Staring at the Sun

“Where were you last night??

Daniel looked up from the Daily Herald, as he sat there in his comfy chair, and said, “I was at work late finishing that project of cutting off the bottom half of the sun."

Nathan shook his head, and sneered. “No. Really. Where were you last night?"

Still pried on the editorial section, Daniel nonchalantly said, “Don’t believe me? Go take a look for yourself." He waved his left hand behind him to the window.

Nathan scuffled over, leaned down with his knees bent and his elbow against the window sill and peered out the window. He moved his eyes across the sky, remembering in midstream to avoid staring directly at the sun. The sun looked as though it were sitting on a thick, but whispy cloud, so it was easier to avoid direct eye-contact.

The evidence was in the pudding, so to speak. The bottom half of the sun, which should have appeared underneath the cloud, was not there.

“I still don’t believe you," Nathan said as he paced back toward Daniel.

Daniel did not even look up from the paper. “And why not?"

“You’re only a janitor!"

Daniel finally set the paper down, as he furled his eyebrows. “At NASA, even the individual who clean the building’s bathrooms is a part of a venerable institution, and is partaking in the amazing technological discoveries and advances of space. It is a heritage that we all take very seriously, one which only the fewest and the brightest are deemed good enough, and are lucky enough, for an opportunity to shoulder themselves in." He picked the newspaper back up, flipped it to the editoral section, and sarcastically breezed through saying, “Despite any and all supposed budget cuts buoyed around or the lack of public interest and apathy."

Nathan shook his head, and huffed out some air. “Okay, Mr. Bigshot. Why has there been nobody on the moon in decades? That’s what everybody really want to see out here in ‘Public Apathy Land!'"

“We have our reasons. Besides, we at NASA don’t cater to the ever-changing and shifting whims of the public. We do what is best for humanity."

Nathan moved to hover above the easy-chair, and glared down at Daniel. “And why would you destroy the sun like that?"

“We have our reasons. We’re not hiding them, nor are we particularly publicizing them. But, I don’t want to get into it right now."

Nathan continued his glare, while Daniel continued looking through the editorials. “What about the inevitable taxpayer backlash against you guys?"

Daniel sighed, setting the paper down again. Looking up forced Nathan to step back a little. “Nobody will notice, especially right away. I mean, face it- if I had not just told to you that we tore out the bottom half of the sun, you would not have even noticed!"

Nathan inquistively smiled. “Don’t you guys keep these things secret or something?"

“No. It’s done. It’s out there. If anyone were to look up, they’d see that the sun has been cut in half. This project is out of the realm of secrecy. Actually, our official statement is going to be printed in the latest issue of the Journal of the Cosmos, for those who partiularly care. It’ll be after the cover-story about the, um--" Nathan scratched his head, “Oh, that rock on Mars! Yeah, that story."

He picked the paper back up, and inwardly smiled.

“But, didn’t you just say the public--?"

Daniel looked up from the paper again, and smiled wryly. “As I said, for those who particularly care.?

Nathan paced back into the kitchen, and attempted to mull through the points that Daniel brought up. He came back into the living room, to ask. He scrounged his lips, and tapped his hands together before walking back into the living room to ask, “Are you going to mow the lawn today?"

“Maybe after today’s game is over. The Clippers are playing the Nets. That should be a good one!"

“I thought those teams were awful."

Daniel sighed, and shrugged. “Times change. Everything moves through the cosmos, and expectations are shattered. Weird events happen that are not in our control. Actually, that’s part of our reason for cutting off the bottom half of the sun. We needed to control some things."

“Control what?"

Daniel wheezed, and than said, “To be honest, I don’t know. I wasn’t part of that meeting."

“That statement sort of cuts your ‘we’re all part of a fine venerable institution' line in half, doesn’t it?"

“Not really. I still am a part of a fine venerable institution. I just don’t follow the reasons for everything they do. I specialize in disinfectant and mops, for Pete’s sake."

“Hold on a second! You said that you were finishing off that scientific thing last night, now you say that you have nothing to do with those things! Which is it?"

Daniel tossed the paper down onto the floor, and looked up at his hovering partner. “What’s so hard to believe that I would be mopping the bathroom floor as everyone celebrated the completion of NASA’s latest project??"

“Well, for one thing, it doesn’t appear to be a big deal, and for another janitors aren’t invited to these big bashes." Daniel wept, and leaned his left elbow against the chair’s armrest. “Okay. I am now caught within my own web of lies and half-truths. You’re right."

“Then where were you last night?"

Daniel sat up, somewhat suddenly. “I was with the guys at the bar, okay. Happy?"

Nathan shook his head, and kept a stern face. “No you weren’t."

“Yes I was!"

“No you weren’t. And you know how I know? Because Jake called last night, from the bar, asking where you were!"

Daniel sighed, and slumped down into his easy-chair, moving his head straight upward toward the ceiling. “Arrgh!"

“So," Nathan crept forward smiling, “the question is unresolved. Where were you last night?"

Daniel gulped. “Okay. I was carrying on my two-week secret affair with Sarah from work, okay? Geez."

Nathan’s mouth opened in horror, as he bumped his head backward, and shifted his eyes away from Daniel’s paniced eyes to the armrest. “Wow. You’re saying--" He looked up and, gaved over to the window. “I’m just shocked!"

Daniel’s eyes scrounged upward, as his mouth slowly opened “I still love you," he cried.

Nathan turned around so that he would no longer be facing Daniel. “I- I’m going to do our weekly grocery shopping. When I come back, I expect the lawn to be mowed."

He walked forward, into the kitchen then stopped again. “We’ll talk about this later, if and when I can stomach what you’ve done."

He then stormed out through the kitchen, through the front room, and slammed the door.

Nathan stared at the door, as the slamming reverberated in his mind. It just seemed to have happened so fast. He thought back to his alibi of the sun, and how perfect it was: the proof was already there, so it was convincing enough. The holes had been filled, or so he thought. Everything had fallen perfectly into place.

And yet, somehow or other, the half destoyed sun had still found a way to betray him.

Quick note: I have no idea how my story about a ruminating over a half-detroyed sun turned into a gay-domestic issue story. That's just where the characters took it. The characters surprised me. Boy, did the characters surprise me.

Copyright 2001 j.howard.s.