SF Drabble #294 “A Cold One”

I’ve been up fourteen years. I don’t get back down Earthside much: it costs too much, and by the time you get there it’s time to turn around and come back.

I was never the outdoor type, so I don’t really miss green trees and flowers and blue sky. I certainly don’t miss cities and traffic. Beer I miss. I mean, I’m not a beer snob — I don’t insist on drinking them warm or anything — but I like a beer every now and again, only a beer costs more than a day’s pay up here. Not many alcoholics in space.

SF Drabble #293 “Last Chance For Gas”

The limo pulled in with steam already gushing out from under the hood. We thought it was some high roller from L.A. heading home after a weekend in Vegas, but then those two aliens piled out of the back: the furry one and the crab.

The furry one immediately starts running around examining everything: the other cars, the pumps, the sign with the gas prices, everything. The crab is chittering at him, gesticulating, saying god knows what. Eventually they came inside and the crab had me make them ice cream sundaes.

I think it’s getting to be time to retire.

SF Drabble #292 “Quality Control”

Rick here. Third message. I really need you to call back, everybody here is getting a little antsy. The higher-ups O.K.’ed taking the prototype home for the weekend to put It through some real-world tests, but now it’s Tuesday afternoon and we haven’t heard from you or gotten any reports. And of course, the tech boys want the prototype back as soon as you can get it here, obviously: apparently there’s still some leftover military code they need to track down and cut out. Nothing to worry about, though. So, call back. Or just come in as soon as possible.

SF Drabble #291 “Talking Heads”

“Oh, I hate this new one. I liked the other one better. She sounded like she really cared.”

“What?” I lowered my book and saw the evening news playing on the telewall. “Oh. Reanne, they’re robots, none of them care.”

“Oh, I know. But this one sounds like she doesn’t care. The old one sounded like she really cared.”

“Maybe she did care, Reanne. Maybe she cared so much that she blew a gasket or something, and so they had to replace her.”

“Oh, you’re funny.” After a long, silent moment she asked, “Do you really think that’s what happened?”

SF Drabble #290 “Leave Earth Too The Humans”

Standing out in front of that alien monstrosity with my sign, you know, doing my part. Morning shift, only three of us. Used to be more, when they first built the Embassy. Sometimes on Saturday afternoons we still get a crowd, if the weather’s nice. Most of the time it’s just the hard core, the old campaigners. Guys like me. Been doing it for years.

Never talked to any of them, of course, until yesterday. One of ‘em came out, walked right up to me and told me my sign was misspelled. Fuck you, you stupid bug: I’ve got spell-check.

SF Drabble #289 “High Security”

They had to buzz me through ten times before I even got to the section where they keep it… him. I don’t remember being challenged for my credentials that many times when I went to see the President, and that was the paranoid one, you know, old mister “watch your fellow Americans with an eagle eye!” God, I’m glad he’s gone.

The observation area was separated from the cell by three-inch-thick glass and a twenty-foot wide pit that didn’t have a perceptible bottom. The Visitor was asleep, not much of a show. But I’ve been having trouble sleeping ever since.

SF Drabble #288 “Left Behind”

I see Reese walking carefully across the naked surface towards me. She never gets any closer; she’s always just past those big grey rocks, just far enough that she’ll never reach me before she gets called back.

Of course, it isn’t really her: it’s just an afterimage, a ghost. The real Reese left with the ship. She followed orders. I don’t know why I keep seeing her. Maybe it’s one of those things where the last moment of my life is being drawn out and I’m just perceiving it as weeks and months and finally years. Maybe it’s hypoxia.