Absurdity, English major, Space

Unlikely Things

It’s been a long, long week folks. Much has been going on, especially with the realization that the outline of Garden, upon which I depend for figuring out what to write each time, entirely neglected the actual events of my 3rd chapter. No, Past Me, “they become friends over the years” is not sufficient plot action. Back to the drawing board.

But after much pondering and head-scratching and throwing pens across the room, I figured out roughly what I want to do. And then I had my workshop on Tuesday, and thus already want to change several major points in chapters 1 and 2. C’est la vie, I suppose.

That said, I didn’t really come up with anything new this week. I worked on Garden in Write Away! yesterday (and wrote a short thing about tea and unicorns that made no sense whatsoever), and since I don’t want to post any of that up here, instead I’ve typed up an older piece, also written at Write Away!, just quite a long time ago. It was inspired by something one of my fellow writers said, which I discovered written in the margins of my notebook:

“Who would bring an English major on a starship?” -Shane Clyburn

This story was my attempt to answer that question. *SPOILER:* it totally doesn’t answer that question, but succeeds quite admirably in asking it over and over again. Also, it’s written from a female perspective, which I almost never do (surprisingly enough). I don’t think that’s very obvious from the story itself. I really need to work on that….

Ineptly yours,
M.M. Jordahl

P.S. On an entirely unrelated note: I have tickets to see Tim Minchin on June 25th! And they’re FLOOR SEATS!!! :D

Unlikely Things

I’m not really sure what I’m doing here. Not that I’m complaining or anything. I mean, I’ve pretty much spent my life staring up into the stars and wishing I had a spaceship. It’s just that I never thought I’d actually get to be on one, outside of my dreams and waking fantasies.

Of course, when I was a kid, I was sure I’d be an astronaut, but high school physics quickly quelled that dream with a big, fat F on my report card. So that begs the question: how the hell did my B.A. in English land me on the far side of the moon?
Even now, after all the flight testing and space suit training and getting needled in every extremity of my body, I can’t figure it out. The General tells me I’ve been selected for my skills, whatever the hell those might be. I find it hard to believe that my almost miraculous ability to conjugate could qualify me for anything short of a by-line on a few dime store scifi novels, much less a ticket to the upper atmosphere. Houston, we have a problem.

The doors behind me slid open, breaking my reverie. I’d been left alone with my thoughts a lot lately, and they were starting to get on my nerves, so I was happy to see a small, sprightly woman with close-cropped brown hair float into the room, her eyes flickering with an intelligence I could never hope to possess. I had seen her before. Hundreds of times, my gut told me. The curve of her jaw was as familiar as my own, the sway of her delicate wrists as she balanced in the door frame, the long, smooth line of her legs…but who was she?

“You. Author. Come with me.” Her tone left no room for dawdling, but I found myself quite unable to move, staring into her fierce hazel eyes. She snorted irately, rolling her eyes. “What, you can’t navigate in zero gee?”

“No, I—” My tongue twisted on itself, effectively throttling any hope I had of appearing intelligence. I swallowed it back and tried again, my words shaky in the awkward silence. “Who are you?”

She rolled her eyes. “Does it matter?”

“No, I just—I mean, yeah. It does. I’d like to know.”

She raised an eyebrow. “What, are you a lesbian or something?”

“No! I—I mean…are you?”


The awkward was stifling. I tried to mask it with a cough, but then it was more awkward.

“Are you coming or do you need help?” she finally reiterated, arms crossed resolutely over her slim chest. In zero gee, the gesture made her look like a genie, or a particularly unfriendly fairy.

“No, no, I’m coming,” I followed her out of the cramped space, keeping pace as best I could while we drifted down the hallway. I tried to get her name again, but every attempt at conversation was met with a scowl that could have shriveled potatoes. It felt like centuries before we stopped outside the suit room, and all the while half-formed names drifted about my head, trying to attach themselves to her, but none succeeded.

The door hissed open, and she was gone before I could even thank her, lost among the endless rows of multicolored space suits.

“Ah! Miss Buehl!” called the chipper suit attendant, thrusting an eager hand forward to meet mine. “We’ve been expecting you.”

…okay, okay, here’s the unicorn thing. But don’t say I didn’t warn you. XD

An Even More Unlikely Thing

“Jerome! Jerome! Come quick!”

Katie’s little fists shook the door, rattling its rusty hinges.

“Go away,” Jerome answered, taking another sip of his tea. His room swam about him, warping and twisting in a pleasing way. He smiled to himself.

“Jerome! You’ve gotta see!”

Her shrill voice was like ice water down his pants. He growled to himself, desperate to maintain his zen. The door rattled louder than ever, acting as a baseline for Katie’s high-pitched whine. “Jeromeeee, come oooooon….”

“ALRIGHT!” Jerome snapped, slamming his tea on the table. Some of the precious liquid sloshed onto the carpet, and he cursed to himself. “This had better be good!”

He threw open his bedroom door to glare down at his little sister.

“What, Katie? What’s so important that you had to bug me during my–”

“Look!” Katie squealed, pointing down the hallway. Jerome turned, then let out a far girlier shriek than anything Katie had managed.

“What the f—Katie, what the hell is it?” He demanded.

“It’s a unicorn,” she replied, grinning thoroughly. “I found him in the basement.”

“Found him in the…” Jerome couldn’t finish the sentence. His head was spinning. He glanced back into his room, where his bag of tea leaves sat innocently mocking him.

“Do you think mom will let me keep him?” Katie enthused. Jerome stared down the hall, into the stupidly huge eyes of the glittery pink beast.

“I am going to kill Lucas,” he concluded. “That is some nasty shit.”

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