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Image by Rachel Moore

SHOOT THE MOON

November 7, 2021

I really enjoyed writing this imagining of a night before a historical event, and thought this was actually pretty good. The judges however...
Another 500 word Furious Fiction entry where you get a weekend. 
Criteria:
1. Your story must include someone PACKING A SUITCASE.
2. Your story must include the phrase “ACROSS A CROWDED ROOM” (as dialogue or narrative).
3. Your story must include the words CHARM, CRUSH and FAINT.

Shoot the Moon: Work

Halfway through packing, the perfectly ordinary task took on an absurdist quality.

“What if I forgot something?” he said to the empty room, and broke into laughter.

There would be a checklist, and someone checking the person who checked the checklist.

As the suitcase clasps snapped shut, a rush of excitement bloomed, accompanied by an overwhelming urge to faint.

He checked his watch.

“Damn!”

Leaving the suitcase in the kitchen, he fixed his tie and burst through the front door into the night. He held a piece of paper to the moonlight and confirmed directions to the tavern.

Pacing towards the tavern, his eyes craned towards the sky like there was a magnetic pull drawing them towards the heavens. Still, most of the walk wasn’t spent thinking about the mission; it was about her.

‘Her’ being the woman he’d first noticed across a crowded room mere weeks ago. Their time, though short, was like a lifetime in the best way possible. His impending departure thrusting the relationship into a pressure cooker, forging their new love in a vacuum.

Tucked away at the end of a cobblestone alleyway, an orange lamp signalled the entrance of The Sea of Tranquillity. The noise acted like a beacon, pulling him towards it. Packed for a Tuesday night, every member of the primary launch team was expected, and the crush of bodies spilling into the street rendered a celebratory atmosphere. Inside, a veritable galaxy of heavy backslaps and hearty chortles left his back raw and ears sore. Questions came thick, and he charmed with the correct answers, but only an idiot wouldn’t be nervous. Truthfully, he was filled with doubts he wouldn’t dare voice.

His tolerance for the attention waned, the intensity of the endless parade of well-wishers in his orbit lost its sparkle.

He checked his watch, excused himself to the bathroom, splashed water on his face and prepped himself for re-entry.

About to give up on her arrival, there she was. They made eye contact and circumnavigated the crowd, meeting at the entrance.

Locking in an embrace, he whispered in her ear.

“Want to get out of here?”

She nodded, and he guided her outside through the assorted lunatics toasting the couple and the goddess Selena.

 They left behind the buzz of excited earthlings and made their way towards the park, a conjunction of two earthly bodies bathed in the dewy air of a summer’s night.

As she sat on one of the swings, they’d engaged in a variation of the running joke about the poor timing, how it wasn’t in the stars, then stared silently at the magnificent desolation of the white orb in the inky sky.

The world disappeared. The two of them and the big, fat moon.

He bent, grabbed a stick, and doodled in the dirt, then stepped aside to reveal his artwork.

Her eyes twinkled.

A full moon. A man in a spacesuit.

Beneath.

*Neil loves Janet to the moon and back.*

Shoot the Moon: Text
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