I’ve got a comet dangling from my lips. Somehow, some way, it got itself into my capsule with me. Only friend I’ve got up here that isn’t the whispering light of a distant star. It’s burning itself away in a sad little spiral as we go round and round together, watching the big blue marble in the distance. We float together, looking out through the window into space, and I think of the marbles ma used to buy me at the fair. I used to knock them together, try to crack them. Never did. Never could. Was never quite strong enough.
I’m feeling strong today.
Something whirs. The camera in the corner’s spinning too, into focus, and down on the surface of that marble maybe somebody’s spinning out of their chair to go screaming at whoever let me smuggle cigarettes onto a space station.
You won’t go to prison, they said, while they told me just what I would go to. I’d go to the limits of human endurance up here at lagrange-3, and they’d watch what me waste away of Van Allen Syndrome.
Camera’s light’s blinking. I’ve got a message waiting.
I’ll just bet.
They put strings on me, when I came up here. Not tight enough. Maybe this is their dollhouse, but I’m no doll.
I take my sad little comet and let it strike home. It melts through a protective casing, shorts a wire, a panel by the window goes from red to green.
It’s not a window anymore. Now it’s a door.
I’m out in a heartbeat, out to say a fond farewell to those whispering stars, and to take my place among them. My strings are cut. They won’t even see me go.
I’m not a doll. I’m a comet.
Feels like today I could crack one of those marbles.
by Thomas Boyle
(prompts: gravity, cigarette, dollhouse)