Excerpts from the Published Works of J. S. Evans

Broken Boxes



   Eight years ago when she first arrived at this HHM, Human Habitat Module, she knew she had to add a personal touch to her remote outpost. She found some yellow paint that was left behind by the construction crew. Above the air hatch she wrote in large letters 'This is a dark ride'. Once when she was young, she saw a sign like that on a carnival ride back in Florida. She couldn't understand why anyone would want to go on a dark ride. Years later she found out why young boys and girls enjoyed their dark rides.

   Inside the contamination room she counts the containers. All thirteen of them are inside. She latches the hatch closed and presses the large red 'Start' button on the wall. Nothing happens. Silence.

  "Rats ass!" She screams inside her helmet.

   She walks across the room to a square box that is about two meters high. She grabs a hammer that is on the floor and begins beating the top of the VAC motor. Nothing happens. She then pounds the front of the box. Nothing. She picks up a large steel pipe that is leaning against the wall. She raises the pipe high over her head and starts smashing the top of the VAC mototr. Suddenly she hears it, a slight noise, a tinny noise. It sounds like one of those antique player pianos that she heard back on Earth. The noise grows louder and louder as the motor picks up speed. Finally, the dusty air inside the room begins to move.

    The dust swirls around her and the containers. She can't see anything except for the dancing Martian dust. She enjoys watching the red, yellow and green dust as it caresses her body. It almost feels like Mars is hugging her. Minutes later the dust is gone and the air is clear. She presses the 'Stop' button and the tinny noise stops. She removes her helmet and EVA suit and hangs them up on the hooks.

   "Cheap ass bastards can never fix anything around here."

    She takes a look at the battered motor box and then opens the hatch to the laboratory. She moves the thirteen containers into the lab. After everything is inside she latches the hatch closed.

   "They're thawing out Titan with space mirrors. They have research crews on Europa and they still can't fix a VAC motor."

    She walks through the next door and enters her living quarters.

   "Good evening Buffy."