A to Z 2017–J is for Jar

I’m tired. Sometimes I’m weird when I’m tired. That is my only defense.

J is for Jar

“Don’t forget your jar!”

“I’ve got it, mom. Quit worrying.”

Quit worrying? Of course I I worried. This was the first time Vennit was going camping with the Sun Scouts, and the desert is brutal. Without a hydroscopic water jar, my Scout Sprout would be scorched in split second.

I had another thought. “You have your ice blanket? And your cooling coat?”

“Sand and dunes, mom. You helped me pack.” He rolled his upper eyes at me. The lower pair just blinked and stared. “Everything is in my all-weather Sun Scout camping tote. I’ve already swallowed it.”

“Alright, alright. I know you’ll be fine.” I tried to smile, but gave up and wrapped my arms around him. Yes, I could feel the camp case in his storage gullet. He really did have everything. “It’s just a mom thing.”

He shrugged in my grasp and I had to let go. Only 9 revolutions around our fireball, and already he seems so grown up. I remember his hatching like it was yesterday.

We both looked up when the buzzer sounded.

“That will be Commander Kevnan,” said Vennit. “I gotta go.”

I watched as he got in the Commander’s sand glider. “I’ll take good care of him, Glazyd. We’ll see you in two” They both waved, and then they were gone.

I really did know Vennit would be all right. Kevnan had been a friend for dozens of revolutions. And hundreds, maybe thousands of Scouts took this exact camping trip every year. But this time it was my Sprout. Doesn’t that make it different?

I wanted to take a walk to shake off the stress. But right at that moment a sand storm whipped up. I ran inside as quick as I could, but still got sand in three of my eyes, not to mention some other, unmentionable locations. Never pleasant, but a quick rinse in the gel restoration station took care of it.

I don’t know what made me turn on the informatron a few hours later. I really don’t enjoy the talking heads—I prefer to receive my information from those with their bodies firmly attached, but the locals wouldn’t be broadcasting for a while yet.

That’s when I saw it. A freak storm had blown in. Footage showed the desert in full bloom—the quick sprouting plants taking advantage of the rare rainfall.

Maybe the timing wasn’t perfect, but at least the Scouts would have a cooler night than they’d expected. Nobody would shrivel. I breathed a slow sigh of relief. They really were going to be fine.

In the morning I was surprised by the buzzer. Who would be visiting this early? Maybe one of Vennit’s friends didn’t realize he was camping this weekend.

My gel quivered and chilled when I opened the door and saw Kevnan. Just Kevnan. Not Vennit.

“Sand and Dunes… where’s my Sprout?” I asked. “What happened? Is he OK?”

Commander Kevnan put a hand on my shoulder and took a deep breath. “He’ll be fine, Glaznyd. I told you he would. It’s just…”

“Just what?” I could hear the fear in my voice.

“That squall that hit last night. It was an unusual storm.” He held up Vennit’s jar.

At first I couldn’t speak. Then I couldn’t stop. “Is he lost? Washed away by flooding? I was so worried about the sun I didn’t pack anything for flotation. I… I…”

He pressed the jar into my hands. “No Glaznyd. He’s not lost. He’s right here.”

“He’s… What?” I stared at the jar, confused.

“Vennit melted. Should be fine once you can get him dried out, though.”

I blinked, not sure what to say.

“You do have his original molds?”

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  1. “You do have his original molds?” Clever
    This piece has the style and voice of an Asimov short story. I like it 🙂

  2. I love it! What a fun story – I never saw the ending coming.

    • Elizabeth says:

      Truthfully, I really didn’t either. That’s one fun thing about fiction this length… you can just chase the story and see where it takes you. Even if you wreck it, you aren’t wasting a lot of words.

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