Paula R C Readman
gin and tonic
“Don’t you just hate it,” my Number One was saying as I tried to land our spacecraft on planet earth for our first exploration.
I nodded my agreement, while my minds were trying to stay focused on the task at hand. The bright greens and blues were worrying me, as they weren’t what Number One had led me to expect to find on such a planet. Somehow I just knew that things weren’t going to go to plan, don’t ask me how I knew, but I could feel it in my three stomachs.
“What’s wrong with you?” Number One asked, breaking into my thoughts as we started our descent.
I inhaled slowly, hating the fact that I’m always Second in Command. I threw the switch and started counting backwards, knowing that Number One hadn’t done his homework.
After we’d travelled two hundred thousand miles in less than a minute, my three stomachs hit the floor as we passed through the atmosphere.
“Oh yes we’re on target. Our leaders will be pleased when we take over this miserable little planet,” Number One said, blinking his three eyes slowly as his two mouths grinned.
I coughed twice as my two mouths went quite dry. The screen before me showed my worst fears. My Number One had spent too much time with his mistress instead of doing his job. A few final checks would have prevented such a huge cock up.
After we’d landed and I had secured the airlock for opening, Number One hauled his bulk out of his seat and slithered down the ladder, calling back over his shoulder, “Never send a whipper-snapper to do a man’s job,” before I had chance to warn him.
On my screen, I saw the horror register on his face as he turned his great head towards me, his two mouths opened together in a silent, “What the Fuck!”
We had landed in the middle of some sort of superhighway, but before I had chance to beam him up a great slurping noise whisked him away.
I sighed, and closed the door without bothering about the ladder. It wasn’t as if the inhabitants of planet earth would’ve noticed such a small thing.
I took control of Number One’s seat, finding that it fitted me perfectly. I counted down, and threw the switch. As I hit hyperspace, I wonder how I was going to explain about the loss of Number One, but for now I would relax and take the long route back, enjoying being in control for once.