Contemporary short fiction, poetry and more

‘The Companion’: chapter 16 (content warning: rude words)

My name is Waverley Diggle.  I lied about my age to get onto this ship: I’m only fifteen.  I must be the youngest person on board. 

Yesterday, all over the ship, there were Hallowe’en parties.  I went to one.  I am sure it was the coolest of the lot.  Kelvin Stark was there.  He had brought out a new beer.  It was amazing.  He calls it Satan’s Wee, and it’s green.  I don’t know what he puts in it to make it like that.  I think it is some kind of herb.  It tastes a bit like that pale green stuff you used to get in Indian restaurants, back on Earth.  The foam on the top is green as well.  It looked revolting at first, but loads of people were drinking it.  I love this ship, and the people on it.  They let me do almost anything I like, including drinking beer.  I had four pints and was quite pissed, but I didn’t throw up.

I am sure we had the spookiest location.  We had the party in the Farm, in the temperate zone, near the trees.    It was fairly dark, and some-one had put up Hallowe’en-style decorations, like nooses and spiders’ webs and skulls hanging from the trees.   I didn’t have a costume (I just went in my work-clothes) but some of the ones that the other guests were wearing were really fancy.  Some of them had rubber masks on.  I have no idea where they got them.  You could not tell who a lot of people were underneath their masks, but I recognised one of the Frankensteins – it must have been Mr Holt, the engineer, because he was the tallest.  He won the competition for the best costume.  He had real bolts on each side of his neck.  They must have been from his workshop.  Kelvin Stark was dressed as a mad scientist.  He had a big white wig which made him look like that professor guy you always used to see in black-and-white pictures on adverts back on Earth.  He had a great big test tube with some bubbling liquid in the bottom and smoke coming out of it.  When you got your beer, the barman dropped some little pellets in it to make it bubble and smoke like the test tube. 

Before the music started, Kelvin Stark did a kind of show with weird science stuff in it.  He got a great big cake, and everybody thought he was going to cut it up and give slices of it to a few  of us, but he put it on a big table and then poured some blue liquid over it from a flask which he held with huge, long tongs.  He stood next to a kind of glass wall, and then he put a lighted match on the end of a long pole, and touched it to the cake.  It went up in flames in a split-second.  It absolutely burnt like fuck: I’ve never seen anything like it.  The flames were so high that they singed some of the leaves on the trees.  It was a good job he had some fire-extinguishers nearby.  He did the same thing with a massive pile of what looked like cotton-wool.  It didn’t burn that time.  There was a strange kind of thudding noise, and a puff of smoke, and the cotton-wool exploded.  The air was filled with millions and millions of bits of fluff, which floated around and then fell on the people.  It made us all look as if we were a hundred years old.  Just about the only person who didn’t get covered was Kelvin Stark himself, because he had sheltered behind his glass wall. 

We had some food, and another drink, and then the music started.  It was while the music was on that the fight broke out. 

Kelvin Stark was dancing on his own to begin with, and then a big group of women came up to him.  They were dressed in shiny red and black dresses and they had really high shoes on.  Some of them were wearing black makeup, like goths.  They looked as if they had had quite a lot to drink.  They kept trying to talk to him, but he looked as if he just wanted to dance on his own.  He kept looking at a really normal-looking woman who was sitting down and wasn’t wearing fancy dress.  After a few minutes, another woman came over.  She was wearing a devil costume.  She had a long red tail and horns.  I would have expected the costume to come with a big red fork, but she was carrying a camera instead.  The women in the shiny dresses kept trying to talk to Kelvin Stark, and one of them started rubbing herself against him, which he didn’t seem to like.  I thought the woman was quite fanciable, but you could tell she was pissed, because she kept swaying from side-to-side.  The woman in the devil costume then started taking photographs.  As she took more and more photographs, the women in the shiny dresses got more and more rude.  One of them flashed her tits.  Another flashed her bum, and you could even see a bit of her fanny, but only from the back.  Her bum had a tattoo of a flower on it.  Then they started trying to kiss Kelvin Stark and pull his clothes off.  That was when it kicked off.  The normal-looking woman shot out of her seat and ran onto the dance-floor.  She was followed by another woman: a chubby woman who was wearing a boiler-suit and a belt with tools on it.  I thought she was going to whack one of the shiny women with a hammer, but she just tried to pull them away from Kelvin Stark, and the normal woman did, too.  They both got hit in the face.  The normal woman had no expression on her face, but the other one looked really angry.  A full-blown cat-fight broke out.  The normal woman grabbed the camera, chucked it on the floor, and stamped on it.  It was smashed to smithereens, and the devil woman got really mad.  A load of other people arrived, and managed to split them up eventually. 

I think the women in the fight are in trouble now.  I think they have got to go to court.  They’re going to get well done.  There’s a prison on this ship.  I spent the night in it once, after I’d got pissed and threw up in one of the corridors.  It’s well uncomfortable. 

I hope I’m not called as a witness: I’m not a grasser.


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