Andrew Lawson raised his worried eyes when he heard the familiar click of Dr. White’s heels coming his way and couldn’t help but blurt:
The fifty-six years-old dyed brunette stopped in front of him, white coat hugging her waist. She looked surprisingly young for her age, only a few expression wrinkles in sight. Her smile was infectious even when she had bad news to share. Luckily, that wasn’t the case.
“I have the test results right here and it’s as I’ve been telling you all along. There’s nothing wrong with your wife. In fact, she’s in perfect health.”
“But...” he mumbled, restless fingers not sure whether to bury themselves in his scalp in disbelief or plug his ears to avoid listening to something he knew couldn’t be true.
“You... you didn’t see what I see, Dr. She...”
“Andrew, look at me! How long have we known one another?”
“About ten years,” he nodded. She had been his mentor back in the days when he still dreamed of being a surgeon, but his frail nerves had doomed such ambitions right from the start.
“That’s right and during that time, have I ever given you any reasons to doubt my judgment?”
“Please stop. The exams don’t lie. If anything, you’re the one that’s giving me cause to concern, now.”
She took a seat next to him and adjusted his tie. “You told me her supposedly ‘strange behaviors’ began last Tuesday, correct?”
“The same day when all radios and tv channels declared there were women falling out of the sky?”
“Yes! They’re aliens! They’ve come to...”
She raised a gentle eyebrow and patted his left shoulder. “Oh, my sweet boy... aliens? You were always a bit on the gullible side, but this is too much. It was just one big publicity stunt for a new movie. I know what you think you saw but a shape-shifting creature did not replace your wife no matter how much Hollywood will try to make you believe otherwise when they finish shooting the damn thing! You’ve been burning the midnight oil again, haven’t you?”
“Don’t deny it, I can see it in your eyes. You’ve been working too much again, and you know how confused you get when you don’t sleep properly. Tammy has been a dear all this time, but she’s worried about you, too.”
“So you’re telling me I imagined it all? No, that...”
“Andrew, focus! Yes, you did, sweetie. Your imagination went overboard again, but that’s okay. You’ve had nervous breakdowns before, so the chance of a relapse was always there. It’s a shame it had to happen in such a dreadful way. It must have been awful for you to believe in such things.”
“What’s awful is that my wife...”
“... is not only worried but also scared of you right now. She played along to get you here hoping I could show you the truth. Do you believe me, Andrew, or do you want to continue holding on to the silly notion of impossible invaders from outer space?”
“I... I don’t know,” he cried. “Can I see her? Can I see my wife?”
“Not right now but soon if you do me a favor...” and from the inner pocket of her jacket she produced a vial of purple pills. “Take two of these now to clear your head. It will help you return to reality sooner than later. Can you do that for me?”
“Say ‘Yes, Dr. White. I’ll do that for you’”
“Yes, Dr. White. I’ll do that for you,” he mumbled.
“Go on then.”
Bewildered, he did as she asked, for she was the doctor after all and he trusted her.
“You’re such a good boy, Andrew,” she whispered. “Everything will be better soon, I promise.”
She left him in a dreamy stupor and returned to her office where Tammy awaited her, naked, skin glistening from hundreds of droplets of rain.
“What were you thinking, assimilating a body in plain sight?” She vociferated, reptilian tongue hissing.
Tammy cowered by her desk, knees buckling. “Forgive me, Grand Marshal, I didn’t think...”
“I know you didn’t, and neither did the ones who sent you! Whose idea was this, anyway? We do not descend in broad daylight for fuck’s sake! Do you have any idea how many confused boyfriends and husbands I had to deal with already? It’s been a nightmare! There will be repercussions, I assure you.”
“Will you... will you be returning to the Homebase, soon?”
“I’ll be there in the next cycle, no doubt about it. I didn’t spend eons of my life coordinating this infiltration to see it all go down the drain because someone forgot to do their homework.”
“And my... husband?”
“You’re lucky Andrew and I already have a history and he’s easy to manipulate. Soon, he’ll forget this ever happened and you can resume your original mission.”
“I look forward to enslaving him,” Tammy grinned.
“Deep down inside, he’ll love it too but tread lightly, Do not show your true form until he’s your perfectly obedient thrall.”
“Understood, Grand Marshal, and thank you for your patience.”
“You’re welcome. Now, put on some clothes and the most disturbed face you can think of. Your fear will make sure he believes none of this is real.”
Tammy knelt before her to show her appreciation and submission and left shortly after. Alone with her thoughts, Dr. White peered through the window of her office, a famous song playing in her head.
“It’s raining men? How ridiculous!”
Adjusting her turtle-rimmed glasses, she prepared to meet her next patient.