From the throat of the cavern there wafted a putrid smell like boiled beetroot and glue. The three explorers caught their breaths as they steeped into the atrium of the dragons maw. The miasma wasn't poisonous, as the research scouts had assured them, but it was the kind of(more) smell that a person couldn't get used to and forget.
The men affixed douf corp. fiber masked to their faces and clicked on their helmet lights. The glass like black walls of the throat shimmered and socked it up greedily.
The microscopic structure of the alien material leading and teasing scientific endeavors but giving away no secrets as to its origins or mechanisms. It's perplexingly simple face-centered cubic lattice promised advancements from computer processing to quieter engines.
The dragons throat, or just the throat as it was more commonly called, was the only documented instance of the phenomenon. Copious amounts of money had been sunk into researching it but safety regs insisted no maned team could enter until it was declared "a zone of acceptable risk."
The tests had finished. The mission statement had been proposed, reviewed and rewritten to the satisfaction of the board of eminently rich benefactors.
They had screened candidates for intrepid, resourcefulness and not a small mount of expertise. The men who had ended up being chosen weren't exactly Neil, Buzz and Collins. But they had all displayed in their own way, a certain subtle genius.
The board of the eminently rich had also given their profiles their stamp of approval. Which didn't hurt their chances. After, to the board the men weren't just being trusted with what could be the most important discovery of the decade. they were also trusting them with copious amounts of their money.(less)
what what what will happen when the kids shuffle through the door, read the name of the board? who will speak first?
undoubtedly they will. how many, though? they will call me ms. but it will sound like miss. i've had enough students to know that miss is(more) an easier word to say, and the assumption with both is that teacher is single, or at least shy about sharing personal information.
in my neighborhood i was kissing on the street one night when i heard, "is that two girls? eww gross dykes." they were small kids, so i wasn't afraid, just surprised at the reaction. in the middle of big big liberal city the kids still think gay is gross.
my school is two neighborhoods over. its gentrifying, but there are still shootings. i don't have a ring to hide, a picture of a sweetheart i have to consider whether i'll bring in, so its easy for me to accept the ms with grace. the kids are 11 years old. they don't need to know anything about who i am on the outside. i know i have to be selective with how i approach personal information anyways.
i don't know my kids yet, but i know that in figuring out who they are, they will brush up against who they are afraid to become and call it who i'm not, and i know that the process of figuring it all out will mean that some boys will be sissies, some girls dykes. i will hear it in the hallways if not in my classroom.
growing up is about both figuring it out and disavowing that which you are not. this is why i know that regardless where i live, i'll hear kids say words i thought were out of date. (less)
What happened? Where am I? James was slowly regaining consciousness but without any real senses at his control; it was difficult to gauge where his night of bad decisions had landed him. The last thing he remembered, he was punishing his liver for every bad thing he could hav(more)e ever done, and this memory was hazy at best. The young sailor tried to move, to even open his eyes but his body was unresponsive, he soon became all to aware of the burning and pressure in his throat and that his breathing was not of his own will. “Oh god…” his mind spun at the life threatening possibilities of what had transpired, “I tried to get back to base from Smitty’s house, Fuck! Oh god Mom! Someone call my Mom! FOR-CHRISSAKE -WHATSGOINGON!” His memory was a blank after arguing with his friend Lee, his last name Smith so shortened to Smitty as per Naval tradition, he got in his car determined to get back to his ship. Panic gripped him, as he worked out the scenario, “ I drove, that was stupid. I wrecked and I’m strapped to some hospital bed while they are trying to fix me up…”
“well you’re half right James, you did get in an accident, but you are a bit past saving at this point” .
The voice came from nowhere in particular and James was startled that it replied to his inner dialog when he was sure there was no way he was capable of speaking aloud. James strained and thought "are you there?”.
“I am here James, everything is going to be ok in the end, just relax and let this happen”
“Let WHAT happen? What’s going on? I want my MOM!”