Paradise is in Orbit


Vintage Melmac Child Drinking Cup Bullwinkle Moose – Found on eBay

Fred, the male mail carrier sat in the Outer Ring Coffee Shoppe eating his chocolate mousse out of a vintage cup bearing the image of Bullwinkle the Moose. Except for the baristas behind the counter, he was the only human in the room.

“How wazz ur confekshun, Fred?” Phebb was one of the refuge aliens who had arrived just after the Station was completed and he’d been running the Outer Ring for the past ten years.

“Terrific as always.” He stood but still had to suppress the urge to shake hands with the proprietor, since all of the Uan’eo species considered any public skin-to-skin contact a breach of their sexual taboos. “Well, I’d better get going. Lunch time’s just about up and I still have to deliver to the rest of the Station.

“Glad u liked it. Zee u nex time.”

“Same time tomorrow. You’ve got it.” Fred picked up his mail satchel, smiled, waved, and was out the door. He got on his scooter and rode toward his next stop. He’d been the sole mail carrier on the Station for the past four years and liked it a lot.

Ever since the Irrohxae were allowed to build the Station in Earth orbit in exchange for giving humanity free access to fusion reactor technology, refugee aliens from all over this part of the galaxy had been arriving. Some only stayed for a few years until they could locate a suitable solar system to colonize, but others, like Phebb, had built new lives here.

Only about twenty percent of the inhabitants of the Station were human, mostly service contractors. The rest were from everywhere else. Most people couldn’t get over their aversion to alien appearance and odor, but Fred enjoyed the variety. He’d been a mail carrier for over thirty years, and this was his favorite route ever. As a contractor, he’d be given the option of permanent residency, and he thought the Station would be a great place to retire.

He pulled his scooter up to the elementary school run by the Zrypript, sorted through the mail, and found the three letters and a small parcel addressed to them.

“Hi kids.” Fred walked in with the mail, a wave, and a grin. Children from twelve different races rushed at him speaking broken English and a few in Eogahmea. Just like back home, kids always loved the mail carrier. “Here’s today’s mail, Tuy.”

“Thank you, Fred.” She flattened out one of her appendages, forming a platform and he put the mail on it.

“I love you, Fred,” squealed one child.

“Will you take mail to my Daddy at work today?” queried another.

Fred laughed in delight. “I’ve got to get going, kids. Got a busy afternoon ahead, and I’m delivering a surprise to your house later, Knal.” It was her birthday, and her third Grandpa, twice removed on her second mother’s side had sent her treats from back home.

She hopped up and down and giggled, though it sounded like someone throwing up.

They all waved and clapped as Fred walked back out onto the ring’s main corridor.

“Just another day in paradise.” The postal carrier got back on his scooter and headed for his next stop.

I wrote this for Saturday Mix – Double Take hosted at Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie. Today, the challenge is to take two pairs of homophones and use them in a poem, short story, or other creative work. They are:

mail – postal delivery
male – masculine person


moose – a large elk
mousse – dessert of whipped cream and eggs

I bolded them in my story so the reader could pick them out.

When I read them, I got the image of a male postal carrier eating a chocolate mousse out of a mouse cup in a coffee shop, but what’s so unusual about that? What if he were the mail carrier on a space station? The story took off from there, but I couldn’t figure out a way to make it dramatic or to avoid doing a lot of “data dumping,” at least without putting a lot more work into it. I’ve got to get to the yard work, so I don’t have a lot of time right now.

Yeah, I know. It has a sort of Men in Black vibe.

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