Shocking

Kamari squirmed under the glow of the black lights. He bounced between the balls of his feet and shook his hips back and forth. Braylee finally picked her head up from her notebook and chucked her pen at him.

“Hey, psycho, what the hell are you doing?”

“I’m photographing the core samples before I slab them.”

“No you’re not; you’re dancing. It’s making the whole floor shake. Knock it off.”

“Sorry,” he said. He pressed his knees together and bent forward a little. He went back to taking pictures and tried not to bounce.

Braylee’s annoyance dissolved into amusement. “Hell, Kam, just go to the friggen bathroom. You look absolutely insane.”

He put the camera down and then used his free hand to grab between his legs. “I don’t understand,” he said, raising his voice. “How’d we manage to get 50 lightyears from home, but we still have to use a goddamn outhouse? Huh? Answer that.” Orbiting the primary star of the 20 Leonis Minoris system was Perseverance, one of ten habitable worlds selected for further exploration. The gravity here was comparable to Earth. The air was breathable, good temperature and pressure. But the planet was so unbelievably, unbearably, intolerably dry. Walking outside was like dragging your socks across carpet wearing a wool sweater while licking a battery in the middle of winter during an electrical storm. Every hair on your body stood on end and sparked continuously. You had to wear goggles and hold your breath to keep your throat from prickling.

The modules they’d brought with them were comfortable, but they weren’t all connected to each other yet. The geology module didn’t have a dedicated bathroom.

“Either man up and walk the 30 meters over to hab, or have Michelle pick you up in the rover. Maybe she’ll even wipe your ass for you if you ask nice. Ha!” Braylee got to her feet and hopped around in mockery. “I’m Kamari. I’m 34 years old and I still do the pee pee dance. I’m afwaid to get a wittle itty bitty shock because I’m such a—Hey man, what are you doing?”

Kamari pulled a drawer from Braylee’s workstation, dumped the contents on her desk, dropped the drawer on the floor, and unzipped his pants.

“Aw, c’mon! Are you serious right now?”

Beneath the black lights the drawer gave off a glow, and Kamari finally stood still.

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