Author’s Note: A few days ago, I was cleaning and I found this short story in my desk. I love it when you stumble upon things that you didn’t know you had. I believe it was inspired by the prompt: “Before the end of…”
In-ter-plan-e-tar-y: (adj.) Existing or occurring between planets.(http://www.thefreedictionary.com/interplanetary).
BEFORE THE END OF DINNER, Earth told everyone he had an announcement. “It is very important everyone and I want you to listen,” he said loudly. Jupiter cleared his throat and moved his chair closer to the table. Saturn pulled out a mirror and started reapplying her lipstick. The other planets exchanged glances with each other and then looked on. Some rolled their eyes; others picked up forks and continued eating. “Pluto, you too, I want you to listen, even if you are just a cold, little bastard…”
Pluto just glared.
“Now,” continued Earth, “I know I’ve mentioned this trouble with global warming…”
“Only about a thousand times,” cut in Mercury. She wore her long, red hair in waves down her back, and flickered gorgeous blue eyes at Earth.
At the long, rectangular table that the planets all sat at, Mercury was the most beautiful. In the past ten years or so, however, Earth only seemed to be getting a little grayer and fatter. He sat at the very end of the table and his black hair drooped over his forehead and into his eyes. And he licked his lips constantly, as if he were thirsty.
Venus had even gone as far to ask if he was sick. Was it Acid? Chemical Wastes? And Uranus told him he looked a bit tipsy and then asked if he’d brought anything to share.
Earth always thanked them when it came to inquiries about his health and pointed out that it was just the same old problem: pollution and global warming.
Ceres, their newest and budding member and perhaps a little nervous, (he’d only been at a few meetings and so far didn’t understand the other planets great importance,) suggested that perhaps a Meteor had struck Earth; he was certain that he had seen some of their cousins floating dangerously close in the outer limits.
Earth took this comment with a dry laugh, a grimace and then took a swig of his coffee. “Anyway…now, my fellow planets,” he continued. “There is something new happening in the outer hemisphere. Some kind of new development. My earthlings inform me that it is Aliens, but to me it is quite a dark matter.”
“What is it?” asked Mars, impatient. He fidgeted in his chair and asked for more coffee. He wore dark rimmed glasses, had an ash colored face and red hair. It was rumored that Earth was his distant father, but Mars was rebellious and in denial.
“I’m not sure,” said Earth. He cleared his throat and ran a hand down an invisible wrinkle in his gray suit. “They won’t tell me much.”
“Is that why you’ve called this meeting?” said Saturn as she flicked her blond hair away from her face. “To tell us something is happening but you don’t know what? What kind of use are you?”
“Now there,” said Venus, who was motherly by nature and couldn’t really help herself. By all appearances, she looked young, but something like unrest swirled behind her dark, purple eyes. “He is trying. Why don’t you be quiet so the rest of us can listen?”
“I, for one, want to know about these Aliens, if that is really what these mysterious creatures are,” said Jupiter with great importance and a voice that boomed and resonated across the room. He was handsome, this Jupiter, with his dark, smooth face and tall, strong stature.
“There are Aliens in the upper hemisphere?” asked Uranus, dumbly. He had wide, blue bat-like eyes.
“My God, why can’t you pay attention?” said Saturn.
“Lay off, Sat,” said Neptune as she patted Uranus’s shaky hand. She had dark, brown eyes, and dull brown hair. “Where’s your rings, Sat? Huh?”
“Now, if we can call this meeting to order,” put in Jupiter.
“Did you try the veal?” said Mars to his neighbor, the young Ceres.
“I don’t eat that dirty stuff,” said Earth instead.
Uranus stared rocking back and forth in his chair. He chewed on the ends of his fingernails. “The stars are too loud,” he murmured. “The stars are too loud! Make them stop! Neptune!”
“Now, look what you’ve gone and done!” said Neptune and she grabbed Uranus’s hand and pulled him gently away from the table. “You’ve all frightened him! I hope you’re proud!”
“I don’t see what there’s to be proud of,” said Venus as she glanced about the room.
“Something about the Veal,” said Mars, thoughtfully.
“I thought it was all about that dark matter,” said Saturn. Her perfect tan forehead crinkled, uncomfortably.
“I don’t know what you are all talking about,” said Jupiter. And he looked uncomfortable, like he was too important for such conversation. “Earth,” he said loudly in his deep voice. “You called this meeting. You bring order.”
A glass was rapped harshly on the table until its pieces shattered into Earth’s lap.
“Nicely done,” said Mars smartly.
“Quiet!” said Earth. “I am sorry everyone. I did not mean to cause you all worry, nor was it my intention to cause chaos. I just wanted to take a toll to see how everyone will all be effected by this alien business.”
“Not effected at all on my end,” said Mars and for once he looked happy as he sipped his fifth cup of coffee.
Venus gave mars another glance, the coffee was making his red hair stand on end. “There will be no troubles here,” she said. She smoothed a hand over her gray-brown hair which was pulled back in a French braid. “Although…it is getting harder for me to see.”
“I talked to you about that,” said Jupiter. “Red dots are not good for the sight…”
“Please,” said Saturn. “She can handle anything.“
Mercury cleared her throat. “The sun informed me that the Aliens don’t like heat.”
“Where is he this time?” said Venus.
Earth shrugged, but it was Mercury who answered. “On vacation in Oahu. He informs me that there will be extra sun-burns there. He was almost giddy.”
“If we’re done here,” said Neptune. “I’d like to take Uranus home now.”
Earth nodded and the two friends left.
“Close friends, those two are,” observed Jupiter.
“Yes,” said Earth.
“Why can’t we all just get along?” sighed Pluto.
Ceres glanced uncomfortably around the table. He wasn’t sure if that was a question that he was supposed to answer.
“It’s fine,” said Earth. “Meeting adjourned. Until next time.”
“Next time?” said Saturn.
“Yes, the earthlings inform me that there’s going to be a war soon.”
“Interplanetary?” asked Jupiter.
“Possibly,” said Earth.
“That should make life more interesting then.”
“Perhaps it will. I’ll see you all in another thousand years. Meeting adjourned. Oh, and Mars, would you please take care of your coffee cups? They’re littering up my trash.” He glanced pointedly at the waste bin next to the table, which was spilling over with plastic cups and plates from the dinner that they just had. Mars gave him a sullen look.
“Thank you,” said Earth, and he left the table with everyone else.