At 35, Martin Waxman was the talk of Topanga. His meteoric rise through the ranks had culminated in his appointment as the youngest ever Managing Partner of the area’s longest established and most prestigious realtors, Stuttermann and Shuster.
Tall, rangy and good looking, Waxman cut quite a dash in his favourite checked sports jacket and crisply laundered slacks, and all the more so when he wafted through Topanga’s languid streets at the wheel of his new Ford Falcon, its Bright Gold paintwork gleaming in the Californian sunshine. From the outside, Waxman had it all.
But that wasn’t how he saw it. Sure, the trappings of his position – the money, the car, the biggest house on Canyon Road and the prettiest wife in the whole dang State – were swell, but they were as nothing compared to the secret that gnawed away at his psyche. A secret that he dared not speak of. Until now.
He’d cried off work this morning and, with a little effort that ultimately involved promising her a trip to Napa the following weekend, had persuaded Judy to do likewise. They’d enjoyed a leisurely breakfast on the patio followed by an equally sedate drive along State Route 27 to the summit of Edward D. Edelman Park, stopping only to buy ice creams at Walt’s Famous Waffle House.
Waxman had been glad of the ice cream but now his throat once more felt as arid as the Mojave Desert. He had to tell Judy; he just had to. He put an arm round her trim waist and drew her close. ‘Now or never’, said the voice in his head. “Darling,” he began hesitantly. “Do you remember those lights that we saw in the sky last month? You know, the ones I said were Navy ‘birds out of El Toro?”
Judy muttered her assent as her eyes met his.
“Well, it’s, uh, like this: they, uh, weren’t Navy planes. In fact they weren’t airplanes at all.” He swallowed hard and his grip on Judy’s waist tightened a little. “They were spaceships looking for me. You see, Judy, I’m not from Santa Monica. I’m really from Zeta Retucili…”
Judy began to laugh, her eyes sparkling. “Hell, honey, is THAT all you wanted to tell me. Everyone knows that!”
Waxman’s eyes opened wide in shock. “But, but…that’s not possible! How could you know, how could you?”
Judy smiled kindly. “Ah shit, honey. No-one from Earth wears a grey checked sports jacket combined with mustard slacks. No-one. Not even in Topanga in 1970…”