FICTION: IT ALL WENT JIGGLY
It all went jiggly.
Yes, it really did this time.
Robertson's guts were streaming out of him like he had his very own personal ticker-tape parade going on.
I sort of laughed, but it was more of a ballooning up of my cheeks, with the speckled spray of my last, long gone meal, dancing all around.
It was quite a show for a few para-secs.
I think we all must have admired the rainbow sheen that came off his glistening lower intestine as the starlight struck it.
Yes, quite a show.
Things re-stabilized at semi-normal as sharply as ever, leaving Robertson with a slightly goofier expression on his face than usual. I have to ask myself about the use of that word normal these days though, I surely do... normal. What the hell is normal about this state of ours?
These things happened. You just live with it. And I don't mean that in a sort of shrugged-shoulder kinda way. We have no choice.
We’d been on an everyday mission, a normal clean-up, nothing fancy. Go in, clear whatever goons, infections or harm-candidates we could find, prepare the ground and depart.
Straightforward pre-colony ErDep duty. Nothing to it. The same old. The job. Normality… know what I mean?
But I tell you we're deep in the para-normal now.
Ever see that old tri-vid Groundhog Day? Well, things tend to much the same for us day after day. Only we don't have days. Now is what we have. Here and now is all we'll ever have till someone gets us the heck out of this.
Thank the saints we don't suffer from tiredness or depression or any of that kind of syuff. That would be unbearable. We'd be madder than loons within secs. No, we aren't in the jiggly long enough for that. We get endlessly “refreshed”.
We're always right here, all the time, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, privates on parade.
The old wallscreen vid Clockwork Orange comes to mind, remember that thing from the good old days of movies and stuff? Alex, eyes held wide open to catch every nuance of the horrorshow onscreen. That’s us. Only nix the screen.
Stuff happens. We're here like we were at that first sec. (I wonder just how long ago that was now, decades, millennia? I have no way of knowing.)
I see them across the bridge, all at their positions just like they were when normality ended, gazing at the starfields through the Forward Screen. (You know, even when the job had become as routine as dog shit that never paled, you never quite lost that awe.)
I see them, well, I say I see them. I see them to one degree or another and most of the time.
Sometimes there's a mist, often debris and so much weirdness I couldn't even begin to tell you.
And of course, there was Robertson's guts.
I'd laugh at the thought that the inside has got almost as interesting as the outside, but it's too sad a thing underneath to raise a smile at, you know what I mean?
We're never coming home folks.
And I don't even know who you are.
Are you someone I once knew?
I feel stupid, I don't even think to use Mom or Steve, to talk to now.
I'm speaking to a stranger. I feel awfully sad thinking how stupid I am doing that.
It's okay... I'll feel nothing in a sec or two.
And really, I don't have a goddamn clue why I'm even thinking these...