Just out for a stroll
|Wallace and Jerry
I’m walking down a long hallway, Jerry on my shoulder. It’s dark. Seems that all the lights are out in this particular part of the ship.
“Greetings, Wallace. Out for a stroll?” Oliver came up on my right.
“Well, howdy Oliver. Yep, just me and my buddy Jerry.”
“And how is Jerry tonight?”
“Jerry is fine! Jerry is fine!”
“As you can hear, he’s fine. But we regret that we forgot our flashlight.”
We walked further down the darkened hallway. Only small security lights lit our way. My parrot flapped his wings, annoyed at the dark. Jerry never did like dark spaces.
“So why do you have Jerry out of his cage tonight?” Oliver stopped at the door to the main reactor room.
“You heard of canaries in coal mines?”
Oliver had a blank look on his face. “Guess I missed that lecture in history.”
“Seems they used birds to test the air. If the birds in cages died, the men knew it was time to go up top.”
“Get out! Get out!” Jerry squawked and flapped his wings, but stayed on my shoulder.
“Fun story. But the reactor check is overdue.” Oliver walked through the door and left Jerry and me to continue our walk down the dark hallway.
“Rude. Let’s keep checking this hallway.” I walked a bit further, met Nancy.
“Hey Wallace, Jerry. What’s up?”
“Get out! Get out!” Jerry squawked and flapped his wings again. Twice. If it happened again, we were going to sound the alarm.
“We’re just checking this dark hallway. You?”
“Not much, on my way to the rectory to prepare a sermon. Why is Jerry out of his cage?”
“Ever heard of canaries in coal mines?”
“Does that have something to do with the quality of air in confined spaces?”
“You were listening in history class. Yes it does. We’re doing the quarterly check. Jerry is the so-called canary-in-the-coal-mine.”
“Have fun!” Nancy walked through the rectory door.
“Get out! Get out!” Third time.Time to get out. I pulled the nearest alarm and we flew to the nearby escape pod.
We walked through the door. Four others were already in the pod. The timer in the pod screamed ‘four minutes to go’ and now we were locked in. We left the ship at the bottom of the count.
Suddenly Jerry began squawking again. “Jumper! Jumper!” The five of us looked around to find something ‘not of this world’, an alien stowaway, jumping all over the pod. When the alien comes near Jerry and I, Jerry starts flapping his wings. He starts to squawk “Alien! Alien!” I punch the alien in the antenna. It falls over dead. Weird.
We land at the colony in a few hours, with four traumatized passengers, a dead alien, Jerry and myself. The four passengers are taken by medical for psych evaluations, the alien is taken by medical for an autopsy, Jerry and I go to a bar. I need a drink.