“Somebody save me!” Carrie thought as she flipped the burger.
She flipped the one next to it. There was that hiss as the new side of the meat met the hot plate. She sighed. An observer, maybe someone sitting at the counter behind her, might guess she had troubles on her shoulders, maybe an interesting story to tell, but she didn’t; it was just boredom.
She leant lightly against the burger flipper she was holding, flat point down on the hot plate. Her head throbbed, she thought she might even have a fever. When you were three weeks behind in rent, even when battling the flu, time off was not an option. Her burning eyes drifted to the window on her left. Cars whizzing through the air on three levels, pedestrians slipping by on those moving walkways everybody loved. Everyone busy, doing whatever. Above them, on the other side of the road, that billboard read: “Migrate to Mars! It will put a spring in your step.”
The escape capsule was just big enough for two. Elisa’s companion, Gerhard was strapped to the couch on her right. Standing, lying or falling, depended on your point of view. She avoided his eyes. Easy, as he glared almost hysterically at the enormity of space before him. His eyes darting from side to side. Hands clenched tight to the arm rests, ready to tear them off.
Sweat ran in my eyes as I crouched by the engine. I stared hard at it, hoping to solve the unsolvable. I couldn’t, the engine was dead. The starter motor had fallen to pieces, literally. The pieces lay sullenly in the putrid mix of diesel, oil and salt water that lived contentedly in our bilge.
I put the wooden covers back on and massaged my stiff back as I climbed up into the cockpit.
The picture that met me was textbook, idyllic. Blue sky, clear, deep, tropical water. Anchored in a deserted coral atoll, a thousand miles from civilisation. Who could complain?
What a plan! I, Elisa Esposito, am going into space!
Now, you might think a six year old girl might lack the skills and experience to do this. But why? Build a spaceship, take off, orbit. How hard can it be?
I like to talk to myself when I’m cooking, there’s nothing wrong with that is there? And I like to talk to myself in the theme of the food I’m cooking, if it’s French I keep my comments deep, guttural and earthy. If it’s a Thai dish, I adopt a sort of sing song bird voice. It makes no sense of course but its for the mood! It’s all about the mood.
Tonight I’m making Beef Burgundy, “Boeuf Bourguignon”. Sounds good, oui?
Stepping out from the fence like a pair of ice skaters onto an ice skating rink; Sue and daughter Stacey joined the busy and slightly chaotic frenzy of the off leash dog park.
“Time to let Mollie off darling” mum suggested.
Stacey is unsure “Do you think it’s safe?” She looks about quickly, “I guess so.” Unclipping the lead, Mollie, their two year old labradoodle sprints off to make new friends.
“Step it up!” Stacey calls to her mum. “We’ve got four kilos to loose by Christmas! Five laps every week and we’ve earned an ice-cream.”
Why I built my Frankinverter.
My solution started with a problem, and that problem was the lack of power. I don’t mean that friendly, cuddly, 12 volt stuff. It’s the evil, scary, 240 volt kind I’m talking about.
You see, our large and sometimes feared boat job list, crammed neatly into a phone, was gathering layer upon layer of cyber dust, or cyber mould if you’re in the tropics. And our tools lay peacefully in their lockers, uncomplaining, in fact, uncaring, of the lack of magical, electrotrickery juice, needed to be surging through them.
I feel my legs wobble as he comes through the door. That, oh so gorgeous man, my new, special, customer number one. Those eyes, that smile, those dimples beneath the designer stubble, he will be mine, all mine! It’s the third time this week he’s visited my humble cafe. I smell destiny.
The Speaker re-creased his already perfectly creased suit pants. He pinched it between thumb and forefinger, in an action that was part reinforcement of the material’s shape, and a symbol of the pride he took in his appearance. He spoke while doing so, multi tasking was one of his infinite skills.
“You understand, there is nothing personal in our decision?”
Lara closed the shop door behind the customers and watched the young, well dressed couple walk to their car. She leaned with her hands against the door, her nose close to the window glass, her breath casting a misty shadow. They drove off with a spurt of gravel from the BMW’s tyres. “Can’t get away fast enough?” she thought. Typical day tourists they were, couples mainly, who cruised the roads skirting the hills, sampling the small valley’s offerings of artisan cheeses, alpaca jumpers and amateur pottery.
In their rush along the corridor, Jacob tripped over his boots and fell, bringing Ruth down with him. The space suit helmets they’d been holding skidded away, like bowling balls set for a strike.
It didn’t dampen their excitement.
“Are we really here?” Ruth said. “I can’t believe it!”
Archie hadn’t known what to do in the days since Rosie had died. Now, at least the waiting was over. Rosie’s daughter Nancy would pick him up any minute and take him on the long drive up to Delegant for the funeral. His own driving days were long gone.
Leister Zeston looked over the barren landscape, and wondered where all the people were. It seemed an awful waste of space, considering how crowded home was. So much open land, uncluttered, stretching to the horizon. He imagined his two young children, running freely, his wife watching from nearby, a book forgotten in her hands.
It was impossible, of course. And not just because of its single striking landmark. The five mile high, thirty mile wide, man made, mountain of waste.
“Zeston!” Came the imperious call from behind him.
I put a piece of chocolate in my mouth and contemplated my toenails. Should I cut them? Maybe I should shave my legs? Back to the toenails, they were borderline? Big decisions.
Looking out over the marina at the sky, it seemed bigger than normal. It’s always big on the water, but tonight it seemed enormous. Orange with sunset, warm, calm and still.
I put another piece of chocolate in my mouth and my eyes dropped to the water. Murky with listless currents swirling in no useful direction. If I needed a metaphor for my life, there it was.