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A Thorough Explanation
by Michael A. Kechula

“Who's in our bed hiding under the covers?” Cynthia shouted, pointing a pistol at Harry.

“It ain’t a woman. Honest.”

“Damn liar!” 

“Please…let me explain. This is gonna be hard to believe, but when I left Clancy’s Pub, a giant preying mantis jumped me. It said, ‘I’m an ambassador from Mars. I’m lost. Help me. I need a place to rest. Take me home with you.’ I was too scared to say no. I mentioned how scary it looked, and if somebody spotted it in my car, they’d probably call a SWAT team. It told me not to worry, that it could change its appearance, but wanted some suggestions. I thought of you and showed it your picture. It rubbed its antennae together, and all of a sudden your identical twin was sitting next to me, but without any clothes.

“Say your prayers, Harry.”

“Don’t shoot! I’m telling the truth. When we got here, it saw your picture on the mantle—the one from when you were a high school cheerleader. Suddenly, it changed itself into a replica of you as a cheerleader. Since it was still naked, I got your old cheerleader uniform from the attic.”

“How much did you pay this filthy street walker?” she asked.

He ignored the question. “There it was, wearing your cheerleader outfit. A perfect duplicate of you at eighteen. You sure looked hot back then. Got me excited. I carried it to the bedroom. Thought I was gonna…you know what…until reality struck. ‘This ain’t my wife when she was a teenager,’ I told myself. ‘This is a giant Martian preying mantis posing as her. I gotta control myself. I don’t wanna father a big alien bug.’ But I put it in our bed, becau se it was tired, which is why it came here in the first place. Then I went to the kitchen, made a sandwich, and went outside to catch flies. That’s what preying mantises eat. Right before you walked in the bedroom, I sat on the bed to give it some flies. I didn’t do anything wrong. Honest.”

“You’re the liar of the century. Hey, Bitch! Get outta my bed! I wanna see your mangy face.”

The covers flew off.

“Good lord! I can’t believe my eyes!” Cynthia exclaimed. “This is amazing. I forgot how beautiful I used to be. I’m gonna get my camera.”

While her duplicate posed, Cynthia snapped dozens of digital pictures.

“Let me show you how we used to cheer for the team,” she said. “Can you kick your legs up high? Can you wiggle your bottom? Can you say, GO TEAM GO?”

The duplicate did everything perfectly.

“This is incredible,” Cynthia said.

She whispered into her copy’s ear. It nodded.

“Permanently?” Cynthia asked.

It nodded again.

Cynthia shot Harry in the head. She and the duplicate buried him in the back yard.

When both jumped into bed, Cynthia sighed and said, “I always wanted to marry Tom Cruise.”