Yin and Zar were rushing to make their rendezvous with the Mother Ship. They yearned to go home. But their hosts were impossible to move quickly.
Yin was in an obese female who couldn’t take ten steps without losing her breath. Her lungs wheezed. She wheeled behind her a green tank of the species’ required gases. A tube stayed on her hairy, sweaty lip to deliver puffs. She tottered forward, back and forth, her thighs so thick her legs went out at angles, her feet spread wide.
Zar had a male’s body, a wisp of a saggy-skinned unit with terrible knees, and hips almost as bad. He could move faster than Yin, but with a terrible off-kilter gait, to accommodate his rickety joints.
“Hurry up, Yin! The ship will leave without us.”
“I’m (wheeze) going as (wheeze) fast as (wheeze) possible.” She would have muttered curses under her breath if there was any to spare. Her tank’s wheel caught on a root or something unseen in the dark. She wrestled the trolley loose.
Zar stopped a moment, letting Yin catch up. “Can’t you leave that ridiculous thing behind, even now?” Zar aimed his flashlight beam on the green tank.
“Want me to suffocate?” Yin somehow snapped out without a single wheeze.
He dropped the subject. They wobbled on a few more minutes in silence, except for the wheezing, which hushed the crickets around them. Then Zar stumbled and went down on hands and knees.
“This darn knee. It’s gone out again.” No wonder this planet's been left unconquered.
“Well, put it back in! We have to get there in time!”
“Really? Just like that, you want me to do that again to myself?”
“It’s not you,” she wheezed. “He won’t even know.”
“I’ll feel it,” he snapped. He hoped, somehow, they could be friends again when they got home.
“Just get it over with. I can’t carry you.”
Zar braced himself, hurled against the ground, and pushed the joint back into place. He couldn’t help but yelp. He crawled back to his feet, pulling up on the green tank's trolley. He'd leaned against it. “I’ll drag this along for you for a bit,” he said breathlessly, recovering from the pain.
The odd couple hobbled slowly across the dark park, worrying their ship had come and gone. When they got to the center of the park, where the trees were thinned, they stood and waited, one panting, the other wheezing.
The crickets started back.
They waited, not talking.
Finally, Yin said, “What do you think?”
“I think we missed our ride,” Zar answered.
“How long should we wait?”
“It will probably be an entire cycle again. We might as well go back,” Zar said.
Yin took in a deep, tight sigh. It squeaked. “Okay,” she said. “Want to stop for a milkshake on the way?”
“Fries would certainly help ease the disappointment about now.”
They turned toward the city and hobbled back the way they’d come.
Want my stories delivered right to your inbox? I can do that! Click the button below to sign up and I'll make sure to send my post right to you each day that I blog.