Tuesday

Today is Tuesday.

Mother Earth has a cancer, and there isn’t enough Jesus to cure it. The ships leave on schedule, rocketing high into the sky, off to another “home,” with signs inside reading “ Yes Smoking,” as if to punctuate humanity’s churlish sense of humor. There are competing estimates, but none of them are kind—all of them have an expiration.

Sure, there are summertime blizzards and wildfires in the winter, but outside of that, everything is normal. The news broadcasts carry on as they always have, reporting with a sense of calm, a real professionalism about the whole thing. The workers go to work. The school children go to school. The church ladies go to church. I’m sure there’s an atheist on a couch somewhere. Maybe this is all a part of it. There is death and maybe what we are witnessing is life en masse. I’ve always been so impressed by how well people seem to hold it together. Life is hard. Life has always been hard. It was hard when the trees were green. It was hard when the weather was temperate. I guess not everybody holds it together all the time, but for the most part, people carry on. Why wouldn’t they now?

I was never prepared for the bigger things in life, but I guess you never truly are. The big things always seemed too big. I was scared of everything—relationships, successes, heartbreaks, sickness, and especially death. A funny thing happened along the way. Relationships found me, and I found them to be quite normal. Success found me, and I found it to be quite normal. Heartbreak and sickness found me, and I found them to be quite normal. Eventually, death found me. Someone I loved died. I still woke up the next day.

I heard someone say, “Boy, the kids sure are acting strange.” I don’t know, I think they’re acting pretty normal. The kids were born into this. This is their normal. The ships have been going up for years now. They go up once a week. They learn about weightlessness in kindergarten. Mandatory curriculum prepares children for if they go up, or if they stay down. It’s a random selection. It happens on a random day.

Today, I saw the kid next door sobbing. He was sobbing because he had to say goodbye to his best friend. The kid next door was staying down, while his best friend was going up. His best friend had just boarded a ship, Today is the day of the week that ships leave to go to Mars. It’s Tuesday.

C.M. Steven

C.M. Steven was the drummer for a touring musical act based in St. Louis, Missouri, before relocating to Burlington, Vermont. He now works odd jobs to support his writing. This is his first published story.