Bluko the Astronaut Makes a Friend
By Valerie L. Egar
Bluko lived on the moon in a space colony with his parents, Nika and Roanne. When he wasn’t in school, he zoomed around the stars in a space ship that was exactly his size. Bluko explored as far as his tiny spaceship would go, and knew several short-cuts to Saturn, where to find the best space rocks and to always look both ways before crossing the Milky Way.
One day, Roanne asked Bluko if he would like to deliver some fresh cinnamon muffins to Grandpa Crawfus on Asteroid 260. Grandpa was a prospector, mining gold in a remote canyon. Whenever Roanne got a fresh delivery of cinnamon from planet Earth, she always made muffins and sent Grandpa several dozen.
“Of course, I’ll go!” said Bluko. He loved seeing Grandpa, and besides, Asteroid 260 was right next to Neptune’s moon, Galatea. Bluko knew that Galatea was the only place to find rare Luna Septus rocks and he wanted at least one for his collection.
“No short cuts and no detours,” said Roanne. “I want you to go straight to Grandpa’s house and come straight back.”
“No ‘Aw, Mom’,” Roanne said. “I don’t want you meeting any Martians, so no short cuts and no detours!” People in the moon colony didn’t know much about Martians and were afraid of them.
Bluko stashed the muffins under his seat, locked the hatch on his spaceship and zoomed off. He set his destination for Asteroid 260 and was soon well on his way, speeding past Mars. As he passed Galatea, the moon shone brightly. “How long could it take to find just one Luna Septus rock?” Bluko thought. He took the ship off automatic pilot and steered it towards the glowing moon.
Bluko guided the space ship to a rocky field and gently lowered it into a clearing. He popped open the hatch and scrambled down to search for the rare Luna Septus rock, hoping its green glow would catch his eye. Back and forth he walked, without any luck. Meanwhile, the delicious scent of cinnamon muffins drifted into the atmosphere from the open hatch of the space ship.
A Martian appeared from behind a large boulder. “What do I smell?”
Bluko was frightened, but answered, “Cinnamon muffins. I’m taking them to my Grandpa.”
“If you dilly-dally, they’ll be cold by the time you get there,” said the Martian.
Bluko hopped in his space ship and headed for Grandpa’s house. “Gosh,” he thought. “Martians don’t seem so bad.”
Bluko found Grandpa in bed. “I’m so tired,” Grandpa said. “Just put the muffins on my nightstand and run along.”
“Strange,” thought Bluko. “Grandpa always puts the muffins in the freezer and wants to talk.” Bluko looked closely at Grandpa.
“Grandpa, what big eyes you have!”
“Yes, all the better to see you.” Grandpa never said things like that.
“Grandpa, your ears look bigger.”
“Yes, all the better to hear you.”
“Grandpa, your mouth looks bigger, too.”
“All the better to eat these delicious muffins!” With that, he shoved all the muffins— two dozen!— in his mouth. “Yum, yum, yum!”
“You’re not Grandpa! You’re a Martian! Where’s Grandpa?”
Bluko heard noise under the bed and found Grandpa hiding.
“Dang it, Martian,” said Grandpa, “if you wanted some cinnamon muffins, why didn’t you just ask? ”
The Martian belched.
Grandpa opened the freezer door. Stacks of muffins crowded the freezer. The Martian squealed. Bluko put a dozen muffins in the solar heater to defrost them and Grandpa poured three glasses of moon milk. They ate and laughed. Bluko taught the Martian how to say “Another muffin, please” and the Martian gave Bluko a rock from a planet Bluko hadn’t heard of.
“Follow me home,” Bluko said. He couldn’t wait to introduce Mom to his new friend.
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Copyright 2016 by Valerie L. Egar. May not be copied or reproduced without permission from the author.
Published October 2, 2016 Journal Tribune Sunday (Biddeford, ME).