Today I must give thanks to the delectable Ciara Ballintyne who has been kind enough to share a fun guest post. It kind of links to my previous post about genre and it made me smile. Is this story SciFi? Is it fiction or reality? It’s all about perception. Hope it makes you smile too! You can contact Ciara on twitter – @ciaraballintyne or visit her marvellous website to sample her writing here: Ciara Ballintyne
There’s A Black Hole In My Parents Backyard
I am geographically challenged.
What’s that got to do with black holes? When you frequently get lost, it’s easy to fly your spaceship into a black hole.
I have always known about the suburb just south of where I grew up. You can see it across the freeway from my parents’ house. It was under development when I was a little girl, though I very rarely go there. Officially called Glenmore Park, it is more often known to locals as the ‘rabbits’ warren’ or ‘the maze’, particularly by locals who don’t live there and are unfortunate enough to venture in.
On my most recent return I declared it to be the asshole of hell. However, on quick reflection, I decided it was in fact a black hole. Matter that goes in does not come out.
I can only conclude that I was fortunate enough to skirt the edges of the event horizon and slingshot out using the gravity well. Or something like that. Don’t ask me to explain, I stole this theory from Samantha Carter of Stargate Command’s SG-1 team. Clearly it works as I am here to tell the tale.
Why did I venture into the Black Hole?
My husband was out with some mates to celebrate the birth of twins. Not ours. Hell no. One of his mates had twins. Deciding it was time his mate stopped drinking and went home, he called and asked me to pick them up. Obligingly, I jumped in our spaceship (more familiarly known as our Volkswagen Golf) and navigated across known space to the pub.
My husband’s mate lives in the Black Hole. I knew this. Neither I nor my husband knew how to get there, but his mate surely knew his way to his own house, right? Right?
The mate had consumed far more alcohol than was good for him. While he was busy throwing up down the outside of my spaceship, I was directed to enter the Black Hole via the wrong entrance. There are only two. The other one would have required me to navigate far less uncharted space.
So we flew down the main intergalactic shipping lane. This road doesn’t seem to know the meaning of straight line – I swear this road was mapped out by someone only marginally more sober than the drunk sitting next to me. Incidentally, he’s now fallen asleep.
Fantastic. It was dark, I had no idea where I was going, and I had left my GPS at home since I’d no intention of entering the Black Hole that evening. And, don’t forget, I am geographically challenged.
My husband attempted to give directions, resulting only in directing me off the main shipping lanes far too early. I knew my phone had a GPS, but I’d never used it, on account of relying on my dedicated GPS system.
Temporarily parking my spaceship, I attempted to find directions on my phone. I could not find the GPS but did manage to log on to the internet and get directions. Great. I can follow directions.
Yes, I can. I’m a woman but I can read a map, more or less, especially when it comes with steps numbered one through ten.
What I can’t do is follow directions in deep uncharted space known as the Black Hole in the dark. Doing it to the orchestral tones of someone vomiting down your spaceship hatch is even better.
Half the space lanes don’t have street signs. The other half, when directed to ‘continue along’ the same street, in fact change their name. To stay on the same road often requires you to make a right turn. Or a left turn. Go figure. Obviously this is alien territory.
45 minutes after leaving my parents’ house (remembering that you can see the Black Hole from there) I knew how to get back to my parents’ house but had no idea how to find the mate’s house. He was still asleep in the front passenger seat, having just vomited down the outside of my spaceship – again.
I called my Dad. A girl should always be able to rely on her father in a tight spot. I couldn’t find the GPS on my phone (which I now know is appropriately labelled ‘Navigator’) but I did know how to use its comms systems.
So, with Dad using a good old-fashioned street directory and telling me to take the second left and then the next right, we managed to deposit the mate at his house and escape the Black Hole before its gravity well pulled us into oblivion.
It was a narrow escape.
Unfortunately I will have to go back. I have a friend who lives there.
But I’ve learned my lesson. When venturing into deep, unexplored space, make sure you always take a good navigator!