Not just Friday, Flash Fiction Friday! Today I bring to you ... the moon!
Also, something new for those who enjoy following my fiction: we'll have flash twice a week now, on Flash Fiction Friday and Tales Told Tuesday! With the increased output, I'm giving you, my dear readers, a chance to support this endeavor with a Patreon account. If you love these stories and want more, go here to sign-up for monthly donations and support. Donation milestones will get you longer stories, .pdf or epubs, as well as little perks like hand-written thank you cards, the chance to choose topics, and more. It's set up as a monthly campaign. Those who choose to give, thanks for your support! Those who don't, the stories will always be here for your pleasure.
Enjoy. Notes to follow.
"The Story of your Life As Told in a Sequence of Successful Lunar Journeys"
by Leonard C Suskin
You'll go to the moon in a wooden rocket-ship, homemade in the garage. The sprinkler-hose with its many tiny pinholes enwrap cardboard boxen, tangles of bright colored plastic slinkies, empty cartons with their faintsour stink. The launchpad is an irridescent rainbowstain on the solid concrete floor, smelling faintly of Saturday mornings with your father. It was, after all, by watching him work on his car that you learned how to build a rocketship.
When you reach the moon, it's hollow inside, populated by strange and hostile mooncreatures. As trees don't grow on the moon, the moonbeasts have grown with a frightful vulnerability to wood. You beat them off with a broken stirstick embossed with the logo of the local paint store and and return to earth as a conquering hero.
You'll go to the moon in a solo rocket, launched from a equatorial island. The lifter is a reliable thing of off-the-shelf parts, tested by the harsh realities of many, many journeys. There is no mission control, few support staff. Everything - every connection, every bolt, every O-ring you inspect yourself prior to launch. No government on this island; you'll launch when the time is right.
When you reach the moon, the base is already under construction. You'll add your self-sustaining, self-contained module to the rest. A cunning series of airlocks will allow visits but isolate you from any pressure leaks or other incidents in neighboring modules. You'll spend days mining the lunar regolith for those elements more plentiful here and nights on the theoretical research which is your calling. When you return to Earth, you will bring wealth and knowledge.
You'll go to the moon on a one-way trip, as a stowaway or a thief. It will be a hurried, furtive launch, without time to pack nearly enough food or protective gear.
When you reach the moon, you'll be starving and ailing, but it won't matter. You'll close your eyes, knowing that whenever she looks up at the moon, she'll be looking at you.
You'll go to the moon with a grant from the NEA, plus more from wealthy private donors. The launch vehicle will be Chinese, creating a political tempest about our arts program funding foreign space travel with military applications.
When you reach the moon, you'll build exquisite miniatures of an ante-bellum plantation from the American south, including broad-leaved tobacco plants shaped with lunar dust and terran plant-matter. You'll plant a tiny Confederate flag and then return to earth, leaving behind a remote camera to broadcast the static tableau both inward towards Earth and outward to the universe.
You'll go to the moon on a date. It won't be easy to arrange, but what's life without a grand gesture? You'll have good enough friends in the right places that they could make it happen, even if just once.
When you reach the moon, the view will be breathtaking. You'll get on one knee, but fumble as you take the box out of your spacesuit carrying pouch. You'll barely hear her shocked and joyous "yes" as the ring falls in slow-motion to the lunar surface.
You'll go to the moon on a family outing. You'll rig up dummy sets of controls for the kids which, in reality, are more complicated than the real controls in front of you. All the hard work is done by the professionals at launch control. For them it may be routine, but for you and yours it will be the thrill of a lifetime.
When you reach the moon, you marvel at the breathtaking view of the Earth and cosmos. What keeps the most of your attention is, of course, your children, runnign with graceful hopjumps in the low lunar gravity. They'd snuck some old paint-stirrers in with their personal items, and are having a charming pretend lunar swordfight.
You'll go to the moon posthumously, after a lifetime of dreaming it. Ashes are easier to send than a living body.
When you reach the moon, you will join in the silence. You'll leave behind a message to your children's children, "I got here. Come visit me."
Thanks for reading! The second one, in which the lunar colony is a bit of a libertarian every-lunatic-for-themself-fantasyland, came from a real conversation I had in college with some fellow engineering students. The idea of leaning on others was anathema to us. The recent battler over the Hugo awards by puppies rabid and sad brought these old personal science-fictions back to my mind, as well as the idea that the stories we choose to tell create a mirror of our own inner lives.
Dream about the moon, for whatever that means. What it means will change day to day, week to week.