Prompt for August 4, 2016

Complete the short story/flash fiction, that has the following opening:

Jackson Novick played with the empty coffee cup, trying to flip it over and land on its base. He kept trying, but the fruits of his effort, small coffee stains on the metal table from the remnants of coffee that were still in the cup when he started, were all that were visible. His face was a mask, a dull, bored mask, that didn’t change even when he came close to his objective of successfully flipping the cup.

He was bored. Bored beyond his wildest imagination and he had an active imagination. He was the one person in the room who would look around wildly if he heard something he didn’t recognize or expect. He was the person who expected bad things to happen, expected the worst to come true, expected death from a paper cut and who was always pessimistic even about positive events. He was perfect for his job, but he was bored.  That is, he was going to be bored for another, he looked at the clock, sixty three hours and twelve minutes.  Then he was going to be scared.

How he was even persuaded to go into space as a mechanic was something that his friends never found out. One day he was a groundhog, unable to even climb a tree and the next he was onboard a spaceship headed towards Mars. He hadn’t even told people he was going until the Friday before the launch. Jackson had been at the bar that his friends frequented – he tried not to go there due to the unclean dishwashing of the bar – when he stood up, announced that he was on the next scheduled run to Mars, shot his vodka and left. Needless to say, they tried to get more out of him but he refused to comment. NASA had told him not to and he knew that if he did it could potentially mean the death of everyone on Mars. How could he tell his friends that there was someone sabotaging the ships on the way to Mars? How could he tell his friends that someone was trying to sabotage the Mars habitats where dozens of men and women lived? How could he tell his friends, who thought he was crazy, that he could read their minds and that was why he needed to go?

Yes, Jackson Novick, who thought his mind reading was a curse, not a gift, was deliberately going into danger to save dozens of people. Even if it drove him insane.

Post a link to the story in the comments.


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