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January 2019, vol 14 no 4

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Terri L. French

Mother of the Universe

A petite, elderly woman, with shortly cropped red hair exits the elevator and sits in a chair on the other side of the hotel lobby from us as we wait for our room to be serviced. Her stylish briefcase rests near a pair of sensible black pumps that she slips from her feet. I have seen this woman somewhere before many years ago, though I’m not sure we have ever met. Then it dawns on me. “Oh my God,” I whisper to my husband, “I think that's June Lockhart!” “Are you sure?” he asks, ever the skeptic. “Yes, I’m almost positive.” She pulls an enormous make-up mirror from her purse and begins applying bright red lipstick, blotting her lips afterward with a tissue. I stand up. “I’m going over,” I tell my husband. “Go for it,” he says.

Half way across the room I hear a robotic voice in my head, DANGER! DANGER! Then Dr. Smith’s voice pipes in – YOU BLITHERING BOOBY, WHAT ARE YOU DOING? Too late now, I tell myself, and keep going. “Excuse me ma’am,” I say in the sweetest voice I can muster, “but, are you…?” She puts down the mirror and glares up at me before I can finish. “It took you long enough!” she says, crossing her legs and slinging one arm over the back of the sofa. I feel every bit the blithering booby, but I ask her for her autograph anyway. She pulls a stack of 8x10 glossies from her briefcase and signs one, handing it to me with two hands just like she was offering me a plate of freshly baked cookies. And then she smiles at me just like she used to at Will and Penny and Judy all those years ago.

a misprint in
the planetary guide book
lost in space