The Bottle Flipping Alien

By the time Billy got back upstairs, his dad had gone into one of his major grumpy moods. Billy gave him the brush and retreated to the far end of the attic to wait. He flipped a bottle and stared at the wardrobe, craning his neck to peer inside. But this misaligned his flip, and the bottle dropped with a thud and rolled away behind some boxes.

His dad barked out, ‘Can you stop that infernal flipping and just wait?’

Billy squeezed behind the stack of boxes to retrieve his bottle. As he stood up, the face of the old man from the wardrobe stared back at him.

Only now he had a body and an old lady beside him. Billy stifled a scream – that would really get his dad’s goat, the mood he was in.

As Billy inched back around the boxes, the old lady giggled and waved nervously.

The old man’s eyes strayed towards the bottle in Billy’s hand, and he turned his wrist in a flipping movement. Billy shook his head and backed further out of the tight space. He was not going to start a bottle flipping competition with a spook or an alien, or whatever it was.

His dad straightened up and demanded, ‘What the devil are you doing now?’

Billy raced out from behind the boxes and said, ‘Nothing, just looking.’

‘Well, stop looking and come downstairs. You’ve done quite enough damage up here for one day.’

As he shut the attic door, Billy looked back. The old lady waved and the old man frowned and wagged his finger, mimicking Billy’s dad’s grumpy expression.

Downstairs, Terry Nottage spoke to his wife.

‘Says he saw a face and it bottle flipped, or some such nonsense.’

‘I know, he asked me if Aunt Sarah had ever been visited by aliens who flipped bottles. Honestly, I think this craze is going a bit far and I know I’ll be glad when it’s finished.’

Terry nodded a warning to his wife as Billy came into the room.


That night, Billy was woken again by the sound of voices in the attic. He lay in bed listening as an old lady’s voice hooted like a gorilla. Billy guessed she was cheering when the old boy did a good flip. Occasionally, he heard a deeper voice curse some old-fashioned oath and the old lady’s voice say, ‘Oh, get a grip.’

When he couldn’t stand it any longer, Billy crept out onto the landing and up the stairs. At the top, he turned the door handle and peered inside.

The old lady stood near the old man. Every time he landed a full staircase up and down, she fist-pumped the air and shrieked, ‘Hoo, hoo, hoo.’

The old boy ignored her. He retrieved the bottles at an amazing rate and landed one flip after another, up and down, up and down the cardboard steps.

Billy stared, fascinated and unseen, until the old man landed a two-step cap-to-cap. ‘Wow! Nailed it,’ he said.

The old people turned but Billy fled back down the stairs and was back in his room in seconds. As he pulled the covers over his head the hooting started again.

An idea began to form in his brain. Upstairs was the world’s best bottle flipper – that was for sure. Admittedly, he was an alien or something, which was weird. But that didn’t stop him being a miracle flipper who might be able to help him get off the hated bottom spot in the Bottle Flippers League.