Harry and Clyde
Launch -20 minutes.
“Man, I can’t wait to get going. This is my first trip past the belt. Actually, I’ve never gone beyond the moon. How about you… ahh…what’s your name?”
“Clyde Simpson,” said the middle aged man sitting in the pilot’s chair. He continued to compare the ship’s log book to the readings displayed on the ship’s controls.
“Clyde. Good to meet you Clyde. My name is Harry Fisher and before you ask I’ve never seen a fish with hair, either. Ha! Ha!” The man’s laugh was loud, obnoxious and echoed off the walls of the control room.
Clyde didn’t smile but glanced away from the controls at the newcomer and mumbled, “Why me… Why am I always the lucky one?”
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“Me too. Sometimes I can’t believe how lucky I am. Like this trip, I was third on the list for this assignment and guess what…Ha! Ha! Both them guys came down with some kind of Martian Crud or somethin’ and couldn’t make the trip. Do you believe that?”
“Well Harry, congratulations. Now you listen up. It’s very simple, ninety-five days out, one day to drop this cargo and pick up the return load then eighty-five days back,” said Clyde. “Oh, one more thing,” he pointed at a small plastic Jesus sitting on the pilot’s console, “Do not touch my plastic Jesus. It’s very special to me and I’m the only one that moves it…Okay?”
“Oh, you bet Clyde. You know what, I predict you and I are going to be really close friends before this trip is done. Not Reeeallly close, if you know what I mean? Ha! Ha! I’m not into any of that funny stuff. But, there was this guy in Frisco…”
Clyde blinked his eyes a few times, said nothing and went back to the pre launch checklist.
Launch +14 days.
“So. I called this old girlfriend. Man, when we were in school she got me hard every time she smiled. Ha! Ha! So, we decided to meet for lunch. I couldn’t believe she was the same person. 50 pounds at least. Christ, she ate her lunch and half of mine.
Launch + 40 days.
Clyde opened the ships log… His pen was gone. He looked at Harry who sat in the copilot chair using the pen to do an amateurish sketch of a large breasted women. “Harry, is that my pen?”
“Yah, I left mine in my cabin”
Clyde waited a few seconds while Harry continued to draw, “…I need my pen, Harry”
“Oh sure, here you go,” he said and quickly tossed the pen to Clyde. Caught by surprise, Clyde missed the catch and the missile bounced off the console then struck the plastic Jesus. The little statue teetered then fell to the floor. “Ha! Ha! Man, you got ‘ta be quicker than that.”
Launch +70 days.
“Zzzzzzzzzz. Snort… Snort…Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz”
“Harry, wake up! Damn it man, sleep in your cabin… Harry! Wake the hell up!” yelled Clyde.
“Oh I must have dozed off. What’s up?”
“Sleep in your cabin, damn it. And, Harry when was the last time you took a shower?” said Clyde. “Man you stink! Get out of here and get cleaned up”
Launch +95 days.
“Okay we’re ready to drop this load. Clamp locks off,” Clyde flipped a switch. “Switching cargo module life support on,” he flipped another switch. “Dropping the load,” and he activated the final switch… Nothing happened. “Damn it, Harry, did you set the main breaker, like I told you?”
“No, what breaker?”
“Get down to the Cargo module and turn that breaker on. It’s just inside the cargo module entrance. Hurry up we are behind schedule.”
Harry rushed down the two decks to the cargo module entrance. He pressed the door release, went through and found the breaker switch. The door closed when he slammed the heavy switch into place. One-by-one he heard the clamps releasing and felt a slight shift in ship’s motion, then he noticed the plastic Jesus sitting on top of the breaker box.
“Sorry Harry maybe not best friends. Maybe not friends at all. The miners out here love guys like you and will be great company. The next cargo pickup is in 95 days,” echoed Clyde’s voice over the ships com speakers, “and, if you’re lucky you’ll never see me again.”