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Taco Tuesday

Taco Tuesday

 

Book 20 in The Cities of Luna

 

AmyBeth Inverness

 

 

For everyone who wants to move to the moon.

 

Taco Tuesday

Book 20 in The Cities of Luna

Written and published by AmyBeth Inverness

Copyright 2016 AmyBeth Inverness

 

All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book, or portions thereof, in any form.

 

The Cities of Luna™ is a trademark of AmyBeth Inverness

 

AUTHOR’S NOTE: The following is a work of fiction. All people, places, and events are purely products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual people, places, or events is entirely coincidental.

 

License Notes Shakespir Edition

 

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. The ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each person you share it with. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then you should purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

 

Cover design by Robert Fredricksen

 

Taco Tuesday

Book 20 in The Cities of Luna

 

Eddie had toured three continents and dozens of cities in his career. Each had a distinct flavor, from ancient Samarkand’s exotic spices to modern Detroit’s subtle flair. In the two weeks he’d spent on Luna, shooting commercials and making appearances with his BMX crew he’d visited eight cities, each of which was as different from each other as they were from the cities of Earth.

Nothing compared to Sparta. For one thing, there was a taco truck on every corner. Eddie suspected that might be partly on his account, or rather for his sponsor’s ad campaign, which featured his face plastered across the sides of the trucks as well as billboards, park benches, and both inside and outside the trains of the truba.

“Good thing you like tacos, eh?” said Cameron, Eddie’s agent, manager, and best friend.

Eddie took the paper-wrapped taco Cameron handed him and opened it carefully. “This isn’t a tako taco, is it?” He poked at the contents of the soft tortilla, trying to uncover what might be hidden inside.

“No octopus,” Cameron said. “Oh, and the powers that be have decided they’re not going to make you pretend to eat it. They’re going to play up the ‘everything but the tentacles’ angle and make a big joke about how people who like a little Cthulhu on the hardshell are even more badass than you are.”

Eddie nearly choked on his taco as he forced down a laugh. “Good. I don’t mind holding the thing, and I’ll eat the tilapia, but tentacles…” he shivered, then stuffed the rest of the taco in his mouth. Chicken. Not as good as the beef, but beef was more expensive. Luna had poultry; they didn’t have cattle.

“The bike is ready for the outside shoot, but the suit is taking an extra day because they were arguing about the color scheme. Apparently is has too much fine detail. They need you to look bold and bright from a distance.”

“So I can take it for a spin this afternoon?” Eddie asked. He’d been itching to do more than just walk around Sparta. It was a beautiful city, with acres and acres of parks and open spaces, all buried or mostly buried under the lunar regolith. There were a few spaces with huge windows looking up and out, usually aimed directly at Earth in the southern sky.

Cameron polished off his own taco before answering. “Well, if ‘for a spin’ you mean ride around with an entourage of cameras following you, then yes.”

Eddie shrugged. Fame was good. Fame was profitable. Seeing his face blown up to a hundred times real size with a balloon proclaiming “Every day is Taco Tuesday!” was pretty cool too, as long as they shopped out the ingrown hairs on his neck.

The best part about fame was meeting all the beautiful women hired to be in the commercials with him. He fiddled with his wedding ring, an artistic creation with tiny gears and moveable parts. It hardly seemed real, even though he’d been wearing it for more than two years. The concept that Vicky had not only agreed to go out with him, but had actually decided to marry him still sent shivers up his spine. He wished she’d been able to come with him. She’d always talked about visiting Luna, but at six months pregnant her morning sickness was back with a vengeance and she’d gone to stay with her parents while Eddie was on the Moon.

Eddie and Cameron walked back to the hotel where the ad company had set up shop for their time in Sparta. He spent a terribly boring hour trying on the special surface suit he would be wearing for the exterior shoot out on the regolith, while Cameron and several artsy types argued about whether it sufficiently showed his physique and whether the color choice would be right for the lighting conditions.

When they’d argued enough, Eddie finally got a chance to try the bike they’d made specifically for the lunar regolith. He wasn’t sure about all the mechanical details. It had something to do with the gear ratios appropriate for the lower gravity, and something about being able to handle the sharp dust of the lunar surface.

BMX on the Moon was a blast. Eddie had been able to ramp up his usual demo routine with a thousand extra tricks as he soared to heights he’d never before imagined. He learned the hard way that wiping out still hurt, though. With the slow fall, he had time to correct if something didn’t go as planned while he was in mid-air, but a slow fall didn’t equate to less momentum. He still hit the ground hard if he missed.

“Remember, the city is not your playground,” Cameron chided as Eddie bounced his new bike on the pavement. A dozen other bikers were similarly warming up, getting ready to film his so-called casual ride through Sparta. “You need to do at least a few laps around the designated route before you go off exploring. They aren’t blocking off traffic for this part. I mean, it’s not that busy…”

“You mean, traffic is Spartan?” Eddie joked.

Cameron winced. “Heh. Yeah. Traffic is Spartan, but you still need to obey traffic rules and watch out for pedestrians and stuff.”

“Stuff?”

“I don’t know! Kids. Stray dogs. The occasional squirrel. Just…whatever.”

“There are squirrels on the Moon?” Eddie asked. He hadn’t seen any, but although trees were sparse, there were plenty of bushes and other squirrel-friendly vegetation in all the cities he’d visited.

Cameron just shook his head. “Anyway, you have to be at the arena in a couple of hours so they can get all the shots of you flipping out. I’ll call you when you’re running out of time.”

Eddie managed to restrain himself for the most part as he raced through the city. He suspected he exceeded the speed limit on more than one occasion, but he managed to resist the temptation to jump across the street full of traffic even though there was a convenient curve on the side of a planter that probably would have made an awesome ramp.

“I think we should move to Luna,” Vicky said when he called her that night. “I don’t care who wins this election, either way we’re doomed.”

“You really want to be that far from your parents?” Eddie asked, poking at the pile of nachos on his desk and wondering whether Cameron had eaten all the olives or if he’d forgotten to ask for them in the first place.

“We can bring them with us!” she quipped as her father leaned into the view momentarily and waved hello.

“Sure, sure,” Eddie said, pretty certain that it was just the pregnancy hormones talking. “And your brother?”

“My brother can go jump off a cliff. He showed me his ballot. You won’t believe who he voted for.”

Eddie shook his head. “Yes, I will believe who he voted for,” Eddie said. “Your brother’s an idiot.”

He was pretty sure his mother-in-law said something about being nice in the background. Vicky answered with a nod, rolling her eyes. “Anyway, it’s healthier for the baby to spend the first year of her life on Earth. At least until she’s walking. But seriously Eddie…”

The conversation went from the ideal age for a child to move to the moon, to which Lunar cities had the best schools, to what precautions had to be taken to have a healthy pregnancy on the moon so the baby’s bones would be strong enough if they ever wanted to return to Earth, to how many children they wanted to have and how close together. The last thing Eddie remembered was saying “No, I love YOU more!” for the tenth or twelfth time. When he woke up, the call was still connected, but the image only showed a stray corner of a sheet, with the camera pointed mostly at the ceiling. He touched his fingers to his lips, then to the image that probably included his sleeping wife, even though he couldn’t see her, and disconnected the call.

“Can you breathe in that thing?” Cameron asked as two of the lunar techs sealed Eddie into his suit. Eddie gave him a thumbs up. The suit didn’t impede his movement as much as he’d been afraid it would, and the helmet wasn’t much different than the one he usually wore.

He was itching to get outside. Every place he’d ridden on the Moon had been paved, man-made structures that, although well-designed and fun to ride on, just weren’t the same as riding on dirt. He was looking forward to kicking up some dust.

“OK, a couple loops around the practice track, then we head to the airlock!” Cameron announced. His smile was forced. Eddie knew his friend and agent better than anyone, and something was bothering him.

The suit wasn’t designed to let him speak to non-suited people, and Cameron didn’t have a radio or whatever it was they used for communication. Eddie grabbed Cameron by the arm, turned his friend so they were facing each other, then cocked his head and raised an eyebrow.

“Just…be careful,” Cameron said. Then he leaned in and spoke softly. It was hard to hear through the suit, but Eddie could see his lips. “And…I know they’ve done a great job of making the suit and everything safe, but…just…maybe if you took just a tiny spill on the practice run? Just enough to make sure that, you know, if you scrape a knee or something you’re not going to rip a hole in that thing and suffocate. All right? I just…I worry.”

Eddie pulled his agent close, hugging him and slapping his back. Then he pushed back just enough so Cameron could see his face, and he said “I’m going to be OK!”

The strangest thing he had to get used to was the constant air. It didn’t flow into his helmet any faster when he was up to speed than it did while he was at rest. He felt shut-out from his environment but, after all, that was the idea.

There were three vehicles packed to take him and the crew out to the site. One mostly-enclosed truck which held equipment, one bus with windows all around which would serve as a temporary trailer, and one smaller vehicle that was more maneuverable and went first in their little convoy.

The film set reminded him of a movie he’d seen about the early days of Mars colonization. Several inflated structures were connected by tubes and airlocks. There were already a few guys out on similar bikes, each with multiple cameras mounted, cruising around the site they’d chosen.

It wasn’t just a crater. It was craters within craters overlapping craters. It was lunar night, but the site was lit up bright as day from every direction. He hated night-for-day shots. It was too easy to get blinded by an overenthusiastic grip with a flash fetish.

The bus backed up to one of the larger inflated structures, and Eddie waited patiently for them to hook up the airlock between them. He was eager to get outside. Hopefully they would give him plenty of time to get warmed up before they turned the cameras on. His air tank was deliberately small, to be less in the way, and he had to change cartridges every fifteen minutes or so, but with the size of the crowd out there, taking care of him shouldn’t be a problem. He was the star, after all.

“You know you have to change out cartridges every ten minutes, right?” Cameron asked before Eddie donned the helmet again.

“It’s fifteen minutes, Cam, and I can go a little more than twenty in a pinch.”

“And that dust is sharp. It gets everywhere. You….” Cameron’s voice trailed off. Eddie wasn’t sure where he was going with the thought.

“I’m used to dirt, Cam,” Eddie said, trying to sound reassuring. “And I’m all sealed up in here. Did you see what they make the guys go through when they come back inside? It’s grievous. Hoses everywhere, sucking up every last particle.” He slapped Cameron on the back. “They’ll take good care of me.”

“Just…” Cameron shrugged, looking helpless. “Just don’t die out there, OK?”

“I’ll be fine,” Eddie said, fitting the helmet over his head while a tech fiddled with connections and controls or whatever. Fresh oxygenated air flowed around his head. He breathed deeply, then performed a few extra twists and stretches before heading into the airlock.

“Can you hear me?” Cam’s voice sounded in his ear.

Eddie straddled the bike in the airlock, and glanced back to see his agent peering through the small window in the door. “I can hear you.” He glanced down at his suit. “I’m starting to puff up! They must be cycling the air out.”

He’d only been out in the vacuum once, when they’d visited the Apollo 15 site, but that was extremely touristy and he wasn’t able to really explore anything. He had to stay on the paths or the little seating area near the airlock. This time, he could be wild.

He rocked forward and back, eager to get out and tear up the regolith. As soon as the doors opened, he was off like a rocket. This wasn’t some city street where he had to watch out for chickens crossing the road. This was his element. It was dirt…even though it was lunar dirt and not the Earth dirt he was used to. Cameron and someone else were talking in his ear at the same time, but he ignored them for the moment. He tore around the set, kicking up dust and not caring.

“OK Eddie, let’s get started.” The two voices that had been talking in his ear were abruptly cut off, replaced by the director. “First, we need a few shots of you with the tacos.”

Eddie sighed. Of course they needed shots with the tacos. He spent the next half hour posing with the bike, humorously pretending to eat a taco through his sealed helmet. He made faces for the close-up shots so the special effects guys could add tacos or whatever to the image later.

“Hey, watch this!” he said, grabbing two burritos and a chimichanga. “I can juggle!” As coordinated as Eddie was with a bike under him, juggling had never been his thing. But on the moon, he discovered, as objects fell much slower, he was suddenly multi-talented. “Oops,” he said as the chimichanga fell out of the pattern. It was hard to tell if anyone was laughing, since they were all wearing surface suits and he couldn’t see their faces unless they were up close. He assumed they were.

“Can I get out there already?” he asked as they changed his air for the fifth time. They’d taken his bike, cleaning the dust off and making it pretty for the shoot. He danced from one foot to the other, wanting to ride.

“OK,” said the director. “Let’s start with some simple shots.”

Eddie took a deep breath and reminded himself that they paid him heaps of money for this. He had to go through all the stupid stuff they wanted from him in order to get to the fun part.

Six air exchanges and three dust clean-ups later, they finally let him have his freedom. He dove down into the larger crater, sometimes following the worn trails he and the other bikes had already created, sometimes turning off randomly in a new direction. It was exhilarating.

Biking the green hills of Earth was like flying, but biking the craters of Luna was like floating. Eddie could never get an exact sense of how long it took him to go up then down again. It remained foreign to him. He added more and more flips and tricks each time, working to go higher and higher, wondering if he went high enough if he’d actually make orbit. He felt like he could.

He built his momentum, launching himself to greater heights with every turn. “OK, this is gonna be spectacular,” he said, alerting the film crew to pay close attention. He powered into the jump, twisting like an acrobat, separating from the bike for an elongated moment before bringing it back to him. One of the powerful flood lights hit his eyes at just the wrong angle, and for a moment he was disoriented. He got the bike under him, and looked down. There was no variation in color on the craters. There was nothing for him to judge size or distance.

How high am I? he asked himself, fighting down a momentary panic. He remembered something from his visit to the Apollo 15 site about the astronauts having trouble judging the size of the craters because there was nothing for the eye to reference to. No buildings, no trees, and craters could be tiny or miles across. He was falling, but he couldn’t tell whether he was going to touch down in a few seconds, or whether he was still far above the crater floor. Not even the shadows gave him a hint, as the lights illuminated every nook and cranny of the regolith.

Oh my god, I’m going to die.

His life flashed before his eyes, slowing down when it reached the part where he saw his baby moving on the ultrasound. He couldn’t die. Not yet. Images of Armageddon replaced scenes from his own life. The fall of humankind that was sure to follow the current election, no matter who won.

He didn’t hit when he thought he would. His muscles were tensed for impact with the rounded floor, but that impact didn’t come. Eddie blinked hard, but in that moment he did hit, his angle off in more than one direction. The bike went out from under him and he fell backward, landing flat on his back. For a moment he couldn’t breathe, the air was knocked out of him. He gasped and felt his oxygen increase, almost wind-like inside his helmet.

Multiple voices were sounding off in his ears, and suddenly there were dozens of people surrounding him. He couldn’t move his neck. The emergency pillow had inflated, holding his head still inside the helmet. He hurt everywhere. People were asking him questions, but he couldn’t make out what they were saying or whether the person talking was right in front of him or watching him from inside the airlock. He wished he could just turn it off.

They were sliding something under him. He felt himself gently lifted, and the chatter in his ears abruptly stopped.

“Are you in pain?” said one clear voice.

Eddie responded with a string of affirmative profanity.

“Anywhere in particular?” the doctor or whatever kind of med person asked. Eddie opened his eyes and focused on one face that was close, studying him.

He did a quick assessment. He’d taken hundreds of falls in his career, and hurting all over was a good sign. There wasn’t any searing pain from any particular place, just the general feeling that he’d been stomped on by an ogre. “Nothing isolated.” He grunted. “Everything hurts.”

Walls closed in around him and he realized they’d loaded him into some kind of transport. He felt them moving with a gentle jostle that gave him no hint as to their speed or direction.

“As soon as we’re pressurized I’m getting you out of that suit,” the doctor guy said in a tone that sounded more like an order than a simple instruction. Eddie just nodded. He wanted to sleep, and he was pretty sure the helmet had protected his head from injury, but they weren’t letting him lose consciousness.

 

*

 

“I told you not to die!” Cameron said when Eddie was finally in a regular hospital bed, bandaged and hooked up to a variety of instruments that either measured something or injected something into him.

“And I obeyed,” Eddie said, lifting up his right hand, which was in a cast from knuckle to elbow. “See? I can still move my pinky.”

Cameron breathed out some unintelligible nonsense, then said. “You know, your brother-in-law is threatening to come up here and finish the job for scaring his baby sister like that.”

Eddie laughed, then winced. Something inside was bruised, but not burst. “I’d like to see him try. I can take him, even with both legs temporarily out of commission.” His brother-in-law was an idiot, but even though his brain wasn’t in the right place, his heart was. “Speaking of Vicky, is she OK?”

Cameron nodded. “She went right into a full-fledged panic attack when we told her. Of course, it didn’t help that more than a few guys on the crew shared footage of the accident with the world before we could put together a press release.”

Eddie rolled his eyes. “Yeah, well that’s kinda their job, right? All publicity is good publicity. There were probably a few thousand people following the shoot as it happened.”

“The bosses are happy,” Cameron said. “Well…they’re concerned too. I mean, they weren’t happy you crashed, but they’re definitely getting more than their money’s worth out of the publicity from this.”

“Whoopie for them.” Eddie said, but he couldn’t be too mad. Publicity for them and publicity for him. He wondered whether he’d see a kick in sales of the toys and accessories with his name on them. At least that would equate to a financial bonus for him, as Cameron had made sure it would.

 

*

 

Eddie pretended to be asleep. It wasn’t easy, with Vicky stretched out on top of the covers next to him, wearing a negligee she complained had itchy lace, but which flattered her eight-month-pregnant curves in a very appealing way.

“Action!” called the director.

“Honey? Sweetheart?” Vicky cooed in an exaggerated spoiled-debutant tone.

Eddie mumbled and peeked out of the covers, revealing his neck brace.

“I have a craving.”

Eddie sat up, exaggerating his wince of pain as he leaned on the cast that went from his wrist to his shoulder. It was much larger than the real cast had been.

“Tacos again?” he asked, tossing aside the covers.

“You know what I need,” Vicky said, her voice sultry.

Eddie stood up gingerly, favoring the leg with the knee brace. That one was real. “Two Mediterranean Mango tacos with a side of Tator Tatchos,” he said, standing up and scratching his stomach.

“And a lime Frizzy!” she said, batting her eyelashes at him.

Eddie leaned over and kissed her. “Anything for you, my love,” he said. “And for my princess,” he said, kissing his wife’s belly. “As long as I don’t have to go to the Moon to get it.”

Next in The Cities of Luna

 

Space Hipster

 

Louisiana moons over the ultra hip, sweet, handsome musician Mark who comes to her counter for coffee every time he passes through the Gretchen Alison Carlisle Station, but she can’t tell whether he’s flirting with her or if he’s just naturally friendly. When an emergency comes up she finally gets a chance to get to know him, and learn what it really means to be a space hipster.

 

Previously in The Cities of Luna…

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Grands

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Faceplanting is Always an Option

#
p<>{color:#000;}. One Does Not Simply Walk Into Mordor

#
p<>{color:#000;}. The Day Lorinda Flew

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Schrodinger’s Cookies

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Sleigh Ride

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Between the Moon and New York City

#
p<>{color:#000;}. My Weird, Beige, Foreign Neighbors

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Robbing the Hood

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Pastor Pastornack’s Sabbatical

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Moon Dragons

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Backbone

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Gracious

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Hippie Freaks

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Moon Ninja

#
p<>{color:#000;}. The Riverboat

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Monkey Princess

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Sheepless in Seattle

#
p<>{color:#000;}. The Squirrels are Back in the Attic

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Taco Tuesday

 

 

 

 


Taco Tuesday

  • ISBN: 9781370530731
  • Author: AmyBeth Inverness
  • Published: 2016-11-09 03:35:09
  • Words: 4145
Taco Tuesday Taco Tuesday