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8th April
2012
posted by amber

A Man Out There

“There’s a man out there. Might be your man, I don’t know,” Ricardo said.

Rosa got up from the bed and joined him at the view port. Sure enough, someone was bobbing around outside, untethered but wearing a bulky propulsion pack. “Are you sure it’s a man? Maybe it’s your woman.”

“I don’t have a woman. But you have a man, and he’s due back from the trading hub any day now. I knew this was too risky.” He began to pull on his clothing.

“How did you even know he was there?”

“I heard a sound. I think it was his helmet clunking against the view port. Rosa, I’m sunk. Even if he didn’t see us, he’ll recognize my ship. This is terrible!” He sank down on the bed, only half-dressed, and put his head into his hands.

She turned to him in all her naked glory. “Oh, so what! If Albert’s going to be gone three, four, even up to six months at a time, leaving me with no one but mining bots to keep me company, what does he expect? You’re the only one who comes by. Albert buys all our supplies at the trading hub – he says it’s cheaper than buying from travelling merchants. I told him I was lonely. I begged him to take me with him on his trading trips, but he says he needs me to watch over the bots. I think he married me just to get himself a business partner willing to put up with the isolation. But I never expected it to be like this.”

She stalked out of the bedroom, grabbing a flimsy wrap from a hook as she went by. Ricardo followed, still buttoning his shirt. He caught up with her in the radio room, where she was barking into a communicator, “Albert! Is that you?”

An angry male voice filled the room. “You slut, Rosa! You’d better get rid of him before I do something we’ll all regret. How could you?”

“You leave me alone all this time – what did you expect? Why did you marry me only to hide me away in the quietest part of the asteroid belt?”

“I had my reasons.”

“Yeah, business. It’s all business with you.” She slammed the communicator down.

“No, not business,” Albert’s voice was quieter now, with a pleading quality. “Rosa, you’re so beautiful, I didn’t want to lose you to another man. I thought we’d have kids, make our own little community. I thought we’d be richer by now so I could hire someone to take these trips and I could stay home with you. I never thought you’d be unfaithful, especially with-”

“He’s the only person who ever comes by, Albert. It’s not as if I had a lot of choice. You took us off the route for Galactic Supermarket and the Air Supply Fleet, you take the bots to be repaired instead of letting the technicians come here when you’re away. And if you’d known we were on Ricardo’s route, you probably would have gone to his superiors and stopped that too!”

“You bet I would have,” he said as Ricardo snapped on his collar. “I didn’t know there were travelling chaplains. I suppose you’re going to say that he was ministering to your spiritual needs.”

Leaving the room without looking at Rosa or saying goodbye, Ricardo heard her say, “In a way, he was.”

The Story 365 project is a year-long marathon of short story writing, with a new story for every day of the year and posted on this website from May 1, 2011 – April 30, 2012. Stories must be a minimum of 200 words. Please help me by adding first line or topic suggestions in the Comment section of any story.

This tale was inspired by some famous blues lines.

1 Comment

  1. mary bond
    08/04/2012

    this one had me laughing right away.

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