Lunar Landing



The little craft settled slowly in to the dust as its engines whined to a reluctant halt.

“I told you to take a left,” Eva said scornfully, “but no, you always know better. Bloody men. All the same.”

Harry gazed at his wife, still so very beautiful after their many years together. He loved the fiery spark in her eyes when she was angry; it was how they had met: he’d seen her arguing with a shuttle steward, pointing her little finger indignantly up at the hapless man towering over her. He fell in love.

As usual she was right, but Harry wasn't about to admit it as he avoided her piercing stare in an attempt at salvaging his pride. He knew he should have taken Joe’s advice and bought a StellaNav for this trip. Joe reckoned it saved his marriage and was worth every penny, but Harry disagreed – why did galactic travel require more than some elementary trigonometry?

Still, he and Eva argued about navigation every trip they took and in hindsight it would have been worth the money just to have some peace and quiet.

“Where are we anyway?” he asked.

“I think they call it the Moon,” Eva replied, turning the pages of their Rough Guide to the Milky Way, “which is stunningly stupid in this instance as a proper noun, don’t you think? Oh, what shall we call that moon that orbits our planet? Hmm, let’s see. Aha! The Moon. Though I suppose if you only have one then there is no point in getting imaginative, is there?”

Harry chuckled nervously, allowing her to rant on, dreading the next question he had to ask.

“By the way, did you bring your communicator?”

She looked at him sharply. “What for? Just take off and we’ll be on our way.” He looked dejected and suddenly it dawned on her. “You've run out of fuel, haven’t you?”

Harry didn’t answer, bracing himself against the imminent storm. Years of marriage to this woman had taught him essential survival skills.

“You blithering idiot!” Eva screamed. “I told you to get fuel at Rigel, but no, he always fucking knows best!”

“There’s no need for obscenity, dear,” he placated, “particularly when it would have been fine if you hadn’t got us lost.”

She looked at him aghast, her mouth open, her face rapidly turning choleric with apoplectic anger, when she noticed the twinkle in his eye and the implied apology. She sighed deeply, the anger ebbing with her breath.

“So what do we do now?”

He shrugged. “We could try that planet over there. Let’s see.” He took the guidebook from her hands. “It’s called Earth, another insanely self-centred name. Don’t they know they’re not alone in the universe?”

He continued to read. “Oh crap.”

“What?”

“They won’t be able to help.”

“Why not?”

“Early space age,” he said dejectedly. “We are well and truly stranded. There’s nothing for it – we’ll just have to turn on the SOS beacon and wait for some passer by to rescue us. Shouldn't be long though. This is a fairly busy route.”

“Or,” she interjected with barely constrained sarcasm, “we could have called Galaxy Rescue if you had not been such a tight know-it-all.”

“Oh, just shut up.”

They sat in silence while the beacon beeped silently into the ether. Around them the stark lunar landscape shone with solar brilliance while in the distance, slowly and majestically, the funny little planet called Earth rose in a haze of cloud-bedecked blue glory.

“It’s getting cold,” Eva said after a few minutes, starting to shiver.

Harry looked at her tenderly and leaned over, putting his arm around her. She nestled into his shoulder.

“You know,” he said, “this might not be so bad.”

“Oh?” she replied, “And why not?”

“Well,” he continued, “we scarcely get a chance to talk any more, what with the kids and work. Life is so busy. It’s nice to just sit, and that is quite a view.”

She looked at the rising planet and then up at him with bemusement. “Harry Smith, you are full of surprises,” she said as she leaned up and kissed him tenderly.

Harry smiled to himself. Perhaps some of Joe’s notions weren't worth listening to after all.

funny short story lunar landing

0 comments:

Post a Comment