“I was having a bad hair day,” I wailed. Wasn’t dignified, but I’d made a grave error and needed to explain to my father, governor of the quadrant, the ding I’d put in the spaceport. I was so flustered I bowed instead of curtseyed. The embarrassed flush rose up my cheeks and I wiped at a tear.

I was not going to cry.

At sixteen, youngest pilot and only female, my opportunities beyond a freighter were already limited. I’d been an authorized pilot for months, in deep space, and the incident happened on my first official day.

Father said nothing for a full minute.

“Tell me again,” he said, his words accented by the angry set of his eyes.

“I was maneuvering the ship close to the entrance and saw Captain Ryan standing inside the docking bay.” He was cute, and had the fastest frigate in the galaxy. “When I noticed my refection in the screen, I had a pox. My hair was all whopper-jawed. I flinched…scrapped the side. It’s barely a nick.”

I was destined for the quarry on a mining planet, I could feel it.

“I screwed up.” I hedged. “I’ll take a double shift. Load cargo.” I knew he would sequester me in the barracks or worse, take my authorization.

“The spaceport shifted. Another pilot would have lost their ship.” A beat passed. “Captain Ryan requested you for his pilot.”

At his dismissive nod I turned to leave and almost missed his whispered, “I’m proud of you.”

 

THE END

The above story was written for the String-of-10 Five Flash Fiction Contest hosted by Flash Fiction Chronicles.  Click on the link to read all the rules, but basically…

250 words or fewer.

Include at least four of the following words:

EVENING-QUARRY-ACCENT-ROSE-TEAR-MINUTE-GRAVE-CLOSE-ENTRANCE-BOW

and inspired quote “I want to put a ding in the universe.” by Steve Jobs.  can be used but isn’t required.

I submitted two stories. Many of those in my writers group also submitted. As you can suspect from the words, many went dark with this contest, least those in our group. That would be why I tried for humor, or at least levity. It’s often interesting to see how differently people take such prompts and I hope to post a few of the other stories in the days to come.

 

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