Tuesday, December 6, 2011

'The Blue Planet'

I read yesterday about a NASA's discovery of an alien world with just the right conditions for liquid water - and life - to exist.  That reminded me of a short, 'The Twilight Zone'-ish, story I wrote a while ago.  Here it is, 'submitted for your approval.'
Live for the Love of it,
The Happy Amateur

The Blue Planet

Sunday.  No hurry.  The music of the coffeemaker.  Fresh coffee.  Leisurely breakfast.  Sunshine. What can possibly spoil a perfect morning?  Sunday papers.  Scary headlines.  They make you feel so small and helpless.  They tell you the whole world is doomed, and there is nothing you can do about it.  They leave you no hope.  “You can’t let everything get to you,” he always tells her, “you need to distance yourself from the news and filter the information; you can’t just take everything in.”  She doesn’t know how to distance or filter.  And it gets to her.

 She prefers to stay away from the news.  But every now and then something in the papers catches her eye.  Something insignificant, in small print.   Today is one of those days.  She notices something that makes her stop what she is doing.  She picks up the paper from the kitchen table and reads the small print again.  Could they be right this time?  He doesn’t think it’s possible.  But what makes him so sure?  She could never understand that.  What if it’s really true?  It’s a bit scary… Yet so wonderful!  Her heart is beating fast.  What is it she’s feeling?  Excitement, yes, and – hope.  Above all, she feels hope.
-          "Well, what do you know?  I thought you didn’t like newspapers.  What is it you’re reading?"
She didn’t hear him coming.  She hesitates for a second, but it’s too late now: she has to tell him.
-          "They’ve discovered a new planet…and they think…they believe there might be life there, for…"
-          "Good grief!  All these years, and they still believe!  I guess, they just never give up, uh?"
-         "I guess..."
-        "We are unique.  There’s nobody else in the whole universe, but us.  It was meant that way.  There, there, darling, you look a little worried…  It’s all right, I’ll take care of you.  I’m sorry this silly story upset you.  Put the paper away.  Come, let’s get ready and go to the park, it’s beautiful out."
-         "I’ll just finish up in the kitchen.  I’ll only be a minute."

She smiles at him, and surrenders her lips to his.  She watches him leave and walk upstairs.  Not until she hears his footsteps in their bedroom above her, does she reach for a drawer to get the scissors.  The clipping is very small, he won’t notice anything.  Then she fetches a cardboard box from behind the large pots they never use.  She opens the box and looks at its contents for a moment.  Very carefully she lays down the clipping next to her other silly treasures.  Then she closes the box tight and puts it away.
A new planet, previously obscured from view, has been observed in the neighboring galaxy.  About 71% of the planet’s surface appears to be covered with liquid water, necessary for all known life.  Therefore, there is a strong possibility that the planet in question could be home to millions of species, including humans.  The newly discovered planet does not have an official name, and is referred to temporarily as the “Blue Planet”.

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