The egg sat in the container, mocking Lee with its wholeness.
“What is this? Again!” she shouted at Byers, the cook. “I ordered scrambled. Does this look scrambled to you?”
Byers approached the table and crushed the egg with his spatula. “You’re welcome,” he told her.
The statement did not end the conflict. Lee threw the plate against the bulkhead. Food splattered everywhere.
Byers shook the spatula menacingly toward Lee. “If you think I’m going to clean that up, you are very mistaken.”
Lee swatted a piece of toast toward Byers. It spun lazily past his head. “I’ve put up with your idiocy for too long. I would think that after all this time, you’d have figured out my breakfast. I only get it every morning.”
Byers laughed. “Maybe if you were nicer, I would work harder to remember.”
Commander Anderson, who had been eating in the corner, put down his comic book and cleared his throat.
Lee and Byers stopped eyeballing each other and looked at him.
“We’ll be landing on Mars in three days. I can’t turn this ship around, but if you two don’t settle down, I will assign you both to orbital mapping duty while the rest of us make history. Lee, clean up that mess. Byers, go make Lee the proper eggs.”
The tree stood apart from the others in the grove but was, on the surface, completely unremarkable.
“I’ve been studying it for weeks, and there is only one thing that I’m certain of,” I heard myself admitting. “The roots go all the way down.”
“All the way?” she asked, unsure if she had heard correctly.
“Straight through the heart,” I confirmed.
“Then there are others,” she said. “There has to be.”
“Yes,” I agreed. “Six more.”
“They must be found,” she said.
“The Sentinels of the Earth,” I whispered. “The legends were true.”
Because of a quirk in geography, there were thunderstorms in Darksville almost every day, and with the thunderstorms, lightning. Consequently, an address in Darksville was irresistible to mad scientists. There was at least one creepy mansion, castle, or tower per block. Neighborhood disputes tended to escalate quickly.
“Get your dirty Frankenstein off of my lawn!” screamed Dr. Insano. “He’s ruining the flowers!”
“You know damn well that I’m Frankenstein,” Dr. Frankenstein shouted right back. “That’s my monster. He’s the monster.”
“I don’t care what you call him. One more time on my side of the property line and I’m unleashing the robo-bees,” said Dr. Insano as he stomped back into his workshop.
“Oh, please, robo-bees? I invented those three years ago!” said Frankenstein to the closing door. “Come along, Monster, you have work to do,” he told Monster. “Those beers aren’t going to carry themselves back from the store.”
“Hrrrr,” said Monster. “Hrrrrrrrr.”
Your hair is shorter.
Yeah. I’m trying something new.
Same as last month?
No. Very different.
Uh huh. This wouldn’t have anything to do with what I saw on the news, would it?
That was the old me.
They got pretty good video of your face this time.
I’d run for the border, but my passport is expired.
So, exactly like last month, then.
I’m telling you, one of these days, it will work.
It had better. You don’t have much hair left.
I’m thinking about going blonde.