As soon as she sits down next to me on the plane, I know. I just know. Her height and build make me immediately suspicious, and so I look at her hands just to be sure. Yup, big hands, with wide thumbnails. Just my luck to be sitting next to one of them for the next three hours.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not prejudiced at all. No of course not, I can get on with anybody. And I’m careful with people’s pronouns. I am! But why pretend to be something you are not? What is this strange urge to take on the appearance of a woman and try to blend in with the rest of us?

I try not to stare at her face. Well, I don’t want to be rude or to cause upset. I bet she’s used to it though. I bet people stare at her all the time and she just shrugs it off.

Maybe I should say something, you know, to show that I’m okay with her being as she is. Yes. Well no; maybe ignoring her would be for the best. Yes, we’ll sit here in Civilised Silence.

I shoot a quick glance over her while she looks out of the window. She has biggish breasts, too big really, and a little too firm. Were they just slipped on like ‘falsies’ or has she had surgery? It didn’t seem fair that she could get those just from taking some concoction of hormones.

“Hello, is everything alright?”

Oh God, she must have caught me staring. “Yes, of course. I never like travelling by planes, you know.”

She nods. “Uh-uh. You get used to it, and don’t worry, this is a short trip, Statistically, you are unlikely to be hurt.”

“Umm, right,” I mumble.

Now, what does she mean by that? Is there a threat here? Oh God, this isn’t one of the violent ones is it? I had heard the tales, of course, about sudden fits of anger. We all knew that they keep their natural strength, no matter what they say, and they are never to be trusted. Why should we trust when all they are trying to do is to take advantage?

“I am sorry,” she says suddenly, “but you seem quite uncomfortable and you are really avoiding looking at my face. Is there something wrong?”

I feel my stomach knot up. She speaks so perfectly, with a mellow female tone. She has had voice coaching, obviously. Or… could I have made a mistake? Is this a real woman after all?

Now she is looking at me. I peripherally catch her moving her eyes up from my hands, across my breasts and then up to my face. I want to squirm. I don’t want her studying me like this. How dare she!

Get a grip, I tell myself, and I count to three. Then I fake confidence as much as I can and look right at her.

She has a surprisingly nice face, and her smile is very friendly, very natural, actually. But there can be no further doubt. She is definitely one of them.

Now I know they have guaranteed rights these days, and I am not a prejudiced person. But I am a woman, a real one, and she… well, the makeup was good, but the cosmetic patch over her third eye is right there if you really looked for it: She is an alien JaFarzwi.

And being honest with what I think, (what we all secretly think, right?) she shouldn’t be allowed to mix with us like this. Not on our world.

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