Venny and the (Space) Jets

Submitted into Contest #50 in response to: Write a story about a person experiencing pre-performance jitters.... view prompt

23 comments

Science Fiction Funny Adventure

The first spaceship to the planet Bodacious was led by the brave and fearless Captain Miracle Rochester of Hot Springs, Arkansas. It left this morning at approximately five eighteen AM. Captain Rochester left behind her fiance of nine years, Kayden Jewell. They are to be married when she returns from the mission. She also leaves behind her parents and siblings. They will miss her, but they know what a great service she is doing for the space force. Here we have Captain Rochester’s last words before boarding the ship to the planet Bodacious. 

“I know this is scary. I know it seems dangerous and foolish even, to go somewhere where no one has been before and try to explore things no one has even thought of. I know it’ll be a rough road, but all I can do is be there for the ride.” 

She is joined by her crew, a group made up of people from ages twenty six to almost seventy years old. She thanks them for being the best team she could ask for and vows to do all in her power to get them back safely once the mission is done. We salute you, Captain Rochester, for your service to your home planet. 

I read the article again. It’s falling apart in my hands, crumbling more and more every time I unfold it, but I have to keep doing it. It keeps me balanced. It keeps me safe knowing that what I read is true. Captain Miracle Rochester did leave her home planet to come to the planet Bodacious. She did leave behind her family and a fiance and she did get her team home safely when the mission was done, but she stayed on Bodacious. She stayed on that planet, got married to someone who was definitely not her fiance Kayden Jewell, and she had a child. Namely me. 

I put the article back in my pocket and frown up at the ceiling of our house. I can’t sleep. I haven’t been able to sleep since four weeks ago, when my father (the alien my mother fell in love with and married and decided to leave her home forever for) was declared dead or at the very least missing in action. It’s something that happens fairly often on Bodacious because a lot of the parents work in the energy harvesting business. Only thing is, my dad never did, so it doesn’t add up. Why would he be one of the parents that got absorbed by a black hole when he was never even supposed to be near the things? I don’t know. I can’t know. My mother definitely doesn’t know, which may be the reason why all my things, most of my entire life’s collection of stuff, has been packed up into moving boxes and already been shipped to my Mom’s planet. To Earth. 

She hadn’t been in contact with her parents much after she decided to stay on Bodacious and not go back, but once it was officially declared that my father was gone… well, she had to call them and let them know she was coming back. She also had to tell them that I would be joining her. Talk about pressure, though. My Mom says I’ll make new friends and yeah, maybe I will but here’s the thing. Those friends won’t be the ones I already have. And for the most part, I really like the friends I have. They understand what it’s like to be from this planet because they were born here like me and I don’t have to explain to them why I look the way I do, talk the way I do, dress the way I do… any of it. I’m just here with everyone else and we move along the merry way. I have a feeling folks from Earth aren’t going to see things the same way I do. That’s okay. I mean, I’m not a close minded kind of guy. I like learning the ways other beings think and act and live, just not when they’re making me feel like I’m any less than they are for the ways I think and act and live. 

I roll over in bed and stop starting at the ceiling. I need to get some sleep if I want to get up early enough to say goodbye to my classmates tomorrow. Last day of school and I don’t even get to finish out the afternoon. What a surprise. Oh well. At least there’ll be plenty of cake. 

When I wake up, Captain Rochester, aka my dear sweet Mommy, is already at the door, revving to get back to her home planet. See, when my father was alive, she was always talking about how much better Bodacious was. Better leadership, better economy, better food, better looking citizens… just overall a much brighter place. So you can imagine why I’m not absolutely thrilled to be going to her favorite place to complain about. We were going back to her hometown, not just her home planet. It was a little place called Hot Springs, which I thought was a cute enough name, until she started droning on and on about how great the bath houses are. What are bathhouses? What are rocking chairs? What is a fountain? There are so many things I have no clue about and my Mom talks about them like I grew up right alongside her. I didn’t. I grew up here, on Bodacious, a planet of one thousand curves. Just kidding, but the roads here are kind of twisty. At least that’s a common factor with Arkansas and where I live now… Mom says both places have enough twist in the roads to make you sick if you aren’t used to it. That’s one of the reasons she adapted so well to Bodacious. It kept her on her toes. 

And now she’s tapping those very same toes at me. She wants me to hurry up and go, but guess what, Mother? I am saying goodbye to the house I have lived in since I was born, okay? This is where I have lived and breathed and slept and where I learned how to read and write. This is my home. I take a deep breath, hug my bedpost one last time, and step out of the dining room and into the Bodacious morning air. Our vehicle (not a car like they have on Earth, the cretins) is parked and hovering outside. Our neighborhood farewell party was last week, so we don’t have to say goodbye again, but it’s getting to school I’m worried about. There’s no way I can go in and out without breaking down. Not crying, though. Since I’m technically only human on my Mom’s side, I got the Bodacioan tear ducts, meaning I don;t have them. No. Bodacioans don’t cry. Instead, we shoot gourmet meals from our claws. (That’s another thing I inherited from my father! Claws. Lovely, I know.) Anyway, though, when I’m upset I don’t actually shed tears from my eyes. I shoot four course dinners out and the splatter all over anyone and anything unfortunate enough to close by. At the funeral, we all ate so well my Mom said it reminded her of Thanksgiving dinners back on Earth. I don’t know what’s more upsetting. Shooting enough meals to feed a small province sad or crying so much you can’t see the door in front of you sad. 

“Would you put that down and get in?” She glares at me and I grin. Same old same old Mom, even after the worst few weeks of both our lives. I’m glad to hear she’s mad at me, in fact. Anything beats the nights of sitting in silence, debating whether or not to risk conversation resulting in too many leftovers and sopping wet couch cushions. 

“Yes, Captain.” I step in the car and put my hand back in my pocket, feeling to make sure my article is still there. Why am I so nervous to say goodbye to my friends? It’s not like I’ll never see them again. Oh wait. That’s exactly how it is. 

“I’ve told you at least seventeen times to not call me captain.” 

“Are your translators right, Mom? Because I never said that.” I shoot her another smile. She adjusts the machines behind her ears. They translate for her because she never learned the language of the planet. Me, on the other hand, I’ve learned so many languages from different planets I never know what to expect when I fall asleep. Will I dream in Bodacciou? English, like Mom? I’ve always enjoyed Klingon. They speak a really fun language about two planets over and most of the time I speak in that one when I’m around my friends because, to be honest, they have the most colorful vocabulary. 

“Alright. While you go inside your school to say goodbye to teachers and everyone, I’m running to the store to get us some last snacks for the road. Sound good?”

“No. Sounds like a terrible plan.” I click my claws against the dashboard. “Let’s just stay here instead. It’ll save you time and money, and it’ll save me pain and agony.” 

“I’ve told you what I told everyone else, kid. This is for the best.”

“Yeah, but who are you talking about when you say that? Because I think it would be in my best interest to not leave Bodacious at all. This isn’t just going to the next town over, Mom. This is a whole new {redacted} planet!”

“What was that word? My translator wouldn’t translate it. Are you using words from Audacious?” 

“No, not at all.”

“Just go inside, please, and let me know when you’re done.” 

“Okay.” 

The doors to my high school are closed because class has already started. I walk through them and down the hall to my favorite class. Intergalactic Furniture and Household Item Artifactual History. I knocked on the door with a single claw and no one heard me the first time. The second time, my best friend looked up and jumped up. “Venustus!” Before I know it, the door is open and the class is up and racing towards me with piles of galactic Wonka cakes and glitterstar cookies spilling from their claws, hands, and paws, not to mention tentacles and other assorted, beautiful limbs. I love these kids, honestly. 

“Venny,” my best friend in the whole tri planet area starts a toast, her long sparkled arms wrapped around my shoulders, “Is my best friend. He’s also a really {redacted} great glitterstarball player and I love him for that.” A single crumb of brewlinki bread toast drops from her hand and onto the classroom floor. 

“Ah, no need for that.” I cover her hand with my claws and smile sadly. “It’s not like I’ll ever see you again, but you could always come visit Earth. I hear they kind of like freaks there. Lady Gaga went there after leaving Audacious, after all, and she seems to be doing okay.” Everyone laughs and the teacher, Teacher H, brushes fruit off her pants. 

“You will be missed greatly, Venustus.” She is one of the last citizens of Bodacious to have tentacles and to need water. The majority of the population has evolved to where we don’t have to drink anything unless it’s for fun, like an after school activity. I used to be the proud president of the pollinated Riddleflower smoothie club, but that disbanded once my father was declared dead (or MIA) and my life fell apart. If I couldn’t manage to put clothes on properly every morning, who was going to trust me with a blender? 

“Yeah, we will miss you.” From the back of the room, a towering fellow student with fangs as long as hollow as a… never mind, rises and waves to me. I nod to him. “Good luck on planet Earth, V.” 

“Thanks.” We aren’t friends. In fact, until my father went missing or died, we were very dangerous enemies. I touch the side of my face. There’s still a jagged scar from where the hover vehicle’s windshield cut me as I flew through it. Not everything is perfect on my planet. Nowhere ever is. He sits back down. That’s it. That’s the whole interaction. It’s enough, though. I’d hate to leave Bodacious feeling like he was still trying to kill me. “All right.” I clap. “My mom’s going to be waiting for me, so I’d better get going.” 

 Bexxin, my best friend, hands me a note and whispers, “To read when you get there.” Then they’re pushing me out the door, out out out I go until I’m standing out in the hall again. You’d think it would be lonely to know this is your last time walking down a certain hallway, but instead I feel a sense of finality that I’m not sure how to place. I walk out to the hover lot and my mom isn’t back yet. I send her a message via thought texts and she reads it but doesn’t respond. Man, you know it’s a hard life when even your own mother leaves you on read. I stick my hand in my pocket and find the note from Bexxin. I won’t read it until we get to Earth, just like she asked. My mom finally drives up and I jump in the hover vehicle. She has piles and piles and piles of food. It’ll be the last time we get to enjoy the planet’s cuisine, so I start eating. Technically, it should take us five thousand planet earth years to get there, but thanks to our most recent technology, it should take about eighteen hours. Good thing we have over three thousand years of music and Bodacious snacks to entertain us on the way there. 

I don’t talk to Mom until we get near the sun, three planets away from our destination. I’m too tired and too hungry and too {redacted} sad too cope with this. “Hey, Mom.” 

“Hey, Venny. How are you doing?”

“Why are you even asking? I’m doing horribly.”

“Well, I know, but on a scale of ten to twelve how horribly are you doing?”

I blink at her. “That’s an awful scale. But fifty.”

She nods. “That makes sense. Do you want to know something nice about the house we’re going to, though? To distract you, maybe? Something to look forward to?” 

“Do I have a choice, Mom?”

She shakes her head. “Uh, no. Look, my parents are going to be so happy to meet you.”

“So happy I’ll still have my own room?” She’s quiet. “Mom, what?” 

“We aren’t staying with them anymore. Something came up. They aren’t comfortable with me moving back so fast into their lives. It’s not about you, though. They just think it would be too much to live together right off the bat. We never got along too well before, to be honest.”

I run a claw through my hair and sigh. Typical Captain. “Who are we staying with, then?” 

“You never met him. But, um, his name is Kayden. Kayden Jewell.”

My hands go to the article in my pocket. Could it be a coincidence? Maybe she has a relative named the same as her ex fiance? That could be it, right? A cousin, perhaps? Arkansas seems like a small place. Maybe Mom meant to say his name was, like, Jayden Hewell instead of Kayden Jewell. “Come again, Captain?”

“Kayden Jewell. My friend from Hot Springs.”

“Is he a friend who used to be your fiance, by any chance?”

“That, is a thing you should have known sooner but I didn’t feel the need to tell you when I was married to your father. There was no point. Until now, I guess.”

“Mom. Do I still get my own room?” 

“You get to share!” 

“With who?” 

“One of Kayden’s kids. Their mom left a few years ago, but he has four kids. The oldest one is a girl around your age but the one you’re sharing a room with is a little younger. Like twelve or so.”

“I’m almost sixteen. I don’t want to share a room with a twelve year old.”

“Too bad, it’s a house and we’re staying. Also, while we’re here and you’re a captive audience, um, I’ve been talking to Kayden since your dad disappeared and he’s helped me through a lot, like I did when his wife left. I know it’s not the same thing, but please be nice.”

I scratch a claw against the dashboard and Mom winces; she hates that sound. “I’ll be so nice, don’t even worry. I’ll be so {redacted} nice Mr. Chopin Brewbell won’t even know left from right. And I’m sure the little human {redacted} and I will be the best {redacted} roommates the planet Earth, no, the UNIVERSE has even set eyes upon.”

“I don’t like that tone of voice, Venustus.”

“I don’t like your life choices, Miracle. But I don’t get any say in that, do I? Mom, what if he comes back and we aren’t home? MIA doesn’t have to mean dead.”

She lays her head against the steering wheel. I don’t know why she’s driving. The hover vehicle isn’t manual anymore. I guess she has to practice for when she has to drive around {redacted} planet Earth. “It does, though, Ven. It really does. The sooner you come to terms with that, the better.”

“Bexxin gave me a letter to read when we get there.”

“That was nice of her to do.”

“Yeah, can you hurry up so I can find out what she said?”

Mom presses a few buttons on the keyboard and the vehicle starts huffing along a little faster than it was.

 I close my eyes. It’s going to be a rough road, but all I can do is be here for the ride. 

July 14, 2020 05:07

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.

23 comments

Jubilee Forbess
05:08 Jul 14, 2020

Hope you enjoy, my friends. This is part of a CI novel I'm writing but I wanted to see if it was any fun to read so consider yourselves beta readers of sorts. :D

Reply

Show 0 replies
Corey Melin
04:37 Jul 16, 2020

Quite the imagination on this one. Very entertaining read

Reply

Jubilee Forbess
04:48 Jul 16, 2020

Thank you, Corey, I appreciate your reading this story a lot. :)

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Shivani Manocha
19:03 Jul 15, 2020

Just loved it. It is so creative and imaginative. I wish I could write something like this. Two things i really liked about this story: 1. Stereotypically (most of the times), it's a man who is shown carrying out a space mission or something similar of that sort. I loved that you chose a female protagonist. 2. I love how simple sentences in the story reflect on some really important ideas- The sentence " . . . cookies spilling from their claws, hands, and paws, not to mention tentacles and other assorted, beautiful limbs" is beauti...

Reply

Jubilee Forbess
19:12 Jul 15, 2020

Ah, thank you! It’s part of my new novellll.

Reply

Shivani Manocha
19:28 Jul 15, 2020

That's great! Is it published?

Reply

Jubilee Forbess
19:34 Jul 15, 2020

Oh, no. This is all I have done for it haha.

Reply

Jubilee Forbess
19:34 Jul 15, 2020

Oh, read my new story if you have time! It just went up. :)

Reply

Shivani Manocha
19:36 Jul 15, 2020

Sure!

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Shivani Manocha
19:35 Jul 15, 2020

All the best then! I hope that you find it on paper soon:)

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 2 replies
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Courtney Stuart
00:37 Jul 15, 2020

this was such a cool and creative story! i loved the mother-son relationship you wrote of, and i especially loved how you included the {redacted} parts - that cracked me up! i just want to say that you have such a beautiful imagination, and it's very apparent in each story of yours i've read so far! keep up the great work! :D

Reply

Jubilee Forbess
00:37 Jul 15, 2020

Thank you so much! I’m glad you liked it.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Ben K
21:25 Jul 14, 2020

I love the use of (redacted) throughout the story to explain unknown words via a translation unit. Very clever. The relationship between the two is fantastic. It feels so grounded and real. Someone who truly looks up to their parent and also understands who they are. It's great. Good job all the way through. It made me laugh out loud a few times.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Laurentz Baker
17:51 Jul 14, 2020

Enjoyed the relationship between mother and son. “I don’t like that tone of voice, Venustus.” “I don’t like your life choices, Miracle. But I don’t get any say in that, do I?

Reply

Jubilee Forbess
17:55 Jul 14, 2020

Thank you, hopefully it'll be seen more in future additions to the story!

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Jen Park
06:47 Jul 14, 2020

Wow,wow! It's a pity that I can't give you 10 likes. I always have no idea what you will come up with when I read your stories. The idea of tear ducts and claws and {reducted} are simply genious!😂 I had so much fun reading this. You said this is part of your novel, right? I would love to read the whole story. :D

Reply

Jubilee Forbess
15:28 Jul 14, 2020

Of course, I started writing it yesterday for an online class but I love it so much I had to put it on Reedsy too. I'm so glad you liked it!

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Red Herring
05:35 Jul 14, 2020

You have a great knack for backstory, and details that hook readers into learning more about the world you're creating. I died when I read about Bodacian tear ducts, and the mother's translators. I snorted when she said "Are you speaking Audacious?" Simply put, you can tell you're having a ton of fun writing, and it makes it a ton of fun to read. I realize that this format is a little awkward to present stories-- you have so many ideas and go at such a fast pace that I feel as a reader I need more breaks to process the world. I would love t...

Reply

Jubilee Forbess
05:37 Jul 14, 2020

Oh, for sure! My novel, the one I just finished, is actually being illustrated by a whole crew of artist friends right now! :D and thank you so much for reading, I appreciate feedback and comments so much and it's also nice to chat with fellow writers, honestly.

Reply

Jubilee Forbess
05:38 Jul 14, 2020

Oh, if you like this one, though, be sure you check out the Ander in Larttleight trilogy I have on Reedsy too. I had a BLAST writing that one and it made me laugh the whole way through so you like it.

Reply

Red Herring
05:48 Jul 14, 2020

Super! I'll check it out. That's great that you have such a community for your creative ventures! I wholeheartedly agree. It's a whole word I didn't realize I was missing.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Juliet Martin
10:22 Jul 21, 2020

Great story! I love that the narrative voice has a lot of personality, it is a really engaging style. Also great world building throughout - really creative and an exciting take on the space/alien trope! Sometimes I get the impression that you could do more showing rather than telling, for example when you are talking about going to Earth and making new friends, but maybe this is a stylistic choice! I really enjoyed the story though!

Reply

Jubilee Forbess
15:09 Jul 21, 2020

Thank you, that’s actually very good feedback for me and I appreciate you reading and commenting so much. :)

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
RBE | Illustrated Short Stories | 2024-06

Bring your short stories to life

Fuse character, story, and conflict with tools in the Reedsy Book Editor. 100% free.