Fahrer, the Grumpy Captain From the Schwarz Wald
[Episode 14 of a spin-off from my novels The Hitch-hiker and
Mission of the Unwilling.]
Last Friday, no different from every other Friday, Clarke, the robot streamed Queen through the quadraphonic amplified speakers, and we clapped, stomping our feet in the air to the beat. Nathan screwed up his dark face and mimed the chords on his air guitar:
‘Another one bites the dust! Doof! Doof!’ Liesel whooped while I raised my hands to cheer.
Fahrer slid open the door to the mess hall and poking his head through growled, ‘Turn the volume down, please!’ He sounded like a grumpy old neighbour disturbed by the party; the sort of neighbour who threatens to call the police. Our apartment in Basel, Switzerland was surrounded by such people. ‘This sort of activity is detrimental to your muscle tone,’ he said and glared at the robot.
Clarke stopped and blinked his lights, red, then amber.
Fritz replied, ‘We are saving energy. The ship can go faster now.’
Jo threw an orange at Fahrer. ‘It is good for morale. Get a life and join in Captain.’ Just the sort of comment a medic would make.
Fahrer dodged the slow flying fruit and narrowed his eyes at me.
Clarke resumed the beat with the flash of green lights. Out of his speakers rang: ‘Hit the road, Jack and don’t you come back…’ the bulbs on his box-like head flashed red strobe lights in every direction.
The Captain remained immovable in the doorway, his mouth pursed sucking in the lemon-bitter insult the inhuman robot threw him.
‘Chill out, Captain!’ Liesel somersaulted. ‘It’s happy hour!’
Fahrer shook his head then retracted it through the doorway to return to his duties.
‘He never used to be like that,’ Fritz said.
‘What a wet blanket! At times like these I almost feel sorry for…Minna.’ Liesel clicked her fingers to the beat of Queen’s “Fat Bottomed Girls”.
‘Yes, and I have to work with him, might I remind you. Still it could be worse, at least the view is good,’ I said and took a back flip.
‘Doesn’t it get boring looking at stars all day?’ Liesel asked.
I shielded my mouth from the men and whispered. ‘I did not mean the stars.’ Pity he never notices.
‘You have a point there, Holly.’ Liesel jabbed the air. ‘Remember, no fraternizing.’
‘Hardly any chance of that.’ I rolled away and ended the conversation with that comment. No more mistakes like in Strahan with Fox. I waved at Clarke. ‘Stop the music, better get back to work.’ The thought of another eight hours suffering Fahrer’s criticisms stole any desire for me to dance. ‘Back to the slave camp.’
© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2018
Feature Photo: Hoch Blauen Paraglider © L.M. Kling 2014