Pulp Tales #1: The Invisible Pointer
Trying out a new feature suggested by a dear friend of mine. Taking covers from the Pulp Magazine Archive and writing short stories to go with them. So without further ado, the story of ‘The Invisible Pointer’.
It was a cold day on Mars. Yet somehow my legs were not cold even though I had forgotten to wear my pants. Again.
“Man it’s cold, isn’t it Astrovia!” I said. But Astrovia didn’t answer. There was something odd about her that morning, I thought. Maybe it was her recumbent position, or maybe it was the way she was locked inside a glass-fronted fridge, but she just seemed out of sorts.
“She’s just gone into cryo-sleep for her trip to Saturn!” came a voice, seemingly from nowhere.
“Saturn is a bit of a dump, but I’m not sure she needs to cry herself to sleep over it.”
“Just move her pod from where it is, right over there,” sighed the voice, “and put it in the rocket over there.”
“Where I’m pointing.”
“Yeah, nah,” I vouchsafed.
The voice sighed. “Okay, I forgot that I’m invisible,” it said. “My bad. But look, there’s only one cryo-sleep pod here and one rocket. Can’t you just infer where I’m pointing?”
“It’s really hard so see,” I said. “My visor is invisible, too.”
“Shouldn’t that make it easier to see?”
“It’s meant to be prescription. I can see Astrovia, because she’s close up, but the only other thing I can see is a big red blur.”
“That’s the rocket,” the Invisible Pointer intoned. “Just get the pod into it.”
“Why can’t you do it?”
“Uh… I’m invisible. Duh!”
This last remark did not make a lot of sense to me, but nevertheless I began to move the pod. Alas, it immediately swung open — no one had fastened the butterfly screws on the door! Astrovia fell out and, in spite of the cold weather, she quickly revived.
“Hi, everyone!” she said. “Jeepers, Saturn sure does look a lot like Mars! Hey, Larry, what happened to your pants? Forget them again?”
“Oh, wait a second,” I said, slipping a hand into my pocket. “I am wearing pants! Invisible pants!”
Astrovia and I laughed out loud. As for the Invisible Pointer, he simply swore very loudly and stomped away, kicking many small, breakable objects in his path.