Dessicated Martian Papaya | Ian Richardson

A one way ticket off this rock.

Desiccated Martian Papaya

By Ian Richardson

For The Get Your Ass To Mars Award


As I fitted my folding umbrella into my flight case I realized that Sophie had been trying to be upbeat in the damp cemetery.
‘It happens in most families.’ she’d said, joining me inside that black umbrella.
‘What does?’ I’d sobbed.
‘A death and a birth.’ she’d said, patting her swollen stomach.
I was too upset at the time; you only have one mother.
But, for the next twelve weeks I focused my attention on Sophie. I cooked, I cleaned, and I drove to the all night store to satisfy her craving for dried papaya. She milked her pregnancy a bit… what woman doesn’t?
Baggage allowance for Mars is ten kilograms, but I’m taking two kilograms of dried papaya. The trip takes 350 days and the catering is a bit bland so I’ve got lots of strong tastes to keep my palate interested. 1 kg each of dried chilies, cherries, and my favorite… mangoes.
Sophie didn’t like mangoes.
I’ve also got 1kg real coffee and 2 kg of desiccated coconut milk ice cream for Christmas Day… enough to share with everyone aboard.
My portable tablet (0.7 kg) is fully loaded with my course work and a link to my bank account – weightless but essential. I’m a doctor now but, by the time I get to Mars, I’ll be a professor, fully qualified to deal with the pressure edemas that affect people in the Martian weather domes. That should take care of my self actualization needs.
You’ve probably realized that Sophie isn’t coming. Our baby boy, John, was born dead and Sophie passed away twelve hours later. I’ve got to get away from everything so I’m going to Mars to start over.
I just checked my bag and it weighs 9.99 kg, so I could probably take a return ticket.