Coffee, Tea or Me

Author : Duncan Shields, Staff Writer

Janice faltered in the dark apartment. It wasn’t hers. She was sobering up, the guy was snoring, and it was time to go. She had her panties in her pocket and her shoes were dangling from her hand by their thin, blue straps.

It was time to head home, have a shower, print off a fresh uniform, and try to clear her head for work.

She had a sub-orbital to catch to Leningrad and then the Skyrock up to Luna2. Too many launch G’s and ten years of space travel meant that her career as a flight attendant was coming to an end. Osteoporosis was setting in and her capillaries were starting to rupture.

She had a future of varicose veins and weak bones to look forward to.

Janice was independent. She used to laugh at the younger attendants who would sign on to permanent careers with one company for pitiful pensions or use their job to romance rich patrons in First Class and catch themselves a husband.

She used to scoff at the ones who found sugar daddies to pay their bills while they put their own paycheques into low-yield, low-risk investments. Sheep.

Janice looked at them as space whores. She thought she was better than that. Things were not working out, however, and she hated herself at the moment.

Janice had been a smart girl with a bright future. The flight attendant job offered a chance to travel and was a fairly easy form of crowd control. The safety protocols were so redundant these days that an accident was nearly impossible.

It was safe, she saw the worlds, and she was beautiful. For a while, she was an angel of space.

Time had raced past her, however, and she’d never finished her degree. Her body was starting to degrade and she had no money of her own saved up or at least not enough to retire with.

She’d put all her paychecks into high-risk investments and as of three months ago, her money was gone. A decompression had taken all of her investments away along with most of the executives that were behind the project.

A low-level panic had started in. She’d been given a copy of the note from the work doctor that said she had six months left of safe travel before she should be grounded.

It was an execution sentence. The party was over and it was last call. This angel was getting her wings clipped.

So she started sleeping with first class passengers and taking their money.

She had nothing. Something about flight attendants really got men hot and bothered so the pickings were easy but most of them had wives already.

She had four months left to hook a husband with money before her time ran out. She had nightmares of the bubbles building up in her bones until she became too fragile to walk. She’d be in a wheelchair and begging for change. Her looks would be gone.

She’d be terrified of falling.

She is terrified of falling.


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