|Morose Moon Man submitted 2009.10.24 04:03 AM by TallestTak viewed 1660 times|
|Harold was disconsolate. He'd sat despondently in the dust, feeling just as lonely as he had every other night when he watched Earthrise. It would have been nice if they'd mentioned the loneliness factor in the job description when he'd agreed to become the Man on the Moon.|
Harold chuckled bitterly at the thought. He knew he should have read the fine print. When he'd contacted Moon Corp. about the position, he figured he was being interviewed to snag the sweet job of Man in the Moon. Who wouldn't want their face plastered up on the biggest billboard in the naked-eye galaxy? Instant celebrity. Of course, silly him, he hadn't realized the difference of one vowel was going to make him the loneliest man in existence.
Apparently, the position Moon Corp. had been hoping to fill was something like "Man of the Future". After they'd finally managed to terraform the Moon (who wanted to terraform the moon anyway?), the bigwigs at Moon Corp. wanted to begin getting people excited about the first communal development in outer space. Mars was a bust, but the Moon is a heck of a lot closer AND we can plant grass on it! All of it had seemed so ideal: go to the moon, live in a mansion, transmit video feeds back to Earth once a week showing them your moon garden, teeing off on the moon golf course, bouncing around the Sea of Tranquility. What could go wrong?
The economy, that's what. Harold had worked in an office pushing paper, so his tiny salary didn't exactly reflect the monetary trend in the country from moment to moment. All he knew was that anything, anything sounded better than being Harold Beavers, Office Lackey for the rest of his life. So, in the middle of an affluent period that was simply too good to last, Harold put his John Hancock on the contract, hopped on a shuttle, and found himself stranded on the Moon.
It had happened on a sunny day in March (although this was nothing out of the ordinary, since every day is sunny on a rock with a transparent atmosphere). Moon Corp. had planned a video conference with all the biggest news channels on Earth to announce the launch of the building crew that would begin work immediately on Lunar Heights--the first official community on the Moon. However, after Harold had gotten himself smartened up with his best Moon Corp. tie and turned on his computer, he was met with an urgent e-mail from MCHQ rather than the video feed he'd been expecting:
WORSE CRASH SINCE THE CATACLYSMIC DEPRESSION OF 2756. FUNDING FOR MOON CORP NON-EXISTENT AFTER ECONOMIC DOWNTURN. THE. MONEY. IS. GONE.
P.S. For now, we can't afford to send a shuttle to pick you up and bring you home. There are enough food supplies to last you the next 20 years, so your survival isn't an immediate issue. We'll keep in touch.
That had been four months ago. Harold was now faced with the reality of someone who had all the amenities anyone could ever dream of, but still woke up every morning with the realization that he was utterly and completely alone--
Total and unequivocal boredom.
He was close enough to Earth to pick up flawless satellite reception, but that mattered extraordinarily little after he'd watched every video on You tube (yes, EVERY video), began and beaten World of Warcraft (Harold hadn't even know it was possible to beat World of Warcraft), and viewed every picture on LOLcats four times (the cat he'd left on Earth was cuter than all of them). The fun of bouncing around in reduced gravity had lost all its appeal early on, all of his moon carrots were dead, and a 6000 yard drive on a moon golf course had much less meaning than he thought it would. Finding himself bored to desperation, he did what he assumed was the natural thing--
He joined an online dating service.
His profile got roughly seven million hits a day, but he knew it was mostly out of curiosity than actual interest. Aside from "Location: the Moon", his profile depicted his mediocrity. Five foot nine, brown hair, brown eyes, somewhat twiggy, enjoys classic rock and pizza. He found out that most girls didn't want to date him because, ironically, the distance bothered them. A late night conversation with Patricia from Maryland had shed light on this for him.
LunarStud: I'm confused. If we get along so well, why don't you want to be my girlfriend?
CrabbyPatti: Oh, you know?the Moon is really far away.
LunarStud: So what? Maryland is really far away.
CrabbyPatti: I guess. I dunno, I like you, but there's a guy in Oregon I've been talking to, and I think I like those prospects better.
LunarStud: So, you'd date a guy who's far away on Earth, but not a guy who's far away on the Moon?
CrabbyPatti: At least I could meet him one day. With you, you're stuck up there. When would we ever meet?
This was why Harold sat so despondently in the lunar dust. Rather than the fame and notoriety he'd been hoping for, he was stranded, lonely, and hopelessly bored. Even passing out faxes on Earth had been better than this.
He went back inside his "mansion", which felt distinctly more prison-esque these days. Before crawling into his cold too-big bed, he noticed a blinking pop-up on his monitor:
ChattyKathy wants to start a conversation with you! Do you accept?
Willing to talk to anything that would respond, Harold sank down into his plush computer chair and hit "Accept". He wasn't even sure if she was still online, but he figured it couldn't hurt to check.
ChattyKathy: How's it going, Moon Man?
Harold was slightly taken aback. There was such an ease about those five words. Moon Man?
LunarStud: Not too poorly--you know, if you skip the fact that I'm alone on the Moon. How about you?
He waited for thirty seconds, hoping that she was still there. Then, he saw the emphatic "Responding!" at the bottom of the chat window, causing the corners of his eyes to crinkle in a small smile.
ChattyKathy: What, Moon life isn't a blast?
LunarStud: If by blast you mean playing both the Astronauts AND the Martians all day every day, then you've got it spot on.
ChattyKathy: Tell me about it. Living alone in Powell, Nebraska with no neighbors for eight miles around can get pretty dull too.
Harold leaned back in his chair, taking a moment to gaze down at Earth while wondering how he could have possibly been blessed with the stroke of good fortune of meeting an interesting woman in similarly dire social straits. Perhaps God was throwing him a bone after four months of nothing but Moon rocks for company.
LunarStud: Nebraska, eh? I've never been there. Why don't you tell me all about it?
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