'Night, night, night, night and stars above that shine so bright
The mystery of their fading light
That shines upon our caravan.'
- Duke Ellington -
I remember the first time I met her. 1967. Edwards Air Force Base. It was a sunny day. I heard the soldiers' loud voice cheering themselves on. The winds came from the Mojave Desert tickled my cheek. She was tall and has long, curly blonde hair. She looked like a little boy. She came to the salute and I retuned her salute. We moved to somewhere we had never been to. On the second floor of the brick building, there was a room at the end of the passage. We met a big shot who had one or two (maybe three?) stars on his hat. We both stood to attention and saluted to him about the same time. At that moment, I first realized the she was my partner.
From that day on, we have met innumerable numbers of stars; how many stars were on the generals’ hat? it felt like ridiculous question. Two? Three? If he had five, would it matter to us? There were zillions of stars out there. Why we worry about three, four, or five? If we reached out for the stars, we would get a handful of them. Linda loved stars because they are always shinning and glittering; she doesn’t like them for now. I loved stars, too; it is a goddam frightening sight for now. We’re bored! It’s quite natural since this endless mission has been continued for ten years. Until now, we haven’t seen anything except stars: countless star groups repeating ad infinitum. (What a goddam sight!) Yes. We’re totally bored and have serious skepticism with regards to the mission.
The mission. The wonderful, tremendous, and fantastic mission. If we had understood it correctly, our goal is to reach the Moon. And if we had not been mistaken, we would have landed the Moon long time ago: 9 years, 11 months, plus 27 days ago. Then, we might go back to the Earth, where all of my family and friends live. However, our boomerang hasn’t found a turning point; still, marching to nowhere. The communication with Arlington spacecraft control center had been lost long ago. We gave up all hope to return home. We don’t remember what the mission was. It might be written somewhere: manual, mission log, diary, whatever. However, I don’t want do that. That's too much of a hassle, and we can't afford to do that.
(To be continued)
Mars is heaven!
- Ray Bradbury -
But the film is a saddening bore
For she's lived it ten times or more
- David Bowie -
The couple next door bought a 6o-inch flat screen television. If Mr. Smith knew that, he wouldn't buy a 5o-inch flat screen television. The 5o-inch television was big enough for his room; but it doesn't matter at all. The real problem was a bruised ego. He doesn't like the couple because they are such a snob. They ring their own bell all the time. Did they also despise him? Pshaw, he doesn’t care at all. They ain’t got nothing on him!
The guy next door also works at MARS & Mr. Recycling, Inc., just like Mr. Smith do. He is a professional waste picker. Some people call him garbage scavengers; he salvages reusable or recyclable materials thrown away by others to sell. That's how he has been making a living on Mars. That's how Mr. Smith has been making a living on Mars: hyena, giving a longing look at the abandoned stuffs. They all are tarred with the same brush.
Mr. Smith raised bottle caps by selling those things. Bottle cap: a monetary unit of new era. Paper money became extinct a long time ago. Bottle cap is the only honest inheritance from a society of mass production, mass distribution, and mass consumption. Interestingly, it satisfies all the requisites of currency.
He has put all he earns on home decoration, and so did the couple next door. In fact, all immigrants were the same. The surface of Mars had been covered with garbage for a few centuries, forming a huge pile; and there always been valuable things, appearance to the contrary. Valuable garbages, bringing money, no, bottle caps. Evan if it might not be enough for him, it would make a jingle in his pocket.
"I need more bottle caps to invest more in home decoration," he said.
(To be continued)