Stuck on the Moon
They say you go crazy out here, but he hadn't thought it was true. Sure, the moon sucked, but at least there was a way off of it. And if there was a way out then you weren’t locked in.
Fuck this place, he thought. There was a time that he could come and go as he pleased. Back when he had a real job and a spaceship. But now he was stuck mining moon dust. What a madhouse, this place. They call it an opportunity when they invite you in, but it turns into a prison when you’re forced to stay. Fuck Mars, too, he spat.
It was the hundredth run of the day. The Lunarcrete-making machines had needed new blades so many times today that he had lost count. Hundredth time was an exaggeration, he knew that, but he didn’t actually know how many times he been out between sunrises. When the sun doesn’t set like it does on Earth, one day runs into another. One day is thirty days, give or take. And you lose track of time. Did people even have birthdays on the moon? He wondered. Holy shit, have I been here longer than I think I have? Had it been a month, or was it more like a year?
As his vehicle drove between the grey dust of buildings to the grey dust of the mine, Mac felt even more disoriented. The humps of the Lunarcrete buildings without windows looked just like the hills in the distance. Was he going the right way? He wasn’t even driving, of course it was the right way. The grey of the ground blended into the black sky, and for a mining repair guy like him, everything was grey. They say you go crazy out here, he thought. I might be going colorblind, but I’m not crazy.
Mac made it to the mine and the equipment that was stalled, cutting shapes out of the pressed Lunar dust that could be moved and used for constructing new buildings. He carefully used his tools to remove and replace the blade before switching on the robot again. Job done, he got back in the vehicle, back through the grey emptiness, and back to the grey inside, and back to the grey of his sad life.
"I gotta get off this rock," he said. "Before I really go crazy, I swear. I gotta get off this damned moon before it kills me." He looked at his head-up display for what was in his bank account. It was still not even half the amount needed for a ticket off. He had to find another way to escape this greyness.
Mac usually turned to Mary Jane for solace, but after his shift now he needed something stronger. He went to his regular spot where he went to get into trouble, the Irish pub. The standing bar tops were full tonight, each person zoned out on their personal head-up display. People weren’t here to socialize, just drink until they passed out enough to go to sleep. The sounds of people snorting and burping filled the air and matched the smell of BO and flat beer. No one paid him any attention as Mac discretely asked the bartender for something “with a little more umph”. The bartender obliged, but not without making a mental note to add Mac’s face to the list of those that might not make their shift tomorrow. If he didn’t, there’d be hell to pay.
“Don’t worry about me, man,” he responded to the bartender’s gaze of don’t fuck up and blame me.
Mac placed the fragile piece of paper laced with his escape on his tongue, closed his eyes, and inhaled through his nose deeply. The crazy swept right out of him, and the grey jumpsuits that stood around him started to turn purple and red. Color sprang into his eyes, swirling and blending the lines of faces and objects together. Yes, he thought, this is pretty.