Gateways: “Tuesday” by Mariah Noel

TRANSCRIPT This story is written by Mariah Noel. She has created a variety of written work from poetry, short stories and plays to grant forms. Talking animals and black comedy are her two most recurring staples. She tells us her protagonists are most often anti-heroines that come in two flavors: happy-go-lucky dumbasses, or quiet warriors just trying have some soup. This is “Tuesday”

Captain’s Log.
Tuesday, I think? We lost all power onboard, and nobody back at headquarters would allow me to bring paper alternatives onboard because “papercuts in a zero gravity environment would be devastating.” So, if you have gained access to this somehow, Sharon, thanks for nothing.
Author’s note: I am not Captain Laplander. Captain Shelly Laplander was eaten by a comet shark (a newly discovered species (newly discovered here meaning that we were floating in an asteroid field when a shark with a firey tail whizzed straight for Captain Laplander and devoured her in a single stroke and continued forth without stopping)). The following entry has been recorded by Star Zenith, janitor on the crew of the now-former ship Starburst.
Currently in the custody of the Yardlings of the Quarter cluster of the Dvorzak Galaxy. Am recording this log on an antiquated device and family heirloom once known as the ‘palm pilot’. Brought it along for the trip for my own personal amusement and now has proven handy. Yardlings appear to be of humanoid form. They have many of the same body parts of humans, but arranged much differently. My current guard has both arms in the place of a head, noses for fingers on its hands, and the mouth is in an unspeakable location. Am quite missing the eye washing station of the lab, for there is no privacy in this place and the guard relieved himself in plain view yesterday. I now keep my gaze to the floor or the wall.
Trial was held two days ago to determine the fates of myself and the remaining members of the Starburst. The Yardlings, though sharing physical traits and likely ancestors with homo sapiens sapiens sapiens, regard us with adoration in much the way that Earthlings respond in cooing tones to baby animals such as kittens or puppies. Rather than lawyers, the Yardlings arranged the room by having each member present arise and state their opinion, no matter how long it took. I fell asleep for my full eight hours, and when I awoke, they were still discussing. One hovered over me in a protective manner and declared, “These human children are adorable! Let us keep them!”, referring to herself and her wife, who was simply a pair of legs with big blue eyes on the torso in place of a belly button. I am 78 years old, but did not find it prudent to speak out and correct her when the following Yardling, with the exact same physiology of homo sapiens sapiens sapiens, save that he had giant ears for arms and arms in place of his ears, pulled out a recipe book and brightly listed every recipe in which human meat could be substituted.
The Yardling who declared us adorable has been approved to adopt us. She will be arriving tomorrow, as she declared she needed the day to ‘child proof’ her home. It has not been made clear if she considers human children to be treated as offspring or as pets. I am tired now and will continue tomorrow.

Captain’s Log
Monday. Apparently, yesterday was Sunday, not Tuesday, as previously thought.
The Yardling who has taken us in as her adopted children is called Fanwick, and her wife is called Legs. Every attempt to speak to her and request a ship so that we may return to our mission (cleaning the asteroid field of garbage), has resulted in a scolding and time out. Though these beings possess knowledge of our most common human languages and bear similarity in regards to individual body parts, they do not have much knowledge of humanity itself. We have hypothesized that they either have very poor eyesight, or are unable to gauge human ages, as Fanwick pinched my cheeks with her toefingers and handed me a lollypop, although I had been two months from retirement prior to this predicament. The youngest of us is Sasha Lee, a 38 year old who is seen as an infant. She has been most humiliated by being forcibly placed in a pram by Legs, forced to eat with her hands in a highchair (the ‘airplane’ method of being fed has yet to be used, as Sasha has eaten everything no matter how disgusting lest Fanwick be aware that such methods are used on human infants of Earth).
There are seven of us in all. Six of us have been provided with bunkbeds. Fanwick has us sleeping in the same room, save Sasha. Sasha has been taken to a separate bedroom, where she is forced to sleep in a crib under the watch of a baby monitor. Our room has been painted blue and yellow with spaceships and princesses, though the princesses have the same Picasso-anatomy of the Yardlings. An hour after Fanwick and Legs put us to bed with a bedtime story, we knew they were asleep, as Fanwick snores rather loudly. Iyo, our vacuum specialist, told us the following:
“There is a vehicle of some kind in the back of the house. Legs used it to fly somewhere earlier in the day, meaning it probably has an energy source of some kind. Given that the Yardlings are four times our size, and the vehicle itself appears to be made to seat four Yardlings, we should all fit inside.”
“What about keys?” Tahno, the recycler, pointed out.
“No keys,” Iyo confirmed, “But it is kept chained until one of them decides to use it.”
“There’s some kind of giant scissors in the kitchen we can use as bolt cutters,” Saami chimed in. It was agreed we would split into two groups of three. Three to carry the bolt cutters to the back yard, and the other three to rescue Sasha from the baby crib. It is now time to act. This may be my final entry, should we fail.

Captain’s Log
Tuesday (for real this time)

Saami, Iyo, and Tahno had little trouble retrieving the bolt cutters from the kitchen. Myself, Isbel, and Timmy, were less lucky in retrieval of our unfortunate infantilized crew member. The door to Sasha’s room was quite large and heavy, and the door knob quite high. Timmy took the bottom, whilst Isbel stood on his shoulders, and I on hers. It took several minutes to completely turn the knob, itself as large as my head. Sasha easily escaped from the crib and the lot of us ran to the backyard.
The bolt cutters, easily four feet in length, required all of us to pool our collective strength. On the final cut, the doors burst open and Fanwick and Legs stampeded toward us. Tahno and Saami grabbed what remained of the chain, pulling it across the way. The two Yardlings helpfully proved our theory of poor eyesight as they failed to slow down and tripped. Tahno and Saami were smart enough to let go immediately, as the chain ripped through the air. Fanwick and Legs flew for quite a ways away. The vehicle easily fit all of us. Sasha took the drivers spot, while Timmy and Isbel operated the brakes and gas each, so large was the interior of the vehicle.
We are now on the opposite end of the planet and have sent a signal to Earth. The vehicle we abandoned around two hours ago, after it ran out of fuel. It shall be noted for future Earthlings that while the Yardlings appear to be relatively harmless and odd-looking beings, their emotions in regards to homo sapiens sapiens possess a strength we have not seen before in non-terrestrial humanoids.
In a stroke of odd luck, we came across a strange carcass. There was a line across the stomach, and investigation showed that something had cut its way out. There, a few dunes away, we found our beloved Captain Shelley Laplander alive and mostly well. Our beloved captain was desperately in need of a bath.
This is the final entry of Star Zenith, janitor to the former ship Starburst. I will shortly turn over this device to the captain herself, that she may continue her captain’s log and fill in her own history of the week. It is not yet determined if any ship from Earth will come to retrieve. It will be nice to sit down for dinner as a team, free once more. I only wish I had some salt for the shark meat.

Gaby Fernandez is the Special Events Manager at Otherworld Theatre. She has been an ensemble member since 2018, and loves creating, performing, and discovering new works with such a diverse and unique company. She has been professionally acting since she arrived in Chicago over 4 years ago, and fell in love with the Chicago storefront theatre scene.

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