Author : David Henson

Hurry, Trixie, I say to our Yorkie. As she squats behind me, I notice a bright light above the horizon. I figure it must be a freighter coming back from the mines, but something doesn’t look right.

Lilly, I say to my wife, let’s go out back. I want to show you something.

I don’t have time, Tom, Lilly says. I need to go in early today.


Hi, I’m Tom. I couldn’t help but notice that book you’re reading.

Nice to meet you, Thomas. I’m Lilly.

Thomas. Lilly’s called me Thomas from the day we met.

Besides, Lilly says, if you want to show me a winged splendid, it’s probably hopped away already. Hopped? Before I can say anything, she gives me a quick kiss and heads for the door. Don’t forget we’re having dinner with Garlund and Judy tonight, she says. Judy’s with Ralph not Garland, I want to say, but I’ve got to get to work.

Tom, Sanders says, float that tote of nails to aisle 12 and shelf them. The hardware store? I haven’t worked there since high school summers. We didn’t even have levitrons then. Backbreaking work on delivery days.

It’s backbreaking, the tough-looking guy tells Jelly Jean. People think mining on another planet is sexy, but it’s hard work. I coulda’ been a reporter like Jelly Jean. Coulda’ been a contender. Even on a planet with lower gravity, the boxer says, an uppercut is still gonna rock your world. Bobbing and weaving. The Washoe were great basket weavers. Can you weave in weightlessness? Jelly Jean asks.

Do you Thomas take Lilly, Thomas take Lilly. “Thomas? Thomas, do you hear me? You’re trapped in our SimReal. It has a virus. Thomas, do you hear me? Focus on my voice, Honey. Thomas? Thomas?” Of course. Virus. Fever. Venus fever. No, Venus blues. No, Mercury blues. Crazy ’bout a Mercury.

Come on Trixie. Time to go out. The light’s closer. The fiery Draco swoops down and lands with a thud. Its breath burns the grass. Trixie dances in a circle behind me. How can I see behind me? No time for that. I pick up the sword and edge toward the beast. I feel wings. Gonna fly now. Watch this, Jelly Jean. “Thomas? Thomas?”

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