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Charlie was startled by a PING and a message that appeared on his computer. Large red letters said:

"I love you. I want you. I need you. Do you feel the same?"

Electricity surged through lonely, middle-aged, plain-looking Charlie's heart. He quickly typed: "Yes."

"Can we meet?" the next message said.

Charlie entered: "Yes."

"Go to your roof, strip naked, lay down with arms outstretched, and wait for me."

"But it's dark," he typed. "Suppose you don't find me."

"Don't worry. I'll find you. Hurry. I ache for your love."

Grabbing a ladder, Charlie scrambled onto the roof. Though he felt chilly, he quickly stripped, lay on the shingles, and stretched his arms outward. He remained that way for hours, then fell asleep.

A spacecraft approached and bathed his house in green light. A hatch opened. Two gorgeous, naked, Martian females emerged. Embracing and kissing Charlie without waking him, they gently carried him inside the craft.

Some men in the neighborhood woke up and saw what happened. The next day, they whispered among themselves about the beautiful females and how tenderly they kissed and embraced Charlie.

That night, four, middle-aged, henpecked men repeated what Charlie did, though they hadn't received any computer messages urging them to do so.

No spacecraft ever came.

Psychologists are still pondering why four naked men would lay on their roofs at night with arms outstretched, as if begging.

Story by:

Michael A. Kechula

submitted at 1:00am

13 October 2010

Michael's stories have been published by 132 magazines and 39 anthologies.