The Space Race

Entry by: KMaidmarion

22nd January 2016
Space Race

Works of Art

Ethel has stippled the Milky Way across her canvas with the aid of her Velcro rollers. She has applied hair dye, mixing the colours to create 'out of this world' shades. She might try them on her clients tomorrow, she thinks. Her own grey hair hangs bedraggled and loose around her stiff shoulders. She stands back and admires her creativity, feeling sure that she will succeed. Her curtains are drawn to keep her secret. Prying eyes have become a real problem in the village of Melbrek.

Bob Preston takes another gulp of water and swills it around his mouth. The taste of glue is bitter and sweet on his tongue. He has decided to use the Star Wars, stamp series, to fashion his comet. The impenetrable black of Dark Vader he’d clustered together in a sphere to depict the nucleus of the comet. The gold of the Boba Fett stamp he’d fashioned to represent the gas and dust of the coma. And Princess Leia, in her startled white costume, had worked well as the tail. He takes the final stamp from his tongue and adds it to the top right of his masterpiece as if he were to post it to the queen herself. He rocks on his feet and pushes out his chest before pulling the sheet over his canvas. A first class stamp for a first class comet but he’d have to keep it to himself for now.

Shelley curses under her breath as one of her gel nails snaps off the end of her finger. She looks down at her hands. Normally perfectly manicured they look like she’d scraped them down the serrated edge of a cheese grater. And the rainbow of colours she’d used to create her Aurora Borealis had stiffened on her fingers as if they had been ravaged by piranha. But she was pleased with the effect on the canvas as she applied ‘Let me Go’ lilac over ‘Show me the Way’ green. ‘Bali Mist’ had bled into ‘Hottie’ Blue and the cosmic sculptures of dust and gas explodes before her eyes. She adds star clusters in ‘Swan Lake’ silver and enjoys applying the varnish without having to restrict herself to the line of cuticle and nail. Such abandonment she thought, as she frisked the varnish with the hair dryer, noticing how it scurried across the cosmos before solidifying. Now where could she hide it?

The bell tinkles as Harvey closes the door of his sweet shop for the day. On his way into the back room he pops one of the sherbet flying saucers onto his tongue. The rice paper dimples and clags against the roof of his mouth. He flicks his tongue to release it and winces at the sour explosion of sherbet. He catches his image in the mirror as he uses his finger to dislodge the planet from the concave of his mouth. Not exactly the sexy film-star image he likes to promote alongside his confectionery. He has painted the MDF coal black and covered it in Modge Podge gel medium. To this he has thrown endless packets of fizzy space dust onto his work in progress. It glitters now and he makes a mental note to get the light right. He sticks Smarties to the spheres he has drawn to represent the planets. He adds a single Smartie to the outer edge to represent Planet Nine, the new planet that has just been discovered. As he sticks the flying saucers to the celestial scene he smiles smugly and looks forward to its unveiling.

Ebony has collected nuts, bolts and ball bearings from her dad’s garage workshop. She has cleaned the grease and oil from them with Swarfega until they shine silver, bronze and gold. In her bedroom the curtains are closed tightly. Her spotlights dazzle on the model satellite. She uses wheel spacers and attaches shock absorbers with mig welding wire. At the back of her satellite she fastens parabolic reflector antenna and wing mirrors to represent solar panels. The Geissler-style tubes, of the flux capacitor, is attached for potential time travel. Car radio speakers are fused on to her model to act as star trackers. She picks up her face mask and pulls it over her nose and mouth. The elastic tangles in her auburn hair and she swears loudly. She shakes the tin of spray paint and applies it to the mechanics so that they shine a star-burst silver. And finally with her satellite complete, Ebony attaches it to the piece of sawn off exhaust so that it suspends in space.

And now the space race is on. Shrieks of panic can be heard on the streets of Melbrek. The villagers run awkwardly towards the community hall, their exhibits wrapped up in brown paper and sheets. Harvey is pleased that it’s not raining. It wouldn't do to have soggy flying saucers. Ethel has jammed a woolly hat over her hair to cover the wet-rag ringlets she was left with, now that all her rollers had become covered in paint. She staggers forward with her canvass which is almost as big as she is. Ebony has asked her dad to help transport her invention and it swings violently from the exhaust pipe as they run. Shelley curses once more as she loses another nail and Bob Preston pauses briefly to spit in the gutter. The taste of stamp glue is making him feel slightly odd and dizzy.

They run with passion and determination, each vying for the prize of best exhibit. They run with panic and desperation - for this really is a space race, and that space is the only one left in the village art exhibition.