Jewel Beth Davis and Theresa Kulstad

Theresa Kulstad
Inspiration piece

Flak
By Jewel Beth Davis

Response

What the flak am I doing on this Lude-forsaken planet? How the flak did I ever end up here? One minute I’m floating in empty space in my sweet little souped-up Aero Lynx with my good buddy Carna the horn dog. The next thing I know, I’m lying alone in the killing heat of some desiccated locale on this crappy repulsive world called Earth. For Lude’s sake, this is a place that doesn’t even acknowledge life on other planets. There’s no way I’m staying here. Get me the flak out of here. Okay don’t panic. Take it easy, Sod-boy. You’ll be fine. Just think. Think and breathe. Breathing, that’s what got you through every Constellation Exam you ever took.

Sod’s bright white hair stood up on end in a modified Mohawk. He was a good-looking humanoid so the fem genders told him, with smooth grey skin, no acne. He was a big guy and walked on two muscular legs with a fin at each ankle. He was very tall for the masc genders on his planet and except for the gray skin he could probably pass for those masc genders of Earth who built their bodies up in gymnasiums where foolish Earthlings sweated for no purpose.

Sod took several deep cleansing breaths and looked around with new eyes. He scanned his environment as analytically as he could. The sky was the sky. It happened to be a nice day on Earth so it was varying shades of blue with lots of the white stuff tacked on. But the rest of it was wholly unappealing.

Dry brown and reddish ground stretched from horizon to horizon every which way he looked. Here and there, tufts of green sprouted but they must have battled with the rest of the environment to emerge. And likely wouldn’t last long. A single bird with an impossibly long wingspan lofted towards him. It was mainly an ecru color but the tips of its feathers looked as though they’d been dipped in chocolate. Sod did not recognize the bird from his Ornithology of the Universe textbook.

Other than that, he could see deep rust-colored canyons in front of him about five drilos away. And the heat. His lungs rasped when the breath went through them. It must be at least 110 peqans. He wasn’t used to it. His ship and home were both climate controlled. Everything was on Nede.

Nede was such a beautiful planet; he couldn’t imagine why anyone would live anywhere else. Thank Lude his fly suit was equipped with water straws and cooling apparatus. Even so, the sun beat down on his head and face. He sensed his face was already starting to dry and crack. On Nede, the sun’s UV rays were automatically filtered. These people must get cooked daily.

Sod had been kneeling. Now he stood. He knew he had to move. He couldn’t remain stagnant or he’d fry. He had to try to find shelter. All he could see were a few scraggly trees here and there with almost no leaves. They would provide no shelter.

He began to walk toward the canyons. He didn’t know how many hours were in a day on this planet but the sun was almost directly overhead and he figured he had a long stretch before the sun would even begin to set. Damn his ego for not wearing his helmet while flying. It would have protected his brain and also had automatic cooling. He needed a hat and obviously he’d have to make one, but with what? Nothing here to use. He sipped nonstop on a water straw implanted near his chest plate. It was dead quiet here other than an occasional buzz of a big flying insect.

As he walked, (stumbled was more like it), over the uneven terrain covered with prickly plants that stung him, he noticed little furry creatures eyeing him from behind scrub brush and tumbleweeds. Their eyes were black and shiny. He didn’t think he needed to worry about them. Just in case, he kept moving as fast as the heat would allow. They were probably just curious. Well, he was curious too. About how he could be flying one minute above this planet and the next, on it. No ship, no Carna, no food, nothing. This planet was so brown and wasted, he didn’t see how life could exist here if everywhere was like this. Of course, he didn’t know. There could be other climate sectors.

He tried to think back on what exactly was occurring just before he appeared here. He and Carna were laughing but about what?

“Professor Sargon was really after your ass when you messed up the experiment with the Chinglies,” Carna said. His hair stuck out in bright red points all over his head. The red hair dye complemented Carna’s skin shade.

Sod piloted the Lynx and Carna was navigator. They were just goofing around. They zipped down one wormhole into a universe and then found another and whooshed up that one to a different universe. Somehow, they ended up near the Milky Way and in proximity to the only peopled planet on this end of the galaxy.

Nobody bothered with Earth. They were painful humanoids, obsessed with power and materialistic in the extreme. Nobody visited this planet because the people here were so fearful of life on other planets that they’d probably shoot any visitors right out of the sky before they could even communicate. That was the rumor anyway. Why did Lude even create them or continue to protect them? Sod couldn’t figure it out. Earthlings were the butt of jokes on every planet in every galaxy.

“The Chinglies,” Sod laughed. “The Chinglies were everywhere. On the walls, the floors, the ceilings. Sargon looked like she was about to have apoplexy.”

“What a mess! I never had that much fun in an Experimental Science class before in my life. I am so flakking sick of detrums and santons,” Carna said.

“Not me,” said Sod, “I flakking love detrums and santons. I’m just going to cry when we finish up that unit.”

“Flak you,” Carna said and threw an energy bar at Sod’s head but missed.

“Flak you,” Sod cried, “You flakking skimmy, suggy, son of a tofull.” He caught the bar and flung it back at Carna and hit him in the chest. They were both laughing so hard, they could hardly catch a breath. They wheezed and discharged intermittent high-pitched shrieks.

That was it. That was the last thing Sod remembered before he found himself here. He was in the ship laughing and then he was here.

What the flak? he thought. This sucks tofulls.

There was no flash of light. Neither of them had touched any buttons or given commands to the P-yuter.

Sod tripped over a long tubular undulating creature of geometric patterning, which hissed at him. A small forked tongue came out of the creature’s mouth. “Woh,” Sod said, and ran in no direction and every direction, his fear seeming to mist around him in tangible form.

If he ever got back to his ship, he’d turn it right around and head for home. He’d go right to his dorm and then straight to the library to study for his Constellation Exams. He’d stop flakking around all the time and get serious. He’d find Scohee, his femfriend, and tell her so. She was always ragging on him to take his life more seriously. He’d do everything he should, as long as he wasn’t stuck forever on this Lude-forsaken planet. Please, Lude, please.

Sod stumbled on a rock and fell to the ground. He gouged his knee, which trickled blood. “GAT!” he screamed and fell on his arm. “Stinking GAT!” He knew he wrenched something because it hurt like a son of a tofull. He was flakking hot. No, he was scalded. His skin was no longer grey but was a deep pink with grey edges. The bruises were turning black and yellow, his muscles pulsed with pain, and he felt like crying. But he wouldn’t; no, he wouldn’t. He dropped his head to his hands.

A humming whirring sound like a top of the line blender broke through to his awareness. He blinked and looked up. There was a tear in the fabric of the sky and his ship appeared, hovering above him. The bottom panel opened and a familiar face appeared. It was Professor Sargon.

“Gotcha,” she said.

One Comment

  1. Christine Tapson
    Posted September 11, 2010 at 8:38 am | #

    I found these pieces ABSOLUTELY delightful! And Phew! at the end…. Thank you.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

*
*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>