Erica Lynn Maria Gonzalez de Echeverria sighed as she felt a cloud rolling over her sun.  How dare a cloud interrupt her week at the beach! Basking in the sun while lying on her blanket and occasionally combing out her long lustrous hair was the perfect way to spend her precious vacation, and this cloud was about to spoil important tanning time. Annoyed, she flipped open the latest issue of “Glitz and Fame,” her favorite magazine about celebrities and fashion. Erica Lynn skipped the advertisements for vodka and perfume so she could gaze at the red carpet pages and imagine herself wearing those gorgeous gowns.

Kids started screaming. Erica scowled. A running beachgoer sprayed sand onto her back. Now Erica was mad. She rose to her feet, carefully adjusted her fashionably dark sunglasses, and watched crowds of beachgoers fleeing towards the boardwalk.

She turned around. In front of her stood three green figures in brown jumpsuits. One stepped forward and grabbed her wrist. OMG! They were not even people! These – creatures – had oversized heads, bulgy pale eyes, and dark green skin, which admittedly coordinated well with the dark woodland overtones of their brown jumpsuits.

Another of the figures moved towards her. Erica stopped admiring their fashion sense and kneed the one holding her wrist in the groin or brain or whatever the alien figure had down there. It must have worked because the green-skinned creature let go of her wrist long enough for her to snatch her trendy magazine from the sand where it had dropped. That was the last thing Erica remembered before they sprayed her with sedative and carried her into the huge round spaceship hanging over the beach like a giant dark cloud.

Later on Erica would wonder whatever had possessed her to grab the magazine instead of her cell phone while being abducted by green people with big heads. As it turned out, the magazine proved to be unexpectedly useful.

Erica Lynn awoke in a warm room on a soft bed. Before she had time to appreciate the lovely rose color of the walls Erica was jolted wide awake by the memory of the events on the beach.

In panic she sprang out of the bed (naked) ran across the small room (naked) and pounded on the lustrous pink wall (naked) screaming, “fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck!! (still naked). The second time she pounded on the wall the color disappeared and the entire wall became a crystal clear transparent window. On the other side stood maybe a dozen of the large-headed, bulgy-eyed, green-skinned people in brown jumpsuits. One of them repeated, “fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck?”

This grand introduction to Erica’s new life as Exhibit A in the bowels of the giant spaceship was to haunt her for some time. Outside of her “cage” they posted a sign that said, “Fuck”. Apparently they thought it was her name. Every time a new green-skinned visitor would approach the glass he or she would read the sign aloud, to which Erica would reply, “Fuck you!” She thought of the way her mother held her ears every time Erica used strong language. Her mother held her ears a lot. Erica did not really miss her proper-acting, boring family or get homesick for the horridly backwater town she lived in; she did not care if she ever went back. Mostly she was just mad at these green monsters for robbing her of the last two days of her beach vacation.

They brought her fruit-like food and showed her how to adjust the temperature and lights in her room. Erica found that turning the brightness up to full felt a lot like laying on the hot beach. After a few hours the light darkened her skin slightly so she spent most of the first day “tanning” (naked) and reading and rereading her one single possession, her magazine.

On the second day a group of the greenies appeared with what looked like giant clipboards. They made strange gargling sounds, pointed at Erica Lynn, and jabbed at their clipboards. Every few seconds Erica heard one of them say “fuck fuck fuck”.  Fed up, Erica screamed at them. “I want some clothing! Clothing! Do you understand me?!” Erica shoved her magazine up against the glass and pointed to a stunning ivory cocktail dress worn just last week on the red carpet at the Oscars. The group of greenies peered closely at the photo and resumed their gargle-talking, then abruptly left in a chorus of gargled “fuck fuck fuck fuck.”

On the third day of her captivity a group of little green-skinned children and their chaperone arrived outside of her window. The children made horrid faces at her, made all the worse by their bulgy eyes. Erica growled at them and then sprang suddenly at the glass. The kids screamed and jumped back. One began to cry. Erica laughed. A few of the children laughed, too, and began to growl and jump at the glass just as Erica had done to them. Their chaperone scowled at Erica and quickly hustled the children out of sight.

On the fourth morning of her captivity Erica awoke to find a stunning ivory cocktail dress on the floor next to her bed, the exact same dress she had shown her captors from her magazine. She put it on. It fit beautifully. Erica flipped her hair back and smiled at the imaginary crowd, imagining the flashes of cameras held by hordes of adoring paparazzi and fans.

A green face appeared at the window. “Hey!” she yelled, “Come here and look at my magazine! I need some shoes!”

Over the next few days Erica pored over her magazine with her captors. She showed them fabulous runway dresses, expensive perfumes, diamond necklaces, and designer Italian leather purses. She got them all. Her green-skinned captors even provided her with a large wardrobe of sorts to use as a closet. Now Erica spent her days trying on gowns and strutting up and down the length of her room, smiling and waving at the groups of people who now always seemed to be pressing against the glass, watching her every move. With a little time and patience Erica managed to persuade her captors to bring makeup, feminine products, vodka, and even a leather couch – all pictured in her magazine.

One day another group of children showed up again outside of her window. Some of them were not wearing brown jumpsuits. When Erica realized what they were wearing she began to laugh. Eight of the small green-skinned girls were wearing tiny replicas of her fabulous gowns. One had a tiny Italian leather handbag tucked under her arm and another even had a wig mimicking Erica’s long, golden brown locks. Erica broke into a big grin and graciously waved at these, her adoring fans. They waved back, and a girl in a fire red minidress and silver pumps began to strut back and forth in perfect imitation of Erica’s best runway walk, saying “fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck.”

That night Erica lie awake thinking. Life here was not maybe as glamorous as in Hollywood, but it beat working the evening shift cashiering in the local grocery store. If only . . .

The next day Erica spent deep in thought, flipping through her magazine’s photos of red carpet events and pondering an important decision. Finally she was ready to act. When her evening meal arrived she carefully showed a photo in her magazine to the green-skinned people. The next morning she received a tuxedo. Undaunted, she tried again. This time a whole week passed and Erica had nearly given up trying to make them understand what she wanted. Then one morning Erica awoke to find another bed in her room. On it lay a sleeping man in a bathing suit, a remarkable likeness to the handsomely famous man wearing a tuxedo in a red carpet photo from Erica’s magazine.

He opened his eyes.

“What? Where am I? I was on my yacht and these little green. . .”

Erica squealed with delight and interrupted him.

“Hi! My name’s Erica. Did you by chance happen to bring any magazines with you?”

Brent Weaver lives in Mount Joy, Pennsylvania, and has never been abducted by green-skinned aliens. He has, however, taught many years in a Middle School. He is not sure which experience is stranger.