Aphelion Issue 275, Volume 26
August 2022
 
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Jeri

by B. A. Hartman



Here I was, lying in bed the night before Homecoming, trying to ignore the smell of rancid milk eking from the hamper in my closet, trying to ignore the realization that tomorrow I would be watching reruns of SG1 while every other person in the universe (well, every other person in my school, which was my universe) would be going to the game and to the dance and making out with drunk cheerleader chicks.

It was all right, I suppose. It wouldn't be any different from any other year, so I wouldn't really be letting myself down. How can you let yourself down when you don't have any lower to go?

In years past I hadn't given a hot damn about Homecoming. But this was my senior year, for chrissakes. It was time I take some action and, if I was lucky, get some action. The kind of action Kirk got from Uhura. The kind of action Billy the Poet got from scores of Junoesque Virgins. The kind of action I've read and fantasized about my whole life, yet never have had the chance to partake.

Granted, this year, I had at least made an attempt. Today at lunch, when Jennifer (you know: the one with the long blond hair who smells like strawberry lip gloss, even after gym class) happened to walk by my table, I rose from my seat with the valiant intent of asking her, in a nonchalant, Han Solo-kind-of way, to the dance. But as usual, my dorkiness prevailed, and instead I ended up spilling her open pint of 2% Dairigold all over the front of my shirt.

Jennifer stormed off, unimpressed, while the rest of the cafeteria, including Brian Webber and his army of General Thade-esque knuckle-draggers (also known as the Varsity Football Team), erupted into a deafening roar of pride-melting hysterics that made my insides turn into ectoplasm and my cheeks grow hotter than a Mustafarian Volcano.

By mid-afternoon, I reeked so badly of soured milk that, as I made my way to Homeroom, those I passed wrinkled their nose and said things to me that I have since blocked from my memory. In Homeroom, Mr. Dal handed us each a piece of paper filled with something resembling a cross between Pictionary and a Quantum Physicist's nightmare. He then went on to explain that it was called a cipher. As usual, the rest of the class paid virtually no attention to Mr. Dal, whatsoever -- that is, until he mentioned that the cipher was to be homework.

There were gasps and protests from the class, which Mr. Dal ignored. But I didn't protest. Not me. Because I'm the sort of freak who spends his weekends poring over Orson Scott Card and Neal Stephenson. Though in the back of my mind, I acknowledged the likely possibility that, when decoded, the cipher would end up saying something morally retarded, like "Brush your teeth."

Heaving a sigh, I reached to the nightstand for my notebook and took out Mr. Dal's cipher. I held it up to the window, squinting at the symbols through the filtered starlight. Then I yawned. It was late, and I would have all day Sunday -- oh, who was I kidding? I would have all day Saturday, too -- to figure it out. I started to put it away when a twinkle out the window caught my eye. I blinked and looked again. At first, I saw only stars. Then, there it was: a star brighter than the rest, winking with a greenish pulse.

It's a satellite, I told myself, or a piece of cosmic trash, like a defunct space toilet from the Mir.

The star began to grow. I shut my eyes, thinking I must be hallucinating. But when I opened them the twinkling thing had grown even bigger. Suddenly I realized the reason why it had grown was because it was hurtling toward me, and dove under my bed. There was a flash of ghostly green light, followed by a mild tremor. And then -- silence.

Well, it would have been silent except that every dog within a square mile was barking their furry face off and about seventeen car alarms were honking in unison. Then my parents stumbled into the room and flicked on the light.

"Honey, are you okay?" It was my mom.

"Fine," I said, disguising the quake in my voice as I crawled out from under the bed.

"But I heard a bang -- "

"I fell out of bed," I lied.

"You're a bit too old to be falling out of bed, son." It was my dad talking now.

"Oh, do be careful, sweetie!" That was my mom again, of course.

"Goodnight, son," said my dad.

"Goodnight, darling," said my mom.

"'Night," I replied as I herded them out of the room, shut my door and turned out the light. My heart was pounding as I rushed to my window and looked out. But the green light was gone, the dogs had shut up, and the car alarms had been silenced with bloop-bloops! from their owners' key chains. For a moment, I wondered if I had imagined it.

And then I saw her. She was huddled in the far corner of my room, half in shadow, half lit by starlight, staring at me with green, fawnlike eyes set among the mossy-hued features of her otherworldly -- yet stunningly beautiful -- face.

"Who are you?" I managed to stutter.

Batting lashes as long as fern fronds, she held out her green hands in what I perceived as a motion of helplessness. "Purr twee lee?"

"I'm sorry," I said. "I don't understand -- "

I stopped talking instantly as she rose. Not because I was afraid, but because she was unbelievably hot! Her limber figure was draped in some kind of sparkly, see-through bodysuit that perfectly outlined the soft camber of her green thighs, the curve of her tiny, green waist, and the firm arcs of her flawless, green rack. If she would have been shackled to an enormous, slug-looking creature, I would have melted on the spot.

She glided toward me, all the while holding out her hands and repeating, "Purr twee lee?" like the little bird in Slaughterhouse Five.

All right, I'll admit I was a little scared. I mean, just because she was a supermodel alien didn't mean that she wasn't a vicious, flesh-eating supermodel alien. I began to back slowly toward the door.

As alien babe passed my bed, she reached down and plucked up the notebook paper from where I had dropped it. "Purr twee lee!" she chirped, waving the paper excitedly.

Normally, I might think it was weird that a stunning space creature would take an interest in my homework, but things had already gone so far past weirdness I wasn't fazed one bit. I took the paper from her. "Is this what you wanted?"

"Purr twee lee!" she cried, launching into a frenzied series of chirps, whistles, and hoots that sounded like a Tagalog-speaking canary being strangled. Grabbing my wrists, she dragged me to the window and pointed toward the backyard.

"What is it?" I asked.

"Purr twee lee," she sighed wistfully

"I'm sorry, ma'am," (do you refer to alien babes as ma'am?) "But I don't know what that means."

Suddenly, in a clap-bang of decompressed air, we were standing in the backyard outside my dad's tool shed. My head was buzzing, but besides that I seemed to be intact. Just to be sure, I reached down into my pajama pants. Thankfully, that was still there too.

Alien babe led me into the shed. I followed diligently, banging my shins on all sorts of sharp, unpleasant things. Then I saw it. It was candy-apple red, freshly waxed, and delicately embraced by a polished chrome bumper. It even had plates (out of galaxy?) that were probably personalized with some clever slogan like, "Eat My Stardust."

I let out a low whistle. "This is a fantastic ride! I bet you even have those cool lights like in Close Encounters, huh?" I knelt down to check. "Yep, sure do."

So engrossed was I by the hotrod spacecraft that it took me a while to notice the smoke. It trickled upwards from the spacecraft's right flank where a long, ugly gash marred the chrome's perfect smoothness. Suddenly, I understood. I patted a sympathetic hand against the torn metal and looked at alien babe.

She fluttered her lashes at me and purred, "Purr twee lee."

I shrugged. "Well, I don't know much about fixing cars -- or spaceships, for that matter -- but we can pop the hood, or whatever you call it, and take a look."

I don't think she understood anything I said, but she must have guessed, because she pressed an invisible button on the ship's side and the chrome slid back, revealing a complex array of tubes, circuits, and converters underneath.

"Whew!" I exclaimed. "I don't think NASA or Pimp My Ride would know what to do with this."

Alien babe stared at me helplessly, searching my expression for any shred of hope, but found none. Her green lips began to tremble and pout. Dewy green tears condensed at the corner of her eyelids. Then she started to sob. She sobbed and wept and boo hooed while I just stood there, staring at her like a dumbass. With a long wail, she threw her arms around me and buried her sobbing face into my chest. Finally, after not enough time embracing a sexy space siren, she drew away and looked up at me, her deep eyes glistening like emeralds.

"You know, earth isn't so bad," I said, in a poor attempt to cheer her up. "We've got great movies like Logan's Run and Waterworld. And good restaurants, too, like Dairy Queen and Hooters." She gave me a funny look when I said 'Hooters.' I wonder if some slang terms are universal.

I stared down again at the maze of buzzing tubes and blinking knobs, and then saw something I hadn't noticed before. Unlike the rest of this electrician's experiment gone wrong, this thing I actually sort-of recognized.

"Is this what the trouble is?" I asked.

Alien babe nodded.

It was about the size of my head, semi-spherical, and tapered on both ends.

It was exactly like a football.

"You know," I said, scratching my head. "I might have an idea of where we can get one of these."

Alien babe's eyes grew wide. "Purr twee lee?"

"Maybe, but don't get your hopes up yet. Let's get some sleep first, and I promise I'll try to purr twee lee this thing tomorrow morning, okay?"

Apparently, she got the gist, because she punched another invisible button and suddenly the whole dang spaceship became invisible. For a second, I wondered if she could make me invisible, too, but then remembered that, to most people, I already was.

There was another clap of air, and alien babe and I were back in my room. I perused our surroundings with eyes suddenly opened to the explosion of geekdom that was my domain. Role playing models cluttered my desk. Comics littered the floor. X-Men posters coated the walls like designer nerd wallpaper.

"You can sleep here, if you want," I said, darting around the room, picking up stuff in a last-ditch attempt to show that, while I might be a nerd, I was at least a tidy nerd. I caught alien babe regarding me curiously. Dumping a pile of Dragon Lance novels in a corner, I turned to her and said, "I just realized I don't know your name."

She cocked her green face sideways.

"Your name?" I pointed to a poster. "Gambit," I said, and, "Nightcrawler," pointing to another. Then I pointed to her. With a dawn of realization, she launched into a series of chirrups and squeaks I couldn't reproduce if someone dipped my testicles in a bucket of ice water.

"That's your name, huh? Well, we'll have to come up with something else for now."

I looked her up and down trying to think of something clever that would do her justice. But as I took her in -- those curvy hips, that uncommonly perfect rack -- I could only think of one thing.

"Jeri Ryan," I said. "But I'll just call you Jeri, if that's okay."

Jeri smiled, which I took as a yes.

My eyelids were rapidly transforming into weights like the ones in gym class I can never lift. I made a nest on the floor for myself and motioned for Jeri to take the bed. I was almost asleep when suddenly my blanket was pulled back and, to my shock and delight, Jeri slid her willowy, green figure in beside me. To say I was no longer sleepy was a serious understatement. I hadn't been roused; I had been a-roused. My breathing all but ceased as Jeri snuggled up against me, let out a coo like a dove, and fell asleep. It took a long time for my heart rate to get under one-seventy. But then I fell asleep too.

####

Somewhere in my subconscious, I realized it was Saturday and was about to roll over for another hour of sleep when memories of the preceding night came rushing forth. I bolted upright, staring at the pillow beside me.

Empty.

"Jeri?" I whispered.

There was a knock at my door, and I almost wet myself.

"Honey, are you awake?" It was my mom.

"What do you want?"

"I made Mickey Mouse pancakes for breakfast." She started to open the door, and I leapt up and threw my meager weight against it.

"I'll have some in a little while," I called out.

She poked her head in the room and wrinkled her nose. "Ugh, it smells disgusting in here! Like rotten milk -- "

"It's just my laundry." I ran to get my hamper, and my jaw dropped to the floor. There in my closet was Jeri, rifling through my clothes -- and stark naked.

"Well you should have given it to me yesterday," said my mom, leaning through the doorway. I snatched up the hamper and shoved the reeking laundry at her, ignoring her raised eyebrows as I slammed the door in her face.

There was a rattle of hangers in the closet. I darted over and peeked timidly in.

"Jeri?"

She was wearing the button-up shirt I'm forced to wear for church. I always feel like a complete dork in that shirt -- at least, more of a dork than usual. But Jeri made it look good.

She made a cute little pose. "Twee?"

"Definitely," I said, wiping drool from the corner of my mouth. "But let's get you some pants, okay?"

I unearthed a pair of track shorts in the style Prefontaine wore during the '72 Olympics. They made me look like I swung both ways, but were perfect for her. I finished off the look with a baseball cap that said, "Yoda One for Me." It was my favorite hat.

How we managed to sneak out of the house without my parents noticing is still a blur, but I do remember it involved the almighty power of Jerry Springer reruns on TV. From the garage, I retrieved my bicycle -- the same ten-speed plastered with Incredible Hulk stickers that I'd had since I was twelve -- and hopped on. Jeri situated herself behind me, wrapping her arms around my waist just like she was Leia and I was Luke and we were racing through the forests of Endor on our Speeder -- that is, forgetting that they're brother and sister, because that would be gross.

As I pedaled, I wondered if Jeri was like E.T. and that suddenly we would be soaring above the clouds, our silhouette as perfect as if Steven Spielberg had choreographed it himself. Apparently she wasn't like E.T., because I pedaled like Lance Armstrong all the way to the school. But Jeri wasn't bug-eyed and squishy, she was smoking hot. So I forgave her.

At the school, I ditched my bike and motioned for Jeri to follow me. Together, we slunk our way toward the field and ducked behind the bleachers.

"Wait here," I said, poking her into a concealed corner. Then I snuck my way to the locker rooms.

The men's locker room was my own personal ninth level of hell. The combined odor of Clorox, Lamisil, and sweaty jockstraps brought back painful images of having to bear my hairless, underdeveloped body among a communal shower of testosterone-fed muscle.

Brian Webber always kept a football in his locker. It was laden with signatures, supposedly from cheerleaders with whom he'd gotten to fourth base. His locker was number 69, the same number as his jersey. But, of course, locker 69 was locked. I once overheard someone say that, because school budgets are small, the lockers are cheap, and all you have to do to open them is jiggle the handles. So I jiggled, and jiggled, and swore, and jiggled again. Apparently, that someone had lied. Then, in my frustration, I kicked the locker door and, lo and behold, it opened.

That was when Brian Webber walked in, along with the entire varsity football team.

"What the hell do you think you're doing?" demanded Brian Webber as he stomped over and lifted me up by the neck of my shirt. I just dangled there, trying not to pee my pants.

"Answer me, milk fart!" Spit flew from his mouth and splatted against my face.

"I was -- uh -- I was just looking for -- "

"For what?"

"A f-f-f-f-f-f-football."

A dark and sinister smile grew on Brian Webber's lips. "So you want a football."

"Yessssssir."

"Well, the thing is," Brian Webber sucked his teeth. "I can't just give you a football. You gotta get one yourself. Isn't that right boys?" The rest of the team grunted in unison.

I didn't know where this was going. I didn't want to.

"You want to go get a football?" asked Brian Webber.

I nodded. (Why? Why the heck did I nod?)

"Well, all right, then. Let's get you suited up."

Next thing I knew, an oversized jersey was pulled over my scrawny torso and my cranium was engulfed in a helmet so big it made me feel like a Pez dispenser. Then about twenty big, sweaty hands dragged me, squirming and screaming at the top of my lungs, out onto the field and pushed me into a big huddle. Someone was spouting some sort of football lingo, but between my giant helmet and my complete lack of football lingo knowledge, I might as well have been Helen Keller. Then I was jostled around until I found myself facing the biggest guy I'd seen in my entire life. If he ever managed to graduate high school, this guy would probably forego football for a career in pro wrestling.

I tore my eyes from Goliath and happened to glance toward the bleachers. There, surrounded by a group of guys trying desperately to make themselves look cooler or muscley-er than they were, was Jeri. Apparently, the fact that she was green was overruled by the fact that she was ridiculously hot. Jeri caught my eye and waved. I waved back, grinning like an idiot. Then a whistle blew and, in less than a second, Goliath had knocked me twenty feet in the air. The moment I collided, very painfully, with the earth, Goliath came back around and flattened me like I was Mr. Bill and he was a can of Pringles. As I lay there, wondering if the stars in my eyes were like the ones that appear when Coyote gets an anvil dropped on his head, the football landed smack on my stomach.

I could hear Jeri's sweet, squeaky voice cheering above the crowd as I clutched the football to my chest and clawed my way to my feet.

Brian Webber was in front of me, screaming something incoherent.

I just stood there, mouth agape.

"I said, give me the damn ball!" he screamed again.

I glanced toward the sidelines and happened to see Jennifer. She stood mid-cheer, staring at me with an expression caught between awe and complete disbelief. Then I looked at Jeri, jumping up and down and crying "twee!" in her special way. Then I looked down at the football in my arms. The world went into slow motion as I turned and started to run.

"What the fuuuu -- ?" said Brian Webber as he began to chase after me.

Like a herd of mammoths, the opposing team came barreling down the field toward us. Luckily for me, Brian Webber didn't want them to have the ball any more than he wanted me to have it. As they neared, he knocked them off one by one until it was just the two of us. We passed the twenty yard line, then the ten, and then we reached the end zone and the ref screamed Touchdooown!

And the crowd went wild.

Brian Webber came to a halt by the goal post to bask in this sudden unexpected glory. But me, I kept running. I ran all the way to the portable classrooms where I ditched my helmet, then circled back behind the bleachers until I found Jeri. I snatched her away from the group of guys who had forgotten her in the excitement of the goal. Typical jocks. Once Jeri saw the football, she threw her arms around me and planted a big, juicy kiss on my cheek that made me go all woozy. Then we rushed to my bike and pedaled our way back to my house.

Beneath my ribcage, my heart was soaring. Even if we were not.

####

Back at my dad's tool shed, Jeri punched some buttons again and the spaceship reappeared. I held the football next to the damaged part. They were a perfect match.

"Well, this looks like it might work, but I don't have any idea how to install it."

Jeri basically read my mind. She punched more buttons, and a metal panel appeared in the air that looked like some sort of owner's manual. I was shocked to discover that many of the symbols on its surface closely resembled a handful of those from my homework. It was then that I realized, somewhat downheartedly, that Jeri had had not come to me because she thought I was some kind of interstellar MacGyver, but because she thought I was some kind of interstellar Joe's Garage.

"I'm really sorry, but I can't read this," I said, shaking my head at the panel.

But Jeri could. She studied it for a moment, then took the football from my hands and turned to explore the contents of the tool shed, producing at length a screwdriver and ratchet, along with a clothespin, an ice skate blade, and a box containing my dad's secret Playboy stash. Then she pulled back her hair and dove headlong into the engine.

Wow, I thought, watching her. She's hot and she's good with machines.

After a few banged thumbs and what I assumed were alien curse-words (they sounded like dolphin squeals), the busted part had been replaced with the perfectly good football. Jeri crawled out of the engine and smiled at me, her face all streaked with grease -- which, in a weird way, made her look even hotter.

"Purr twee lee?"

"I dunno. How do you start this thing?"

With an agile hop, Jeri settled into the driver's seat and pressed a button.

The engine sputtered and died.

"Twee!" she pouted.

"Give it some gas!" I called.

The engine smoked. Sparks flew everywhere. There was some sort of buzzing noise but I couldn't tell if that was good or bad. At last, with an ear splitting squeal, the engine turned over. Jeri revved it a few more times and pretty soon it was purring like a tribble.

"Woo hoo!" I shouted.

"Twee!" exclaimed Jeri. She turned off the engine and jumped out of the cockpit, smiling triumphantly.

"Well," I said awkwardly. "I guess you don't need me anymore, huh?"

Jeri's lips stuck out in a little pout. Then her eyes grew bright and she started chattering away in those tweets and chirps again, gesturing to me and then back to the ship.

"You want me to go with you?" I pointed toward the sky. "Up there?"

"Twee!"

"Wow, that sounds great -- "

She nodded excitedly.

" -- But I don't think it would work. My parents are here and, as completely backward as they are, they're kind of useful sometimes. My mom makes a mean meatloaf. Plus, I'm still waiting for A Dance with Dragons to come out."

Jeri looked down at her feet and released a chirruping sigh. With a sudden thought, she looked up, clucked incomprehensibly, and pressed her palms against me. She did this over and over again until at last I understood.

"You want to do something to thank me?"

"Twee!"

"Oh. Gosh," I said, my face turning redder than Flash's spandex. "You don't have to do anything. Really. It was nothing."

Jeri gave a little shrug.

"Anything? Are you sure?" I stroked my chin thoughtfully. "Well, I guess there is one thing you could do -- "

####

We arrived at the Homecoming dance just as the band finished playing Cheap Trick's I Want You to Want Me. Theme song of my life. Jeri and I stood outside the doors to the gym, she in her see-through bodysuit, I in a pair of black slacks (another element of my church wardrobe) and the button-down shirt that now smelled wonderfully like Jeri. I don't know if it was the olfactory sensations messing with my brain, or if it was the fact that I had a gorgeous green chick on my arm, but, for the first time in my life, I felt like I looked good. Then some sappy romance song started playing and, before I knew it, Jeri had dragged me onto the dance floor.

Our bodies swayed together in rhythmic time (which fortunately she could keep, since I couldn't) as every guy in the entire auditorium ogled and gaped at the stunning, green creature before them. But Jeri and I were alone in our own galaxy, floating off in an orbit of dreams. In hindsight, I wonder if we actually did float a little. She might not be E.T., but she is an alien, after all.

When the song ended, Jeri and I glided off the floor and back into the obscurity of the hallway. Then Mr. Dal went on stage and announced that Jennifer was Homecoming Queen and Brian Webber was Homecoming King like it was supposed to be a surprise. It was actually kind of sad, really, because everyone was so disconcerted from Jeri's presence that only a handful of people cared enough to give a halfhearted applause, so Jennifer and Brian Webber just stood on the stage in awkward silence until Mr. Dal motioned for them to go back down. But by then, Jeri and I were back on my bicycle, pedaling our way under the stars toward home.

####

The moon was bright overhead as we walked together to the tool shed, hand in hand, not saying a word -- because we wouldn't have understood each other even if we did. When we reached her ship, Jeri turned to me and sighed, "Twee."

"I know," I said. "It's goodbye for real this time."

She gazed up at me with those green eyes, and I swear that sappy romance music started playing all over again. With some kind of hormonal man-instinct I didn't even know I had, I took her by the waist and drew her toward me. Her lips lifted to mine, and we kissed one of those long, sensational, mind-blowing kisses that you make gagging noises at when they're on the movies, but secretly hope that one day you, too, could kiss like that.

When we finally separated, I walked Jeri to her spaceship and helped her inside. Big, glossy, green tears started to fall from her eyes. I put my hand under her chin and turned her face toward me. "It's all right, sweetheart," I said. "We had a great time together, and I'll never forget you."

With a tearful wave goodbye, Jeri cranked the ignition and the engine vroomed. Blowing me one last kiss, she peeled out of the tool shed and up into the night, leaving a long, glowing track in the air as her spaceship shrank away to a twinkling speck of light and then vanished.

I stood there for a long time, staring up at the star-studded sky, listening to the dogs going berserk and the car alarms Honk! Honk! and their owners cursing out their windows in an effort to shut them all up. Finally, after the night was once again quiet and Jeri's kiss had faded to a tingling memory on my mouth, I turned and ambled back into the house.

####

On Sunday, I tried to distract myself from Jeri's absence by completing Mr. Dal's cipher. It was ridiculously easy, and even worse than I suspected. After it was decoded, it read, "Don't do Drugs."

The first time I noticed Monday might be different than every other Monday before was when I got to school and was instantly mobbed by every male of the student body. They swarmed around me, giving me high-fives and slapping me on the back so hard that half-digested Captain Crunch came up my nose. They were pretending to congratulate me on my impromptu football victory, but, of course, were really asking about Jeri: Was she my girlfriend. Did she have a boyfriend. Did I have her phone number. Was she into soccer guys. Was she into mathlete guys. Was she into both guys and girls, and, if so, would she be interested in making a video.

In homeroom, Jennifer and Brian Webber waltzed in right on cue on the final bell. But at the last minute, Jennifer plopped down in an empty seat beside me. I tried to look nonplussed about this, but I must have failed miserably, because she smiled at me and said, "I know. It's, like, a total shocker that I'm sitting here, right?"

I think I nodded. Or I just gaped at her like a moron. I don't remember. Then Mr. Dal called for silence, so Jennifer leaned over and whispered, "Look, I just wanted to say that I'm, like, totally sorry about that milk thing on Friday."

I shrugged. "It's cool. My mom does my laundry." (Did I really just say my mom does my laundry? What is wrong with me?)

Now Mr. Dal was going on about who did the homework assignment and was receiving a lot of blank stares from the class. I removed the completed cipher from my notebook and showed it to Jennifer. Did you do this? I wrote on the bottom. She shook her head. So I gave it to her for her to copy, and she gave me the prettiest smile she had ever given me -- which was also the only smile she had ever given me. So Jennifer was being nice to me now. So what. Compared to a White Star like Jeri, Jennifer was a Borg Cube.

That night, I put up the sign that Jeri made for me. The Homecoming dance had been my idea as a way for her to thank me, but this had been hers. At her request, I had given her one of the posters on my wall (it was of Cyclops. I used to think Cyclops was a badass, but not since the movies when he listened to N'Sync and cried like a little girl). And while I was getting ready for the dance, Jeri penned a long stream of alien-symbols in black sharpie on its vacant back.

I taped the poster against the window so the symbols were facing out the glass and stared through the other pane up into the night. There were countless other worlds out there: In space, the final frontier. In galaxies far far away. To infinity and beyond. And in all those worlds, there were even more green Jeri Ryans and Robin Leflers and Carrie Fishers. And it was just a matter of time before they had an intergalactic fender-bender just off the Milky Way, and their X-Wing Convertibles would sputter from ludicrous speed down to mere warp drive, and they would get angry or frustrated and maybe cry a little. But then they would look down to this little speck of blue and green hanging in the blackness, and dry their lovely green eyes, and set a course for my dad's tool shed, where I would be waiting with my sign:

Purr twee lee.

THE END


© 2011 B. A. Hartman

Bio: B A Hartman is a full-time drug dealer*, part-time science fiction writer residing in Chugiak, Alaska, along with her husband and nutty-as-a-fruitcake chocolate lab. This is her first publication with Aphelion Magazine.

(* She means pharmacist... I think... Editor)

E-mail: B. A. Hartman

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