss is an alien the color of lime jelly gone horribly wrong, and is at the center of a plot to destroy humanity, Louie decides to do exactly that. She begins a journey from her company’s suburban Seattle office park to the old cities and castles of Eastern Europe. Along the way, Louie is attacked by flying books, overly-sensitive bat-crow monsters, and her own self-doubts. She must learn the truth about her closest friend, stand up to her boss, confront her oldest enemy, and make peace with her Aunt Emma, who annoys her in the way only true family can. She also has to rely on Buddy, the little blind mini-Schnauzer who saves her life twice – and really is from Mars.
Louie remembered seeing this sort of thing happen in movies and reading it in books. None of it prepared her for what took place before her eyes. Jones’ head split in two, starting behind one ear and moving across the top of his scalp. The back of his head and face peeled away as if they were being unzipped, making a horrible, ripping-Velcro sound. Then she saw an actual zipper running down Jones’ head, neck, and chest—she couldn’t look any lower. His skin and clothing peeled next and what emerged from them was almost too hideous to bear, but Louie couldn’t tear her gaze away.
Something like a head appeared. Formed from a misshapen oval the color of snot, yellow-green snot ejected from a deeply infected sinus, with things that seemed to be eyes, but twelve of them—little beads of purple light set into the infected snot mass. Below the head, his hulking body seemed far wider and lumpier than Jones appeared, like lime Jell-O gone terribly, terribly wrong. Louie heard a high-pitched noise over the growl and gradually realized she was screaming.
“Hush.” Even though the head was no longer Jones, somehow the voice was still his. “Stop screaming for Spryxl’s sake.”
Louie stopped screaming. Hearing Jones’s voice come out of that green lump brought her back to herself at least for a moment. I’m dreaming again. I’m still in bed with Buddy and I hit snooze one too many times and I’m dreaming. She grabbed a hunk of the skin on her arm between her thumb and forefinger and gave it a sharp twist.
“What in Spryxl’s Name are you doing?” asked the Jones lump.
“Pinching myself.” Louie winced.
“That’s what you do to wake yourself up from a dream. I’ve seen it in movies.”
“Well, stop it. It’s very disconcerting to watch a human inflict pain on itself. We prefer to do that ourselves.”
One more sharp twist that hurt like hell. Crap. Not only is my boss some kind of alien, but I’m going to have a wicked bruise on my arm from pinching myself so hard.