The day was quiet in Mayberry. Goober sat in the shade with his feet propped up against the pop machine and his face buried in his newest comic book, The Monster from Mars. In the distance, he heard the familiar sound of a car rolling down the dirt road from the highway. So engrossed was he in the antics of the Mars monster that he didn't bother to look up as the car rumbled around the corner and approached the station. Just as the car pulled up beside the pumps, he set the comic book down and stood up with a stretch. When his eye fell on the car, he couldn't believe what he saw. He must've been in the heat too long. But when he blinked and rubbed his eyes, it was still there. By far the strangest car he'd ever seen, some cross between a hearse and a drag car. A quick honk on the horn shook him out of his stupor.
"Hello! Assistance please!" called the driver.
Goober hurried to the pumps and peered in the driver's side of the car. What he found was so frightening, he had to brace himself to keep from bolting into the shop. In the driver's seat sat the largest man he'd ever seen. The man had a hollow, green face with a flat top and a jagged scar down his forehead. The woman beside him was equally terrifying, with dark eyes, a deathly pale complexion, and a set of fangs sticking out of her mouth. Goober stole a glance in the backseat to find an older man with an appearance similar to the lady's, a boy with pointed ears and a sharp widow's peak, and a teenage girl. Actually, the girl seemed normal if not a little pretty.
"Fill 'er up, Charlie!" boomed the driver with a laugh.
Goober gulped. "Yessir."
With trembling hands, he set the nozzle in the gas tank and let it run, all the while keeping his eyes fixed on this strange family. He could hear the wife speaking in a mildly harsh tone.
"Herman, don't be rude! Introduce yourself. If we're going to live here, we might as well get to know the townsfolk."
"Of course, Lily, dear."
Goober's heart leaped again as the driver stuck his head out the window.
"Excuse me, young man."
"I'd like to introduce myself and my family. You see, this is our first time here, and we'd like to take the time to—"
The nozzle clicked in Goober's hand. He yanked it out and slammed it back into the handle.
"That'llbefivedollarsandthirtycentswillthatbeallsir?" he stammered.
Slightly surprised, the driver replied, "Why no. That's all."
Goober tapped his foot in anxiety as the man fumbled through his wallet and pulled out a five-dollar bill.
"Darn," he huffed, "I only have a five and a twenty."
Goober snatched the five.
"Five is fine, keep the change."
The man smiled.
"Ah, thank you. Good day, sir."
With another childlike laugh, the man started the car up and sped off in the direction of the town. Goober stared after it until the car had disappeared in a cloud of dust. Snapping to his senses, he dashed to his truck and high-tailed it for downtown Mayberry. Andy had to know about this.
Andy and Barney were busily shuffling through old paperwork in the filing cabinet and finishing off the last of Aunt Bea's home cooking when Goober burst through the doors in a panicked sweat. Barney only glanced up from his stack of files.
"Oh hey, Goober."
Andy could almost smell the anxiety coming off his friend.
"Goober! What happened?"
"Andy, Barney, you won't believe it. You just won't believe what I saw."
"What was it, Goober?" asked Barney, letting the papers in his hand scatter across the floor in a frenzy.
"Was it a fugitive? Hot items? Counterfeit money?"
"It was terrible, just terrible. The awfulest thang I've ever seen in my life!"
"Well, how are we gonna help until you tell us what it was?" said Andy, who still hadn't gotten up from his chair. Goober put both hands on the desk and leaned as close to Andy as he could get.
"They was monsters, Andy. Real monsters, like the kind of thangs you see in those Halloween pictures, only they was standin' there right in front of me."
Andy raised one eyebrow. Barney snatched his cap and pulled a notebook out of his pocket.
"What kind of monsters were they, Goober? Did they have fangs? Claws? Scales? How big were they? I need a complete description!"
"Well, I said they was standin' right in front of me, but they wasn't really. They drove up in this crazy lookin' car. It was the craziest car I've ever seen, all stretched out an' with seats up on top of it."
"Nevermind the car, Goober. Tell us about the monsters!"
"Well, they looked sorta' like humans, but they was all green in the face. The driver, he must've been nearly nine feet tall. His head was flat as a box and he had this big ole scar on his forehead. There was a lady with 'im who was wearin' this shroud…"
As Goober continued his description, Barney's expression of urgency faded. Stealing a glance at Andy, he folded his notebook, shoved it back in his pocket, and set his hands on his hips. Andy only concealed a chuckle. When Goober had finished, Barney growled,
"Do you really expect us to believe that crazy tale?"
"But it ain't no tale, Barn. I really saw 'em!"
"Goober," said Andy, "you've gotta admit, it sounds pretty far-fetched. Are you sure you haven't just read one too many comic books out there in that heat?"
"No, Andy. This weren't no comic book. This was for real!"
"If your monsters were so real, how come you didn't bring 'em along so we could be properly introduced?" Barney taunted. "Goober, I aught to write you a citation for making fun of the law!"
"Don't worry about it, Barn," Andy cautioned. Goober straightened up and scowled.
"Alright. If you fellers refuse to believe me, then we'll just see. And when those monsters start terrorizin' Mayberry like they do in the pictures, we'll just see who gets the last laugh!"
With that, Goober stormed out of the courthouse, leaving Andy and Barney to mull his words over together.
"What d'you suppose is eatin' him?" asked Barney. Andy shrugged.
"Who knows. Maybe he got his fingers caught in an engine this mornin'."
"If you ask me, he got his head caught in an engine."
"Now, Barn, I'll admit Goober's got one heck of an imagination, but I wouldn't be surprised if he saw somethin' out there."
"You mean monsters?"
"Well, maybe not monsters. But definitely somethin'. I wouldn't worry too much about it, though. You know Goober has a tendency to exaggerate things."
"Yeah. Just think. Green men that are nine feet tall."
Both sheriff and deputy shared a laugh at this. They were interrupted by the sharp ring of the telephone. Barney snatched it up.
"Sheriff's office. This is Deputy Fife speaking… Oh, Rafe Hollister… what was that?... the chickens are gone?... well, Rafe, are you sure it wasn't a fox?... you're sure, huh?... alright, take it easy, Rafe. We'll be there in a minute."
When Barney hung up, Andy asked, "what's goin' on?"
"Aw, Rafe Hollister called and started fussin' about some stolen chickens. He was pretty positive it was a person who stole 'em and not an animal." Andy shrugged.
"I always told him he should build a more secure pen for those chickens or somethin' would grab 'em. Better go at least check it out."
"Right." Barney put his cap back on and headed for the door. Before he left, he paused.
"I think you better go. He likes you better." Andy smirked.
"Still scared of wolves, Barn?"
"No, I ain't scared of 'em, but you never know when a wolf pack may show up." Andy still chuckled.
"Sure, Barn. I'll check it out. And if I see any wolves out there, I'll be sure to tell them you said 'hey'."
Meanwhile, Opie and his friend Mike were busily playing catch in the quieter part of the neighborhood.
"Hey, Op!" yelled Mike, "Run down to the corner there and I'll show you how far I can throw it!"
"Okay!" Opie agreed. He scurried down to the street corner, stopping in front of an abandoned house.
"Throw!" yelled Opie. Mike lobbed the ball as hard as his little arm could manage. The ball sailed over Opie's head, bounced off the pavement, and shattered the front window of the house.
"Uh oh," moaned Mike as he joined Opie in front of the house, "It went in the old Rimshaw place. That house is haunted, you know."
"Aw, my Pa don't believe in ghosts," said Opie, "and I don't either."
"Oh yeah?" said Mike, "prove it! Go in there and get that ball."
"Alright, I will."
Without hesitation, Opie marched through the weed-covered yard and up the creaky steps. Before he could grab the rusty doorknob, the front door swung open on its own. To Opie's astonishment, a little boy about his age stood there with Mike's ball in one hand. This boy had dark eyes and dark hair, pointed ears, sharp teeth, and had pale if not slightly green skin. Not to mention he wore an outfit Opie had only seen before during the annual school play. The strange boy smiled at the sight of Opie.
"Hi! Is this your ball?"
"Yeah, sort of. It's my friend, Mike's. He's the one who threw it. I'm real sorry about your window."
"Aw, don't worry about it. That sort of thing happened all the time where we used to live."
"You mean you live here?"
"Uh huh. We just moved in. I'm Eddie, by the way."
"I'm Opie. Hey, if you're not doin' anything, do you want to come play with us? We can show you around town and everything."
"Hold on a minute." Eddie glanced over one shoulder. "Mom, can I go play for a little while?"
"That'll be fine, Eddie," replied an unseen female voice, "Just remember to be home before supper. We're having baked aardvark tonight."
"Great! I can go!" The two boys hurried down the creaky porch steps and down the road.
That evening, at the Rimshaw house, Lily Munster busily unpacked the last moving boxes and swiped her finger across the mantle as a quick dust test.
"Wonderful!" she said, "The dust is almost an inch thick. You see, Grandpa? We're going to love it, here!"
Grandpa, reclining in his electric chair with a copy of the Mayberry Gazette in hand, shook his head.
"I still say a house without a dungeon can never be a home. What did we have to up and move for anyway? Wasn't Mockingbird Heights good enough?"
"Now, Grandpa, we've discussed this before. Herman said and I agree that we've been in Mockingbird Heights for too long. We needed a change of scenery, and I think a small town will do us good. The people seem so friendly here, Eddie's already made some friends. Though that gas station attendant sure seemed nervous."
Grandpa folded over his newspaper and said, "Well, that's what happens when you sit in the sun for too long."
A series of thumps shook the house as Herman Munster stomped down the staircase, straightening a slick black suit.
"Well, Lily?" he said with a slight smirk, "What do you think?"
"I love it! The neighborhood is so quiet and the weeds in the yard hardly need any tending. There's plenty of room in the back for Spot to play and the people here are so charming! They all stop and watch as we drive by." Herman scowled.
"I wasn't talking about the house. I was talking about me! Me!"
He stamped one foot until the floorboards gave way, catching his leg in the new hole. Grandpa smirked as Herman awkwardly tried to free himself.
"Oh," said Lily, "why, you look magnificent, dear. But what's it for?"
"I just wanted to make a good impression on the townsfolk here. After all, we don't want them thinking we're paupers."
Herman took a slow spin, allowing Lily and Grandpa to fully appreciate his new look.
"Good idea, Herman," said Lily, "but don't overdo it. We don't want these country folks to think we're too rich."
"Herman," said Grandpa, "take my advice. Scrap the sophisticated look before you embarrass yourself."
Herman opened his mouth to reply, but instead, he cast his eyes about the room.
"Where's Eddie and Marilyn?"
"Eddie's in his room getting ready for bed," Lily explained, "and Marilyn is working on her final project for school."
"Good," Herman peered out the window as a few raindrops hit the pane.
"You know, it's turning into such a nice evening, I believe I'll go out for a little stroll. That way, I can get to know the town and be ready for tomorrow when I start looking for work. Care to join me, Grandpa?"
"Are you kidding?" Grandpa huffed, "how can I make a good impression if I'm walking the streets with a nitwit?"