Attack of the Pantaloons from the Moon

Digital drawing. Several figures arrayed in a rocky and cratered environment. Seven of the figures are humanoids with legs and a round head with round dark eyes, but no arms. One of these figures sits on a throne-like chair at center, and has crown-like markings on the head. Flanking the chair are a tall red robot and a creature that looks like a carrot with a feather on the top of the head, metallic barrels for the body, and human legs. Four screens display images. Two hang from above. Two below. Clockwise from top left, they display: a portion of Earth’s moon with the words “People of Earth…” written above; a one-eye worm floating in space; a smiling girl tipping her cowboy hat; and a smiling boy holding up a small canister.

Dim lights appeared on the darkened stage, then a crackle and buzz of static, and a voice, asking a question.

“What do you mean by pants?”

(Soft chuckles from the audience, but mostly they were quiet.)

“They’ve only been seen at night,” another voice answered.  “And for some reason, all the video captures of them are blurry or distorted.  There’s no way to tell what they’re doing other than walking around.”


“Yes, pants.  There have been more and more sightings in the recent weeks and days.  The director is already calling it a quiet invasion.”

“You want me to come back and help you fight them?”

“No…I don’t think so.  Something strange is going on.  I may have figured it out.  I want you to come back and help me find out if I’m right.  Because if I am, there may be a fight ahead of us after all.”

A third voice began to speak, the narrator.

The voices you just heard, dear friends, were those of the outlaw Exoplanetary Janet, and the law-abiding Davenport, agent of the Department of Exoplanetary Travel, or let’s just call it “the Department.”  The Department makes sure that humans who are traveling through the cosmos follow all the proper rules of contact and interaction with the other peoples they encounter in the far reaches of outer space.  But it had been a long time, ages even, since they had to deal with any incident within their own solar system.  Well, other than a recent invasion or two from far away in the galaxy.  But this time, trouble seemed to be coming from closer to home.

Bombastic drums played as the curtains parted…


Janet Winsome, math teacher and drama-coach-by-default, and the inspiration for one of the main characters whose name she shared, stood backstage and did what she usually did as the annual school play started.  She reminisced. 

Her kids—her students—the drama kids of Readerson Middle School were in their final year before they moved on to high school.  They had developed a reputation for coming up with fun original characters and stories, starting with the play they wrote for their first school production, “Attack of the Giant Cyclops Worm.”  Then there was the movie they made over summer vacation when Janet was out of the country for the first time ever on her honeymoon, “Attack of the Vacuum Machine Army.”  Now, they were going back to their stage roots with a new play to round out their “Attack from Outer Space” trilogy. 

Janet watched the stage and she watched the backstage to make sure they were having fun. 


When they started planning for the play some months ago, the first meeting started off uncharacteristically solemn. 

“You don’t have to do anything original this year,” Janet said, looking out at a sea of tired faces.  The semester had only just begun.  “There’s enough pressure on you from classes and other extracurriculars, and on top of that this year, graduation prep for some of you.”

“But everyone is expecting us to do something spectacular,” Rhine said.  She was the stage manager, co-director, and co-producer.  But she seemed to be under the impression that the play’s success was entirely on her shoulders.

The veterans of the drama club spoke, Rhine, Marty, James, Moira, and Sheila, whom Janet had just discovered that year was not a human child.  Janet tried not stare at Sheila.  She tried to act naturally.  But she usually had to take her cues from Rhine.  The newer kids, there were five to seven at any given meeting, stayed mostly silent at that first meeting.

Someone suggested going serious with the tone of that year’s play.  Others thought they should please the audience, maybe do some polls or ask questions. 

“Don’t worry so much about what other people think and want from you,” Janet said, fully aware that she was trying to impart wisdom that went beyond the moment.  “People don’t always know how to expect appropriately.  Sometimes they expect too much.  Sometimes too little.”

“Too little is the fun one,” James said, his eyes on the paper where he was doodling, his attention on the discussion.  “That’s when you get to blow people away because they didn’t know how much you could do.”

Shiela crossed her arms and sat back.  “But we’re not the underdogs anymore.  Also, I have to…can I push back on your advice to not worry about what people think?  We have to worry.  Because some of those people are making decisions about our futures.”

“And caring about other people’s feelings is a good thing, right?”  Moira, typically the shy one, asked.

Janet held up a hand.  She didn’t have to wait for them to quiet down.  “If we care what other people think, it should be for the right reasons.  The relevant reasons.  And for the right amount of…intensity.”

Marty crinkled his brows.  “What does that mean?”

Rhine raised her hand and answered when Janet nodded to her.  “Like, I think I want to be a stage manager or director, both probably.  But I also actually do like math.”  She paused and grinned at Janet.  “Maybe I’ll figure out how to do both, or one after the other.  And I’ll need help getting there.  But for now…our play is not about making money, or winning awards so that we can get respect and build a good reputation.  We have time to do that kind of thing in high school, maybe even after high school, depending on what we decide we want to do when we’re grown up.”

She stood and walked to the front of the class.  Janet suppressed a smile, and she breathed in to temper the surge of hope that was rising in her chest.

“For now,” Rhine said, “we should do what we did the first time around.  Just come up with something we all like.  If the audience doesn’t like it, that’ll hurt, but we’ll still have futures.  It would be worse if we hated every minute of work we did on the play, no matter how the audience feels.”

“Okay, but Darany’s at a different school,” Marty said, speaking of the only other veteran of the club, who had to transfer when his family moved.  “Who’ll play Davenport?  And who’ll do the props and special effects?”

“Did someone say ‘special effects’?”

Darany walked into the classroom right on cue.  While the other kids cheered and welcomed him back, Rhine looked at Janet and nodded slightly.  She was a sharp one.  She already knew what Janet was about to explain to the rest of them.  She had arranged for Darany to return and help with the play and even receive credit for one of his requirements.

“Plus, I’ll get to attend both graduations,” Darany said.  “So, what kind of story are we thinking about doing this year?”

“How about random adventures,” Rhine said, “because we’re still kids and we should still be having fun?”

“We can balance doing something new with doing something people expect,” Sheila said.  “And something we’ll have fun doing.”

Marty rubbed his hands together.  “Another invasion of Earth, then?”

Sheila nodded.  “But I have an idea for how we can make this story a little more, um, not as obvious.”

“We’ll improvise?” Rhine asked.

Sheila shrugged.  “It’s what we do.”


They were supposed to take it easy, not work so hard, and not give it their all.  Not for the play.  But they couldn’t help it.  They loved the characters they had created, and they didn’t know if they’d ever be able to work together again.  People made promises, but enough of them had already experienced losing touch with elementary school friends, and summer camp friends, and friends from other schools who lived in their old neighborhoods, to know that promises made sincerely in the moment were still too easy to break. So, they wrote the play, they made the costumes, and the sets, with the help of various adults.  They rehearsed, and they laughed and worked together, and had a few fights and then made up, for the sake of the play at first, and then because they adored each other,


Months later, the moment of truth was upon them, the one and only performance of their original play.

“Dress rehearsal was incredible,” Rhine said, taking another slice of pizza.

“A little too incredible?” Janet asked, standing behind her.  Janet was trying to circulate around the restaurant and make sure the tables full of parents and younger—and sometimes older—siblings were enjoying themselves at the pre-performance celebration dinner.  But she found herself gravitating toward her kids—her students.

“We got it all recorded,” Marty said.  “We’ll always have that, at least.”

“You know, if most of you think you’re not going to have fun tomorrow night,” Janet said, “maybe you shouldn’t try your best.” 

Skeptical noises and expressions erupted from the table.

“After all the work and creativity and heart and soul we put into the play?” Rhine asked.

“I’m serious.  It won’t ruin your work.  This isn’t the kind of play where you do it perfectly.  Or am I wrong about that?”

Janet looked around the table.  No one objected.

“Maybe you should flub lines on purpose,” she said.  “Or twirl around.  Do something different with your makeup.  As long as you do it—say it with me—safely.”

“Safely,” said a dozen voices, in unison with each other and with Janet.

“We’ll take it under consideration, Miss Dubs,” Darany said.

Janet gave a nod and noticed that Moira was ordering half a dozen sunset-colored corsages on her phone.  She showed some of the others and waited for them to nod before she submitted the order.

“What’s that about?” Janet asked.

“We’re all going on a group friend date to the summer dance,” Moira said.

“The prom?”

“Miss Dubs, didn’t you see the announcement?  We’re not calling it that this year.”

“Oh yeah?  What are you calling it?  The Attack of Adulthood Dance?” Janet grinned sheepishly at her own cheesy joke.

But the kids looked at each other. 

“That could have worked,” one of them quietly said.


Janet remember those moments, and many more, not just over the past few months, but over the past few years.  Some of the faces looking back at her during their pre-show pep talk circle would still be there the next year.  Knowing that gave her some comfort from the ache of missing the ones who would not return.

They were special, after all. 

They were Janet’s first crew.


So, the stage was dark, the radio crackled, Exoplanetary Janet and Davenport spoke to each other, outlaw and lawman, childhood best friends.  And now Davenport feared that something sinister was going on as his home planet faced another potential invasion from outer space, this time, shockingly, from their own solar system.

Bombastic drums played as the curtains parted and a giant cardboard cutout was lowered into view.  Janet smiled and chuckled at the prop.  It was awe-inspiring and goofy, just like her kids.

The prop bore the title of their play.


(A chorus of laughter and applause bubbled up from the audience.)

Exoplanetary Janet walked onto stage with her partner, Weirdly, who was an alien ambassador, was part-humanoid, part-metal, part-vegetable, and part-bird.  The outlaw Janet was played by Moira, who was dressed like a cowgirl, complete with a long duster, hat, and boots.  Despite her divine singing voice, she had forbidden the crew from writing in any plot point where she would have to sing.  It hadn’t worked out for the first two stories they created together—Moira always seemed to come down with something that affected her voice.  Weirdly was played by one of the newer kids.

From the other side of the stage, Davenport and his robot partner, Pi-Maker, came striding out.  Davenport was played by Darany.  And ketchup-colored Pi-Maker was a brilliant puppet who was worked by three kids offstage, and voiced by Marty. 

The friends and allies came together, as the narrator provided more background information.

Janet had been able to travel to Earth quickly thanks to her special ship.  And she snuck onto the planet’s surface thanks to her own skills and connections.

She had seen all the videos that Davenport sent her on her way over.  Eerie only because they were at night, and the movements of the figures on the screen were sometimes smooth and flowing, and sometimes jerky and choppy.

They were pants, just like Davenport had said.

“Yeah, they’re kind of spooky,” Janet said, as she watched a few of the latest video captures.  “But they’re also kind of cute, don’t you think?”

“They seem to be harmless,” Weirdly commented.  “No attacks so far.  No threatening behavior.  No damage or theft of Earth’s resources.”

“He thinks that’s because they’re still setting up the game board,” Davenport said.  “Putting all their pieces in place.”  

Janet and Weirdly looked at each other.  “Who thinks?” Janet asked.

Davenport started pacing the length of his advanced apartment.  They were meeting there instead of at his office.  Even though Janet was a citizen of Earth and was not guilty of any terrestrial crimes, she was still in danger of being arrested.  If she was Earth-side, the Department was not authorized to arrest Janet for any non-violent crimes committed elsewhere in the galaxy, unless some non-terrestrial agency requested it.  And none ever did. 

“Last year, the Department got a new head,” Davenport explained.  “He’s really strict.  If he was able to detect your ship—”

Janet held up a hand.  “Don’t worry, pal.  I tend to play it safe when I head back to the old home system.  We activated our camouflage long before we got within range of Earth’s sensors.”

“That’s good, because Director Jerque is very strict.”

“Yeah, you said that—wait, Director Jerque?”

Davenport nodded soberly.  “Maximus Jerque.  He took over last year.”

“Your new boss’s name is Max Jerque?”

(Moira, as Janet, emphasized the pronunciation of the name to make sure everyone knew she was saying “jerk.”  The audience chuckled, but quietly, as if they didn’t want to miss the rest of the dialogue.)

Davenport signaled Pi-Maker to activate true privacy mode.

The stage lighting dimmed and shifted through different hues, and the stage hands pulled up the cardboard “views” through the two windows in the background, so that it looked—they hoped—as if the whole room had turned into an elevator that was moving downward.  When the window views went still, the lights came back up.

Janet grinned and clapped a hand on Davenport’s shoulder, remarking that she was a bad influence on her typically law-abiding friend.  He had built a whole secret underground lair.

“There’s a good reason for that,” Davenport said. 

He raised a hand and pointed off stage.  “Janet, Weirdly, there’s someone I’d you to meet.”

The music turned suspenseful.  From stage left, a familiar figure walked through a frame that presented a doorway. 

(Murmurs passed through the audience.)

Janet and Weirdly took a step back.  The figure had a short almost non-existent torso, a head with two round dark eyes, no arms, and long legs dressed in flowing white pants.

The figure stopped and spoke.  “I have been looking forward to meeting you both.  Especially you, Ambassador Weirdly.  My name is Lagoon.  And I am the queen of the Pantaloons.”

The music rose.

Janet turned to Davenport.

“Oh pal, what have you done?” she said.

The music went flat, a stinger, as the stage lights blinked out, casting everyone in darkness.  The bombastic drums played.  It was the end of Act One.

(The audience applauded.  The applause tapered off then stopped as the dim lights came back on, showing a stage blocked by curtains.)

The narrator, played by Rhine, spoke.

Has Davenport betrayed the Earth?  Will Janet have to arrest him?  Stay in your seats, folks.  We’re only moments away from the answers.  And in the meantime, please express your appreciation for the sponsors of tonight’s production, the teachers of Readerson Middle School…

The lights grew brighter as the narrator finished announcing sponsors.

When the curtains drew back again, the set was not Davenport’s apartment, but a rocky, cavernous chamber.  Sitting on boulders and standing in clusters were several pairs of pants.

From stage right, in procession, walked Davenport, Janet, Pi-Maker, Weirdly, and Queen Lagoon, who went to perch on a throne-like seat in the center and bowed her head from side to side, offering seats to her guests. 

“Thank you for joining me aboard my ship,” the queen said.

“Interesting design,” Janet replied, glancing around at all the pants.  They were on the bridge of the queen’s ship.  The bridge, like the outside of the ship, blended in with the cratered surface of the moon, except for a few screens that were blank at the moment.

“We are a peaceful people, Captain,” the queen said.  Unlike the other Pantaloons, she had a decorative band around the top of her body that looked a little like a crown.

Queen Lagoon was being played by Sheila, who as it so happened, was an actual non-human visitor to Earth.  And as it so happened, her short torso and longer legs were the perfect proportions for her to play the leader of the Pantaloons, a shy and peaceful people living on all the moons in the system.

The queen explained why she and her people seemed to have suddenly appeared all over the Earth. 

Several months ago, by Earth-time, they noticed something strange and disturbing about the shadows and dark places on the moon.  There was some kind of sensation they felt, a vibration that made them sick.  While they studied the problem, some of them began to die, their young and their old.  And the sickness spread, from Earth’s moon to all the others in the system.

Someone on Earth had noticed.

“Your representative reached out to us,” the queen said, “and offered a haven on Earth, until we could find out what was happening.”

“That representative,” Davenport said, “was Director Jerque.”

The queen sent a few of her people, ambassadors and officials, to meet with their counterparts on Earth and to make sure that the shadows of Earth were not full of the harmful vibrations. 

The queen even met with the president of Earth, who welcomed her and her people.  Queen Lagoon asked that the presence of her people not be publicly announced.  They were not fond of attention.  The president in turn asked only that the Pantaloons not disrupt the lives of the many residents and visitors upon Earth.  Queen Lagoon believed that both of them were manipulated.

“We are used to remaining in the shadows,” the queen said.

“I’ll say,” Janet remarked.  “We had no idea you were even up there on our own moon.  Oh, sorry, your moon.”

Our moon,” the queen said. 

Janet pushed up her hat and scratched her head.  “If you’re supposed to be keeping a low profile, then why are you marching around at night?  A lot of people are spooked.”

“We know, Captain,” the queen said.  “We’re not doing it on purpose.  We seem to be unable to hide properly on Earth.  And my people are shy.  They won’t just walk up to people and explain.”

Janet hopped off the boulder she was sitting on.  She started pacing.  “The Department has access to a lot of technology that people haven’t heard of, don’t they?”  She swiveled around to face Davenport.

He nodded.  “Every piece of unauthorized tech we confiscate, we keep in a special location that only agents with the highest clearance know about.”

Janet snapped her fingers and pointed at him.  “So you want me to find out where this location is, because you suspect someone has stolen some tech, to use against the Pantaloons for some reason.”

“No, I already know the location,” Davenport said.  “And I know what was stolen, and who stole it.  And I’m pretty sure I know the reason.”

Janet nodded and continued pacing.  “Okay, so you want me to break in and find the evidence you need to arrest this person—please tell me it’s Jerque.  I haven’t met the guy, but I already don’t like him.”

The queen hopped off her own boulder.  “Yes, it’s Jerque.  And I too find him most unpleasant, if you will pardon my crude words.”

Janet smiled at the leader of the Pantaloons.

“We do need to break in and find evidence,” Davenport said, “but I’ll be handling that part.” 

Janet shook her head.  “Then what am I doing here?”

“The director knows about our relationship.”  Davenport hopped off his own boulder.  He walked over to Janet and placed a hand on her shoulder.  “He doesn’t think I’m that great of an agent, but he also doesn’t think I’m so bad that I haven’t managed to capture you yet.  So he took me off your case.  He upgraded the case to priority level one.  And assigned someone else to hunt you down.” 

“Who did he assign?”


“Wait a minute—”

“We need a distraction,” Davenport said.  “Something that will really get Jerque’s attention.”

“You want me to show myself?”

“You’ll tell the truth, Captain,” Queen Lagoon said.  “That you came to Earth to help, as you have done before.”

“I just won’t mention the part about how I don’t think there’s an actual invasion.”  Janet leaned toward the queen.  “There’s not an actual invasion, right?  I mean Davenport trusts you, so I trust you, but…”

Davenport answered.  “I’ve found no evidence that the Pantaloons want to do anything other than just live their lives and be left alone.”

“Sorry,” Jane said to the queen.  “Had to ask.”

“Understandable,” the queen replied.

(The audience chuckled politely.)

“In the meantime, we need Ambassador Weirdly to work with Queen Lagoon,” said Davenport.  “We’re planning on writing a speech to address the people of Earth to explain what’s going on.”

Janet nodded.  “Once you have the evidence—”

A boom sounded.  And everyone on stage tilted to the left, some of them stumbling.  One or two of the Pantaloons props fell off their boulders.

“It would appear we have been detected,” Queen Lagoon said, glancing at a screen backstage that flickered on and showed an Earth ship approaching.  “We have no weapons.  We must prepare to flee.”

“Hang on,” Janet said, pulling a device from her coat.  “We can give you some cover.  And if you can lend me a shuttle, I’ll get back on my ship and get you that distraction.”

Janet turned on the device, a communicator.  “Maggie, turn off your camouflage and lock in on my signal.  The ship I’m on is being attacked.  Please threaten our enemy ship, but don’t hurt it.”

A burbling sound fizzed over the speakers.

“That’s my girl!” Janet said.

(The audience chuckled, more robustly this time.)

“Who’s Maggie?” Davenport asked.  “Have we met?”

“That is what we named our ship,” Weirdly answered.  “And she is a very good girl.”

Another boom sounded.  This time, everyone shuffled to the right.  Janet rushed offstage.  The screens on Queen Lagoon’s ship showed the confrontation between the Earth ship and what appeared to be a giant one-eyed worm. 

Another screen flickered on, showing Janet from waist up at what appeared to be a console.  She told her allies she was back onboard Maggie, and she announced herself to the enemy Earth ship. 

And for the first time, the face of their true enemy, Max Jerque, appeared on yet another screen. 

(The audience booed.  The actor playing the villain was not any of the kids.  It was one of their dads, who in real life was a lovely human being.)

The Director of the Department threatened Janet.  Her ship was far enough away from Earth that he was authorized to hunt her down and arrest her.  But he admitted that he would have bent the rules to hunt her down either way.

Onstage, Davenport told Queen Lagoon that he had hoped for a few more days to prepare, but he was ready to act.  He began to leave.  But Pi-Maker asked if he might stay. 

“I believe that if I integrate my circuits with the queen’s ship,” the big red robot said, “I could maneuver fast enough to evade attacks.” 

Davenport agreed and rushed offstage.

A larger screen was lowered to show a view from the bridge of the Pantaloon ship.  Darany had been impressed by the digital effects skills of the newest members of the drama club.  They created a whole chase sequence as a second Earth ship pursued the Pantaloons, while Jerque went after Janet.  The queen had the ship’s computer switch between views from the front of the ship and from the back. 

Sometimes Janet’s ship, a giant bubblegum-pink worm, zoomed past, seeming to fire some kind of gooey plasma at the enemy Earth ships.

(The audience gasped and cheered and hooted through the action sequence.)

While Pi-maker piloted the Pantaloon ship, Weirdly helped Queen Lagoon to draft a speech to the people of Earth.

Finally, one of the screens blinked on with Davenport’s face.  “Davenport to Pantaloon-One.”  He grinned and held up a canister.  “I’ve got the evidence.” 

(The music turned heroic, and the audience burst into cheers.)

Another screen blinked on to show Janet’s face.  “Is this the part where I let myself get arrested, so this Jerque can make a speech, and the rest of you can interrupt the broadcast with a special message from the mighty Pantaloons of the moon?”

Davenport frowned.  “No, Janet.  You’re not getting arrested.  Not today.”  His eyes shifted to look at the queen.  “Your Highness, if you’re ready to speak, I can put you on planet-wide broadcast.”  He held up another gadget.  “And I can make sure you are not interrupted.” 

The screens all blinked out.  Queen Lagoon faced the audience, and all the screens onstage showed only her.  Standing beside her was Weirdly.  The ambassador was well-known and well-loved on Earth, among other places in the cosmos.  He introduced himself, and then he formally requested the attention of the people for a special address.  He gestured to the queen and stepped away.

“Dear people of Earth, my name is Lagoon.  I am the queen of the Pantaloons from the Moon.  We are a peaceful people, and also a shy people.  It was not our intention to trouble you, but it would seem, we have all been deceived…”

The stage dimmed and darkened.  The music shifted to something that sounded like the end credits of a classic science fiction show.  The narrator’s voice cut in.

The queen explained the presence of her people on Earth, as she had done to Janet and Weirdly.  She was also supposed to reveal Jerque and his plan, after Davenport provided her with the evidence and the explanation.  But that was before Davenport decided he’d had enough of his friends being in danger.  So the view screen switched to him.  On a live broadcast all over Earth, Davenport accused Director Maximus Jerque of betraying the planet and its people, and of attacking and using a people who had long lived beside us in our system, quietly and peacefully, like so many hidden species on our very planet. 

The Director had discovered the Pantaloons.  He pretended to be their friend and learned all about them.

He used technology confiscated by the Department to create the strange vibrations on the moons that only affected the Pantaloons, because of their special ability to hide in shadow.  This same device, at a different setting, made the Pantaloons visible once they were on Earth. 

With more stolen tech, Jerque blocked communications between the President of Earth and the Queen of the Pantaloons, and then lied to each of them.  He told the president that the Pantaloons were preparing an invasion.  And he told the queen that the president had broken his word and would soon order that all the Pantaloons be rounded up and arrested for trespassing on Earth.  They would be forced back to the moon, where they would surely die.

And why did he do all of this?

Because he is a coward, my friends.  He tried to fake an invasion so that he could go down in history as a hero, and be honored, the way the directors who came before him were honored when they stopped the previous real invasions of Earth.

The stage lights rose, and the curtains parted on a new scene in a rocky, cratered environment.  The music turned victorious.  Humans, robots, non-terrestrial beings, and a whole bunch of pants loitered at the edges as the main characters stood at center.

The narrator tied up the loose ends of the story as the actors on stage played them out.

Davenport got his arrest after all.

The lawman had a huge grin on his face as he slapped the cuffs on the wrists of a Jerque.

A ceremony was held on the surface of the Earth’s moon.

A new director, Sheila Rox, was appointed to head the Department of Exoplanetary Travel.

Director Rox officially extended Earth’s welcome to Queen Lagoon and the rest of her people.  The delegation of Pantaloons all rose and bowed to the gathered assembly.

The director then presented Davenport with a medal for courage and integrity, especially in the face of crooked leadership.  She gave him a raise and a promotion.  And to Janet she gave an intergalactic passport, saying that Janet had earned it.

“What if I go out there and make all kinds of mayhem?” Janet asked.  And the gathered assembly laughed.

(And the audience laughed.)

Director Rox, played by another one of those fantastic new kids, slapped a hand on Janet’s shoulder.  “It’s our job to keep our citizens safe when they travel beyond the borders of Earth’s atmosphere.”

“Does that mean Janet is no longer an outlaw?” Davenport asked, grinning.

The director crossed her arms.  “I didn’t say that.  For one thing, your…ship.  It’s not docked in a designated docking area.”

Janet’s ship, the giant one-eyed space worm, seemed to love the bridge and living quarters unit attached to her back.  But she couldn’t stand floating around in one place.

“I’d like to take a little vacation,” Janet said to Davenport and Rox.  “Try not to get invaded this summer?”

Davenport and Rox looked at each other.  “No promises,” the director said.

Having saved Earth, once again, Janet and Weirdly said goodbye to their friends—the new and the old, boarded their ship, and left the system, off on another random adventure.


The audience leapt to their feet before the music faded away.  When the bombastic drums started playing again, there was laughter and applause, and screams that sounded like joy.  When the title of the play was once again lowered to the stage, the applause surged, and the audience shouted out the names of their favorite characters.

And when the cast and crew came out onto the stage, the audience was still on their feet.

Janet—not the exoplanetary outlaw, but the proud teacher—did not bother to hold back her tears.

Kids.  They were still kids.  And Janet was still proud.  They had put their minds and their hands to work the way they had that first year—again with no small help from parents and from Janet—writing, sewing, building, drawing, and tinkering.

They gestured her onto the stage.

I’m not losing them, Janet thought, as she wiped her eyes, and marveled at her students.  Her kids.

They’re just going off on another random adventure.

Copyright © 2023  Nila L. Patel

2 thoughts on “Attack of the Pantaloons from the Moon

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.