Jessica Macbeth

When Sally came around the corner, she noticed the alien sitting on the fence in front of her house. She knew instantly that it must be either an alien or a deep sea monster, and it was unlikely to be the sea monster, who would have found Phoenix very dry. Pleased with herself for having figured that out so quickly, she turned on her heel and went in the opposite direction.

'Aliens,' she told herself firmly, 'were not on my schedule for today. I shall go round to the alley and in the back door.'

Unfortunately, the aliens had anticipated this possibility and another one was lurking in the rose bush by the back gate. She knew it must be an alien because no one would lurk in a thorny rose bush except a tough-skinned alien. So she did the sensible thing and headed for the local coffee-shop.

When the waitress asked her what she was doing in there at that time of day, Sally explained about the aliens.

"Hon," said the waitress, pouring Sally's coffee, "you know you can't just dodge out of life's experiences. You've got to face up to things."

"But, Luci..." spluttered Sally.

"You know you can't just let them chase you away from your own home. Confront them! Find out what they want. Don't let them mess you about, kiddo! You'll never have any self-respect if you don't stand up to people."
"But these aren't people," Sally almost whimpered. "They're aliens!"

"It doesn't matter, hon. You've got to stand up to them or you'll disempower yourself. As above, so below. You know that. They're just guys; you can't let guys bully you." Luci patted her on the shoulder and bustled off to get her a doughnut "on the house."

"How do I know they're 'guys'--they could be females. Or something else I don't even know the name of," Sally muttered as she looked down at her coffee cup, noting the miniature circular waves of coffee created by her shaking hands. It was kind of a pretty pattern. She watched the wave pattern for a while and practiced her calming yoga breaths between bites of the chocolate-covered doughnut. She felt guilty about the chocolate, but guilt was something she was used. It was quite a comforting sensation compared to the wordless dread she'd been feeling since she'd seen the alien waiting at her gate. She thought about it, sinking further and further into a morass of guilt and dread.

Suddenly, Sally stood up, slamming her coffee cup down on the table, and strode toward the door.

"You go, girl!" Luci shouted after her, punching the air.

Sally marched the two blocks home, her lips set tightly and a no-nonsense attitude oozing from every pore. When she reached the gate, she realized that the aliens had disappeared.

'Well!' she thought. 'Luci was right. You simply have to face things and they just go away.'

Unfortunately, the next aliens she met had her for lunch.

Copyright © 1995 by Jessica Macbeth. All rights reserved.
This fable originally appeared in Otherworld Arts, 1995