"The world is closing in
Did you ever think
That we could be so close, like brothers
The future's in the air
I can feel it everywhere
Blowing with the wind of change" Scorpions
disillusionment like a virus throughout her body, the gun poking
at Tanya Charles' ribs threatened more than just her existence.
The weapon disrespected her way of life. Raised to embrace change
and respect freedom, Tanya believed the White House represented
the last vestige where words mattered. But you couldn't trust
the history books. The white Roman columns had become a façade
for Pres. James P. Knowles to hide in. Up until now, the structure
concealed Knowles' lies and protected his true identity quite
nicely. Now Tanya's intrusion threatened that alliance. The President
knew the only cure was her demise.
wouldn't be in this mess right now if she simply continued to
blend in and accept the status quo. But Tanya Charles couldn't
accept existence as a zombie. Her genes were engineered for rebellion.
Sooner or later, her desire for change would outweigh reason and
discretion. Like dough rising in a baking pan, the seed of her
discontent began to grow a long time ago. It finally forced her
to quit her job and move to Washington.
months earlier, Tanya worked as an administrative assistant for
a Manhattan advertisement agency. Her boss, Fenton, often utilized
Tanya's witty remarks in ad campaigns for such products as beer
and automobiles. He intentionally failed to compensate the talented
author for her ideas. "You can really think outside the box,"
the executive would often remark to Tanya, as if this would compensate
for his plagiarism.
managed to maintain a sharp edge on her wit over the years thanks
to people like Fenton. The irony of their situations provided
ample cynicism. But their trappings also frustrated her, and in
an effort to maintain her sanity, she often joked about their
plight. She once wrote in a diary: "They so desperately want
to change themselves, yet they continue to live in a society which
commands them be the same person day in and day out. The majority
of them go to the same jobs every day as if portraying an actor
in a play. All the talk about makeovers and reinventing oneself
is just babble on a talk show. They are all living in a chrysalis,
never daring to become butterflies." Charles destroyed the
diary, but continued to play out this conversation in her head
countless times. And although the self-conversation surged within
her like molten lava, she would not bare her to soul to anyonenot
even her foster mother Amanda. Tanya worked hard to earn Amanda's
respect. If she were ever to reveal her true makeup, all that
respect would be flung out the window like rotten meat. Consequently,
she would also be betraying her late parents. For her own safety,
they made her agree never to disclose her real name.
a consequence, Tanya commiserated, taking pity for all those souls
living repetitious lives in quiet desperation. Perhaps she identified
with these souls on a subconscious level. She had earned membership
in their club as well. And more than anyone, she was trapped in
a confined existence. Yet, she could not believe the majority
of humans stood as much to lose. Charles blended in mostly to
secure her survival. The revelation of her true identity could
spell life or death. She wondered what held the rest of humanity
that her fellow humans were really content to live out their unimaginative
existences, she decided to conduct an experiment. Maybe they would
dare to change if they were encouraged to do so. One day she introduced
her opinions to fellow subway riders. "Our leaders are becoming
so concerned with being politically correct that they are losing
sight of the bigger picture. We must strive to live in complete
harmony with nature if we want the world to survive. That means
we sometimes have to offend some people who are blatantly abusing
our ecosystem under the guise of democracy." The majority
of her subway buddies looked on with disbelief that day. But soon
they would be converted to supporters, taking great solace in
Tanya's profound statements.
of the commuters encouraged Charles to run for office. They maintained
a leader of Tanya's caliber would keep the press busy with stories
of substance. "The rags wouldn't have time to report on what
kinds of junk food our political prisoners enjoy," one rider
named Seymour maintained. "A candidate like Tanya would encourage
me to vote again," another commuter pointed out.
found she was not immune to human praise. She wrestled with the
decision to quit her job for several nights based upon her friend's
compliments. Maybe she could achieve her goal in small increments
without detection. The people had spoken and Tanya felt obligated
to serve them. By the end of that week, Charles had resigned from
the marketing firm and applied to serve as an intern at the White
* * *
the Office of Strategic Initiatives notified Tanya it had accepted
her application for internship at the White House, the ambitious
33-year-old quickly traded her Bronx apartment for a townhouse
suddenly felt transformed. Feeling much less restricted, she even
confided her goals to her foster mother, believing the internship
would open new doors for her. "My job may still be confining;
but at least I will able to effect some small change."
feigned happiness, hoping Tanya was just going through a phase.
She only revealed her true feelings to her friends. "No one
but a fool could hope to change Washington."
* * *
President, I have some news which should cheer you up. Some young,
beautiful woman will be joining us in the Oval Office today."
Harcourt's announcement was like a cool breeze on a hot summer
day to the president. The president's aid was well aware of this
fact and made sure he took all the credit for scheduling a meeting
with the White House's newest interns. Jack knew his commander
in chief possessed another kind of sweet tooth in addition to
the one that craved sugarcoated donuts. This other type of sweet
tooth lusted for the sweet young flesh of blond interns. Harcourt
was also quite aware that he should schedule the president's meetings
with the interns when the First Lady was on holiday. Yes, Jack
Harcourt would do just about anything to watch the back of his
president. But he would also make sure that his back would receive
ample scratching when it was time to collect.
made sure each female intern met with the president separately
so Knowles could ogle each breathtaking form with uninterrupted
adulation. "Go worship your art, Mr. President," Harcourt
would often joke to Knowles before each appointment. Harcourt
was right; Knowles had incorporated the human male penchant for
lust into his repertoire with the skill of a native. "You've
sure got everyone fooled, my friend," Harcourt stated after
the president's second appointment.
came the wind of change. The pleasant breeze the president had
enjoyed with the first two interns had suddenly metamorphosed
into a bitter Arctic chill. The physically fit, blond-haired woman
announced as "Tanya Charles" strode into the office
with an air stating she was all business.
in the recesses of Knowles' mind, the president was sure he had
met this woman before. However, Charles launched into the reason
for her visit so quickly the president had little time to place
an intern with the Office of Strategic Initiatives, I find myself
obligated to advise you Mr. President that your duty to the people
of this country has gone off course. Your election speech promised
the people that you would devote more time to the problems on
our own soil. Your popularity rating has suffered because of your
broken promises. The people want all conflicts involving matters
on foreign lands to take a back seat. I know I am speaking candidly
without your permission, Mr. President, but I am here as an unpaid
employee who feels compelled to serve the interests of our nation's
people. In other words, I am enduring the humility of toiling
as a waitress at The Golden Chicken to fund this endeavor. I speak
with the conviction of a woman who spends her nights with elbows
emerged in grease when I say I must appraise you of your folly."
didn't know if the woman who sat before him was a concerned citizen
or a lunatic on release from a mental facility. He briefly considered
calling for security guards until he allowed his eyes to peruse
the shapely legs of his guest. The president's lust had instilled
a small amount of courage in him. "Yes, it's worth the torment
to hear her speak if I can find a way to get her into my bed,"
the commander in chief told himself.
began to speak again as she quickly sensed what the president
really wanted from her. Tanya could not conceal her tone of disgust
as she pleaded with Knowles to reconsider his stance on the current
foreign conflict. However, the president continued to listen in
silence. The voice was beginning to provide a clue to this woman's
true identity. At the same time, Tanya's mind began to focus on
the words Harcourt had used to introduce the president: "Tanya,
please say hello to the President of the United States. The first
foster child to assume command of the greatest country on Earth."
the back of their minds, the president and the intern became aware
that they had met before.
* * *
Xylas, there was no need for the phrase: "Same shit, different
day." The beings on this planet possessed the ability to
change their shape at will. In fact, the process was done so frequently
that many Xylans argued over whether they were originally corporeal
beings. Tanya and her fellow Xylans often spent days at a time
assuming the shape and biological makeup of a wild animal. They
would then romp through a forest and discover what it meant to
be a phormona beast-like creature that resembled the bear
species of Earth.
another day, the shape shifting beings might take flight in the
form of a winged-being that inhabited their world. But those days
were gone. Twenty-five years ago, the sun that Xylas orbited went
supernova. The Xylans worked frantically to evacuate as many children
from the planet as possible by sending ships through a nearby
wormhole. The Xylans did not know if the space portal would really
transport their offspring to another place in the universe, but
necessity and desperation were the mothers of invention.
one hundred young Xylans were successfully evacuated before their
planet met its fiery demise. The children had been instructed
to find a planet that could sustain carbon-based life once they
were through the wormhole. If the planet was inhabited, the children
were advised to assume the shape of the most intelligent life
on that world and "blend in." "I know we are asking
you to stifle your creativity and lust for life with these imperatives,"
one adult Xylan professed, "but this is the price that must
be paid if you are to survive. Please remember that a limited
existence is still an existence."
so it was. The adult speaker had created a new and harsher reality
with his words. Tanya Charles was now experiencing what it meant
to live a limited existence. Earth was a place where you had to
choose what you were going to be when you grew up.
their arrival, Tanya and her alien friends managed to conceal
their nightly recuperative cycle from the staff at the Cranburytown
Adoption Center. They stuffed pillows underneath their blankets.
Staff workers unwittingly believed the children were asleep in
beds when actually they were resting in a nearby stream. Each
night, the children slipped out of the building's windows in liquid
form and slithered to rest in their aquatic beds. In the morning,
the process was reversed.
Xylan children reveled in their hijinks. Only one time did Tanya
fear that the humans had discovered their secret. One Tuesday
evening, Tanya overheard a staff employee talking on the telephone.
"Yes, I believe she's a changeling."
a few minutes Tanya wrestled with the idea of assuming an adult
form to escape the facility. But the child wisely opted to access
an Internet website instead. There, she learned the worker was
applying a different definition to the word. The electronic source
noted that changeling means, "a child secretly exchanged
in infancy." The staff worker was simply theorizing that
Tanya's real parents had intentionally switched her for another
child upon birth. Neither the staff worker nor Tanya could fathom
what could possess parents to commit such a heinous act; however,
Tanya was relieved to find that her secret was safe. Yes, she
was a changeling from another planet. But no Earthling was the
wiser. They all simply thought she was just another foster child.
and her cohorts used their shape shifting skills to procure phony
identification records at the center. Each Xylan chose a name
with the aid of a government database.
chose the last names Charles because backwards it spelled "Selrach",
which was her name on Xylan.
assuming the shape of Earth children, no biopsy test could identify
that the aliens did not possess human DNA. Only when their bodies
were in their recuperative state could a genetic coding difference
be detected. And so far, no human was privy to this fact.
alien shape shifters also used the government database to mimic
the physical makeup of humans who had died in childhood. The aliens
made sure they did not assume the resemblance of any children
listed as missing in order to maintain a low profile. This ingenuity
kept the aliens' secret safe for several decades. The children
eventually assumed human forms, which mimicked the progression
of aging and went on to attend college and take their place in
the work force to the complete ignorance of several national security
eventually lost contact with one male friend. He majored in Political
Science at the University of Massachusetts.
* * *
it really you, Selrach?" the president whispered in Tanya's
great Xylasyou're the one who's running this country into
the ground," she answered in disbelief. "How many people
know who you really are, Knowles?"
my aids and my wife. Now please keep your voice down."
foolishly squandered many years I could have devoted in pursuit
of my dream, while you threw caution to the wind. How could you
betray both our race and the humans?"
was following the orders of our people, Tanya," the president
whispered in a combative manner. "We were instructed to blend
in, so that is what I am doing. I am following the usual party
line. Any deviation would result in my complete exposure."
am sure our fellow Xylans would want us to do more than just blend
in when the fate of an entire nation is at stake. How self-serving
can you be, Knowles? You have learned to acquire the worst traits
any event, you must keep your mouth shut about this, Selrach.
Our families sacrificed their lives so we could survive. And that
is what I intend to do. If you want to make waves, go take a jump
into the Atlantic Ocean."
way you're eyeing me, I really don't think you want my body to
go to waste. It's like you've been transformed you into some shameless,
wide-eyed salivating barbarian."
are speaking foolishly. Whatever we once were no longer exists.
So get that through your pretty blond skull and go sling dishes
at The Golden Chicken."
will do no such thing. However, I do promise to become your nemesis.
I will run for president and beat you, Knowles."
know very well that I cannot let you step out into the world and
expose me along with my fellow Xylans.
do not care about any fellow Xylan or any fellow man, period."
suppose you're right. You see right through me whether I assume
human form or not. I have learned to adapt. You have not, Tanya.
And you know the old saying rings trueit's the survival
of the fittest."
president silently motioned for Jack to join them. Harcourt, who
strategically positioned his thug-like body outside the closed
door of the office, sensed the president's urgency and bolted
towards Knowles. "Are you all right, sir?" the aid asked
with exaggerated concern.
am fine. However, our intern friend is refusing to follow the
party line. Maybe you can take her on a little trip to the National
Arboretum and pick out a nice plot for her."
the president and his aid foolishly ignored the camera that was
recording every visual and audio move they made. Tanya, who was
well aware of the monitoring device, made sure the camera caught
her best angle. That angle would be the one where Jack Harcourt
was stupidly shoving a pistol into her ribs.
knew better than to resist the men here. She quickly acted to
remove the racing human heart that beat wildly in her chest. She
could not afford a panic attack; besides, no shape shifter required
this organ for breathing.
will not resist you," Tanya quietly whispered to Jack while
she extended her arms away from her body. Charles knew the cameras
would record this odd behavior that she hoped would serve as evidence
of Knowles' misdeeds. "At least he'll be taken down whether
I survive this ordeal or not," she reasoned.
kept his weapon concealed in his coat pocket as the pair made
their way out of the White House. Jack threatened to use the gun
without hesitation if Charles tried to alert any of the security
guards of her plight.
minutes later, Harcourt and Charles were seated in a black car.
Tanya was riding shotgun while her six-foot-three-inch abductor
kept an automatic pistol trained on her from the driver's seat.
mind raced to find a solution to this dilemma. "How can I
help this planet if I'm dead?" Meanwhile, the car carried
her closer to what the president hoped would be her final destination.
upon her natural survival instincts, Tanya willed herself to become
a huge bear-like beast known as a phorman. Her mind drifted into
a semi-conscious state while her body scanned the DNA sequencing
code of the desired transformation. Tanya had not called upon
these mental and physical powers for many years and was not entirely
convinced she even met the definition of a changeling anymore.
After two minutes, Charles began to come out of her semi-conscious
state thanks to a human-like panic attack. Apparently, fear existed
outside the confines of a racing heartbeat.
silently chanted in a desperate attempt to alter reality. "Unleash
yourself from all the human restrictions." There were only
minutes to spare as the car turned onto Bladensburg Road; if she
couldn't transform herself in the next three minutes she would
most likely never shape shift again. The grounds of the arboretum
lay just a few hundred meters ahead.
ignorantly assessed his captor had given up hope of escaping.
Believing Tanya had passed out, he slowed the car down and relaxed
his vice like grip on the pistol. In addition, the shortsighted
aid also forgot to turn off the inside surveillance cam mounted
on the interior's roof. The camera continued to record the aid's
folly in high definition.
Tanya's lax state continued to lull Harcourt into a false sense
of security, the aid fought in vain to stifle a yawn. In this
same instant, a large black object began to invade the corner
of the aid's right eye. Harcourt's small mind associated the image
with another sedan. Fearing he was about to be sideswiped, Jack
cut the wheel hard and swerved left.
like the warning in the side view mirrors, the black-colored object
was indeed closer than it appeared. A slobbering extraterrestrial
beast emerged in the passenger seat. It whispered sweet grunts
into his ear. Harcourt's beady eyes grew wide. Summoning what
little courage his character allowed him, Jack squeezed the trigger
of his pistol. The shot missed the beast entirely. The bullet
exited out of the passenger window before coming to rest in a
prepared for his departure, realizing the stronger species would
prevail. The aid's mind foolishly dreamed of scantily clad babes
to minimize his horror. Jack realized this fantasy was as likely
to come true as President Knowles' campaign promises. Still, he
clung to his dream for a nanosecond. That's when reality solidified
itself. The phormon began biting on the arm that threatened its
metamorphosed existence. For one psychedelically enhanced moment,
Jack saw stars dance before his eyes. Tanya had become one with
the phormon in the name of survival. And neither the phormon nor
Charles stopped to feel Jack's pain.
mighty jaws of the phormon separated Jack's right arm from his
body with the greatest of ease. The circus was in town and Jack
Harcourt was about to realize what it meant to be the unfortunate
member of Siegfried & Roy.
car swerved violently as gravity took precedence. The weight of
the alien beast soon rocked the vehicle to its left side. The
slight tip placed the beast/Tanya Charles squarely upon Harcourt's
pain wracked body. Jack's last thoughts were: "Where did
that blond chick go?"
weight shift in the vehicle caused it to tumble side to side like
a huge clothes dryer. When the car came to a rest, a phormon was
no longer draped over the dead body of Jack Harcourt. However,
the unconscious form of Tanya Charles was.
Ford that had nearly transported Tanya Charles to her demise was
beyond repair, much like its driver. It came to a rest in an empty
patch of field located along Bladensburg Road. Tanya Charles had
come to a rest at George Washington Medical Center. The shape
shifter was quite alive despite her dormant state.
opened her eyes to find detectives levying a barrage of questions
at her. A throng of reporters threatened to swoop down next. Banned
from entering the medical facility, the journalists aligned themselves
along the perimeter of the facility during the overnight. They
waited impatiently like birds aligned atop a telephone wire.
could not recall all the details. In fact, she did not realize
her nearly lifeless body had entered into its liquefied recuperative
state after the crash. However, several uniformed officers would
not soon forget this fact. Detective Robert Stanton did not doubt
the young officers on the scene were telling the truth when they
recanted the surreal event. "One minute there was a pool
of liquid, and the next, there was this unconscious hottie,"
one shocked patrol cop stated. This officer also experienced the
aftermath of a liquid release in his trousers.
Stanton knew an officer who suffered the embarrassment of wetting
his pants was not one to make up stories.
was I saved?" Tanya asked Stanton.
don't know. It looks like you saved yourself. The doctors told
me they couldn't make heads or tails of you physiologically. One
of them even told me you didn't have a heart." The detective
tried to maintain his best matter-of-fact tone, but shaking hands
compromised his "seen it all, been there" bravado.
was way too busy to notice the detective's discomfort. "I
want to make formal charges against the President of the United
States for conspiracy to murder."
don't have to, " Stanton answered. "Your ordeal in the
White House and in the car was captured on video. The president
was physically removed from his position three hours ago. Suffice
to say, he did not step down with dignity."
secret of the Xylans became public knowledge. James P. Knowles
was sentenced to two life terms in the prison. The public was
not so much outraged that a public figure had lied (apparently
Americans were use to this sort of thing), than they were sickened
over his plot to murder the idealistic intern. "I'll take
a concerned shape shifting alien over a self-involved politician
every time," one teenager told NNN.
months later, Tanya determined she was totally healed from her
accident despite pleas from her doctors to stay admitted as a
test subject. "There's not much to study anyway, doctorpsychologically
speaking that is. I am filled with as many neuroses as you are.
I am quite content to live out my life in human form. But if my
life is ever threatened again, you can bet your malpractice insurance
premium that I won't hesitate to turn into a bloodthirsty phormon
hearing Tanya's candid answer, the admitting doctor couldn't sign
her release papers fast enough.
days later, a press conference was held. Tanya received a pardon
from the Vice President for falsifying identification documents.
The acting presidentwho was quite humanalso extended
the pardon to all other Xylans inhabiting the U.S.
advised reporters her next task would be to gain citizenship.
"There's nothing in the Constitution that states a shape
shifter can't become a United States citizen," Tanya remarked
without acknowledging the absurdity of the situation.
journalists ate this up. They fell in love with the shape shifting
blond alien who cared more for her country than her own well being.
I become a citizen, I think I will run for the governorship of
California. Californians seem to be pretty liberal when it comes
to electing candidates. But seriously, one day I do hope to lead
this great country."
reporter asked Tanya if the idea of becoming America's first female
president intimidated her.
but the notion of becoming America's first honest president