“Sucked out by the vacuum of space”
-a short story
Smithann took her fries out of the bin. She twiddled with the greasy phalange-type crustables and let her mind daydream about Ben2Times. The long spatula probe caught on a lone fry and its collapsible eye bulged open and wearily blinked, then closed. “Come on, sweet sleepy guy…” she muttered distractedly in a sing song voice and the fry fell all the way to sleep while she slid it gently into the sack.
“Order up!” Smithann yelled into her collar which she knew she didn’t even have to say or yell but liked the idea of it anyway. Usually, whenever she just thought a thought it would project out into the air around her, so she didn’t have to worry about using words or things like that. But she liked to practice using sounds with her throat at home when no one was around and it felt nice when she could make it happen. Ddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddd
Wow, that was weird, Smithann thought when she noticed all the letter “d”s floating around her in the air. “Where did those come from?”
It was another crap day in another crap bed with another crap shitty pod jumper he had picked up last week. Ben2Times stared at the beige fold of a bedsheet that probably used to be white. He hated this bed. He stared at the helix of crust residue gathering momentum into a weird trail on the sheets and decided today was the day he would make so many changes. He hated this life. He would make more changes than anyone would believe. Starting now!
He grabbed a hefty corner of grungy sheets and yanked with all his might. The pod jumper sprang awake and bounced halfway into the air, her huge green breasts bouncing and awesome, he had to admit. “Get up you cranky green pheromone affair!” Ben2Times yelled playfully into the air. Well really he thought the concept of yelling it playfully into the air and so it happened like that in her brain, so he hoped. But for now he just stared at her creepily and intense until she received the message. She stared back deep into his eyes with rage until the irony receptors on her left skin fluttered and she laughed heartily, bouncing and green and all. God, she is bountiful, Ben2Times thought, but then he shook his head vigorously and cleared his throat in his head. But nothing happened.
He did it again.
Seeing that there was some kind of malfunction or maybe he was having a weird dream or something he tried to figure out what to do in order to fix this problem. He had planned to say, “When are you gonna wash these sheets around here?” or something like that, but none of the words were going in her head and they seemed to be stuck in his, but not really, he couldn’t figure it out.
Ben2Times didn’t know what to do so he walked over to Stephania and shook her shoulders a bit. She continued to stare angrily into his eyes as was par the course but something was off. Usually, when they stared at each other it was easy. They both knew what the other was saying or wanted to say and only very rarely it would sometimes get disengaged, but he knew that that was when she knew she had had an Article 4563 thought and enacted the common drill of erasure which no one had yet figured to encroach or filhack, or so they were told. He shook Stephania’s shoulders a little harder but still nothing happened. Finally, he let his hands fall slack, and they just stared.
After ten minutes, Stephania bent her knee a little and started this weird little stretch dance type thing with her left leg from the knee down. She kept staring deep into his eyes but the rest of her body didn’t really move and the wind from the pod vent curled the bits of hair flying about her intense face.
After her leg stretch she stopped staring at him, which was strange. No one usually does that, at least not in real life. Her head bent down and she let her feet curl into the heavily padded floor. He looked down too and then noticed a pizza crust from the night before bent inside one of the creases of the plush folds so he picked it up, plopped it in his mouth, and continued to stare at the floor. The pizza was good.
He felt a soft tap on his shoulder and looked up. Stephania was staring down at him longingly, or so he thought. Now he couldn’t tell, everything seemed off-kilter. He heard a strange sound and realized that she was clearing her throat. In real life.
It sounded beautiful.
With all the ddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddds floating in the air, Smithann had a hard time with the lunch rush. The fries kept waking up and arguing with each other and she was so distracted that she didn’t lull them back to obey and they fought tooth and nail not to go in the sack. It was tiring. “Come on little babies…” she’d coo but the dddddddddddds would bump and bounce off the sides of her cheeks and sometimes fall down into the fry bin and crush a poor fry flat. It was sad.
One time, a “d” actually flew straight up into the air like a rocket and broke through the pod roof and now she was going to have to explain the hole, the probe, and the pack of buns that blew out before she could get to the second hatch and pressurize. What an awful day. She had to get some help before more d’s were sucked or blown or whatever the fuck was going on. She tried Ben2Times like five times and there was no answer which had absolutely never happened to her before.
Everyone always answers unless they have Moved On and at that point there is a memorial enactment and the Big Like. Maybe she would try her mom, but she knew at that point it would get weird because her mom was always coming up with new theories of why we exist in the world and finding new theorists to meet with her and recondition her vials and so she might save that head of ache and call her aunt. At least she didn’t pod with the doctors like her mom sometimes did (and think she didn’t know). Where was Ben2Times? Why was he unavailable? Who does that?
Stephania cleared her throat again. It felt good. Real good. She thought she just might do this forever. Clearing the throat and being super sexy and green. Guys would like that.
She could tell Ben2Times did. He was feeling it. She cleared her throat again and stared angrily, deeply into his eyes.
Stephania cleared her throat.
She did it again.
The lights died.
When the lights went off suddenly, Ben2Times figured he’d had enough. He cleared his throat. He heard Stephania do the same. Enough of this crap, he thought and nothing happened. He heard Stepahnia clear her throat again and he decided to do something, anything to get something done. He felt his way through the darkness and picked up a Light/Tunes/Cooking rod and threw it into the opposite wall. The crash was loud, but not what he hoped for, not like the movies.
“That was weird.” He heard a booming voice yell.
“Stephania…. was that you?” He heard the words gurgle up from his throat and they sounded tinny, far away. Why was Stephania’s voice so awesome and his so crappy, wtf. He wanted the awesome voice.
“I AM THE VERY MODEL OF A MODERN MAJOR-GENERAL…” her voiced boomed in a sing-song way and he could hear her feet doing a little shuffle in the dark. Well, he hoped that was her feet.
“I’VE INFORMATION VEGETABLE, ANIMA-
“Stephania, stop.” His voice came out even tinnier than before and now he could smell a slight burning in the room and it seemed electrical. He wasn’t sure if it was from the warming rod crash or what was happening. They had to get out of here and start to figure this thing out. Maybe Smithann could help. Fuck. He couldn’t tap her and now he would have to find her. She was probably at work and he’d have to take Stephania with him.
“MINERAL!” Stephania yelled and he found her body in the dark and placed his finger forcefully against her lips. She tried to bite and he grabbed her hip with his other hand to discourage it, and so she licked instead. God, she was sexy. Crazy, but fun and sexy (and maddening), the perfect kind of jumper.
He fished around in the dark and grabbed her black g-string and flip flops, thrust them in her hands, and decided right then that they were going to stop and the Clothe and Go for a proper Citizen 7 shirt and maybe trousers. He couldn’t traipse her to the Burger Bop like this, especially not with Smithann there. True, they were just friends, but it was just not the way things were done. His Papa taught him that 3000 fjoids ago. He had never forgot it.
To be continued!