06-26-2012, 08:37 PM
Boone huffed and followed his sister upstairs. He caught the smell of frozen waffles toasting in the oven (Mom never got the toaster fixed, and she refused to buy a new one because she was on a fixed income and needed to save as much as she could) and hot sausage grease. Another cheap meal in a cheap house in a cheap neighborhood.
The Morris family had never been prosperous as a rule, but things had gone from bad to worse since Dad died and his GI insurance ran out two years ago, leaving Mom with nothing to live on except her Social Security checks and whatever rent her children gave her. Roxy's gigs were few and far between, and when she and her band landed one, she would be lucky if she cleared a hundred dollars a night. By day, she worked at the desk of a local tattoo parlor for eight bucks and hour; the only perk she had were the tattoos sleeving her arms from wrists to shoulders, all free of charge. It was good for business, the tattooist had told her; it was like free advertising. For Roxy, however, it was good for her image as a punk rocker without the expense. And it was steady work, unlike her brother, Boone, who drifted through a series of dead-end jobs and was collecting unemployment--again--while he hunkered down in the basement on his computer, hacking out conspiracy theories that no one in their right mind would believe.
Their mother, Melody Morris, had been a real head-turner back in the day, with flowing strawberry blonde hair, a curvaceous figure that looked dynamite in a bikini, and blue eyes to die for. Now, after nearly forty years of marriage which ended in Dave's death from a massive heart attack, with two children in the interim, her body had thickened in the middle, and the strawberry blonde tresses had been clipped to neck length and turned white with age. She shuffled in a threadbare chenille bathrobe and dirty, worn house slippers, back and forth from the range to the table, laying out processed waffles and shriveled sausage links with a plastic spatula, resigned to a life of struggle and deprivation.
Her two children sat down at the table in their accustomed places, Boone to the right, Roxy to the left, while their mother sat between them at the end. The fourth chair at the head remained empty, a neglected, silent memorial to Dave Morris, husband and father. Three waffle squares and three sausage links were distributed among them, doused with a squirt of bargain brand syrup and spread with bargain brand margarine. A glass of instant breakfast drink stood beside each plastic plate, a token effort to provide some sort of nutrition to the household.
"So, what is it this time, Boone," Mom Morris said as she stirred Sweet-N-Low into her coffee. "JFK? UFOs? The Loch Ness Monster?"
Boone took a gulp of orange drink. "Mom, this is serious," he said.
"It's always serious with you, isn' it?" his mother said. "If you spent as much time looking for work--and keeping a job--as much as you spent on these harebrained ideas of yours, you could actually make something of yourself."
"They're not 'harebrained ideas', Mom," Boone argued. "There's evidence of a cover-up, and it's my duty as an American citizen to inform everyone about the truth!"
"About what, for chrissakes?"
Boone leaned forward. "About the Apollo mission, for example," he replied. "I've gathered mountains of evidence that the whole thing was faked."
Melody set down her coffee cup. "Boone," she said, "I remember the Apollo missions very clearly. I saw them on TV when I was a kid--"
"No, Mom," Boone argued, "what you saw was a hoax, a set-up in some Hollywood backlot. They shot the whole thing here on Earth--we never went to the moon!"
His mother rolled her eyes. "It's true!" Boone insisted. "The photographs, the film footage--everything was faked! If you looked closely at them, you'd see--"
"Boone," Roxy moaned, "give it a rest, willya?"
"No, I'm not gonna give it a rest!" Boone exploded as he rose from his chair. "I'm not gonna rest until the world sees that the Apollo mission was a big hoax! I have evidence, and I'm gonna use it!"
"Where?" Melody asked.
Boone sat down again. "This weekend, Buzz Aldrin is coming to the Luxor for a lecture on his ShareSpace program," he explained. "And when he does, I'm gonna force him to tell the truth once and for all."
Both Roxy and her mother stared at him in shock. "Oh, no, you're not!" the latter told him firmly.
"Oh, yes, I am," Boone shot back. "Somebody's gotta take a stand here, and that someone is gonna be me!"
He gobbled the rest of his meager breakfast, drained his orange drink to the last drop, and rose from the table. "Now, if you'll excuse me," he said, "I have work to do."
With that, he strode back toward the basement stairs. "Why don't you do some real work for a change?" his mother called out after him. "How long is your unemployment benefits gonna last this time, huh? Why don't you start living in the real world and get a job, for chrissakes? You owe me two months' back rent! I can't support the three of us forever, you know! I'm on a fixed income!"
But Boone was well out of earshot of his mother's tirade. He trotted down the wooden stairs and into the tiny basement bedroom, slamming the door behind him. There was much to do between now and the weekend. He had to assemble and organize his case against Buzz Aldrin and the rest of NASA. When he went into the Luxor, he was going in loaded for bear.
Last edited by Veritas; 06-26-2012 at 08:51 PM.