Salvatore Ambulando’s Detritus: The Spacetrucker’s New Clothes

Here is another story that will soon find it’s place in Salvatore Ambulando’s Detritus, my soon to be complete self-publishing experiment.

This is one of my favorites. If it makes me laugh to read it, I think I did well.

Science fiction is not all aliens and transcendence, spaceships and cheap robowomen–I try to inject some humor in what I write when I’m not trying to say something important. Regardless, I think its important to realize that no matter what your beliefs on where we should go as a species in the future, space exploration is inevitable, and no matter how far we advance into the frontier of space, we’re going to take all the regular joes with us.

Here’s to regular joes and Blue Mondays.

Absently, Fred Collins looked around the cockpit for his clothes. Squeaking in his leather captain’s chair, he looked on either side of him and found only open vending machine junk food wrappers. The environment controls were still running the ship too hot, but after his next drop-off, he could spend the time to get them fixed.

Eyeballing the proximity readout, the spacetrucker switched to automatic guidance and initiated the cool-down sequence on his engines.

To save time and possible hardship,  Collins blew his ship’s cargo doors before he docked with the Perkins Global Orbital Hub. He had done it hundreds of times before with no incident.  As a spacetrucker, you never knew when you might pick-up a stowaway dock rat, or a bad infestation of asteroid mites. Venting the cargo bay before docking served to empty out any undesirables before mingling air with a  station.

Collins had been on the wrong end of plenty unfortunate episodes in his thirteen years as a cargo hauler. He knew from experience that xenotransmission carried a hefty fine.

He had never lost cargo before – Collins was very meticulous in ensuring all cargo was secure before and after every transaction. So when he saw his only flight suit and his set of thermals flutter by on the cosmic wind outside his forward windows, he knew his perfect record was about to have a large, embarrassing red mark against it.

In a panic, Collins fired up the manual stabilization appendages, hoping the telescoping arms could reach out far enough to snag the errant flight suit before it drifted too far. The claw-like implements at the end of the arms snapped shut several feet shy.

Cursing, Collins prepared to fire his thrusters and move away from the dock, but just as he flipped the cover to the ignition sequence, the ship was jolted as the docklocks slammed home.

Sliding his naked, sweat-slicked body out of his captain’s chair, Collins flapped bare-footed down the main corridor toward his quarters. He knew he didn’t have a spare set.

The series of events that had led to this disaster played silent-movie-style in his head, complete with organ accompaniment. He cursed his procrastination in repairing the ship’s malfunctioning environmental controls, he cursed his laziness in leaving his flight suit tossed haphazardly in the cargo bay, and he cursed his spacetrucker’s mentality that declared real truckers only needed one flight suit, a pair of thermals, and a good interplanetary porn feed to be successful.

After reaching his hands into cobwebbed lockers, dusty cargo bins, and a dozen other places where he felt a secret stash of flight suits might hide, Collins gave up. He was hastily constructing a crude loincloth out of paper towels when the pressure stabilization alarm went off.

Clanging through the corridors, a fluttering banner of paper trailing from his poorly hidden ass, Collins raced to the cargo bay, hoping to reach it before the Perkins Global dock personnel opened their dockside doors.

There was one last thing he had forgotten, one final piece of evidence he had left for all the world to see, plastered on the forward wall of the cargo bay in giant, ultra-definition clarity.

Collins swore that he would never open his cargo bay prior to docklock again.

Sprinting down the metal stairs leading to the cargo area, Collins ran for dear life, slamming open door mechanisms as he went. Reaching the cargo bay, he didn’t even bother to look behind him at the debauchery plastered on the walls. His makeshift loincloth hung in tatters, billowing around him as he collided against the entertainment hub controls and desperately tried to shut off the video feed.

The control cover jammed and he desperately pulled upwards to release it. Moving around to the other side of the controls, baring his ass to the still-closed dockside doors, Collins yanked up and down on the cover screaming in frustration.

When the Perkins Global crew finally opened the doors, they saw a naked man, standing with his back to them among a pile of moist paper towels. The man was covered in sweat and  frantically jerking at something in front of him. Plastered on the far wall, twenty feet high in front of him, a rather unsavory woman was being serviced by what appeared to be two well-endowed spacetruckers.

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