The civilian body armor market was valued at $72.2 million in 2016 and is expected to more than double by 2024, according to Grand View Research.
—Tiffany Hsu, “With Schools as Targets, Security Outfits Flourish,” The New York Times, March 5, 2018, A17.
I was sitting in the eye doctor’s waiting room scared to death because I had a lump in my eye. The glaucoma test which touches eyeballs didn’t make me happy either. Yes, the doctor declared me devoid of lump and she used a touchless glaucoma test machine. I still had to phone my husband from the waiting room to describe my anxiety. I spoke softly as I explained to my husband—who, unlike me, is not Jewish—why I was hysterical. Although these were not his exact words, he said that in relation to eye tsuris there was nothing to see here. Because I am a New Yorker, talking low is not something I do well. A woman sitting near me heard everything I said. She smiled sympathetically when I hung up, looked at the office’s giant television screen and exclaimed “aaargh oh no not him” when I saw Trump’s orange aura. I had had enough trauma for one day; seeing Trump was the last thing I needed. Thinking that I could not stand the sight of Trump for one more minute, I headed back to my office at the State University of New York at Rego Park.
Upon arrival, I first closely encountered her. A stately middle-aged woman was calmly sitting in my office. I could not avoid noticing that she was wearing a Chanel-ish suit made out of gold lamé chainmail, a gold Roman-style helmet, and matching sandals. Her hands were too small. Her mouth was tiny and pursed. Her hair and skin were strangely orange.
“Are you Professor Sondra Lear the feminist science fiction scholar?” she calmly asked.
“Yes. Who are you?”
“Myra from Menopause.”
“I am used to radio talk show callers referring to themselves as like Phyllis from Forest Hills and Phyllis probably does have menopause but nobody announces that they are from menopause. How can you be from menopause?”
“Menopause is my homeworld. I sought you out because you are a feminist science fiction scholar. I expect that you would sympathize with someone who hails from a feminist separatist utopian planet. I materialized in your office to ask for help—eventually.”
Remembering that the ophthalmologist had patience with me when I threw my glaucoma test and nonexistent eye lump fit, I tried to remain calm.
“I want to believe you. Your chainmail suit, helmet, and sandals are certainly eye catching and appear to emanate from Fashion Week on another planet. But identity theft is rampant. Manhattan Borough President Gail Brewer recently informed her constituents that thieves are phishing checks out of street mail boxes, using chemicals to remove the ink, writing a new monetary amount in the vacated space, and cashing the checks. Anything can happen in New York. I have to make sure that you are not a part of the fake feminist extraterrestrial comes to the feminist science fiction scholar’s office scam. Before we proceed further, I need you to prove that you are in fact a feminist extraterrestrial named Myra who hails from the planet Menopause.
I had no problem devising a feminist extraterrestrial burden of proof test for the self-identified Menopausian.
“My department head, Hutchison River Parkway the third, routinely makes sexist remarks to his colleagues and incessantly hits on female graduate students. His office is down the hall two doors to the left. Can you make him disappear?”
As I watched the possible alien leave my office to undertake her assigned task, I was hopeful that I would never have to see Hutchison again.
“Done,” she said when she returned.
“Give me a minute to corroborate your claim.”
I went to the English office and asked the Department Secretary if she had seen Hutchison.
“He was just in his office but he seems to have disappeared,” said the secretary.
I ran down the hall propelled by the realization that a true feminist extraterrestrial was sitting in my office.
“I believe you Myra. Welcome to Rego Park, Queens, America, Earth. How can I help you? Tell me about yourself and Menopause. To lengthen my vita, I can write an article about your planet.”
I leaned in as Myra opened her chainmail suit jacket and began to speak. “I am the Commander-in-Chief of the Menopausian Defense League, a Special Forces operation which keeps Menopausian men in check. Our men once kept us down via job discrimination and sexual harassment. Sexism, in short, was general all over Menopause. It was normal for Menopausian men routinely to numerically rate women’s bodies, make us work while wearing high heels, and brag about grabbing what they call our pussies. Can you believe it?”
“As a matter of fact, yes, I can.”
“Deciding that we were mad as hell and we weren’t going to take it anymore, the women of Menopause banded together and demanded change. We sent all the men on our planet to rehabilitation centers to be retrained. Our efforts failed, though. Because we could not make the men stop being sexists, we shipped them all off to Testosterone. That’s the name of Menopause’s moon. In case men found a way to return to our new feminist separatist utopia, we used our advanced technology to implant a Pause Button on their heads. Hitting ‘pause’ causes the men to shut down and shut up. We wiped their brains to prevent them from accessing our tech powers and abilities”
“Why are you here?”
“A particularly dangerous Menopausian male escaped from Testosterone and materialized on Earth. I only know that he is somewhere in the location Earthlings call America. As the Commander-in-Chief of the Menopausian Defense League, my mission is to find him and return him to our jurisdiction. If I fail, he will do irreparable damage to the rights of Earthling women.”
“Oh my god.”
“Somewhere in America, there is a male who looks like a Menopausian. He has small hands, a tiny pursed mouth, and hair and skin which exude an orange aura. Like all of our men, he has a huge ego and cares only about himself. Locating one man who adheres to said description strikes me as being mission impossible.”
“I wouldn’t say that.”
“Do you know of such a male?”
“As a matter of fact, yes, I do.”
I remained calm. I really was not that surprised to learn that Trump was from another planet, not Queens.
Myra was becoming visibly agitated to the extent that her chainmail was clanking.
“Stop,” she ordered. “Don’t reveal his identity to me. According to our rules, I have to locate him myself and see his Pause Button. If I receive any help, he will be exempt from deportation to Testosterone. In other words, you will never be rid of him.”
“Even though I know exactly who you are seeking, I will refrain from revealing this information. I’ll do anything to send him back to Menopause.”
“Let me join you in your normal daily activity. Since you seem to be exceedingly familiar with the object of my quest, maybe his identity will also become apparent to me.”
This struck me as being a good plan. I realized, however, that I could not allow Myra to be foiled by a sartorial red flag.
“Even though this is New York, your gold lamé chainmail suit, helmet, and sandals look a little aberrant. Do you have similar attire for me? If we are dressed in the same style, New York humans will think that we are following a new trend.”
“I can zap up a Menopausian Defense League uniform for you. What color would you like?”
“How about black? This is New York, after all.”
Myra snapped her fingers. I was good to go in my new outfit. Although the chainmail was a little clunky, it was nothing that I couldn’t manage.
“So what is the rest of your day like, Sondra?”
“I went to the eye doctor in the morning. Although I was nervous, I turned out to be fine. I planned to grade some papers and go back to the doctor later this afternoon to renew my glasses prescription. We can leave now though.”
When we entered the doctor’s office, Trump could be seen saying something insipid on the wall screen television. Myra looked at him without comment. After all, he was her fellow Menopausian. From her perspective, he looked like a garden variety male—not an orange outrage “short fingered vulgarian.” The camera switched to an image of Trump boarding Air Force One in strong wind. The wind blew his hair apart revealing a bald pate which people did not know he had.
Myra looked at his newly revealed scalp and became visibly agitated.
“That’s him. That’s the Menopausian male who escaped from Testosterone. I see the Pause Button located on his scalp. Now that I have found him on my own reconnaissance, you are free to provide me with information. This guy seems to be the center of attention. Is he important?”
“He’s the President of the United States.”
“Oy gevalt,” said Myra.
“Please help us get rid of him.”
“Not a problem. I just need to reconfigure some Earth technology to access his Pause Button. What’s that oblong tech thing with the buttons?”
“A television remote control.”
“Perfect.” Myra stared at the remote. Orange rays emanated from her eyes as she picked it up. She handed the remote to me.
“What should I do?”
“Press the Pause Button.”
I did as I was told and looked at the television screen. Trump stiffened in the matter of a deactivated robot.
Melania walked up the Air Force One entry stairs to investigate her immobilized husband. The strong wind caused her to grasp the bannister.
“Ma’am, it looks like President Trump is gone with the wind,” said a Secret Service agent.
Melania looked straight at Trump and said “Frankly my dear I don’t give a damn.”
All of the women in the waiting room stared incredulously at the television screen.
“To accomplish my mission, I have to deport the male entity you call President Trump back to Menopause. Upon arrival, he will be revived and returned to Testosterone.”
Myra began to press the buttons on the technologically upgraded remote. The television revealed that a flying saucer had landed next to Air Force One. Two overly orange small handed pursed mouthed women dressed in orange chainmail Chanel-ish suits—obviously soldiers in the Menopausian Defense League—emerged from the saucer, picked up Trump, and deposited him within.
“I suppose that you called the Menopausian version of FedEx,” I said.
“Exactly right. Wonderful to meet you, Sondra. I have to get back to patrolling the galaxy and be ready to do battle with other male Menopausian escapees who might wreak havoc on other planets.”
“I’m sorry to see you go. Can I keep the chainmail suit? It would come in handy if Hutchison shows up and tried to grope me—or if there is a school shooting at the State University of New York at Rego Park.”
“Of course. By the way, the suit, helmet, and sandals are made from gold. I know you ordered basic black. Black paint covers the gold.”
“Real gold? Thanks for the most expensive outfit I can ever hope to own.”
“Gold is valuable on Earth? Not so on Menopause. Our streets are made paved with gold. I’ll be glad to give you gold. How much would you like?”
“Well, there is this place called Fort Knox.”
“Not a problem. I’ll have my troops use what you call our FedEx to deliver a big pile of gold placed in your name to Fort Knox,” said Myra as she waved good-bye and dematerialized.
I walked to my apartment while glad to know that my new financial windfall would not be limited to writing a scholarly article about closely encountering a feminist extraterrestrial Special Forces Commander. The gold would enable me to buy a bigger apartment—and to make a huge donation to #MeToo.
“Nice new outfit. How was your day, dear?” my husband asked when I arrived home.
“Did you know that Trump is no longer President and Hillary has replaced him? She’s pictured on the front page of The New York Times wearing a helmet which looks just like yours.”
“Hillary? No, I didn’t see that coming.”
Marleen S. Barr is known for her pioneering work in feminist science fiction and teaches English at the City University of New York. She has won the Science Fiction Research Association Pilgrim Award for lifetime achievement in science fiction criticism. Barr is the author of Alien to Femininity: Speculative Fiction and Feminist Theory, Lost in Space: Probing Feminist Science Fiction and Beyond, Feminist Fabulation: Space/Postmodern Fiction, and Genre Fission: A New Discourse Practice for Cultural Studies. Barr has edited many anthologies and co-edited the science fiction issue of PMLA. She has published the novels Oy Pioneer! and Oy Feminist Planets: A Fake Memoir. Her When Trump Changed: The Feminist Science Fiction Justice League Quashes the Orange Outrage Pussy Grabber is the first single authored Trump short story collection.