Don’t Eat The Pretzels
Space Traveler Fargone • Episode 19
New to Space Traveler Fargone? Start at the beginning.
“What do you call this planet?” I asked.
“Mallentia,” Leonard answered.
When we landed, it looked like the entire planet’s landmass was covered with a single building. Have you ever been outside?”
“What is outside?” Harold asked.
“My grandpappy used to tell stories of people going outside when he was a kid. Said there were big water fountains out there,” Leonard said.
“We call them oceans on Earth.”
“Does my face look like I care?”
“No, it doesn’t. So you live in zones?”
“That’s right. All our needs are provided for in our zone.”
“By The Authority, of course.”
“What is The Authority?”
“You really are from another planet, aren’t you?”
“Alright, this is going to take some time. Let’s go get something to eat.”
Leonard and Harold got up.
“What about Flow?” Em asked.
“I will be fine. I don’t require food.”
“But we should probably stay together. And you don’t anyone else sitting on you. Do you?”
Leonard came up with an idea.
“You say you can transform, right? Well, Harold sometimes uses a walker. Why don’t you transform into one of those?”
“That’s a great idea, Leonard,” Em said.
“He gets one every 20 twenty years or so,” Harold quipped.
We arrived at the food court and walked up to a food vendor.
“We don’t have any money,” I said,
“What’s money?” Leonard asked.
“It is what we use to pay for things.”
“I don’t understand.”
“We exchange money for other things.”
“I still don’t get it. It don’t matter. Let’s order some food.”
Leonard ordered two pizza-like foods. The vendor handed them to him, and he stepped back.
“Your turn,” He said.
Em watched the transaction and said, “Everything must be free,” I am going to check out some of the other vendors,”
I ordered the same thing Leonard ordered.
Once we all had our food, we sat at a table in the center of the court. Em took a bite of a pretzel and made a face.
“Don’t eat the pretzels. Some folks think they are made from dead people,” Harold said.
Em spit out her pretzel and nearly vomited.
“That’s nonsense. Don’t listen to Harold. But they are disgusting.”
Em took a bite of my pizza thing and a big drink of water. I laughed.
Suddenly, it looked like everyone in the whole food court was staring at us.
“What’s wrong?” I asked.
“That sound you made. What was it?” Leonard asked.
“Don’t do that again. It attracts too much attention.”
“You don’t laugh?” Em asked.
“No. What is the purpose?”
“It is an involuntary way we react to humor.”
“What is humor?”
“It is a human trait that is hard to explain.”
“Well, don’t make that sound again.”
“Why? Will something bad happen?”
“You don’t belong here. If security notices you, it won’t be good. They don’t tolerate zone violators.”
Leonard looked dead serious.
“Perhaps we have seen enough of this planet,” I said.
“I concur,” Flow said quietly.
“Let’s head back to the roof,” Em added.
“Don’t get up yet. Security is walking by,” Leonard said.
We watched the mall cop walk by. He had a com and some kind of weapon attached to his belt. He got to the end of the court and turned around. He stared right at us and started talking on his com.
“Let’s go. Now,” I said. Em and I got up and started walking toward the hallway. It was too late. We were soon surrounded by security with weapons drawn.
Leonard whispered to Flow. “If you ever want to see your friends again, stay a walker. And stay quiet.” She did.
One of the mall cops came up to Em and me and asked, “Are you a resident of this zone? Let me see your ID.”