Cliché

By Meghashri Dalvi

sfgenre“What the hell —” Laura mumbled as the bright, dazzling lights shone in her eyes.

It was a cool summer night in her suburb, and she was pulled out of a tranquil sleep. Half awake, she tugged at the window curtains.

A spaceship was just landing.

“Oh, no!” she swore. “What a cliché! Outside my bedroom, bang in the middle of the night — it is soooo done to death. Now one alien will come out begging for some help.”

A tall alien indeed emerged. Big head, bulging eyes, slimy greenish body, and flailing limbs.

“Even his looks are cliché!” Laura stamped her right foot as she got up from the bed.

The scrawny alien walked clumsily towards her. Earth gravity was not really helping him in any way. He made great efforts.

Laura simply stared. She was not sure if she was in a dream or actually facing a visitor from outer space.

The alien reached her window and started speaking in clipped, archaic English. “Ma’am, I humbly appeal. Your assistance requested in a situation. Please help in refuelling. My spaceship needs precious fuel.”

She could not believe it. It was happening exactly as she had read in innumerable pulp stories. And watched in countless Saturday night flicks. “No way, mister! Go get your own fuel. I am not going to help you at all!”

He gave a polite nod and repeated, “Please help my ship with the fuel.”

“Look, mister. I don’t really care if you are stuck here forever! Why not go and bother someone else instead of disturbing me at midnight?”

Laura was so pleased with herself. I did not hide him, I did not help him — I broke the cliché!

Those were her last thoughts as she was eliminated by the alien’s annihilator.

The jaded alien returned the annihilator to his belt, and murmured softly, “Good. I was anyway getting tired of that fuel request cliché. In that old style. But must follow the intergalactic protocol of asking the hosts first. Now this body should suffice me as the organic fuel — till I reach the next planet!”

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About The Author

Meghashri Dalvi

Meghashri Dalvi consults in Technical Communication, when she is not writing science fiction or teaching Management. Her stories have appeared in Aphelion, Ascent Aspirations, Anotherealm, Quantummuse, and AntiSF.

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