Issue Thirty-Nine - Winter 2022

The Shells on the Moon

By Mary Anne Perez

The latest real astronauts found a collection of sea shells on the moon’s surface. They didn’t have to dig far. It was near the place where the first lunar landing was and they were gathered in a way that signaled a greeting or a gift and the astronauts wondered if the first astronauts had somehow missed this collection or if the shells had found their way to this place after that momentous visit all those years ago.

They collected them in a strong aluminum box, locked behind a coded latch, but as soon as the shells dropped, the box’s seams began to burst. The shells were bloating, as if filled with some lunar gases or water that was nowhere to be found.

The astronauts looked at each other and laughed. This is exactly what they had expected but they didn’t think it would happen so quickly. They were prepared for an ambush as they approached Earth. This early warning gave them time to protect themselves and leave the discovery behind.

The shells not only grew in size but started glowing in their craggly creases. One had more of a sparkly glow and so indicated it was yet another subset of the unknown species.

Their commander ordered the astronauts to bring the species home with them, no matter the risk or the consequences. They even suggested that the astronauts could stay behind on the lunar surface if they didn’t want to comply.

The stars and other shells started wiggling and shifting in the box and the astronauts, feeling the heat emanating from the collection, feared an explosion, the size of which they could only guess, given that what they were holding in their hands had never to their knowledge been held by human hands before. There was the question of kinetic energy.
They placed the shells back on the lunar surface near where they had found them and the sea shells, imprinted with mollusks and creatures that could have been found on Earth but weren’t, started to settle once again.

Mission Control by now had linked in the President, who made it known that he had wanted to be an astronaut from the time he was a little boy.

“Sir, we have an unexpected event,” was the call.

When he understood the consequences and saw the image of the shells shifting and the stars glowing, his eyes glistened, a reflection of the shells’ sparkly glow.

Copyright Perez 2022