A Merry Crissness on Planet Miniscus

Submitted for Contest #67 in response to: Write a space adventure story that features a visit to an alien marketplace.... view prompt

47 comments

Nov 14, 2020

Kids Science Fiction

Starstruck hopped out of the car, jumping up and down. “Come on, Mom!”


Jupiter laughed and wrapped her trunk around her daughter's tusk. It had been so long since she'd seen Starstruck so excited, ever since the bullying started up....


Jupiter shook her head. Only her daughter's happiness mattered today.


Starstruck started dragging Jupiter toward the marketplace (a tough feat seeing that Jupiter resembled a large, black elephant, except for the waving antenna and three trunks instead of one).


Extraterrestrial Market occupied all of Planet Miniscus, the tiniest hunk of rock in the Forum Galaxy. It held a parking lot big enough to fit thousands of spaceships, and colorful stalls curving around the rest of its surface.


“Watch out, Starstruck!” warned Jupiter as they entered the crowded market. Starstruck brushed against a Blorkian examining a pair of earrings. The clam-shaped alien immediately snapped shut, crushing the jewelry.


“Hey!” shouted the stall-keeper, giving Jupiter a dirty look. She waved her trunks in apology and threw some Space Bucks into the stall before hurrying Starstruck forward.


“Sorry, Mom,” said Starstruck, grimacing. Her antenna quivered.


Jupiter sighed. “It's ok, honey. Just be careful. Especially around Selks.” Jupiter shivered. The seaweed-like aliens had poison lined in their leaves and wouldn’t tell the difference between a murderer or a child running into them.


Starstruck nodded and walked slower through the market, staying close to her mother's side.


They passed stall after stall of curious wonders: pink and purple fruits that floated in the air and squirted bright green juice when bitten into; necklaces made of rocks from seven different asteroid belts; hot sauce that caused throats to melt (only the Cholulas could handle those as they could regrow any part of their body). 


“Where is he?” whined Starstruck, trying to peek around the many shoppers. 


“Patience, honey,” said Jupiter as she picked up a bag of sun-flavored jerky at Hal’s Meat Stall.


Starstruck sighed, twisting and untwisting her trunks in anticipation.


After passing a few more stalls, they saw it: the most crowded stall, surrounded by a line of aliens.


“He's there!” shouted Starstruck, jumping from foot to foot, her antenna waving wildly.


Jupiter grinned at her daughter. “Then let’s get in line!”


The two walked over and stood behind a small Lepus and an older one. They looked more or less like rodents, with ears taller than Jupiter. The ears quivered in the slight breeze.


“Hello!” squeaked the older Lepus, turning to Jupiter. “I’m Ege, and this is my granddaughter Stas!”


Jupiter smiled, touching her middle trunk to Ege’s ears in the Lepus traditional greeting. “I’m Jupiter. This is my daughter, Starstruck.”


“Hi,” said Starstruck. Jupiter blinked in surprise; ever since the bullying started, Starstruck had kept quiet around strangers. But she smiled at the aliens; perhaps it was because the Lepus were just so small and, well, cute. It was impossible not to grin around them.


“I’ve waited weeks for this!” piped up Stas, hopping up and down so that her ears flopped back and forth.


Starstruck giggled. “Me, too!”


“She really has,” laughed Ege, rolling her eyes good-naturedly. “Talked non-stop about him every day!”


“Well, duh! It’s Santa!” said Stas as they shuffled forward in the line.


Jupiter shared a knowing look with Ege. She wasn’t too sure how a tradition from a small, new planet in the Milky Way had made its way all the way to Forum Galaxy, but it had taken hold like an asteroid caught in a sun’s gravity. Jupiter supposed it was the wonder of it all, or the joy, or the hope of small presents in the morning.


She couldn't remember what the holiday was called--Crissness or Rishmiss or something like that. The Little Green Guys had a lot to learn about Earth and Jupiter didn’t blame them for not putting the focus on holidays. 


But they all raved about Santa, and now so did every being of the Forum Galaxy.


“What are you wishing for, Stas?” Jupiter asked kindly.


Stas’s tiny eyes widened. “I can’t tell you that! It might not come true!”


“I think that’s only birthday wishes,” said Starstruck.


Ege swiveled her head toward her grandmother, who nodded encouragingly. “I think she’s right, Stas.”


Stas lowered her voice. “I’m wishing for my mom to come back alive!”


Starstruck blinked. Jupiter watched the smile melt off Ege’s face.


“Er--are you sure that’s what you want, sweetheart?” asked Ege in a shaky voice. She glanced toward the line, which was getting shorter and shorter by the minute.


Stas bounced around. “Yes, yes, yes! Santa can’t say no to that!”


Ege shot a “Help me!” look at Jupiter, who jumped in. “Stas, honey--I’m not sure if Santa has the power to--to bring back the dead.”


Stas shook her head stubbornly. “Yes, he does. I know it.”


“Yeah!” said Starstruck. “He can do anything!”


Ege stared at Jupiter, panicked, as they reached the front of the line. Stas hopped forward to Santa, a fluffy Ursa alien wearing a big red coat. He hugged her and lowered his snout so she could whisper in his ear.


“Oh, dear,” said Ege.


“I’m sorry, Ege,” said Jupiter in a low voice so Starstruck couldn’t hear her. 


Ege just shook her head.


The Ursa whispered something back to Stas, who hopped off and returned to her grandmother. She hung her head.


“What’s wrong, sweetheart?” asked Ege.


Stas sniffed. “He--he said he’s not sure if he can bring Mom back.” Her eyes brimmed with tears.


Jupiter suddenly had an idea.


“Stas, maybe your wish was just too specific. That can happen, you know, when Santa has so many children to take care of.”


Stas wiped her eyes. “Really?” 


“I don’t know if he can give you your mother--but he can give you a mother.” 


Jupiter reached her left trunk into her purse and pulled out a card. “Here’s my number. I want you to call me anytime--every day, if you want, just to catch up.”


“Really?” said Stas, eyes widening.


Jupiter nodded and glanced at Ege. “If it's ok with your grandmother, of course.”


Ege burst into tears. “Thank you, thank you! I--I can’t thank you for your kindness. It's been a hard year.” She pulled a tissue from her bag and noisily blew her nose.


Jupiter patted her shoulder with one of her trunks before turning to Starstruck. “It’s your turn for Santa, honey!”


Star stared at Stas and Ege before settling her gaze on her mother. “I got my wish!”


Jupiter blinked in surprise and tilted her head. “Oh? And what was that?”


Star gave her a small smile. “Friends.”


The four aliens stepped out of the line and spent the rest of the day exploring the marketplace, together.

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47 comments

Zilla Babbitt
14:08 Nov 22, 2020

I'm getting flashbacks to my days as a seven-year-old tagging along to Target. Aaah! The descriptions are too good! I love the worldbuilding, how this is just a galactic grocery story, kind of. With parking lots and annoying little kids, too. Nice development. I like your bio. I had no idea you liked "Heaven" so much! I enjoyed writing it because it was so insanely wacky. Keep it up!

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Leilani Lane
16:48 Mar 12, 2021

Thank you so much Zilla!!! I'm so sorry this comment is so late; I took several months off of Reedsy but I'm happy to be back and I'm hoping to catch up on many stories (including yours!) over the next couple weeks. :)

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A.Dot Ram
06:53 Nov 16, 2020

I thought she was going to say "A little sister." Friends is great, too. You set that up with the bullying. This was a very endearing story. I like your Christmas take on the alien marketplace (I went there, too!) and I appreciate how you addressed the absurdity of aliens celebrating Christmas. If you still have time to edit, I noticed where there may be a word missing: "Jupiter smiled, touching her middle trunk Ege’s ears..." Maybe "to" Ege's ears?

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A.Dot Ram
06:55 Nov 16, 2020

Also, Starstruck is a great alien name! I enjoyed all of your descriptions of different aliens--especially the ones that could re-grow parts and thus could eat crazy hot sauce. Fun stuff.

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Leilani Lane
19:58 Nov 18, 2020

Thank you so much, Anne!! I actually started it with "a sister" and then changed it to friends, I just couldn't decide lol! THANK YOU so much for catching that error, I managed to change it right before it was accepted. You're a lifesaver. :) Hope you've been well!

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A.Dot Ram
21:01 Nov 18, 2020

I've been well. Hopefully you too. Congrats on getting married a while back! Glad you got to fix the sentence.

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Leilani Lane
22:59 Nov 18, 2020

Thank you!!! And I've been well too. :) Lots of craziness in the world but just trying to enjoy the little things... :)

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Tyler Runde
03:43 Nov 15, 2020

Come on, Star! Just because you got your wish it doesn't mean you can't ask Santa for a different one! I enjoyed this very much. I think the only comment I have to give is that Ege and Stas's names got swapped around during the portion where Stas is talking about what she's going to ask Santa for. Good work!

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Leilani Lane
20:00 Nov 18, 2020

Thank you so much, Tyler!! I managed to make that edit right before it was accepted, so THANK YOU so much for catching that!!! You're the best. :)

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Aisa M
09:35 Nov 14, 2020

Ah, this is cute :)

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Leilani Lane
19:54 Nov 18, 2020

Thank you, Aisa! This was fun to write. :)

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R. K.
23:33 Mar 12, 2021

Leilani! You're back! Glad to see you, I've missed your stories and you've been gone for so long. Hope you're well and that you'll be writing soon ~ Ru

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Leilani Lane
19:12 Mar 14, 2021

Ru!! So glad to hear from you, how are you? :) I'm excited to be back!! Was just settling into a new job and such, but happy to get back into Reedsy. :)

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Thom Brodkin
23:40 Feb 10, 2021

I couldn’t write this. I couldn’t even conceive of all the aliens and there names and characteristics but at its heart it’s just a great story about people just like us with the same issues and the same wants and needs. I’m still in awe of how you did it in an alien setting. Great job. I know you are a great feedback giver. I wrote a story this week called “Him” and I’d love to know what you think.

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Leilani Lane
16:48 Mar 12, 2021

Hi Thom, thank you so much! I was actually on a very long Reedsy hiatus but I'm hoping to catch up on a lottttt of stories over the next couple weeks, including yours. :) Hope you are well!

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Claire Lewis
17:25 Jan 30, 2021

Awww Leilani this is so cute!! I love the characters and the way you set up such a fantastical yet relatable story. I miss you!!! Let me know if you get back to Reedsy, it’s not nearly as fun without you! Hope you’re safe and well 💜

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Leilani Lane
16:40 Mar 12, 2021

Claire!!! I'm back after my break turned from a couple of weeks to several months!! I hope you are doing well, I've missed reading your stories and hope to catch up over the next couple weeks! :)

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Leilani Lane
16:43 Mar 12, 2021

Claire!!! I'm back after my break turned from a couple of weeks to several months!! I hope you are doing well, I've missed reading your stories and hope to catch up over the next couple weeks! :)

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Claire Lewis
18:34 Mar 12, 2021

She’s back!! So good to hear from you! I’ve missed your stories, too. Hope you’re well :)

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Leilani Lane
19:19 Mar 14, 2021

I've missed your stories!! Was just settling into a new job and such. :) Excited to be back writing!

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Claire Lewis
19:47 Mar 14, 2021

Congrats on the new job! That’s very exciting :)

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Leilani Lane
01:47 Mar 15, 2021

Thank you so much!! :)

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Chris Wagner
05:26 Dec 24, 2020

The story is readable. Didn't see any writing mistakes that took me out of the story. My biggest complaint is that this is just a story about Christmas in a shopping mall with cute alien trappings. Sci-fi is about exploring alternatives to culture we're familiar with, or making sly digs at society's sacred cows . For this reason, I think what you wrote would be a great story if you just boiled it down to a kid trying to ask santa to raise the dead, and other misconceptions a child might have. You've got a great start on it already, so I'd j...

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Leilani Lane
16:49 Mar 12, 2021

Yup, it's just a cute story, nothing further! Thanks for your comment!

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I love your descriptions and names.

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Leilani Lane
16:50 Mar 12, 2021

Thank you!! :)

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Hi Leilani, I loved the unique names. Great idea, I loved the emotional side as well! Also do check out my new stories!

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Leilani Lane
16:50 Mar 12, 2021

Thank you!!

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Gracie Katerina
15:24 Nov 23, 2020

nice story liked the descriptions and the plot it is very sweet and nice to read about

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Leilani Lane
16:50 Mar 12, 2021

Thanks so much!! :)

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Kat Bador
08:46 Nov 19, 2020

This definitely put me in a festive mood. Well done!

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Leilani Lane
14:24 Nov 19, 2020

Thank you so much, Kat! :)

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05:15 Nov 19, 2020

Loved this story!!! It was so sweet! I especially loved the ideas and creativity behind the different types aliens and their names.

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Leilani Lane
05:18 Nov 19, 2020

Thank you so much, Akshaya! :) Glad you enjoyed it.

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05:25 Nov 19, 2020

My pleasure! :D

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Sjan Evardsson
01:47 Nov 19, 2020

This was a sweet and endearing story. Thanks for sharing. Stay safe and keep writing!

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Leilani Lane
01:57 Nov 19, 2020

Thank you, Sjan! :)

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23:37 Nov 18, 2020

This story was really sweet! I read it to my siblings, and they really liked it too. I love how you included Santa. I am SO excited for Christmas, so it made me appreciate this story more. I love elephants, and this was a cute idea! The name of this story was also fun :) The only critique I have is how the alien names were a little confusing- not Jupiter and Starstruck (cute name as well!)- but the names of the alien species. Honestly, though, it wasn't that big a deal and was still super cute!

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Leilani Lane
04:24 Nov 19, 2020

Katie, your comment absolutely made my day! I can't believe you read it to your siblings, that is so cute. :) You are totally right about all the alien names and species. I went a little overboard. :) So, completely my mistake (because I used Google Translate...I'm ashamed), but I thought "egestas" (Latin) meant "bunny" in English. Since the creatures looked like bunnies, I wanted to use that word and just split it up to Ege and Stas...and then I learned that egestas means law enforcement?? This is what I get for using Google Translate. X...

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Molly Leasure
00:35 Nov 18, 2020

This is adorable!! After your other two stories (Blood, blood, blood! *cue ketchup squirting* And death!—name the movie, haha), this story was even MORE adorable. First of all, I love the name starstruck. Like, adorable. Second of all, I love that they are basically just elephants with three trunks. Get out of here, that's so eeek! I love elephants, so much. And I love the similarities of the market to an Earthian market, except, you know, extreme. And then Santa. Don't even get me started on how great it was to include Santa. I love that! A...

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Leilani Lane
19:57 Nov 18, 2020

Thank you so much, Molly!! Wanted to keep this one lighthearted and easy-to-read. :) A bit crazy but fun to write for sure! Oh my goodness. I am so, so sorry for your loss. That story is very much related to my experience of my family's dog passing so I absolutely would encourage you not to read it. I remember the first time I watched Marley and Me after my dog passing, and I just could not stop crying...I am so sorry. If you need to talk to someone, please message me--I know Reedsy doesn't have private messaging but you can email me at l...

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Molly Leasure
22:12 Nov 18, 2020

Crazy is often the most fun style of story!! Oh geez, thank you so much. That's really kind of you! I'll likely take you up on that offer :).

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Grace Larson
03:58 Nov 16, 2020

Totally loved this story!! I loved how creative you got with all the alien names (probs my favorite part) and also how you were able to be very touching without getting cheesy. Can't wait to read more of your work!

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Leilani Lane
19:58 Nov 18, 2020

Thank you so much, Grace!! I need to catch up on stories, hopefully soon....adding yours to the list!! :)

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Grace Larson
20:11 Nov 18, 2020

Yas, if you could take a look at some of my stuff too, I would be super grateful!!

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Leilani Lane
20:11 Nov 18, 2020

Of course!! :)

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