Spaceport America
Jensen Beach

My friend Charlie wanted us to get out of town. I suggested the Southwest because I had once seen a program about New Mexico that intrigued me. The day we arrived in Albuquerque it was raining. This kind of bummed Charlie and me out. So we took the rental car from the airport and headed south. I guess I assumed there would have been more sun. We stopped off in Truth or Consequences. In the parking lot of this little gift shop close to the 25 I looked north and saw that the storm had been following us down off the mountains. Charlie didn’t see this and I didn’t mention it. We browsed for t-shirts and key chains. I thumbed through a brochure for Spaceport America. I read a short paragraph that described the 2007 launch of the ashes of the Star Trek actor James Doohan into space. The same service, I read, was available to anyone for five hundred dollars. Charlie was turning a mirrored display of turquoise necklaces. Before I could show him the brochure, he found a necklace in the shape of an eagle claw and brought it up to the register, where he placed it on the counter. “What does this make you think of?” he asked me. The door opened and outside I could smell the approaching rain. I got the impression the eagle claw was supposed to trigger some memory or a joke Charlie and I shared but all the necklace made me think of was the necklace. Outside, instead of the rain splashing down onto the dusty parking lot, rockets launched hurriedly into orbit.

Jensen Beach lives in Massachusetts. Recent stories have been published in Ninth Letter, Sou’wester and Witness. Next year, his first book comes out from Dark Sky Books. He helps edit Hobart and can be found online here.