JANET from another PLANET
from the Visitor
She was from Another Planet, Janet was, not of this Earth at all even though you wouldn’t know it to look at her. You see, by a remarkable coincidence Janet looked (on the outside at least) just like one of us Humans, specifically one of us Caucasian North American city-dwelling types, and a cute one at that. So as far as appearance was concerned, Janet had her bases covered and displayed no outward affectations of otherworldliness. No shiny green skin, no webbed fingers or toes, no squiggly antennae (handy though they would have been for the occasional telepathic prank), not even so much as a prehensile tail or third eye. Nope, our pal Janet had no trouble blending in visually with the unknowing people of Earth, thank you very much. Why, if she played her cards right, sometimes she could even pass for a grown-up (Janet was only 3 Earth years old, although she was almost ninety in the wacky timeframe of her native dimension).
Passing for normal, however, was another story. Normal was NOT Janet’s strong suit.
She tried, our Janet did, Oh how she tried. But every time something, some elusive and essential element of what the Humans called normalcy kept on slipping through her dainty fingers. It actually seemed that the harder she tried to fit in, the further away from her goal she got.
She first tried being kind to children and animals, like all the friendly folk she saw on the television who were so adored by the masses. This effort was hopelessly short-lived after Janet quickly discovered that she couldn’t STAND the little bastards. Always yipping or shouting or scratching or pooping, who could honestly blame poor Janet for losing her cool and giving the wee scamps a well deserved kick every now and then? As a result, Janet was quickly labelled as ‘cruel to children and animals’, and thus not at all normal, even if she herself didn’t see as how she had possibly done anything wrong.
“Dammit”, said Janet from Another Planet, “how can I fit in?!?”
Next, Janet tried her hand (alien hand though it was) at sports. But this too was much trickier than she first imagined, Janet soon discovered.
Basketball was right out, since Janet was woefully undertall for a human. Although quite respectably high on her home planet, try telling THAT to the NBA.
She tried out for baseball, which appealed to her very much indeed, until she realized to her utter disappointment that the bat was used only for whacking baseballs, not other people.
Hockey and Boxing filled Janet with thrills, for they were exuberantly violent and fraught with the infliction of injury. Janet, sadly, was so slight of frame that she would certainly be relegated to the position of inflictee (not her position of choice), so these too were reluctantly nixed.
Finally the answer came to Janet, and the answer was bowling! An easy enough sport she knew, for she had seen how woefully unathletic were it’s champions from the television. And if they bowled on the television, Janet reasoned, then surely it is a well-respected art! Yes, thought Janet from Another Planet, a bowler I shall be, and so well-loved, you’ll see!
Sadly, Janet’s bowling career (and along with it, her simple hopes and dreams) were cut cruelly short, when during her very first semiprofessional match, Janet was unilaterally banned from Bowling (five AND ten pin) for life. And all because of a silly cultural misunderstanding. How was Janet to know that on this backwards planet, cheating was against the rules?
“Blast it all” came Janet’s interplanetary call, “will I never be a part of the crowd??”
And so it went, on and on. No matter which endeavour Janet attempted, it seemed fate was bound and determined to thwart her. She tried singing, but her galaxy-hopping vocal chords could barely carry a note as far as the corner store. Her meagre foray into driving resulted in one fatality, multiple minor injuries and a major lawsuit still pending. Her stab at politics seemed somewhat more promising at first, but in the end her platform of ‘Death To All’ appealed only to what she perceived as a shockingly small percentage of registered voters. Acting proved as elusive to Janet as the runty-tailed Electric FrogWeasel from Another Planet (Janet’s Planet, in fact). The ballet? No way! Why, even her 1-900 phone sex venture failed to impress, or even arouse.
Janet was forlorn. Depressed, disspirited, dejected, down in the dumps. You name it, our Janet felt lower than it. As she sat late one night, pondering her innumerable failures, sinking listlessly into her thrift store beanbag chair, halfheartedly scanning infomercials and sinking into the kind of deep blue funk that only persons from other planets could ever wallow in, Janet from Another Planet just gave up hope.
And that was when the telephone rang.
With trepidation borne of being one bummed-out babe, Janet let her little telephone ring and ring, until finally she could stand it no more. Janet took the receiver in her hand (which like the rest of her, was from Another Planet…but hopefully you’ve got that down by this point), and held it up to her ear.
“Yes?” Janet asked, wondering if this were yet another rejection, just one more miserable link in the endless chain of her emotional downfall. Or maybe one of those telemarketer guys. But it was neither, not by a long shot. In fact, just between you and me, fellow Jan-Fan, our galaxy hopping sweetheart’s luck is about to change, oh yes.
“Hello there Janet” came the voice over the telephone line, “I’m Chrissy, your psychic chatline friend! And Janet, I think I can help you with your problem.”
She definitely wasn’t expecting that, thought Janet from Another Planet. And she told the lady on the phone (that’s Chrissy, in case you’d forgotten) as much, not to mention inquiring as to how this stranger could even know about Janet, her problems, and her unlisted phone number. But Chrissy, she just laughed a friendly laugh.
“Oh, Janet” Chrissy chuckled, smiling so hard that Janet could practically feel it over the phone, “I’m PSYCHIC! And I felt your pain, Janet. I know you’re from Another Planet, and that you long to fit in with the people around you. And I know that you feel you’ve failed, as if you don’t belong at all.”
Now, upon hearing this news, Janet’s little alien eyes went wide with a sudden swell of hope. “That’s right” she cried, “…that’s all exactly right!! Oh please Chrissy, my psychic friend, can’t you help me? Can’t you tell me how I can ever fit in among my new Planet-People? Can’t you help me to be just like them?”
And in response to this heartfelt plea from Another Planet, Chrissy (still smiling) didn’t miss a psychic beat. “But Janet, don’t you see? You DO fit in, you DO! You’re a sad, angry, alienated loner with a tendency towards violence and a feeling of disconnection from the Human race. Well, girlfriend, let me tell you, there’s more of you than you think. Hundreds, thousands, millions even. Why Janet, by wallowing in your failure and misery as you have, you’ve become more like the people around you than ever! I wouldn’t even have a job if not for people just like you. You belong, Janet, oh yes. Believe it in your interplanetary heart.
“You’re one of us, Janet from Another Planet.”
Janet thanked her psychic friend, gushing all sorts of praise upon her before she could contain herself no longer, and she hung up the phone and bolted from her home and out into the streets.
And then Janet shouted “It’s too good to be true!
“I’m a fuckup, and a loser,
And I’m just
THE END (but not for Janet)
*Note: This is a story that I wrote a lifetime ago, inspired by a gal I used to work with. A friend of mine recently inquired to me about the whereabouts of this bit of fluff, and when I looked it up, I enjoyed it again so much I decided to inflict it on you lot. This, I should point out, has exactly NOTHING to do with local Ottawa Theatre, so don’t worry if you’re confused. Peace, love and soul.