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Letters From Space #1

Author:

I’ve enjoyed writing for many years. I'm dedicating more time to the craft in my retirement days.

Letters From Space #1

Mom,

First things first: thanks for the $1M. None of this would have ever happened if you hadn’t loaned me that money.

Second, not sure when I’m going to be able to pay it back. Don’t freak out, though. I guess what I really mean to say is before you get all jiggy with it, please let me explain.

See, we got blasted into space just as planned, and which was super cool when the big airplane dropped us at about 50,000 feet up and at first we were falling and gliding, and then the pilot lit the burner fuse and stuff, and then…kaboom! There was this loud noise as the rocket fired, and the pilot pulled back on the stick and the nose went like almost straight up. I mean, man, I just felt like I was going to black out from what they call the G forces, but then that all stopped, or “subsided,” like one smart guy said, and then the…well the…well, the next thing you know we are seeing what looks like a black line mark of the curvature of the earth and then you could start to see space out beyond the black line and stuff. I remember someone said our four minutes of planned, scheduled weightlessness started when we were around 53.5 miles up from the earth, so all these really cool and interesting things were happening all at once, really.

I hacked a watch at that point (I pushed the timer function on my Fitbit right when I heard one of the crew up front holler, “Ok, we’ll have approximately four minutes of weightlessness, now”) and floated around from window to window looking down at the big blue marble (BTW, it’s pretty easy to see why they call it that now that I’ve been there, done that, can’t wait to get the t-shirt!) and when my stopwatch said about 3 mins and 24 seconds, I heard one of the pilots holler, “Holy shit!” and then felt like a big tug and a jerk like when the roller coaster ride suddenly and abruptly just stops and maybe starts going backwards. I guess that’s what I’d imagine it feels like anyway, though it might be somewhat different because like I said we were floating around and weightless up here and I never really was on a roller coaster ride down there that did that. Come to think of it, I don’t think I ever rode on a roller coaster. I did the Tilt-A-Whirl a couple times, but if that stopped all of a sudden and went backwards, well I think you’d probably get ripped in half and like your belly button area where the seat belt is might just stay with the car and the rest would go flying off into who knows where in two big gory parts. Anyway, that’s not what happened, either, but I could tell we were moving the other way all of a sudden, so I let go of the window handle and moved over toward the front of the ship where the pilots sit and saw that we were somehow tethered to a much larger, much stranger looking ship. And to be honest, I can almost hear you now:

“You mean stranger than that weird-ass looking one you got on?”

I mean…I know, right?! But yes, I mean, of course, the answer is totally yes. Theirs looks like it’s kind of shaped like a huge cigar or something, and the way the front part is made of something see-through and all and there’s lights in it and everything, it makes it look like the front part of the cigar is all lit up like when a cigar turns all orange on the tip of it and all. I gotta try to stop saying, “and all,” I guess.

Anyway, like I said, I let go of the handle by the small window, moved and saw through the big front window that we were no longer stationary. Our altitude was increasing. We were moving away from the earth and further out into space so that the black, curved line was less and less of a black line and now it was just this big black bunch of space and you could see all of the blue marble and it was getting smaller and then you could start to see space beyond it and then I knew for sure that we were moving away from earth. I mean, in other words, we were climbing further and further into space and it didn’t look like there was anything any of us could do about it, either.

And there really wasn’t. From what I can tell right now, there isn’t going to be anything we can do about it for quite a while. The crew up here—and the other folks, too, the ones who also paid a million bucks for their seat and stuff—are all using some pretty serious language, Mom. I mean, I’m calling it serious, but you’d call it Navy tongues in that way that you do, you know. Like, “that fella cusses like a damn Sailor,” which always makes me laugh because you always cuss when you talk about other people cussing and stuff. Haha. Anyway, thing is that I don’t know how long a while “a while” is going to be. So, yeah, that’s why I’m writing. I just didn’t want you to think I thought I was going to get away without paying back the million, cuz I’m totally going to pay you back just as soon as I get home.

I don’t know when that will be, though, because I don’t know where we are at, and it seems no one else does, either. I’m writing from somewhere a long ways away, too, like somewhere in space where every time I look out the window I think I wish I’d paid more attention in science class back in junior high so I could give you something more precise. Hell, I sometimes also kind of wish I’d started (and finished) high school, too. Oops, sorry about the Sailor talk, Mom.

Long story short? I don’t know where we are, but I have seen pictures of where we are going. LOL. I mean, I think they are pics of where we are going. There is a brochure that they gave us, and it really looks nice. The pictures look nice, anyway. The little letters and things (if that’s what they are?) don’t look like anything I’ve ever seen before. I mean, nothing like the weird Latin or Russian or Chinese or other languages you might see if you accidentally change the language on your Garmin cycling computer like I did a couple times carrying it in my pocket. Anyway, these things in the booklet are super hard to read—at least nobody here can read them yet, anyway, but I wouldn’t be surprised if someone figures it out. These people are all really super smart (I mean, the folks on the regular flight crew are, anyway. Some of these other cruise passengers? Well…not so much, if you ask me) and I think if anyone is going to be able to figure it out, one of the pilots or maybe the science engineer officer lady might be able to decipher it. I mean, I guess the folks in the other ship can probably read that stuff, but I don’t know because I haven’t seen any of them yet. One of the dudes here said he saw them when everyone was sleeping last night, but most of the others have said he’s crazy.

“Ok, so explain the brochure, then,” he said. And you know what, I think he has to be right, Mom. Someone came onto the ship and brought the booklet, left it behind for us, I think. It wasn’t here when we took off, I know that much. Anyway, I believe him. I just don’t know how they could have gotten onto the ship because I didn’t hear any doors open or anything last night. ‘Course, I was asleep and all, but still….

I want to say we’ll be there soon, wherever it is we are going (like Mars or something, or maybe one of those moons out near Jupiter, maybe?) but I don’t know because I just don’t know. Also, I just thought of this, but you probably already knew it: I don’t have any wifi, no internet, no printer, no stamps, no envelopes, no nothing at all like that, so I don’t know how or if I’m going to be able to send this note to you, Mom. Ah! I hate that. I know you’re probably wondering what happened to me, and probably all the rest of us, too. We were only supposed to be gone for like an hour and a half! Shit! Oops.

So, yeah, I hope you get this soon, but I don’t quite know yet how I’ll get it to you. Just know that I don’t want you to be down there worrying about the money or about me. I’ll start paying you back as soon as I get home. I promise!

Love you, Mom…to the moon and back, as they say. But hey, maybe even further because I think we passed by the moon like way before I fell asleep last night. So, really, I love you from somewhere deep in space and back. Please give that crazy cat Astro a hug for me, and say hi to Rosie and everyone else, too..

Love,

Elroy

© 2021 greg cain

Comments

greg cain (author) from Moscow, Idaho, USA on July 16, 2021:

Thanks, Brenda. I will do that. Good weekend to you!

BRENDA ARLEDGE from Washington Court House on July 15, 2021:

I can't wait to see what you come up with next.

Let me know if you write something for Age...sounds great.

greg cain (author) from Moscow, Idaho, USA on July 15, 2021:

Thanks, Brenda. I think for me the whole space tourism industry is ripe with inspiration right now. It will be interesting to me to see how this all unfolds over time...thanks again, and as always, for the kind words. Have a great week!

BTW, I'm mulling some ideas for the "Age" prompt. Might take me a while to put something out there, but I do think that one is something I want to write about. Time will tell...

BRENDA ARLEDGE from Washington Court House on July 14, 2021:

Greg

You definitely have me laughing with this one.

I'm not sure where you found the inspiration, but this one is a hit.

Great ink.

greg cain (author) from Moscow, Idaho, USA on July 14, 2021:

Thank you, Liliane! I was going for funny and lighthearted, with kind of an "Uh-oh!" twist.

Liliane Najm from Toronto, Canada on July 14, 2021:

light-hearted and funny; made me laugh. Thanks.

greg cain (author) from Moscow, Idaho, USA on July 14, 2021:

Thanks, Olusegun. Much appreciated.

OLUSEGUN from NIGERIA on July 14, 2021:

This is really an experience. Good work.

greg cain (author) from Moscow, Idaho, USA on July 14, 2021:

Bill - when I was a kid, it was a lot easier to want to go to space. Now, when think about it, I think about my wife, my kids, my grandkids, the whole kit and caboodle. Makes it so much less desirable knowing what we know about the human timeline and all. In any case, if things like this can happen to those of us who venture into the outer reaches, I'm also not interested in going along for a completely unknown and unbriefed sortie. As always, thanks for giving it a go and for the kind words. Be well and have a good week. Don't know about you, but with all the smoke in these parts, a little escape to space seems like it might make the breathing a little bit easier...

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on July 14, 2021:

A fun read for sure, my friend. Totally enjoyed it. Relevant considering recent news; the kind of stuff we dreamed about as kids although, in truth, I never wanted to go into space as a kid. I find it hard enough to navigate through this planet, you know?

greg cain (author) from Moscow, Idaho, USA on July 14, 2021:

John - thanks! Yes, Branson's Virgin Galactic flight with a few extra passengers was the inspiration for this piece. That and all the folks who have already paid to go to space and are still waiting their turn. A similar thing to this (no spoilers for now) has been brewing for years in my nugget, but it involves a full-up trip to the moon along with some time spent on the surface. I am kind of wondering who is watching us dip our toes into the whole commercial space thing and how they might react in a way that might be intended to deter us from continuing the ventures...anyway, as always, thanks for giving it a look, and also for recognizing the tidbits at the end. That part was, of course, completely lost on my 23-year-old son. He'd never seen the cartoon.

John Hansen from Gondwana Land on July 13, 2021:

Oh Greg, what a terrific read. This is very relevant now as the are getting closer to having paid public flights into space. I just saw an interview with Sir Richard Branston about his pending flight.

The ending was a surprise though and I loved it..being a huge Jetson fan.

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