joey's travellin' blues: a short SF vignette

15 November 2002

Three beers into the weekend, Joey realized she really hated space travel.

Really hated it, with a passion she didn't remember having for anything since the Yankees won the World Series three years running all those decades back and she thought she might explode with rage every October. Goddamn Yankees, she thought as she hung upside down, drifting silently except for neo-retro-industrial guitar riffs crashing through the headphones wrapped around her cranium. Goddamn fucking Yankees. I hate the fucking Yankees. She twisted around upright long enough to grab the beer bottle floating slowly upward next to her head and suck another mouthful through the vaccuum-sealed nozzle. Leaning back down, she enjoyed the sensation of blood not rushing to her head and closed her eyes, shutting out the dizzying view of the stars outside the porthole in her tiny cabin.

Eleven days since they'd left the Terran Defense Force Mars station, and already she had a case of cabin fever that would send even Neil Armstrong out of his tree. When they were on high cruise between planets, like now, there was no work for a navigator to do, and so she spent most of her time in her cabin getting drunk. Not a healthy thing, but typical for a forty-year-old career military woman on long-term remote duty. Even her Jesus-freak roommate, Chad (and what kind of name was THAT for a pilot? He sounded like a frat boy gone bad), was beginning to look longingly at the small but cherished stash of beer and whiskey she kept in her locker. She would have given him any of it if he would ask, but he was young and righteous and trying to live a pure life. What he was doing in the TDF, she would never figure out. At least he had a husband back home, so there would be no possibility of him coming around of a Friday with that little gleam in his eyes that meant she'd spend the next four hours hiding behind the locked door of the head, nursing her beer. If nothing else, he was as faithful as the day was long, poor deluded boy.

Not that day and night meant shit out here. God, she was bored. Fucking space travel. She fumbled for the beer and took another swig. Not shit to do or anyone to do it with. Except Chad, and he's working. Motherfucker. She slurred, "Computer, change music to artist Jack Off Jill, album 'Clear Hearts, Grey Flowers'. Execute." The computer obliged, cueing up another seventy-five minutes of really pissed-off chicks screaming at each other. Hot, she thought, with a tiny sigh of nostalgia.

Joey considered flipping through the computer archives for an old World Series game, but that reminded her of the fucking Yankees, so she decided to stay right where she was. Bored out of her skull, but pondering the sudden realization that she really hated space travel, cherishing and enjoying the certainty of it.

Idly, she pushed off from the ceiling and turned a slow, lazy flip heels over head, spinning gently while the stars crowded the viewport, thick as daisies in a meadow.