Marcella selects a tank top and a pair of denim shorts hemmed with black lace. She’s trying to remain calm. But it’s not easy. Her hypochondriac husband has done it again. Concocted an imaginary medical crisis that has totally disrupted her life and work schedule. Again. And she’s furious. Again. She needs to take a break and get away for a while. Escape her life. Dress in a fun outfit. Dab some Wind Song perfume behind her ears. Check out the latest exhibit at the Museum of Art downtown. Pretend it’s twenty years ago, and she’s back in college, carefree and happy, the captain of her destiny, rather than roped to a man who thinks he’s going to die at any moment. Thirty minutes later, Marcella finds a place to park on Main Street near the museum. She steps out of the car and takes a deep breath. It’s her favorite time of the year. Midsummer. Sunny, humid, stifling hot. Walking toward the museum, she stops to listen to a street musician playing a classic folk song on his guitar. “They’re everywhere, you know,” the musician says, looking up at her when he finishes. “Who’s everywhere?” Marcella asks. “Aliens,” he says. “Really?” she says. “There’s one, and there’s one, and there’s one,” he says, pointing at a woman with too many shopping bags, a college student, and a businessman. “How can you tell?” she asks. “They take over human bodies, test you, push you over the edge, drive you insane with their stupid worries, pull you into their battles, try to destroy your peace of mind, but you can’t let them get to you, can’t, can’t, can’t,” he warns. “I think I’m married to one,” she says. “Married to what?” he asks. “An alien,” she says. “I know,” he says and grins. “We’re everywhere.  

Laura Stamps is the author of several novels, short story collections, and poetry books, including IT’S ALL ABOUT THE RIDE: CAT MANIA (Alien Buddha Press) and THE YEAR OF THE CAT (Artemesia Publishing). Muses Prize. Pulitzer Prize nomination. 7 Pushcart Prize nominations. Mom of 5 cats. Twitter: @LauraStamps16. Website:   

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