Rough Drift

"Small" writing challenges for my small writing talent. Hotel note pads are the only space allowed. Let's see if I can strip it down and tighten it up to learn something. Improving my skill of weird fiction.

49.) Flame Job And A Burrito.


Food and travel continue to amaze Jim, even in space. He’s seen attitudes completely change with a great meal and thought about this up-coming station for days. Changes in recipe and style increase with greater distance between cultures – a true food journey. They arrived yesterday in a ship looking like a dirty grey bratwurst. After a rest, and in what Jim called morning, he bought a Neptunian breakfast burrito on his way to the platform, then stopped in his tracks. Overnight, the captain had painted the ship completely orange.

“Hey! Bo! What the hell man?”

“Like it?” said Captain Bo from atop an impossibly tall ladder while applying the final touches with a long handle roller brush.

“Well, no!” Jim avoided tripping over uncountable empty paint cans around the platform, “Why is it orange?”

“Easy! I’m one-one-thousandth Belgian! That’s their national colors!”

“What’s that on the front?”

“Have you never seen a flame job before? They loved these things in the ancient days. I saw it in the history index last night when I couldn’t sleep.”

Jim took a bite of blue burrito. The grilled fish, harvested straight out of the Neptune waters, was grilled to perfection. He considered the overtime Bo had been working as he chewed; fish flavors playing with the seasoned eggs in his mouth. Bo was eccentric in general but even his all-over-the-place conversations seemed much more all-over lately to Jim. This was more of Bo than he had seen before. The un-commonly blue tortilla wrap had perfect soft texture. He decided to help Bo got a break after this scheduled run. Their station antics weren’t cutting it.

“You know orange is Dutch right? You’re not Dutch are you Bo?”

“I didn’t think about that. But she looks great, doesn’t she? The best looking garbage ship in the fleet!”

“Looks like a flaming orange sex toy.”

“Really? That’s great! Totatlly, uh, awesome!” Bo looked genuinely happy, “Awesome! They said that a lot back then!”

Jim shook his head and ate the last bite. It’s the same kind of good like the end of an ice cream cone. Jim’s mind had serenity while savoring it, and suspicion of why Bo was up all night.

“Bo, did you do this alone last night?”

“Yep! Those pills are great!”

“Well, that’s all she could pay with.”

“And you call this gloriously orange ship a sex toy.” laughed Bo, “Yous a dawg Mr. Jim!”

“Cards! It was just cards!” Jim smiled, but he couldn’t fool Bo. His charms worked wherever they went, winning more than downtime games.

“Bo, the garbage shows up at 37:00 sharp. If you want, sleep the first segment, I’m good with that.”

“If I can, sure. Didja pay the fuel?”

“As far as they know. Hey, with your ship looking like this, anyone can find us.”

“Well, don’t get caught, Jim.”

“I can only try.”

Jim’s thoughts turned to Mercurian star-broiled steak, which they would have a chance to eat after dropping their garbage into the sun.

(Author’s notes) February 23rd, 2016: Buffalo,NY. Drawing by: ME!

People are fun. I don’t know where this idea came from really but I do remember thinking about a ship I drew back in High-School as well as a story I wrote when I was a starving cargo pilot and the ship in that. This is sort of a hybrid of all of them. And then some traditionally crazy cargo pilots, or, sanitation engineer pilots? It is space after all. What low status jobs will exist in space? Hauling the trash has to be done. As a quote from the movie Caddyshack once said, “The world needs ditch diggers too.” so I present the space ditch diggers, trying to enjoy life somehow.


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