by Elliot Richard Dorfman
Noreen Clayton had just finished cleaning up the kitchen in her Upstate New York house after making dinner for her two children. Tonight she had ordered out some pizza since she was sick and tired of having to cook day after day. Lately, cooking consisted of heating up frozen dinners since she had gotten tired of making meals day after day, as if she were a chief in some restaurant.
"Hey, Mom, where’s my blue shirt that I’m supposed to wear on my date tonight?" Kyle, her teenage son screamed out from the top of the stairs.
Noreen felt her blood pressure rising.
"Where do you think?" she sarcastically replied, "I hung it up in your closet after washing it with all your other smelly clothes that was thrown under your bed."
" Don’t complain, that’s what a mom is supposed to do," he retaliated, slamming his bedroom door.
Wendy, her nine-year-old, tugged on her sleeve. "Mommie, you promised to walk me to Melissa’s house for the slumber party. It’s almost seven and I don’t want to be late."
Noreen pushed away a strand of hair that had fallen over her forehead. "I can’t wait until you are big enough to do things yourself. Just let put on my coat and I’ll be right with you."
Right after coming back home, her phone rang. It was her husband, Jerry.
"Hi, darling. Glad my business trip is finally coming to an end. Don’t forget to pick me up at the airport in the morning at ten"
Noreen let out a deep breath. "Naturally! Isn’t it good to have your own chauffer?"
Hearing her irritability, Jerry quickly ended the call. " Have a good night. I’ll see you tomorrow."
Finally able to relax, she turned on the television in the den. Stanley, the family’s German Pinscher dog, came running in from the hall and put his front paws on her lap.
"Okay, Stanley, I was so tired I forgot about your night walk. I should have gotten a cat instead of a dog, there are fewer problems. Okay, let’s go before you pee all over the rug."
"I feel like a servant who has lost her own identity," she bitterly said to herself as went out to the back yard.
Suddenly, Stanley began barking. Breaking from the leash, he ran near the end of the property. A small humanoid with a large head and almond-shaped eyes stepped out from behind the bushes. It was wearing some sort of shinny black uniform.
Noreen rushed over and quickly moved the dog away from the strange figure, although Stanley didn’t seem afraid like her.
"Oh gosh, an Alien!" she excitedly screamed out.
"Alien has such a cold connotation," the little one replied in a soft, gentle voice. "Translated, my first name in your language would be Corela. Please call me that."
Noreen calmed down. "Oh, you’re a female!"
"Why, does that make a difference?" Corela asked.
Noreen nodded. "Well, to me it does. On my planet females are prone to be less violent as males. I’m Noreen. Tell me, why have you come to earth, and just where do you come from?"
"I’m a space explorer from a planet that is many light years away from your solar system. However, it is extremely similar to earth. I was just hovering about this area when my spacecraft malfunctioned and I was forced to land behind those bushes where I the problem was corrected. . In order to take off again, I will need some what you call water to fill my engine."
"Water? That’s easy enough. I can get you as much as you want from my house."
The little humanoid nodded. "I’d appreciate that. Two quarts will do, thank you."
"No problem, "she said, pulling Soho with her - who still wanted to snoop around some more.
A little wh
ile later, Noreen came back with a full container of water.
"Would you like to see inside my vehicle?" Corela asked. "Please be assured you’ll be safe. Be assured that I have no attentions of abducting you"
Curiosity won over her fear, and Noreen followed her to the silver metallic space ship which was just beyond the bushes.and an entrance opened at the bottom. Inside, it was a bit cramped for the earthling, but she managed. The interior was simple. In the center was a console that controlled the ship. The walls were surrounded with large video monitors. The place was dimly lit by lights that seem to be coming from nowhere. Corela opened a slot on the panel and poured some water into it. A few moments later, the place brightened up and the monitors showed the area outside.
"That’s better," Corela said with relief. "Come, let me you show you my living quarters below."
A portal opened in the floor and they walked down a ramp to a pleasant looking area which contained a sofa, table and cot. Like upstairs, monitors lined the walls. Some kind of strange soft music was playing. From a transparent dish on the table, Corela took a red pill and swallowed it.
"That’s my meal for the day. I wish I could eat solid food but takes up too much space and can spoil."
Noreen felt sorry for her "Before taking off, why don’t you take a short break in my house? I could heat up some pizza that’s left over from dinner. It will sure taste better than those pills you take. Happily, my family is out, so there won’t be any problems."
Corela smiled. "Thanks, I’ll take you up on that kind offer."
The alien enjoyed the pizza, and burped when she drank some soda.
"That was really delicious," she said after finishing the remaining two slices.
"I’m glad you liked it," Nora replied.
Corela rose. "Before I leave, I would like to repay you for your kindness."
"Oh, that’s not necessary, it was my pleasure," the earthling replied.
But Corela insisted. "Is there anything you ever wished for? Maybe I can make it come true. I have powers that you would find awesome."
Nora laughed. "Could you give me the chance to become a movie star? That’s what
I’ve always secretly yearned for. I remember performing in a play during the last week of my junior year at college. Lot of people felt I should pursue an acting career instead of majoring in education."
"And is that what you did?".
" I did neither. Jerry and I decided to elope at the end of the summer and I dropped out of college."
"Are you saitisified with your present life?"
"It’s very hectic. Actually, I wouldn’t mind a change."
"Well, I can create an alternate reality for you and give you that chance to the actress you wanted, but be sure that’s what you want . . . "
"Oh, I do!"
"Then so be it . . . "
There was a flash, and the next thing Noreen knew, was standing in a dressing room of her college’s auditorium after performing in a play. Some friends were congratulating her. It took a moment for her to take this all in.
"This is incredible," she thought to herself, "I’ve actually gone back to my past. Look at my friends, all so young and energetic again."
Noreen didn’t have much time to ponder about this as a tall, distinguished man walked over to her.
"A very good performance, Ms . . . "
"Mrs. Clay . . . I mean Miss Keane, Noreen Keane."
The stranger handed her a card. "I’m Ward Davenport, from Central Pictures. I think you have the makings of star. Since your school term is over tomorrow, I assume you’ll want to go home and be with your family for a while, So I’‘m going to arrange a screen test for you at our Hollywood studios at the end of July. Of course Central will pay all the expenses while you’re there."
Noreen suddenly forgot about her alternate life as a wife and mother.
"That’s fantastic," she shouted.
"Good," Ward said as he shook her hand. "I’ll start making arrangements right away."
Throughout July, Noreen appreciated every moment she was back in her childhood home with her parents and kid brother.
Her mother noticed how overly nostalgic and sentimental her Noreen was behaving. "Is something the matter, dear? You act like you’ve been away for a very long time."
Her daughter burst into tears.
Soon the news about Noreen’s upcoming screen test spread throughout the neighborhood and she was treated like a celebrity.
"Let’s not rush it, I haven’t taken the screen test yet," she told everybody.
At the end of July Ward called. "Okay, Sweetheart, everything is arranged. Pack your things. A limo will pick you up tomorrow at noon and drive you to the airport. Get ready for fame and fortune!"
While Ward was at the airport the next day, he did not fly with Noreen to California. Instead, his new young assistant Ronnie Farrington was going to meet her and take charge of everything.
Getting off the plane, Ronnie was waiting for her with a bunch of flowers. Noreen couldn’t get her eyes off of him as he drove her to the hotel. She wondered why this handsome young man was an agent instead of a movie star. Tall, with thick brown hair, green eyes, and an engaging smile, any woman who wasn’t blind would have found him physically attractive.
On the Throughway, he stopped talking, noticing how she was staring at him.
"Is something wrong?" he asked, somewhat self-conscious.
"Oh, no," she responded, quickly snapping out of her reverie.
The screen test was held the next morning. Noreen had been given a short scene to memorize the previous evening. Having an excellent memory, it was a cinch for her. From the pleased look on everyone’s face, she knew it went very well.
At dinner that night, Ronnie was beaming. "Get ready, Sweetie, after your test is viewed by the studio executes, you’ll be starring in your first movie. "
And that’s exactly what happened. Noreen was immediately slated to star in a movie based on a popular romantic novel. It had a delightful script, with witty dialogue, and a role that she could really display her talent.
Since Noreen had some previous experience of making a few short films in college, the actress was at ease on the set. Everyone was delighted how smoothly the production was going. Noreen was invited to countless parties and various cinema events. Ronnie, who was never too far, always made sure the starlet was contented and not taken advantage of. All the memories of her husband and children began to fade as Noreen started becoming romantically involved with the charismatic Ronnie.
It was during one of her last shoots that everything came tumbling down like a house of cards. Noreen had come to the studio early. While on her way to makeup, she saw Ronnie making out with an actress behind a set.
The well-endowed brunette laughingly pushed him away. " Are you forgetting about Noreen? I thought you and she were so lovey-dovey"
"No way, baby. She’s just an assignment," he said, pulling her back and putting his hand in her blouse.
Noreen was stunned. With tears filling her eyes, she ran out of a back exit and was sideswiped by a truck delivering some lighting equipment. She fell to the ground, feeling a sharp pain in her left leg A couple of grippers carried her to the infirmary.
"You got some bad contusions," the doctor said after carefully examining her."You should be all right after staying off your foot for a few weeks."
When the executive producers heard the news, they were angry. "We’ll have to stop shooting until she can walk," they angrily said. "Noreen is in every one of the final scenes. This waiting will make us go way beyond our budget."
Unfound rumors began spreading throughout the lot that she had been drunk the morning of the accident. Suddenly everyone stayed away from her. Not even Ronnie gave her a call.
"What a fool I’ve been. This kind of life is too superficial for me. Who needs it?" she cried out, alone in her room. Suddenly, Noreen began remembering her husband and children again.
"Corela," she called out, "I’ve had enough of this alternate life. Please return me to my old one."
There was a high frequency sound and Corela appeared.
Noreen gave a sigh of relief. "Corela, I am so glad to see you. Please return me to my former life. This whole thing has been a disaster."
Corela shook her head. "I’m sorry, Noreen, but that’s no longer possible. You’ll have to make due with your decision."
As she spoke, the alien’s appearance began changing until she looked exactly like Noreen.
Noreen was stunned. "What’s going on? Why have you made yourself look like me?"
"Well, when you accepted an alternate life, I physically transform myself to physically look like you. Since then I have been living your other existence."
Corela gave a sheepish smile. "Actually, the real reason that I landed on earth was to permanently settle down on your planet after mine was destroyed by a direct hit of a huge meteor. Luckily, I was exploring another galaxy when the disaster happened and was the only one left of my species. I needed a world to survive in so I choose earth since it was very similar to my world and easy to adjust to."
Noreen became furious. "How dare you take my identity and live with my husband and children?"
Corela shrugged. "Why not? You weren’t very happy being with them, were you? I can assure you that they are in much better hands with me. You made your decision. Now you must live with it. Make the best of it."
The former alien looked at her watch. "Well, I have to go to make the family dinner.
Tonight, it’s lasagna. Have a good life, my dear. Goodbye."
After having a second helping of lasagna, Jerry Clayton contentedly sat back in his chair.
"That absolutely was the best lasagna you’ve ever made. I can’t get over all the delicious meals you’ve been making since I’ve returned from my business trip. And to think, not one frozen dinner has been served since then."
His wife gave him a kiss. " Thank you dear. Frozen dinners are a thing of the past."
"Mommie is always nice now, she never gets angry anyone," little Wendy said, affectionately taking her mother around.
"Yeah, she’s just like another person," Kyle happily added.
Stanley the dog barked in agreement.
- - -
Elliot Richard Dorfman, retired teacher, theatre director & musician for over thirty-one years, has had over seventy-four short stories published in the past three years. For further detailed information go to elrite.webs.com
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