Monday, 19 September 2016


Nick and I were bouncing and jouncing across the landscape of Mars in a buggy one fine Martian morning when I glanced up at the sky while waiting for my ass to recontact my driver’s seat after a particularly high bounce (or it may have been a jounce). I slammed on the brakes and brought the buggy to a skidding, dusty halt as I continued to stare at the object that had caught my attention up there. Nick straightened up in his seat and twisted around to look at me,
“Why the Fuck did you do that?”
With my eyes still firmly fixed on the object in the Martian sky I raised my right arm and pointed up at it as I replied,
“That’s something you don’t see every day!”
Nick twisted and leaned back slightly so his gaze could follow the direction of my pointing finger,
“Why the Fuck is there a Spaceman falling out of the sky towards us?”
“That is a very good question and I wish I had a very good answer to it but the fact that I’m not the only one who sees it means that I’m not suffering from Martian madness!”
“I wouldn’t be too quick to leap to that conclusion if I were you.” Nick replied.
I put the buggy into reverse and backed up 50 metres to ensure that the Spaceman didn’t land on us, then pulled on the handbrake and shut off the engine as I didn’t think we would be going anywhere for a while. I suspected that even at this distance from the Spaceman’s predicted ‘Impact Zone’ I may still have to clean bits of Spaceman off my windscreen so I could see where I was going.
Nick and I were sitting silently watching as the Spaceman plummeted towards the ground when the Spaceman suddenly exploded into flames. The fireball that used to be the Spaceman streaked through the sky like a comet until I noticed its rate of descent was rapidly slowing as it neared the ground then suddenly stopped falling and hovered two metres above the ground for a brief moment before gently touching down on the Martian surface in a huge cloud of billowing red dust. The flames died out and the Martian dust settled gradually revealing to us the figure of the Spaceman standing firmly on the ground with legs apart, hands on hips and smoke rising from his suit as he faced us.
I glanced to my left and saw Nick surreptitiously remove his pistol from its holster and rest it on his seat as he flicked off the safety. I released the flap on the holster of my weapon as well as the safety on the pistol before I climbed out of the buggy and walked over to meet the Spaceman, keeping my right hand well clear of my holster so as not to alarm him. He did not move a muscle as I approached him until I was roughly a metre from him when his open right hand shot out towards me,
“Man, it has been a lot of decades since I last did that, I had forgotten how much of a blast it is! Howdy stranger, my name is Gorad, and not in any way related to the legendary Dragon.”
As his extended right hand was empty I took it and shook it,
“Howdy stranger, my name is Drew. You certainly know how to make an entrance, very subtle and low key.”
“Thanks, we don’t use these suits much anymore as the Parasuits are much easier and more comfortable to use, not to mention far less likely to set you on fire. But they don’t have the flash, flair and visual impact that these suits do. You can tell your friend that he can put his pistol away, I am unarmed and mean you no harm or bad Vibes.”
He then released his grip on my hand and waved at Nick sitting in the buggy. Nick responded by raising his hand and waving back. To my horror I saw that he was waving back while still holding his pistol in his hand. I moved in front of Gorad and moved my hand in a cutting motion at Nick. He stopped waving the gun about, looked up at it in his raised right hand then threw it onto the back seat. Surprised that it didn’t go off with the impact I turned slowly back to face Gorad,
“Sorry about that! He’s not the brightest star in the firmament, or anywhere else in the whole damn Universe for that matter!”
“Not a problem, every space crew has at least one loose cannon. So take me to your Leader then.”
“He IS our Leader...........! Sorry, just joking. We don’t actually have a leader. We work together as one for the good of us all, not to mention survival. But I can take you to our city and offer you sustenance.”
“I have no idea what sustenance is but by all means let’s do that.”
As we walked towards the buggy I explained to Gorad what sustenance was,
“Oh right, food and drink. Why didn’t you just say food and drink? It would have been much easier to say and understand and would have saved a lot of precious oxygen.”
“I don’t know. I think I had a reason at the time but I don’t remember what it was