The Best Part Of Waking Up by Doc Shaw.

Barry rubbed the sleep from his eyes and looked up at the smiling face of his beloved, Gloria. "Good morning sleepyhead," she grinned, "I made coffee and I need you bright eyed and bushy tailed. I've got plans for you buddy boy!" Her smile widened into a lascivious smirk.

"I can hardly wait," Barry hopped to his feet and followed her to the galley. His coffee cup vibrated on the table from the constant hum of the superluminal engines and he stared over it to look into her eyes. "Those amazing eyes," he thought to himself, and then he let his eyes roll over the rest of her compact frame. She was a knock out and Barry wondered how he could be so lucky. He had traveled the length and breadth of the galaxy on one off-world freighter or another but he had never seen anything like her, then he had signed up for a three year hitch on a colonization ship and there she was. She was everything he could possibly want in a woman. She was bright, energetic, had an infectious laugh, shared his sense of humor and she was as randy as an alley cat.

"Hurry and finish your coffee," she prodded, "I've got an itch that only you can scratch!" she giggled.

"What about some breakfast first? I've got more than one appetite you know, and three months in hypersleep does tend to work up a hunger." Barry pleaded.

"Oh no, me first," in one fluid move, she slid his cup aside and tugged at the zipper of her tight jumpsuit, "then we will see what you are hungry for." She pulled him close for a passionate kiss and the stellar engines hummed on.

***

Barry layed back against the pillow as Gloria snuggled close at his side and he thought about how the two of them had been thrown together. It was on their first shift that they realized their potent connection. The crew consisted of the two of them and the pilot, Roy. While the flight plan had been programed into the computer before they left Earth, Roy became the defacto pilot because he was the only one with the wetware to interface with the ship. Roy spent the entire trip in a suspended half sleep and monitored their progress as well as life support and other ship functions without ever leaving his sleep chamber. Every three months, the computer would wake them and they would spend a week staring at unmoving gauges while Roy got some deep beauty rest. It was boring, but it was part of the company's safety plan and the work wasn't hard.

The computer had awoken them a little early for their first shift and it only took a moment to figure out why. A food dispenser in the galley had sprung an unexpected leak and shorted out. The puff of smoke that it's frying motherboard emitted registered on the sensors and the computer roused them in a hurry. The parts needed for repair were locked in storage and only the pilot's okay would let them into the hold. Barry shivered a bit as he recalled trying to wake Roy. The needler made it's familiar hiss as he injected the stimulant into Roy's arm and he waited for his eyes to flutter instantly awake. He waited and waited. Nothing. He gave Roy another dose but to no avail. Roy's lifeless eyes would never open again. The feedback from the short had been too much and fried Roy's sleeping mind like an egg.

Now the ship had a crew of two, with three thousand frozen colonists in the hold and a busted food dispenser, light years from home and just as far to their destination. The decision to eat Roy was not one that they arrived at lightly but death by starvation does tend to rearrange one's priorities just a bit. Barry was all thumbs in the kitchen but Gloria made a wonderful pot roast that just melted in your mouth. It would have been better with some potatoes and carrots but beggars can't be choosers. Afterwards, they made love for the first time and that seemed to bring the universe back into alignment and seal their relationship forever.

Barry sat up in bed, finished with his post coital musings, "What about that breakfast you promised? I need some mind food if I'm going to spend a week staring at dials and playing rumpy-pumpy with you my love."

"Oh that's all taken care of. I've a nice American thawing as we speak," she said in a lazy voice.

"I hope he isn't an athlete. The last one was stringy and as tough as boot leather. Good flavor," he conceded, "but chewy."

"No, no. This one is as fat as a Christmas goose. You'll love him, but he won't be ready for at least another hour. What do you propose we do to fill the time?" she said with a purr. Barry pulled her close and the stellar engines hummed on.

Doc Shaw- Born and raised in the hills of central Ohio. Educated at Licking Valley High School where he cultivated his talents as a "bullshit artist". He now work for a local bakery and his interests include firearms, canoeing, becoming a better speller, and raising two above average kids, Riley & Lucy. His work can be found on my blog, Social Zymurgy; the culture of beer, and he's active in Ron Earl Phillips Flash Fiction Friday.

Editor's Note: This is Doc Shaw's debut on any magazine.  Congratulations!

16 comments:

David Barber said...

Congratulations on a great debut story, Doc. Well written and engaging from start to finish. Sci-fi cannibalism could be a first on this site. I'll certainly be checking the archives.

Well done!

David Cranmer said...

Very fine webzine debut, Doc. Welcome.

Ron Scheer said...

Ha. Inspired. Brings to mind Mrs. Lovett from "Sweeney Todd"... Thanks!

Sue H said...

Ah, great debut Doc! Some interesting images there - I like the idea they have a freezer full of 'food' to keep them going ;-)

Paul D. Brazill said...

Clever story. Beut!

Chris Rhatigan said...

People can get used to anything, eh? Weird and wild stuff.

Trey R. Barker said...

Been a while since I had some well-grilled deep-space cannibalism. Nice imagery...and who can resist the juxtaposition of sex and food!

Rick Carr said...

Ahhh...those important moments that bring two people together! Great job,Doc!

AJ Hayes said...

Adventures of the crew of the Goode Ship Sawney Beane. Terrific start, Doc. Keep 'em coming.

Doc said...

Thank you all for your kind comments. This was a major departure from my usual fare but it somehow seemed to be a nice fit for FFO. This was an entry for a weekly writing challenge that I'm a part of, Flash Fiction Friday. I'm hosting this week so why not swing on by? We are at http://www.flashfictionfriday.com/ and also on Facebook under Flash Fiction Friday. We welcome authors of all skill levels and genres. I may have even talked our dear editor David Barber into contributing.

A special thanks to David for having me and I won't be a stranger around here.

Yours in ink,
Doc

Mike Wilkerson said...

You kept the story short and sweet with a great change-up at the end. Nice work.

Not to mention I'll read anything which describes a woman as "randy as an alleycat", written by a man who's a certified bullshit artist.

Sean Patrick Reardon said...

Congrats on the debut Doc. I fine job indeed.

Bill Baber said...

wow, outta the gate with a great start! nice debut, hope to see more of your stories...

Veronica Marie Lewis-Shaw said...

AWESOME, debut, Doc! I LOVED every word! I have never been "into" sci-fi; it just never really did anything for me, but... after reading your little gem here, I may have to re-think that.

Looking forward to reading more of Gloria and Barry.

Smashing read... Congratulations!

Joyce said...

This is a gem, Doc. Perhaps not one to read just before dinner, but still... Love the easy, matter-of-fact voice here too, like, it's no biggie. We'll just eat the passengers. There's plenty to go around. Wonder what happens when they reach their destination. Got some 'splaining to do'? Love this.

Ingrid Hardy said...

Oh I love a good love story... and one that involves food! Does not get any better. The switch at the end was done in such a "normal" way. Great tale! (now I needs me some steak...lol...)