The Man Who Hated the Moon

by Chris Ankney

 

ďThatís one small step for man...one...giant leap for mankind.Ē Neil Armstrong said this in 1969 when he became the first person to set foot on the moon.

Scientist Dr. Herman Mushlam said something similar in 2057 when he blew it up.

*****

Dr. Herman Mushlam was a scientist who longed for perfection. From a hairless brush to a spotless car, everything needed to be flawless. Mushlam was such a perfectionist that he could not allow his own mother to get misplaced. For this reason, he lived at home.

Mother was everything to Herman. She meant more to him than his perfectly folded socks. She was more important than any alphabetized CD collection could ever be. She was all this and more. She was dying.

She didnít have any diseases or heart problems, she was just old. 81 years old to be exact, and in her day and age 70 was considered old. The year is, of course, 2056, and after the obesity epidemic 50 years earlier, life expectancy had plummeted.

His motherís increasing age and impending death had made Herman a wreck. For weeks he forgot to shut doors as he left rooms. He no longer folded towels after every use. Everything became trivial. There was one thing Herman never lost sight of, however; his hatred for the moon. The moon was the one thing in Hermanís life that was not perfect, unbroken, and sublime.

Since the time Herman was a baby, lunar light had caused him serious pain. Whenever the silvery rays touched his skin it would boil. Third degree burns appeared when it was most severe. No doctor had ever seen anything like it. They had no cure, save shelter and daylight.

*****

One day in May, Dr. Mushlam came running out of his lab at the local university with a look of ecstasy on his face. He laughed to himself as he burst through the doors to the outside and squinted when the sun shown on his mustachioed face.

He skipped around the courtyard, humming, and then ran to his partnerís office.

 

Page 1