(a dialogue read with Winifred Hughes)
What’s to be done with the marigold seeds?
We’ll take them along with us.
To the moon?
Of course. It’s the safest place for a seed bank.
But if things get that bad, who’s to retrieve them?
We’ll still have the interstellar space stations.
Wouldn’t they want something more practical than marigolds?
Space stations need decorations, too.
Is that how you’re going to sell yourself? As an interior decorator for space stations?
Man does not thrive on gauges and dials alone.
But you have no credentials. Everyone on this flight is supposed to be someone.
I am someone.
You’re a poet. No one’s ever heard of you, at least not in these circles.
All the more reason.
To fake it, as an interior designer?
I’ll make little plaques of my poems and put them on the space station walls.
Why don’t you just say you’re a poet, and take your chances?
I’ve already signed us up.
Both of us?
What did you say I am?
I don’t even get my own identity? If you want to fake it, that’s one thing. But don’t get me mixed up in this, too.
You’re backing out? They only take people in two’s.
Can’t you have been mistaken about what I do? We could send in a correction before it’s too late.
The application deadline was yesterday.
So I’m cooked. And you didn’t even ask me?
I didn’t think you’d mind. And you were still in Italy.
Not only do I come back jet lagged, but now I find out I’m an assistant interior decorator. Why didn’t you just say I’m a doctor?
You never like to advertise the fact on vacation. Someone’s always telling you about their aches and pains. I’m saving you all that.
But I don’t know the first thing about interior decoration. I had a consultant do my office.
What if they do background checks?
I would think so. You can’t have a terrorist group going to the moon and blowing things up.
I could have decorating as a passionate avocation.
And what am I, a doctor on the side?
Well, you saw all that beauty in Italy. Maybe you changed your mind while you were there, and you’re switching professions.
We’re not doing Byzantine mosaics in outer space.
No, but you paint on the side, don’t you?
Not after I’ve seen the Sistine Chapel.
Now, now. Don’t be discouraged.
In the Last Judgement, Michaelangelo painted his worst critic with a snake wrapped around his genitals.
Italy was meant to be enriching, not defeating.
It was daunting. And humbling.
You definitely need a trip to the moon to smooth things out.
The moon will be even more awe inspiring. Remeber what Armstrong said when he-
We’re not going as astronauts. We’re going as interior decorators, remember?
And paint a rock or two?
I don’t know if they let people paint rocks on the moon. I don’t even know if the paint would stick.
So we’re going as researchers?
That’s it! Research decorators, exploring the infinite possibilities of the universe possibly in need of decorating.
What do we look for first?
The light, of course. There may be infinite shades of grey in the moonlight. Blue, for instance, might take on a whole new meaning. Even the very concept of day, night, and all the shades in between.
Ultra-violet, for instance…
Yes! Plus you could bring your stethoscope and listen to the rocks. Maybe they’re saying something! And we could plant seeds, see if they grow.
So we’re taking the marigolds, after all.
The beginning of an adventure into light years.
Are we there, yet?
No. But it’s a start
Judith McNally has been writing short dialogues, dubbed “micrologues” since 1991 and is a long time US1 Poets’ Cooperative member. She taught Creative writing for many years, and is a recipient of a New Jersey Council on the Arts Prose Fellowship.