"They rejected it?" Henry said, almost sounding interested.
"You heard me, they said it was derivative and done before. Better, at that," Aria said, almost sounding angry.
"Well, that sucks, babe. But maybe now you'll have time to help me pick out the floor for the work room," he said with a faint smile.
She got up abruptly, stared him in the eyes and turned around with a huff. She went up the stairs and into her work room. He was left confused, but switched the sound on the television back on and sat back to watch.
Jerry looked at his empire and saw that it was good. He adjusted his hat and sighed a sigh of utter content. It had been a long time since he'd been truly happy. His worker bees were busy keeping everything running smoothly, obviously because of his instructions. But it hadn't always been this good.
Jerry had a habit, you see, an addiction. Coffee was his lord and master, and he was its eager slave.
Author's note: Coffee is an old story, probably about 10 years old now. I rewrote it a little, taking out some bits that I now feel were insensitive and taking out a lot of adjectives. This is the one that started the Jerry arc, continued in Something About Coffee and then in There he goes Again. And I'm not done with Jerry just yet.
"Oh my..." Jerry said softly, with a cooing quality in his voice he reserved for moments where he really approved of something. He held the cup with both hands and with single-minded attention sniffed the fumes coming from it. "Oh... my..." he repeated after a meaningful pause.
You see, Jerry loves coffee. And not in the general sense. One could quite factually state that Jerry's interest in coffee borders on an obsession. A very persistent one at that, as he's been a coffee 'aficionado' for as long as he himself cares to remember. He has a specific flavor for every day of the week, one specifically for every holiday and a very special blend only to be used on his birthday. Jerry's walk-in closet isn't filled with clothes, but is filled with an almost limitless variety of coffee.
He kept his mouth shut and braced himself against the wind. The dust storm was howling around him and had come up suddenly enough that he hadn't been able to find a place to hide from it.
He cursed the wind for ripping away his bandana, making breathing much harder than it had to be. The dust clogged his nostrils and he had to hide his face in his coat and unclog them from time to time.
They had paid him well, Vickers thought, and the job seemed easy enough. Go out to a planet that was both recently discovered and deemed to be too far for human colonization. Run some tests, look around and find out what it's like. It was supposed to be earth-like in atmosphere and gravity. Rather dry, he thought as he looked at it through his view finder.
He strapped himself in tight and engaged the atmospheric entry subroutine. He had arrived, after a year of solo travel.
She looked at the painting and wondered how it had gotten there. Not the painting itself, this was a museum, it wasn't interesting to her how it had gotten here. But according to the card on the wall, this painting was completed in 1564, after 3 years of work. It showed a town square, peasants going about their business.
But how had Pieter Bruegel known her face, let alone her husband's, and why were they in this centuries-old painting?
He walked through the town's main street and felt everyone looking at him. They didn't like his kind in these parts and he knew it. It wasn't just the color of his skin, it was what it stood for to them. In their ass-backwards minds, he was inherently aggressive, simple-minded and difficult to control. Old ideas that had never been relevant.
It didn't matter that he was of mixed race. The part of him that wasn't like them was the only part they really saw. And they hated it.
Andrew sat down on the bench and sighed. The evening was cool but not cold, the stars in the sky invisible due to the light pollution caused by the buildings around the park. A shame, he thought, he would've enjoyed staring at the stars for a bit.
Not a good night, he thought solemnly. He sighed again and looked at his phone. No missed calls, no messages, nothing.
She wasn't going to contact him today.
It's been 3 years since they left. Life has become harder since, but we're holding on. The station is mostly empty, but those of us who were left behind have managed to make do so far, scavenging and using the equipment that's still working to our advantage.
It wasn't financially feasible to keep it open, Plutoid Corporation claimed, after the station had had its 10th year without profit. For a 60-year old station, this was considered to be a quick pull-out. They evacuated everyone over a period of weeks and shut down most systems, leaving the rest on in case they ever decided to come back. If they hadn't everything would have frozen over rather quickly.
We weren't supposed to stay behind, but they also didn't know we were here. It was illegal to procreate outside of Earth, since the gravities elsewhere were simply too different. We would never be able to go to either of the main human planets, as we would crumple under both their gravities and atmospheric pressure.
The wailing wouldn't stop. She was trying to sleep but it would just. Not. Stop.
She'd never been allowed to have a pet by her parents. Something about how she wouldn't take care of it properly and they'd end up having to feed it and clean up after it. She'd cried and screamed the last time she tried, but they hadn't relented. No pets for Leila. A heartbreaking result for a 12-year old.
She'd gone up to her room to be alone and sad, when she found it. In the back of her wardrobe.