hen the fighting finally finished half the town lay in ruins, but she had won.
Galaxis, Earthʼs greatest hero and guardian of humanity, staggered to her feet. Her blue cape was tattered, her silver polymer jumpsuit scorched with countless laser burns. The doom-bot had stood 70-feet tall and ripped Army tanks in half with its titanium claws. Now its body lay sparking and smoldering in the center of Main Street. Townsfolk were slowly emerging from the basements and storm shelters where they had hidden during the battle and gathering to see the wreckage for themselves. Galaxis wiped the soot and blood from her face, then climbed atop the doom-botʼs massive iron head to address them.
“Citizens” Galaxis said, her powerful voice booming over the sea of faces. “Have no fear. Your city is safe.”
There was a smattering of applause, then reporters began shouting questions. “Have you gained weight?” one yelled.
“Whatʼs your favorite lip gloss?” shouted another.
“Is that a baby bump?” screamed a third.
“And now I must go,” Galaxis said hurriedly, her powerful voice a little less booming than before, then turned and flew away as quickly as she could.
Years ago, when Galaxis first crash-landed on Earth and began defending its people from injustice and harm, the headlines had been breathless. “Invincible Super Woman Saves Thousands From Sinking Ship!” ran the front page of The Morning Herald. “Amazing Galaxis Brings Peace To Middle East!” proclaimed The Post. She was a hero to the innocent, a savior to the weak, and the enemy of all evil.
That lasted about two-and-a-half weeks.
Then certain changes began creeping into the coverage of Galaxis. Galaxis first noticed it when she spotted a glossy magazine lying on a receptionist’s desk at the White House. There was a photo of herself on the magazine’s cover and below it, in large yellow font: “Super Hottie! Galaxis Gets Wet ’N’ Wild Saving Florida From Tidal Wave!”
Later, at a ceremony to award her a special medal of valor, Galaxis mentioned the headline to the President. He laughed. “Donʼt be so surprised,” he said. “Come on, you must know how you look in that little skin-tight get-up.”
“My silver polymer jumpsuit is the only known garment capable of withstanding near-lightspeed suborbital flight,” said Galaxis.
“Uh huh,” said the President. “You know, you really should smile more. You have such a pretty smile.”
A few days later Galaxis was on television being interviewed by the host of a popular news analysis program when suddenly, while she was in the middle of explaining the importance of stopping crime and protecting the innocent, he interrupted her.
“All right, all right,” said the host. “Stop crime, protect the innocent. We get it.”
Galaxis was confused. “I was only trying to inspire your viewers—”
“We get it! Jeeze, you sound like my wife nagging me to take out the trash.”
“Excuse me. Youʼre being rather rude.”
Galaxis was not asked back to the show again and rumors soon circulated that she was pushy, difficult to work with, and possibly a lesbian.
Eventually Galaxisʼ heroic deeds became all but ignored by the press.
A story in Celeb magazine speculated for six pages about whether Galaxis had gotten breast implants from a Hawaiian doctor while only once mentioning that the reason she went to Hawaii to begin with was to battle a 100-foot tall mutant spider attacking Honolulu. There was one photo of her throwing the spider into the mouth of an active volcano, but it was only there to show that her breasts looked larger than in other photos. A red circle had been drawn around her breasts to make sure the reader did not miss them.
What was she supposed to do? Galaxis loved humanity. She was charmed by humans’ endless curiosity, moved by their capacity for empathy, and inspired by the fact that despite their weak and puny bodies, they often displayed acts of selfless courage.
But then occasionally she would be flying over a city and her super-hearing would pick up people calling her a bitch and sheʼd just want to push the whole damn planet right into the sun.
One evening Galaxis found herself in her in her top-secret Arctic fortress using her ultra- advanced supercomputer to Google her own name. She knew it was a bad idea, that it was always a bad idea, but sometimes she couldnʼt help herself.
“Galaxis Looks Bloated And Tired While Fighting Murderous Squid” read the blog headline. Beneath it was a photo of Galaxis with the squidʼs tentacle wrapped around her torso, crushing her ribcage. Her eyes were half-closed and her head was angled downward so it looked like she had a double chin. Galaxis clicked through to the main article, where the photos got even worse. One showed Galaxis lifting the giant squidʼs corpse with red arrows pointing out the “fat pooch” in her stomach and “fat waddles” under her arms.
Galaxis went into the bathroom and rinsed her face in the sink. She looked at herself in the mirror.
“I am a hero to the innocent, a savior to the weak, and the enemy of all evil,” she whispered to herself.
Somewhere in another room, the phone began to ring. There was only one phone in the fortress, a direct hotline to the White House to be used only by the President himself and only in cases of emergency.
“I am a hero to the innocent, a savior to the weak, and the enemy of all evil.”
Galaxis leaned forward a little and squished the fat on her belly into indestructible rolls. Earthʼs gravity had no effect on her, yet somehow her breasts still seemed to sag. With her super-vision, the cellulite on her thighs looked like craters.
The phone continued ringing.