“Breathtaking!” the strange man said. Then he fell to the asphalt, gasping, unable to breathe. He was the first she encountered. He died. She walked on.

Meg had been visited by a spirit, an angel, a hallucination, call it what you will, that night. The ordinary looking, overweight woman, in her thirties, clerk in a pizza take-out restaurant, had been asleep, but woke up. Or did she? The spirit, let’s say, was a blob of light.

“Hi, Meg,” it began in an, yes, angelic voice. “This is your time to shine. I have decided to perfect you. When you wake up, you will be the most beautiful woman on the planet Earth. Enjoy.”

Then the blob faded away. Meg raised herself on the mattress, then lowered herself again. She certainly didn’t feel any different. She thought it was a dream. She went back to sleep.

The alarm radio went off at 8AM as usual weekdays. Clem’s Pizza opened at 11 and she had to be behind the checkout counter at 10 for some reason. Always one hour of boredom or helping the cooks. She felt the same, and hardly remembered the spirit. Until, that is, she looked in the bathroom mirror.

“Oh my God,” she said out loud to nobody, because Meg, divorced, lived alone in her one-bedroom apartment. This wasn’t the Meg she always saw, jowly, thin-lipped, stringy brown hair to her waist. This was an incredibly beautiful woman, high cheekbones, blue eyes, lustrous black hair to her shoulders, a smile. That smile. That beautiful smile.

Then she remembered the spirit. And she remembered that she had to go to work.

She parked in the lot by the pizza joint and walked. That’s when the man crossed her path and died. Meg walked on into the store. The manager, a hot-tempered bald old man, turned to her and said, “Breathtaking!” He collapsed on the dirty floor. Three other employees were at the ovens. The one man, an African-American teenager, said, “Breathtaking!” and collapsed. The other two, teenage women, gasped. Nothing could save the two men. Women weren’t affected. Meg left without a word.

Back in her apartment, she didn’t know what to do. The spirit appeared as she stood by her sofa.

“That was fun,” the blob said. “I have been bored for thousands of years. Nothing to do. Don’t worry. I’ll change you back.”

Meg felt different. A full-length mirror hung on the wall by the front door. She checked. There stood the old Meg, saggy, no waist, greasy brown hair to her waist. She was relieved. Being the most beautiful woman in the world was hard, and she had killed three men. What now? Her old job seemed unlikely.

The blob of light reappeared. “Nobody knows it was you. Go to work. Tell them you were sick. You’ll be fine. I enjoyed myself. Next, something new. Maybe ‘Drop-dead gorgeous!’ I am going to have fun. Thank you for your help. Goodbye forever.”

And the light faded.

Meg smiled. Being herself wasn’t so bad.