By Steve DeFrisco
Copyright © 2009, 2010 Steve DeFrisco
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Moon Drop 4
Luna Rooter 19
Moon Buggy 24
This book is dedicated to my children, Emmett, Tessa, and Milo. I started making up stories for you to keep you occupied whenever we were driving in the car. Thanks for being such good listeners!
I was eight years old when Apollo 11 landed on the Moon. I was sitting, with my brothers and sister, in my Grandparents living room, with my pajamas on, waiting for Neil Armstrong to step out of the L.E.M. and step onto the surface of the moon. It seemed to take forever, and I didn’t want to go to sleep. Oh, I was tired all right, and practically falling over, and too young for coffee, but I wanted to be awake when Man first stepped onto the lunar surface. Alas, I was carried to bed, and only heard a repeat of the famous line “One small step for Man, one giant leap for Mankind.” For many years, outer space filled my fantasies. Making a rocket ship instead of a go-cart with my best friend, drawing pictures of rockets, learning about the Apollo program. All these years later, space travel still holds a fascination for me. I don’t ever expect to walk on the Moon, but I can dream about it. And write about it. Here are four stories about living on the Moon. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoyed writing them.
Tom sat in the common room, the only place in the dorm with enough desk space to open his astronomical charts. He spread the charts out on the table, carefully flattening them, his fingers reveling at the bumps in the grain of the real paper. Tom looked around at the other astrophysics students of Galileo Lunar College using their 3-D holographic displays. While he could understand the draw of the technical marvel of the holo-viewers, Tom preferred the tactile feel of the paper charts. He liked to think of himself like the sea captains of old, plying the unknown waters in search of a new land.
Tom’s roommate Garrett sat across the table from him, reading a digital-ink magazine. “Dude, you work too hard.” Garrett propped his feet up on the table, leaned his chair back, and let the wall hold him up.
Tom took a deep breath, exhaled, and then looked at his roommate. “Garrett, you should be studying. Finals are next week.”
“Tom, you need a break.”
Garrett set his chair down, took off his sandals, and climbed onto the table. Tom quickly moved his charts out of the way. “Hey, watch it! These are expensive.”
Garrett held his hands out to either side. “You gotta remember to keep your knees bent, or you’ll lose your balance.” His stance evoked the image of the current fad, his Bermuda shorts, Hawaiian shirt, and his toes at the edge of the table completing the picture. Garrett said, “Hang ten!”
Tom sighed. “Do you mind?”
Across the room, two co-eds were looking at Garrett and giggling. He smiled and waved, then pulled out a pair of sunglasses, put them on, and gave them a thumbs up. They returned the sign and giggled some more.
“Garrett, will you come down, please. I’m trying to study.” Tom looked up and saw that Garrett was posing and waving across the room. Tom looked across and saw the brunette and redhead. He quickly turned back. “Garrett, get down.”
“Come on, dude, lighten up.”
“Garrett. Please.” Tom unconsciously hid his face behind his hand, not looking at the women across the room.
“Only if you agree to go do … something.”
Knowing that Garrett would stay up there until he agreed, Tom asked, “What did you have in mind?”
“Free fall? On the moon? Are you nuts?”
Garrett kicked the magazine over to Tom and waved around like he was going to fall. “We used to have fun before finals back in California. Free fall is the thing to do here. We gotta go.”
Tom pushed the magazine away, but looked at the advertisement in the open magazine. “It’s probably expensive.”
“It’s only ninety credits.” Garrett recovered his balance and crouched down, his hand reaching up to touch the wave’s curl.
“I can’t. I need to study. I’ve got to keep my grades up.”
“Dude, you’re the best in the class. You’re screwing up the curve for the rest of us. You need a break or you’re gonna crack, and that will not be pretty.” Garrett banked his surfboard into a curve up and over the crest of the wave.
“All right, I admit I need a break. But can’t we do something less dangerous?”
“Ok, something less dangerous. How about asking those two babes over there to dinner?”
Tom looked back at the women. The brunette was tall, a classic beauty. The redhead, short and shapely, was whispering into her friend’s ear and giggling. Tom’s mouth went dry and when he looked away his stomach tightened.
Garrett used his foot to point to the advertisement. “Here, look at Moon Drop.”
Tom looked down at the magazine, then at women again. The last date Garrett talked him into at the Moon Mud Baths was a disaster. Nobody told him the mud was a diuretic. But he knew Garrett was right. His nerves were shot from weeks of studying.
Tom clicked the start button, a mini holo-projector powered up, and a presentation started. An authoritative male voice boomed out. “Moon Drop!” Everyone in the common room turned towards Tom, and he quickly lowered the volume.
“We provide the best free fall this side of Earthgap. Witness the glory of Lunar Colony II from fifteen klicks high. I’m Major Bob Crenshaw, retired officer, Space Force, Apogee Squad. Here at Moon Drop we provide complete training, suits, and lift technology. An all-inclusive package deal for just ninety-nine credits. We are open all Lunar day and night. We’re located just south of the spaceport on Lazy Crater Way. We are the safest outfit on the lunar surface, under full compliance with the Bradbury Spaceport Authority. We’ve had over one thousand drops with no injuries. Bring this holo-brochure with you and you’ll get ten percent off your first Moon Drop.“
When the presentation ended, Tom realized someone was standing behind him. The girls had walked over. The redhead spoke first. “What’s all the noise? Can’t you see we’re trying to study?”
Tom looked up and opened his mouth, but no words formed.
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What will life be like on the moon? Steve DeFrisco explores the possibilities in this collection of short stories, from sewers to physical endurance, with insight and humor.