Braking BadA Story by Richard Williams
Zorhahn comes to a decision.
The spaceship landed with a heavy thud. As it did, it knocked three jars of Diomedian scarlet moss off of a small table beneath the pergola. Mrs. Zorhahn flung a dishcloth into the sink and fumed. Her three eyes darted in three different directions as she bolted out the door.
Zorhahn popped the hatch and climbed out of the ship.
Bouncing over to Mrs. Zorhahn, he grumbled:
“It’s not my fault. I’ve had this ship in for brake-work three times in the last two months, and these gravity brakes still aren’t right! Shizfo!”
“Zorhahn, watch your language! The children might hear you.”
Zorhahn’s pale green face began to turn pink.
“See, see what happens! You be careful of your oil pressure, you know what the doctor told you!”
“I’m sorry about your moss, dear.”
Mrs. Zorhahn went over an began to pick things up. Zorhahn bounced toward the sliding door, gray puffs alternating from each ear.
“Where’s the phone book, dear? In the last slide?”
“Yes, who are you going to call?”
“I’m going to call the Better Spaceship Bureau and report Triton’s Tires.”
Some moss had stuck to Mrs. Zorhahn’s nose, and she was flapping all fifteen doubins of it as she approached Zorhahn.
“You should never have taken it there in the first place. What’d they soak you for last time? Nine hundred soldars?”
Zorhahn didn’t respond, but just went in and sat at the kitchen table. Mrs. Zorhahn traversed the kitchen, disappearing around the crystal-coiled stairwell on her way to wash her hands. When she returned, Zorhahn was at the laptop, playing chess.
“I thought you were going to call the BSB?”
“I will, dear, in a minute, but I want to make my move first.”
Mrs. Zorhahn peered over his shoulder, and saw the chess position. She asked who the opponent was.
“He’s from Ganymede. Look at that, I’ve just forked his queen and rook!”
Three hours later...
Mrs. Zorhahn came back into the kitchen to find Zorhahn perusing a 2012 spaceship promotion. Zorhahn put it down and looked at her:
“Look sweetie, I’m tired of knocking myself out trying to keep that old spaceship space-worthy--it’s time for a new one. Look here...”
He handed her the promotion.
“You see that one there, the gray one?”
“Oh, Zorhahn, it’s beautiful!”
She no more than said it when two of her three eyes narrowed, and they looked downward.
Zorhahn got up and lightly grasped her shoulders.
“I know, dear, you’ll miss the old one.”
She nodded as he went on.
“I’ll miss it too, because we have a lot of good memories in that ship. And you know honey, the ovals, everything about it was ovals...that was the last year of the oval design.”
“I’ll miss the blue color, too,” Mrs. Zorhahn said is a low whisper.
Then all three eyes focused right on him:
“But you are right, Zorhahn, that ship has seen its day, and now it’s nothing more than a soldar pit.”
Zorhahn straightened up.
“Well, then, I think I’ll go see Dale tomorrow over at the Jupiter Dealership, across the district line.”
Mrs. Zorhahn tilted her head.
“But why go way over there, Zorhahn? We have a dealer in this district, not more than six metrons from here?”
“Because I know Dale, and I like Dale: he’s very laid back, no high sales pressure. Once, years ago, he let me take a ship for a test flight, and he let me pick the space-lanes. I even flew past that asteroid where they make cheese.”
Mrs. Zorhahn winked one eye.
Three days later...
Zorhahn had just finished washing his new ship and was drying it with a beach towel. Mrs. Zorhahn was tending her moss beneath the pergola. It was a beautiful day. Just then, Zemo, who was just ten and lived two units down, bounded onto the pad-way, full of life. He made a fuss over the new ship, and Zorhahn was more than eager to show him things, both inside and out. Zemo’s eyes got as big as saucers when he saw all the fancy controls, the dials, the six-speaker stereo system, and even the GPS that was included. Zorhahn puffed out his chest at that point, telling Zemo that not all new ships had a galaxy positioning system.
Zemo was one big grin. But before he left, he looked over and saw this long red lever. And with the curiosity of a ten-year-old, he asked Zorhahn what it was.
Zorhahn smiled, full of joy, his three eyes wide with pride and answered:
“Those are the brakes.”
© 2012 Richard Williams
Shelved in 1 LibraryAdded on January 4, 2012
Last Updated on January 4, 2012
Tags: spaceship pergola moss brakes oi