Thursday, October 19, 2017


Mars for Everyone
By Joseph J. Patchen

The air is clear.

The sun is shining, burning away the colorless clouds and the heavy grey aftermath of the night. The sun is shining, high, alone in the sky, as it glints off the oversized sunglasses of two elderly women, smartly dressed, sitting side by side, engaged in the mundane, on their front porch.

They are sisters, separated only by a handful of years but united in a multitude of memories.

The air is clear; but evidently not today, March 23, 2063.Today’s news leads with an incident presented seemingly as a directed pronouncement and the sisters’ conversation ensues with neither looking upon the other. They begin by highlighting the tragedy that is truly most enlightening.

“Oh Binny, what an age we find ourselves living in. What a time to be alive.”

“Oh Biffy, yes, yes I must agree. Man is more connected than ever before to his universe above and his temporal realm below; man finds himself gliding from dimension to dimension known and unknown as if it were a relaxed stroll down a lane.”

“Oh Binny, I am reading a terribly good yarn on the news screen concerning the opposition party’s attempt to regain goodwill, and no doubt votes, following that whole eating humans mess in the past, by promising the downtrodden and the curious free trips to mars.”

“Biffy, did you say free trips to Mars? What an educational opportunity. I am both excited and intrigued.”

“Yes Binny, it is quite an opportunity however I am fearful before reading on.”

“My dear older sister, you have a sense of fear?”

“Yes with all the nausea that eats away at one’s stomach lining whenever politics is introduced.”

“Well read on…”

“Well according to the article some three thousand eager citizens crammed in that fenced and debris strewn lot on East 64th Street and Elm where a seventy five foot space rocket has been parked.”

“Seventy five foot…oh my, that’s a big one Biffy….cylindrical too…”

“Yes Binny. Anyway…”

“Oh wait Biffy, is that address near the new Dairy Stall?”

“Yes dear Binny; and you know how much I love my Strawberry Banana soft serve.”

“Me too, it is so delicious in both a cup and in a cone!”

“So, seven hundred people were chosen for the flight by someone who claimed authority by virtue of having the largest name tag and an even larger bow tie. Fifty were given space helmets and space suits with the rest receiving Hefty bags and the bottoms of plastic shoe boxes and were told to make do.”

“Sure shows how politicians plan Biffy. My God seven hundred human beings; think about it, must have been a big ship or a little cramped.”

“Or both; up and away the craft made a marvelous lift off for the seven month trip. A perfect lift off – so smooth and fast…”

“Oh Biffy, remember those days when we were ‘smooth and fast’?”

“Yes, well, um…everything appears to have gone well what with the peanuts --- five assorted varieties, and the tang and a whole host of internationally award winning in-flight films… All went well that is until they reached Demos. Seems two Venusian interceptors decloaked and simply vaporized the vessel. It is known to be Venusians because of their social media posts, including selfies, following the incident.”

“Oh my Biffy, that will ruin a vacation.”

“I am afraid it ruined a lot more my dear sister.”

“Oh yes the education…the children…”

“A government official states that they cannot admit or deny to any involvement and likewise cannot admit or deny the Venusians themselves were actually involved. The government simply calls it a tragedy and/or ill planning by a political party full of hacks and with no message other than to give things away for free.”

There is silence for a moment or two that seems intrinsically longer than the passage of the actual time itself. Two drones have dropped from the sky and hover above the women’s front yard, some fifteen feet where they sit.

The machines are scanning the yard as well as the home; seemingly to record all in their view. When they finish their task, their cameras fix and point to the women who stare and smile.

Moments of silence continue to pass until Binny utters the brave words that will save her and her sister’s lives for the present:

“What do you say Biffy, how about some soft serve?”

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Eugen Bacon said...

Fab story, love the dialogue.

Eugen Bacon said...

Fab story, really like the dialogue.

JosephPatchen said...

Thank you so much. I am glad you enjoyed it. Joseph Patchen

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