How to get by in the Galaxy
by Jamie Burns
I guess I should just be glad they left us on a planet with air, or an air-like sustaining atmosphere. I just watched the sky as the little black dot got smaller and smaller. This is what I get for trusting my brother. Never trust your brother when he says “Don’t worry, I have this totally under control.” Ok maybe your brother, but never mine. Nathan, the brother in question stood next to me. He too was staring up into the sky watching my ship fly off in the hands of a moronic, unwashed, asshat.
Once I couldn’t make out any trace of my ship I couldn’t keep it in any longer. “Well that was really impressive.” I said to him in the driest tone of sarcasm I had.
“I’m not gonna lie. It didn’t go exactly according to plan.” Not even looking over at me to say it, his head was still pointed at the sky. I lost it…
“Not according to plan!!!” I proceeded to scream in rage at everything around me. It wasn't much, between the sand, hills and bushes it was less than satisfying. After I was done stomping on a bush that I had been imaging my brother’s face on, I took a deep breath. Walking calmly back over to him. I held his shoulder for balance as I took off my shoe to remove the rocks that infiltrated it while I was throwing my sissy fit. Nathan hadn’t moved, still looked about at our surroundings.
“Are you ok?” He asked as I pulled my shoe back on.
“I’m fantastic.” I felt much better than I had two minutes ago at least. “But I’ll feel even better once you tell me how you plan to get my ship back.”
“About that, I’m not….” he started but I cut him off quickly.
“Don’t even try Nathan, I don’t care how much you owe or who you owe it to. I have bailed you out enough times in our lives. You will make this right, and get me my ship back. I don’t care if they break both your legs. Hell, if they told me right now to cut off your right hand in exchange for it back, I would!”
Nathan brought his right hand up to his chest and squeezed it at the wrist with the other as if to protect it from my rage. Like that would help.
“Now is there even anyone else on this rock? Is there a town or, I don’t know, a farm or something close by?” I asked looking around.
Nathan looked too, first for a long time in one direction then slowly turning his head to the other.
“What’s our exact location?” He asked. I looked at my wrist unit. It displayed the current time on earth in bright green digital numbers. I pressed the button to scroll through the menu till I got to the start location, basicly a longitude and latitude but for the whole universe.
“09.1.103.21. I think this planet is called Ciera.” I told him.
“Oh good.” He said in a chipper voice and started to walk off in a direction I took to be north because of the sun's place in the sky.
I grabbed my knapsack and followed after him. We walked for three and half hours before we saw the edge of the town. A time in which I switched back and forth between wanting to beat my brother over the head with any stick I passed and plotting the ways I would destroy the douche that took my ship, once we finally caught up with him. Step one of every plan was getting off the damn planet.
We walked through the town and you could tell they didn’t get many visitors. Nathan kept waving to the kids that peeked around the corners at us. Making our way farther into the town, we found a busy street that seemed like some type of commerce area or more likely a flea market, emphasis on the flea. The hustle and bustle, people bartering and trading, this was where we would find our way out. We still got some sideways glances from the locals, but for the most part people on this street were busy conducting their business. We turned down an alley that lead off of flea street, then through an open doorway. It was a bar. Of course it was a bar. I was following my brother.
No sooner had we walked in when we heard a woman. In what, on earth, would describe as a deep southern voice, call out “Well hot damn. Nathan Norien, comes back into my establishment. After I specifically and in no uncertain terms told you that I would personally cut off your favorite parts, if you ever came in here again.”
The woman walked right up to him. Her outfit much nicer than any of the other townspeople's I had seen, in fact I kinda wanted her boots. I was getting ready to make a run for it when the woman, who had been looking into Nathan’s face with a hard somber expression, relaxed and her face because almost sympathetic.
“Must be real bad then.?” She said, Nathan nodding in confirmation.
Once we were in the back room behind the bar the woman shut the door and locked it. I wasn't sure I liked being locked in a room with one of my brother’s ‘associates’. “Well sugar, who’s the whore?” The woman asked him nodding her head towards me.
“HEY!” I exclaimed, I've taken too much crap today to deal with this.
“She’s just my sister.”
“And not a whore.” I said loudly, then under my breath adding “You’re one to talk, looking like a Madame at a bunny ranch.” I didn’t really mean it, but like I said, too much crap today.
The woman seemed to relax a bit more once she found out I was a relation and not a concubine.
“We need off this rock, Clara. I was hoping I could persuade you to give us a ride.” Nathan appealed to the woman. Clara evidently, not that he bothered to introduce me. Sure introduced me to the guys that would steal my ship though, didn’t he. How in the galaxy were we twins?
“Why on Ciera would I help you? You still owe me 400 credits Nathan.” Clara had her hands on her round hips now.
“Of course he does.” I say with my flat tone. For the first time since calling me a whore Clara seemed to notice me.
“Are you as worthless as your brother?” She asked.
“Well I don’t owe anyone in the universe money if that’s what you mean. BUT I do owe SOMEONE a boot in the ass for losing my ship!” I said looking at Nathan. Clara's look of disappointment toward him made me smile.
“Not even your own family is safe.” she said.
“Least of all his family.” I replied.
“So what is it you're wanting from me? From the looks of ya, you can’t pay for the ride you're asking for. I don’t know where you’re looking to go, but with your previous balance plus a ride to the next nearest planet you're looking at 4,000 credits, and I know you're not good for it Nathan.” He opened his mouth to speak but nothing came out, after a moment he just closed it again. I guess he had been having a long day too. I didn’t really want to feel pity for him but God help me I did.
“I’m good for the money.” I said with me eyes shut tightly. There's no way I was staying on this planet.
Clara raised her eyebrows at me. “You're sure, sister?”
“Yes, I hate owing people so I’ll make sure you get your money, once I get my ship back.”
“Plus his 400 credits.”
“You do understand that for that kind of money I have people to make sure you pay?”
“I understand, but it won’t be necessary.” Clara and I looked at each other for a long moment, sizing each other up.
“Should I leave you two alone?” Nathan said jokingly.
“Shut up.” Clara and I said in unison.
“Do we have a deal?” I asked
“Ya sister, we have a deal.” We firmly shook each other's hands.
“My names April by the way.” I told her, hoping to avoid being called ‘sister’ the rest of our time together.
“Oh and we don’t need to go to the next planet over.” I said. Hopping from planet to planet making deals and getting into debt wasn't going to get me my ship back.
“Alright, but change of destination will change the price. Where do you need to go, sister?”
I didn’t want to tell her; I knew it might be a deal breaker. I even considered if there might be a way to wait till we were already off the planet to tell them. But my stupid morals wouldn’t let me lie. Well not about this at least.
I waited for a reaction, Nathan stood there blank in the face. Then I looked to Clara, a smile broke a crossed her face. Yes, we had our ride.
Copyright 2016 JAMIE BURNS ALL RIGHTS RESERVED