(A moment of peace, the calm in the eye of the storm.)
Just a few short hours ago, there‘d been a clatter of metal against glass, the whine of motors rotating through a thick sludge, the wet thunk of an awkward body, a snip and rustle of evisceration, the rasp of metal on metal, and a clang of slamming doors.
“I think we’ve done all we can for now.” Karen wipes her brow and surveys the damage. “When are the troops supposed to arrive?”
Lula, at forty, was too old to be a whore, and too smart to be a madam. Scratching a living from the arid Oklahoma soil did not appeal to her.
She never did cotton to book learning. At least, not the kind of learning offered at the town’s one-room school house. It squatted at the edge of town like a carbuncle,
Hands on hips, furious, pleading, she is at the end of her rope. “I know you have it. It was here just a second ago, right on that coffee table.”
He looks up at her from their communal couch, brows raised, close mouthed, hands clasped and resting in his lap.
She strode down the corridor, Gravboots beating a driving rhythm, her Sikshooter clanging warning bells off her generously curved hip. Ready for transport down to the moon, Arizon’, she suspected the Space Cowboy Coalition was playing them for fools. No profit, but maybe an adventure. She’d arranged her own transport.
I see you through the light canopy that enshrouds the bed, your cheek a false pink from yesterday’s gathering of early spring blooms. Sun shines bright through the window panes, warming the edge of your pillow. Wrapped up in a light duvet, its cover pale blue and patterned with tiny flowers, soft contrast to our sturdy wooden bed, you roll away from the light. Shall I throw open the windows and let the Green Man in?
There once was a settlement on Arizon’, 20 kliks from a ruined moonbase at the far edge of what the Space Cowboy Coalition called the 66th Quadrant. The planet to which Arizon’ had been attached is as long-gone and forgotten as its name. By all that’s natural and what we believe to be the laws of science, the tiny golden moon Arizon’ should have spun off and disappeared as well. But there she sits, spinning slowly, holding her place in the quadrant, wreathed in pearly-gray clouds.
A transformation is occurring…
Many, many years ago, when the red planet was untamed and sparsely populated–not like it is now, with its towering star scrapers and rumbling freewheelways—Schmitties roamed the plains, and the atmosphere was breathable.
A man could make a fine life for himself as a Schmittyboy. The pay wasn’t great, but the vistas couldn’t be beat.