by Rachelle D. Lawrence
Captain Adams personally helped maintenance man Larry Smith out of his EMU spacesuit, apologizing for the malfunction that had stranded Larry outside the Lady Murakami for an unscheduled fifteen-hour spacewalk. Then Larry cut out his own right eye with a pocket laser torch.
"I am the reincarnation of samurai lord, Date Masemune," Larry proclaimed. “Beware!”
Larry threw his liberated eye at Captain Adams and ran away.
Captain Adams and Chaplin Adion watched Larry run down the narrow hallway in white spandex longjohns, his heavy space diaper bouncing. Larry turned the corner and disappeared. The two men looked at each other, at the empty spacesuit, at the cauterized eye.
"That’s the third one this year, Captain,” said Chaplin Adion.
"Call Admiral Ivanovic, and do something about that." Captain Adams permitted himself a dry heave once the chaplain was out of earshot. He tiptoed around the eye, and like the eyes of a painting, it watched him leave.
By the time Visiting Space Admiral Ivanovic was ushered into the security closet, Larry had already killed his best friend Jimmy O'Driscoll. The walls of the security closet were covered in undisclosed video feeds of the corridors, mess hall, and individual crewmembers' bedrooms.
"This is your third case of space madness this year, captain," said Admiral Ivanovic, putting his hands on his knees, leaning forward until his crooked nose almost touched the screen. "Is that him?"
Larry was kneeling on the ground next to his cot, his hands resting his thighs, his butt on his heels. The laser torch glowed in his right hand. The body of BFF Jimmy lay like a starfish between Larry and the door. Larry’s lips were moving as he stared at the body.
"Looks like the bastard's saying something. Turn up the volume, soldier. Louder, louder."
"Thewayofthewarriorisdeaththewayofthewarriorisdeaththewayofthewarriorisdeath," Larry chanted like a bodhisattva, on behalf of all sentient beings.
"Okay, turn it off, I'm good." The admiral licked his thumb and forefinger, giving the ends of his mustache a thoughtful twirl. “There is some deep hagakure shit going on here.”
"Should we kill him?" Resting a hand on his holstered weapon, Captain Adams leaned back in his chair. "He killed Jimmy."
"That man is no samurai lord, believe you me. No, give it a half hour and I'll go get him myself."
Before leaving the security closet, both the captain and the admiral watched video of the man masturbating in the room next to Larry's. After that it took them only three minutes to walk to Larry's room. Waiting outside, the admiral regaled Adams with his latest exploits on Mars and the campaign against the female cyborg army of the Red Missionaries.
Just as Ivanovic was explaining how if he'd had his katana instead of the standard issue saber the military had forced upon him, he could have beheaded the High Priestess with only one slice instead of three hacks, Captain Adams interrupted. "Sir, it's been thirty minutes."
"Yes, yes." Admiral Ivanovic opened the door, giving it an extra shove against O'Driscoll’s body, and marched inside. Captain Adams pulled out his gun and followed.
Admiral Ivanovic stood there as Larry crashed to the floor and started screaming. The reincarnation of samurai lord Date Masemune clutched at his legs, gasping, tears falling, flailing against O’Driscoll’s cooling body.
"What'd you do?" Captain Adams asked.
"Nothing." The admiral picked up the fallen laser torch, his lip curling as he watched Larry slap at his own calves. "He was kneeling for too long, that’s all; the blood couldn't get to his legs, and now it's rushing back like knives through his veins. He couldn't even stand up to kill me. Rookie mistake."
Admiral Ivanovic flipped the laser torch in his right hand. "You’re lucky they confiscated my saber after the Mars incident, Larry," he said, aiming the glowing end of the laser torch at Larry's good eye. "I would have cut through your fat neck like a real samurai, like butter. Biscuits.
"Lunch time, is it?"
About the Creator
World's Shortest Creator Interview
If your brain were an extinct animal or mineral, what would it be and why?
Sometimes I think my mammal brain is a Wooly Mammoth, dangerous-looking tusks but really I'm just fluffy.
Fonts. What is the metaphysical meaning of Times New Roman, and is font abuse a crime that should have a corporeal punishment?
Times New Roman is the collective symbology of the earth empire and unites us as human beings. Font abuse is grossly rampant. All offenders should be punished by having to read the entirety of Ulysses in Comic Sans with every third line in Arial Black.
About the Artists
Our very own D Chang is a designer and game writer from Austin, Texas. His short fiction has appeared in Avast, Ye Airships! and the Cryptopolis science fiction anthology, and he has a janky retro JRPG on Steam. He does the Space Squid illustrations, editing, and other squid stuff.