Hector views the Lunar Domes from on high, there are ten of them. He can see in the vicinity that there are circular plots embedded into the ground, and that they have similar diameters as the already constructed Lunar Domes. He ponders this view for a moment. He closes his eyes, and he remembers something in this instant. The image materializes in his view that is so vivid, he could have sworn it was reality.
He holds a ball of sand in his hands, he sees a patchy pile of sand on the ground in front of him among the sea of sand that is the beach he sits on. He molds the ball of sand furiously without a second thought. He lays it gently next to the patchy pile of sand, a precursor to the perfectly round ball of sand in his hands. The ball breaks apart as the top part of the ball falls around the bottom part. Hector angrily hits the ball of sand, which is now more or less another patchy pile of sand. He sits for a moment and thinks about what he wants to do with the sand.
‘I want to make domes out of sand, like the Lunar Domes. I want to have them hollow on the inside, but I just can’t imagine how I can do it. There is no conceivable way, they always fall apart on the inside. I try and try, but there is just no way!’
In the heat of the moment, he instinctually turns around to a familiar, yet very odd sight. He sees a pair of adults in beach attire, laying on beach towels, under an umbrella. He glances upward toward their faces, but he cannot focus on them. It’s like the view of an unfocused camera, their faces are blurred. They seemingly have no eyes, no nose, no facial hair, and no ears. The instant he views the pair’s unfocused faces, an image of a completed sand dome flashes before his eyes, before he abruptly wakes up in a cold sweat.
‘That was more lucid than the others I’ve had before. I was floating above the Lunar Domes. That was cool. But what is happening to me? Is this normal? Do people normally have such realistic dreams? I best not think about these things if it can’t be helped. I mean, I’m not about to report this kind of thing to the Academy. They might lock me up, or worse, they might experiment on me, like they did in ancient times.’
BRRRRRING! BRRRRRING! BRRRRRING!
Hector shifts to one side of his standard sized bed. A single white pillow falls to the ground. He sees the time displayed on the glass surface of his bedside table. 06:00, the display reads. A symbol of an alarm clock is shown above the time, and it violently pulsates.
BRRRRRING! BRRRRRING! BRRRRRING!
The alarm loudly rings again, ‘sheesh, is it getting louder?’ Hector asks himself in his head.
Hector touches the glass surface of the bedside table, and the symbol for the alarm clock disappears into the background. He picks up the pillow on the ground positions it comfortably under his head. He readjusts his thin white blanket up to his neck to cover his entire body, and closes his eyes.
‘I haven’t had a lucid dream for a while. The last time I had one was… was-‘
‘Ah, I can’t remember the last time I had one. Oh well, I better take my own advice and not give it any more thought.’
A moment of silence passes, until he is sound asleep once more. The clock displayed on his bedside table draws ever nearer to 07:00.
At the same moment Hector’s alarm startles him, Alexa is in a kitchen, grabbing milk from a refrigerator. She pours the contents of the milk container into a bowl that has a pile of cereal inside it. ‘The milk soaks up and engulfs the cereal into its body until the flakes of floating cereal is the only indication that there is any cereal in the bowl at all, besides the fact that the time of day would indicate that there is cereal inside a single bowl of milk. That would be using the context of the time of day to assume that there is cereal inside the bowl.’
‘I can’t believe it. I’m doing it again. I’m overanalyzing such a simple thing. A bowl of milk at this time of day would almost always guarantee there will be cereal in said bowl of milk. Such a trivial matter. Why do I do this to myself?’
And so as Alexa eats her cereal, Hector is quietly back to sleep.
She finishes her meal in a calm manner, cleans her bowl and spoon, and places the two on a drying rack. She promptly goes back into the refrigerator to take out tomatoes, half a head of lettuce, a cucumber, and some cold cuts of sliced meats of different kinds. She gets four slices of bread, and arranges them in a two by two square. She slices the tomatoes, and puts one slice each on the bottom two pieces of bread. She peels two leaves of lettuce, and places one each on the top two pieces of bread. She cuts two slices of cucumber, and places them on the bottom left piece of bread, and cuts two more and places them on the bottom right piece of bread, all four slices of cucumber on top of the sliced tomato. She now retrieves a cold cut of sliced meat from each type of meat, and folds them over each other on top of the cut tomatoes and cucumbers. She does this for the bottom right piece of bread, then the bottom left. Then she takes the top right piece of bread that has lettuce on it, and places it on top of the sliced meat on the bottom right piece of bread, lettuce side first. She does the same thing for the pair of bread on the left side.
“There we go. Two happy sandwiches for two happy students,” she says aloud. She sees an image of Hector in her mind, and imagines what he would be doing at this time; she imagines him lying on his bed, knocked out, and snoozing away. “Actually two happy sandwiches, for one happy student and one soon to be angry student,” she revises her previous statement aloud.
She promptly places each sandwich in separate sandwich bags, and brings them to the front of the house and places them inside a small sack. She places the sack on a side table standing beside the front door. She touches the glass surface of the side table and it lights up instantly. It displays the time, 06:30. She touches it once more, and the light dims to black.
She runs up the stairs, grabs a towel from the linen cabinet beside the bathroom, steps into the bathroom, shuts the door, and locks it. She brushes her teeth, then proceeds to take off each article of clothing on her person. She steps into the shower room, and closes the glass door. She touches on the glass wall of the shower room, and instantly the room is filled with a bright light. With a few presses of on screen buttons, water starts falling from a shower head attached to the ceiling.
“Oh-h-h, that is warm,” she enjoys the warm sensation.
Another set of presses on the luminescent glass wall, and a strong stream of water shoots out of shower heads that are embedded into the side walls of the shower room.
“Ah-h-h, that is such a relaxing massage,” she enjoys the soothing streams of water jets.
She calmly cleans herself up, and by the time she realizes it, she is ready for the day. She is in her bedroom now, and looks at her image in a mirror. She straightens out her navy blue skirt, tightens her white stockings and fastens the top most button of her blouse in place. She flicks her hair to one side, “All… Done!” She holds and emphasizes the ‘all’, and accentuates the ‘done’ with confidence, all within a feminine pronunciation.
At this juncture, she takes the time to pull out a blank sheet of white paper, and a blue fine tip marker. She sits down at her desk, and lays the sheet gently on the glass surface with her right hand, while touching another part of the surface of the desk with her left index finger. A time displays in the top left most part of the desk top, it reads 06:54.
‘I guess I don’t have that much time to write this damn thing. What a pain. But it would be a bigger pain if I left him with nothing. The Stars only know he would demand to come see me. Who knows if Mr. Teech would allow that? Probably not. I wouldn’t allow it if I was Mr. Teech. Ah, well, I better get writing, I have to make it short and sweet.’
To the one and only person in this Academy that I don’t want to say goodbye to….
‘I think that’s a good start.’
A woman’s strong voice makes its way to Alexa’s bedroom, “Alexa, honey! I got your bike set up in front of the house!”
“Thank you, Momma! I’ll be down in five minutes,” Alexa answers with matching volume.
The bedside table flashed a bright light, and it displayed the time once more, 07:00. An alarm clock symbol violently pulsates above the time, and a blaringly loud noise fills the room with greater tenacity than at 06:00.
BRRRRRING! BRRRRRING! BRRRRRING!
“AHH!” Hector shouts in a panicky outburst, violently awaking to the loud noise. He grips his bed sheets in shock, and breaths slowly.
BRRRRRING! BRRRRRING! BRRRRING!
“Be quiet you damn alarm! Oh no-,” he shuffles to his side, and touches the glass surface of the bedside table. The pulsating alarm symbol disappears, and he reads the time as one more minute passes, 07:00>07:01.
“Oh no, oh no, oh no….”
He scrambles out of bed, and quickly sheds his clothing as he shuffles his way to the bathroom only a few feet in front of his bed. He stumbles into the tub, and closes the plastic bath curtains, but one of the rings get stuck on the plastic bar that supports it, so he fumbles around with the curtains to straighten them out.
‘Why am I fixing the damn shower curtains, if I’m the only one in this cramped apartment anyway?’
A moment passes him by as he twists the knobs of two large protrusions on the wall above the tub, one labelled with a red marking, and the other a blue marking. Water flows down a faucet attached to the tub.
‘Oh yeah, because water will spray outward onto the floor of the bathroom. I am such a genius.’
He twists the knob of one large protrusion in the middle of the other two, and water starts flowing from a shower head attached to the wall near the ceiling and stops flowing from the faucet attached to the tub. Water starts sprinkling outward from above.
“Ahh! Too cold!” he screams.
He awkwardly reaches out to twist the red labeled knob, carefully avoiding the stream of water. He twists his target knob, and touches the water, “there you go, just right.” He hurriedly scrubs his scalp, lathers his hair with shampoo, soaps his entire body, and rinses off. He turns the water off, and carefully steps out of the tub. He reaches out toward the bathroom counter when he realizes something, ‘Ah man I forgot my towel!’
He carefully makes his way out of the bathroom, not wanting to slip on the tiled bathroom flooring, then once on the carpeted flooring of the rest of the apartment, he runs to his cabinet to retrieve a towel. ‘Brrr, it’s so cold in here,’ he takes the towel, and starts drying off. He focuses on drying off his long black hair, ‘drying off this long hair is taking so long, I really need to cut it one of these days. I wonder if Alexa would be willing to- Oh no, oh no, oh no.’
He runs to the bedside table and touches the glass surface, 07:24. “Aw man I have to hurry.” He squeezes a handful of hair, “damp, but it’ll have to do.” He runs back to his cabinet and throws on a pair of boxers, a pair of white socks, blue jeans, and a black t-shirt decorated with gold stars covered sparsely about. In bold worn out matching gold letters spattered across the front of the shirt, it reads:
TO THE STARS!
‘Finally, all done, now then, at any moment I should expect-‘
The door is abruptly kicked in, and the bright light from the hallway floods the small apartment. A small woman appears in the doorway, her silhouette is bathed in the light. Hector can vaguely see bright blonde hair waving about, a blue skirt flailing in the wind, and a white blouse ready to burst at the seams.
“I knew it, you’re not even ready ye-“
“I am ready, and you need to put on some more clothing,” Hector interrupts.
“What!? What did you just say? You have some nerve telling me I’m underdressed.”
“Hey someone’s got to say it, and it just so happens to be me. Well, you should have known that by now. I say what’s on my mind. It’s as simple as that,” Hector shrugs.
Alexa glares at Hector’s innocent looking face, and angrily ponders for a moment. ‘This guy makes me so angry sometimes. I get up extra early to make him a sandwich, and this is how he greets me. ‘You’re underdressed,’ he says. Phooey I say! He was probably scrambling to get ready before I got here.’ Alexa glances to the bathroom, ‘Aha! A trail of liquid coming and going from the bathroom, to his bedside table, and to his cabinet, and look the trail leads right to him.’
“So… Hector,” Alexa accentuates the ‘so’, “why is there a trail of liquid all over your apartment? Did the baby boy have a little accident?”
Hector’s face immediately reddens. He thinks about how he is going to cover this up, ‘What can I tell her? Aw man, does she think I peed myself or something? Space, this really blows. Alright, I’ll change the subject. But to what? Hmm…’ He glances at her skirt, and notices a sack attached to her belt along her side.
“Hey, don’t you worry about that, besides I think you have something for me,” he stares at her, then glances at the sack for just a moment.
Alexa stares back, and their eyes meet. Her brow furls once, and she hesitates before saying, “Oh yeah? What do you think I have for you? Maybe I won’t give it to you now. You were so rude earlier, I may change my mind!”
Hector smiles, and thinks ‘that was a close call. But on second thought, I didn’t even pee myself, so why am I being embarrassed about it?’
“Well? Do you have something for me or not? And by the way, you really are mature, you know that. I mean, urination jokes? What are we… ten?” Hector hesitantly asks a rhetorical question.
“Hector, you’re only three years older than that, you do know that right?”
Hector’s face reddens once again, “Of course I know that. I made urination jokes when I was ten, you should remember them!” He regains his composure and grins at her.
“Tch, whatever, you’re reasoning is so lame. Anyway, I made a sandwich for you. That’s what’s in the sack you’ve been staring at for the past minute or so.”
“What!? Really!? Thank you so much Alexa!”
Alexa glares at him, “is that sarcasm?”
“I don’t know what that means, but I’ll say… yes?”
“Then you don’t get the sandwich-“
“Wait, NO, my answer is no! It’s not sarcasm! Can I have the sandwich please?”
“Wow, now I want to give you the sandwich just so you don’t have to beg like that again, sheesh, that’s pathetic.”
“C’mon Alexa, I was being sincere when I thanked you, alright! You really want to hear it aloud, don’t you? I really am grateful that you made me a sandwich...” Hector looks to the ground and grabs an arm behind his back, “actually, I’m really grateful that you’re here right now. I mean, you’re always here. You’re always doing things like this. You’re always looking out for me, especially in the morning, the worst time of day for me…”
Alexa’s eyes twitch.
“If it weren’t for yo-“
“Stop! Hector, stop it, please. You really know how to dampen the mood, did you know that? Don’t thank me for being here. I’m here because I want to be. That’s all. There’s nothing more to say about it alright?” She takes out one of the sandwich bags, “Now here, take it and eat. I don’t want to hear another word from you.”
Hector takes the sandwich bag, unwraps it, and begins eating.
“Oh hey, I forgot to ask, can you cut my hair? It’s getting really long.”
“Yea I can see that, eat first! Then we’ll talk about it.”