The Woman Who Kept a Planet in Her Closet

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
The title pretty much says it all. For people who enjoy something just a bit off-beat. Comments are welcome.

Submitted: September 26, 2007

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Submitted: September 26, 2007

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Mrs. Evelyn Dotrice of 2633 Green River Street, Apartment 312, kept a planet in the closet of her spare bedroom.

The planet had followed her late husband Emmanuel Dotrice home one day.  Things were always following Mr. Dotrice.  Turtles.  Wasp-waisted women.  1958 Studebakers.  Cryptozoological creatures.  Mrs. Dotrice allowed them to stay, knowing that men are just grown-up boys who must have their toys.  She did, however, put her foot down after the electromagnetic storm burnt out her new air popper popcorn maker.  After that the earthquake, the chamosaur, and the lost alligator they had found floating toward the storm drain one rainy evening stayed in the aluminum storage shed in the back yard of the apartment building.

The planet though was very well-behaved and fit quite nicely on the top shelf of the closet between the sock monkey doll and the trans-dimensional teleporter Mr. Dotrice had bought at a garage sale for forty-five cents.  He already had three trans-dimensional teleporters at the time, but he didn’t like to not buy something at a garage sale after stopping.

The planet, which was actually a dwarf planet, though Mr. and Mrs. Dotrice never called it that as not to hurt its feelings, had a name; but Mrs. Dotrice, who had won every mathematics competition ever held in the one room schoolhouse she had attended as a girl, was not astronomically minded and could never remember it.  She called it Leroy after a Yorkie she had once owned.  The planet didn’t seem to mind, coming quite quickly when called.

Mrs. Dotrice was glad to have Leroy’s company after Mr. Dotrice was gone.  Though he returned very soon as an ectoplasmic entity, Mrs. Dotrice found it rather trying to use the oujia board for all her conversations with her late husband.  Her arthritis bothered her most days.  So though she enjoyed the sight of her Emmanuel dripping eldritch goo on his favorite recliner, Mrs. Dotrice found it much easier to talk to Planet Leroy who had a lovely, clear voice and didn’t drip, except when his polar ice caps thawed.

Leroy was an excellent conversationalist.  Though he did have a tendency to orbit about and not get to the point, he had seen a great many things in his travels and liked to talk about them.  He was also very good at Sudoku. 

On cloudy days Mrs. Dotrice took Leroy for walks.  Sunny days were bad for his frozen seas.  They would go once around the block with Leroy picking up the occasional stray garbage can lid or school principal as a temporary satellite.  Mrs. Dotrice never allowed him to keep them.  After all, she told Leroy, you never knew where a school principal had been.

The day came when Mrs. Dotrice’s children decided it was time their mother went to a Home.  It was a fine Home, having the advantage of being far enough away that Mrs. Dotrice’s children would never have to feel guilty about not getting to see her more often.

Mrs. Dotrice didn’t like her children.  She had never wanted children, but they’d come as a free gift with a package of sea monkeys Mr. Dotrice had ordered and she had felt obliged to raise them.

On Saturday the twenty-third Mrs. Dotrice’s children arrived.  There was the chunky daughter, the sniffly daughter, and the whiney son, named respectively Chris, Kris, and Cris.  When something worked Mrs. Dotrice saw no reason to change it.

Chris, Kris, and Cris began to pack and sort Mrs. Dotrice’s belongings with the vigor of Sherman marching on Georgia.  The accumulated jumble of eighty-four years of living was quickly disposed of.  The portrait of Elvis on velvet, the flaking soap on a rope, the box of Hanukkah cards from 1977, the lunar landing module.  All were sent to the curb without hesitation.  Mrs. Dotrice retreated to the spare bedroom when a squabble arose over whether Chris, Kris, or Cris should get the collection of state magnets off the refrigerator door. 

Leroy quite understood Mrs. Dotrice’s feelings.  After all he had been shunted out of the family merely because he was the runt.

Leroy’s nitrogen began to boil as he listened to Chris, Kris, and Cris bickering.  Mrs. Dotrice had been very kind to him and they were upsetting her.

With that thought in mind, he rolled himself out of the closet, rotated past a surprised Mrs. Dotrice, and revolved into the kitchenette where the children were arguing.

There was some consternation at both his appearance and his smell.  Chris, Kris, and Cris had not been aware Mrs. Dotrice was keeping a planet in her spare bedroom closet.  Naturally they were quite surprised to see it making an entrance.  Matters were not helped by the fact that in the process of coming out of the closet Leroy had broken the last unopened bottle of Evening in Paris perfume and been drenched by it.  To put it kindly, he reeked.

This predisposed Chris, Kris, and Cris to ignore Leroy’s arguments in favor of Mrs. Dotrice staying in the apartment with him as her guardian.  They certainly couldn’t trust a vagabond planet who was obviously undersized to take care of their precious mother.

It was at this point in the proceedings that Leroy suffered a planetary episode and rolled over and absorbed Chris, Kris, and Cris.  He apologized profusely to Mrs. Dotrice who told him not to worry about, that these things happen, and the whole incident was soon forgotten.

Several positive things did come of it.  Mrs. Dotrice was able to stay in her apartment.  Some needed cleaning had been done.  And Leroy had gained enough mass that he was welcomed back into his family.  Mrs. Dotrice was sad to see him go, though she was of course very happy for him.  She felt quite strongly that estrangements in families were good for no one. 

Leroy, despite being busy catching up with his relatives, always found time to visit Mrs. Dotrice when he was in the neighborhood and help her with her Sudoku puzzles. 


© Copyright 2020 Acton Bell. All rights reserved.

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