Snakes and Pills

066 - bugle

Molly slid her sun visor back into the upper locked position. She crouched behind the huge boulder, where the shade would protect her from the blazing sun. Digging around in her little knapsack, she pulled out her pen and postcard.

Despite going out of her way to be careful, somehow her gloves still smudged the pristine paper with spots of red dust. "I can't believe how it gets everywhere," she lamented as she slid her back down along the cool rock, eventually coming to a seated position.

She sighed. Should she tell the truth or not? Her parents would not want to hear the truth, but the truth was the thing on her mind. Mentally, she tried to compose a few sweet lines of little white lies. "It's wonderful here," she thought. "The people are so friendly and," she stumbled mentally, trying to come up with even two positive things she could say. "umm, the food is not so bad..."

No, no, it would simply not do. Molly had to tell the truth, even if it would make the recipients sad. She grasped the shiny metallic pen in her hand firmly, knowing she would have to write carefully. She would have a lot of words for the little postcard.

"Dear Mom and Dad," she began. A fairly typical start. "I wish I could tell you I was enjoying my time at Mars Camp." Here their hearts would sink, she was sure. "But in truth, nearly everything here is terrible." Molly wasn't quite sure that using the qualifier "nearly" made her sentence entirely true, but it sounded better, anyway.

"None of the activities are as fun as I thought they were going to be." She thought about how lame it all had been. When she was on Earth, the promotional videos had made it seem like the Martian surface would be rife with fun and adventure. What Molly had found was quite the opposite. Mars was a boring, desolate wasteland. The camp had the same type of activities that most people would have found boring on Earth, but now since they were on Mars, suddenly they should be the most awesome and interesting things ever.

Molly saw straight through that. Egg races at reduced gravity still aren't that fun. Hiking on the red planet was novel at first, but the amazement of walking around on another planet wore off after a week or so and she realized that in actuality, the landscape was quite dreary. And there was really no appeal in arts and crafts on Mars.

"Everything here is uncomfortable, we have to wear stupid space suits just to go to the bathroom, and the facilities are terrible." She knew she was signing up for a camp experience, but she didn't expect Mars to be quite so underdeveloped. The orbital colonies weren't exactly like the cities back on Earth, but they weren't anywhere as bad as Mars Camp had been.

"I know I have two more weeks left, and I will do my best to survive. But I really want to come home. I'm sorry I made you waste your money sending me to this stupid camp." Truer words have never been spoken, she thought. "Love, Molly" she signed it.

She finished writing in their address and then looked at her watch. Free time was almost up. Molly would soon have to return to the drudgery of the Mars Camp activities. She stood back up, and as she faced the sun she felt the heat and light wash back upon her. She slid the visor back down, and began trudging back to camp.


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