It appears nobody wants to purchase this story from me, and frankly I’m tired of sending it out. So here it is for you guys to also not want, I guess? For some reason or another I guess it doesn’t quite work. About 1,400 words, too long to shorten to flash. Maybe someone will enjoy it.
(I do quite like that Pallax Seven bit, though, I may use it in another story someday.)
Things To Do in Zero Gee After the End of the World
He was beautiful, crouched on the hood of Trevor’s BMW, boots crunching on shattered fragments of the windshield. In his hand, a light winked on the side of his laser pistol. He reached down to help me climb free of the wreckage of the car. His outfit was very snug and ohmygod his lips.
“It’s getting a little hot out here,” he said, pulling me up and holding me close. My brain refused to come up with the thousand responses I thought of later.
“I’m Bonaventure,” he said with a smirk. His voice was deep and tinged with an exotic, measured accent.
“Parker,” I managed.
“Nice to meet you, Parker,” he said with a smile, and something exploded in the distance. “Ready for an adventure?” Before I could answer, he twirled with me and over my shoulder blasted one of the hideous things crawling from the wreckage of a flying saucer.
Many among the assembled audience shifted uncomfortably. Someone at the front of the crowd muttered, “I don’t know if I’m comfortable with this casual racism,” but they were hushed by a toothy glare from the Darbarian who’d first stopped to ask for the story.
Bonaventure arrived the same night as the invasion. Flying saucers soared across the planet, impervious to Earth weapons and devastating everything in sight. Whole cities vanished. Trevor and I had gotten out of London, as far as Woking, when one of the saucers swooped in and started vaporizing every car on the road.
His ship was long and sleek, more like a jet than a platter. There was only room for him and one passenger. I was pretty positive Trevor wasn’t going to last the night, with the injuries he sustained in the car crash, and I’m sure he’d have wanted me to go, if he’d been conscious enough to know what was happening.
What? We’d been dating a week, come on.
So Bonaventure and I left Earth behind. Everything I knew was gone or would be soon. As we slipped free of the planet, I saw thousands of those saucers that hadn’t even started attacking yet. From orbit, I could see fires consuming my old life. Soon, I would be the only human left in the universe.
“Get to the part where you bang!” someone in the back shouted.
“Beautiful Parker,” Bonaventure said. His fingers traced a constellation in the freckles on my shoulder. We lay in the little bed in the small apartment wedged behind the cockpit of his ship. On Earth I’d been generally average, short and lumpy in a few spots I’d rather be less lumpy in, but here was this perfect intergalactic spaceman with his lean body and his dark purple hair and tattoos that moved around depending on his mood telling me I was lovely and wanted.
“Why me?” I asked, not sure if I really wanted an answer. Everything was perfect and I didn’t want to break it.
“I was in the neighborhood, saw the invasion fleet,” he said. “I always wanted to see London. Not like that, of course, but.” He trailed off, his gaze out the nearest porthole, and a set of concentric circles etched into his chest constricted. “Didn’t seem like I’d get another chance.”
“Yeah,” I said, “but, so why me? Out of everyone?”
Bonaventure laughed. “Well, you were close. Only a few saucers near.” He kissed my shoulder. “It’s just luck that we’re so…compatible.”
He took me to a space station. Space station! These are words that are mundane to me now! I tagged along while he talked with super weird aliens in languages I couldn’t comprehend. Eventually he made a deal with a guy who looked like a crocodile and we headed back to the ship.
“This is exciting,” Bonaventure told me, “we’re going to Pallax Seven. They have an ocean that’s perfectly still, and to cause even the smallest ripple is to curse their gods and earn a death warrant.” He leaned close to whisper in my ear. “We can make love in the shallows, like savage, doomed pagans.”
We went back to his ship, and he maneuvered into the shadow of the most massive crate that I’d ever seen. A logo emblazoned on the side looked very much like the crocodile guy I’d seen earlier, encircled with alien letters.
“What is that?” I asked.
“Our cargo!” said Bonaventure. “The kindly Darbarian corporate overlords of Irnot sell many goods to the people of Pallax. We deliver it! Magnetic locks engaged!”
“Deliver? Like a mailman?” I did not like the sound of this.
“Independent Freighter Captain,” he corrected. “When I was a kid, growing up in Houston, I used to watch freighters in the Gulf. They were so huge! I mean, nothing like this cargo container, but for Earth-”
“Wait wait wait,” I said. “Houston? How would an alien grow up in…is that Texas?”
Bonaventure half smiled, an eyebrow cocked in confusion. “I’m not an alien. Born in a little town just outside Houston. Left Earth when I was 12. Now that’s a story! Before this week I hadn’t been back in decades. I suppose I never will, now.”
“Stop!” I cried. “What the fuck? You’re human? I had sex with a beautiful alien spaceman and he’s human? A human fucking space trucker?” I heard my voice getting shrill. I hate when I do that but I can’t help it when I’m angry.
“Er,” he stammered. “Well. You can’t really have sex with aliens. Different species can’t. That’s a little… also I’m not a trucker, I’m an Independent Freighter Captain. A freelance privatee-”
“You haul shit from one place to another and you sleep in the back of your space cab! Also Doctor Spock was half human so maybe I thought different species could do it!”
“Parker, I’m not even sure which part of what you’re saying is most offensive, but I think most people would agree it’s that you’re confusing Mister and Doctor Spock. Also, that was a TV show.”
“You’re always correcting me! God! I can’t believe I had sex with you!”
“There is not as much sex in this story as we expected,” the Darbarian said. “Is there any more sex?”
Parker shook his head. “I’m afraid not. Just a poor boy, deprived of his home, cast out into this nameless dump of a space station…”
“Some of us live here!”
“…on his own, with nowhere to go.” Parker cast his eyes to the floor. “He left me a little money, some clothes.” He thumped the luggage he was using as a chair in the busy central corridor of the station’s mercantile zone. “If any of you might have use of my services, I’d be a great addition to your crew.”
His audience was dispersing. Parker wasn’t sure most of them understood what he was saying anyway, they were just watching the spectacle of some homeless riffraff babbling incoherently. The Darbarian hesitated, evidently having taken a sympathetic interest in the lost human. “What can you do? Can you program class IV shuttle systems? Speak Gallormian?”
“I do social media consulting! I have over a thousand followers on AdMe!” he offered. “I can speak English and French!”
The alien grunted, shook his head and wandered away with the rest. Parker sagged on his makeshift seat and softly tapped his skull against the window. Beyond the docking arms of the space station lay infinite stars. They didn’t twinkle like they had back home, and he didn’t like watching them. Bright shapes moved in the bustling flight zone around the station, passenger ships and shuttles and, he supposed, independent freighters. One onlooker lingered, a woman dressed in simple, grease-covered overalls. For a moment, Parker thought she was human, but closer inspection revealed pale, waxy skin and a thin set of gills gently pulsing at the base of the lady’s neck. When she spoke, she sang into a box that translated her tones into a halting, robotic mix of Earth languages.
“You speak Human tongues?” Parker eventually gleaned from what sounded like a hodgepodge of English, Spanish, and Chinese. He blushed.
“It’s silly, I guess,” he said. “All the way out here. I’m the only one left who does.” And a certain jerk.
“You be surprised. All kinds out here.” She offered Parker a webbed hand. “What you think? Ready for an adventure?”