It was scarcely ten years ago to the day when Melanie was abducted by little green aliens. It was autumn. You could taste the season in the air—oranges, reds, and yellows in a breath. She had just come back from a hard day of work on the farm shucking corn and taking names. Melanie wasn't talking to anyone in particular, just the surrounding corns and vegetation, but they were her best listeners, and never played Devil's advocate when she informed them that crop circles are a hoax, so she didn't mind.
She was munching absently on some malt oats on her way to the outhouse, when all of the sudden, she heard a furious whirring sound and tearing as the wheat was slashed down at the roots in an intricate collage of symbols that spelled out, "Who's a hoax now, b*tch?" Melanie's heart would have caught in her throat if it weren't for the malt oats in the way. She clung to a spike† of wheat, but against all rules of physics and logic, it was no match for the force of the alien tech. The extraterrestrial beings beamed her up to the vessel with a beam that could only be described as indescribable, and her world went white.
†Spike (n) — Also called the ear or head, a spike forms at the top of a wheat stem and usually has 35-50 grains (or kernels).
The inside of the ship was exactly what you would expect the inside of an extraterrestrial life form's craft to be. There were signs of intelligent life everywhere. Melanie scanned the room in terror, bracing herself for what would be next: probing, experimentation, dissection, or worse—being seen naked. She could kick herself. Maybe if she had spent more time talking to real people instead of corn and vegetation all the time, she would have been somewhere hip and cool (or, more realistically, somewhere dorky and lame) socializing instead of in the middle of a corn field being abducted by aliens. How embarrassing. This was even worse than that time she accidentally brushed her teeth with diaper rash ointment instead of toothpaste. But at least that time, people knew she wasn't crazy.
The little green aliens introduced themselves one at a time. "Greetings, I'm Melinda." "Hi, I'm Paul!" "It's time you knew your truth," Melinda said. "The reason your parents think you're so weird and people always ask you if you're an alien is because you are." "Really?" Melanie inquired. "I thought that was just because I grew up Catholic." "That one is a close second," Melinda replied. "Come." The peculiar life forms escorted Melanie down a few halls and corridors lit by pale green linear lights. "Something in your past is the key to all of this," Melinda imparted. "It's not as cool as Captain Marvel's key, but it's still pretty cool," piped Paul. The passageway finally came to an end and they stopped in front of a large, metallic entryway, their shadows dancing in the flickering light. "Would you like to know what made you what you are?"
"Yes, probably," decreed Melanie. "The way you introduced it got me pretty invested," she continued eloquently. "Then it shall be revealed," Melinda breathed. The doors parted with a steamy hiss. When the steam and the hiss cleared, Melanie saw 12 containers protected by glass, lit only by a dull, green panel behind them. Their contents' silhouettes were familiar, but not immediately recognizable. "These are the 12 ingredients we used to create you," Melinda divulged. "We melted them down and infused them in a test tube for injection into one of our experimental human fetus frames. You were the result." Melinda spoke ominously, like she had the coolest lines in the room and she knew it.
Melinda flicked an unmarked switch and the first box illuminated with white light. "AHHH!" Melanie exclaimed. "Oh, sorry," she continued, shaking her head. "I got abducted by aliens one time, and there's still a little bit of trauma from the white light beam thingy." Melinda smacked herself in the head. "We should have added more IQ points," she mumbled to herself. As Melanie's eye's adjusted, the item in the first container slowly came into focus. A Captain Underpants book. Melinda flipped another switch. A juice box. Another switch. Autoimmune disease? "Why would you put that in there?" Melanie asked. Melinda shrugged. "Every hero needs a good origin story." "But I'm not a hero," Melanie replied. "Waste of a perfectly good disease," grumbled Melinda. "Back to the ingredients!" A pencil. A computer chip. A meatball. "That one was Paul's idea," Melinda said curtly as Paul waved. An empty photo frame. A bunch of those organizer bins from Kohl's. An emo hit single. Elastic. A little too much testosterone. "Just enough to give you all of the bad traits of a man, but also all the bad traits of a woman," Melinda explained. And finally, a smiley face made out of burnt cookie crumbs. "The crumbs are still burnt, but at least it's smiling," Melinda said.
"Oh, I would never smile over something like that. That would make me cry," corrected Melanie. Melinda peered at the burnt cookie crumbs more closely. "Now that I look at them, they look a little more like dead gnats," she mused. "Bingo," Melanie said. "Also, gross," she grimaced. "Sounds about right," frowned Melinda. Melanie teetered back and forth on her feet. "Wellp, I'm about ready to blow this popsicle stand and get back to Earth and make a better life for myself," said Melanie. Melinda glowered. "You think about yourself too much," she critiqued. "Well you should have put a bible in there or something," Melanie lamented. "Can we make some tweaks or is it too late?" she continued, "I want to be a better person but half of the stuff I'm made out of is just gag gifts from a 6th grade birthday party." "I guess you could do that by putting yourself down a lot," Melinda said wisely. "That way, you won't actually be making a difference or helping anyone, but at least people will know you feel guilty about it." "Sounds like a good plan!" exclaimed Melanie. "But seriously, I am ready to go now," she added. "And grow now!" she joked. Melinda gave her a stern look. "Leaving is not an option," she said flatly, as she revealed a new syringe.
"Ay, this is whack!" exclaimed Melanie. "It totally is!" squawked Paul. "Shut up, Paul!" yelled Melinda. "She's a threat to the world around her and my reputation, and sometimes she randomly smells like meatballs for no reason!" she shouted. "But now I know that's Paul's fault!" pleaded Melanie. "Hey!" yelped Paul, "it's a good conversation starter!" "IT'S A CONVERSATION ENDER," shrieked Melinda. "You're right," said Melanie, "I am good at ending conversations." And with that, Melanie bolted straight into a wall, got up, dusted herself off, bolted straight into another wall, and then finally bolted out the hatch just as Melinda's short little green hand slammed down on the seal button.
"Crap, crap, crap," panted Melanie. "Why'd it have to be needles?" She raced down the hallways and corridors, grateful for the faint meatball stench of minutes past that helped her find her way back from where she came. "They were creating a hero all along, huh?" she laughed to herself. When she made it back to the portal where she'd been beamed in, she scanned the room frantically until her eyes settled upon a crate mounted into the wall labeled, "PARACHUTES: good for last-minute escapes." She snatched one and stood at the portal's edge. Scanning once again, she noticed two buttons: "INGEST" and "RELEASE." What to choose, what to choose... She thought about how high up in the air she was and how much she hated heights, falls, flying, diving, taking risks... The sound of clanging and small-footed footsteps snapped Melanie out of her head. Melinda was approaching, fast.
"Jump out or die, jump out or die, it's really a pretty simple decision," Melanie hyperventilated. "You know what, it's fine, I'll just die," she decided, stepping away from the portal's edge and accepting her fate. Her left foot caught on some fallen malt oats from her arrival, however, and she slipped, slamming her head face-first down onto the "RELEASE" button. The familiar whirring noise of the beaming system began as Melinda leaped into the room, syringe above head, screaming at the top of her lungs, "YOU'D BETTER BECOME A SUCCESSFUL WRITER OR ACTOR/PERFORMER OR WE'LL BE BACK!"—but she was drowned out in white light as Melanie was released from the spacecraft and flew through space all the way back to Earth's atmosphere. She had never used a parachute before, but she had a lot of time to figure it out on account of all of the space that she had to fly through, so it went really well.
Melanie sailed back to the ground, gracefully as ever, and kissed all of the corns and told them she loved them and had missed them so much. She had survived and she couldn't believe it, and now she knew exactly what she must do: become a successful writer or actor/performer, make more friends, and work on being a better person.
So the moral of the story is that if you don't want Melanie Lech (a introverted girl with an autoimmune disease who's doing her best to be a better person) to get abducted, be murdered, and die, then you should hire her.
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