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Cosmic Honeymoon
by Irena Pasvinter

Our wedding travel had to be unforgettable. Eve drove travel agents crazy, and all for nothing. I was beginning to tire of our endless quest for the perfect honeymoon.

“Does it really matter where we go?” I said while driving to the umpteenth travel agency. “We’ll have each other, who cares about the rest. A nice view, good food, fine weather -- that’s all we need. We could go anywhere.”

After a pregnant pause, Eve dropped each word like a miniature atomic bomb, “Of course, it matters.”

And then we met Mr Fred Mayhem from the Travel of Your Life agency.

“Call me Fred,” he said, smiling from here to the eternity and shaking our hands with well practiced genuine enthusiasm.

Observing his crisp shirt and stylish tie, I imagined him after a mind squeezing session with Eve: noble forehead, sparkling with sweat; million dollar smile, drooping from exhaustion; compassionate eyes, dulled by a curtain of despair.

But Mr Mayhem proved to be tougher than other representatives of the travel agents race. Perhaps it was his name that hardened him against hardships. Anybody else would have changed Mr Mayhem to Mr Sweet or Mr Goodman in no time, but not this guy. Watching his duel with Eve, I hoped she finally met her match.

Invincible Fred stroke a decisive blow at Eve’s imagination with Cosmic Honeymoon.

“Wait a minute,” I said. “Are you sure it’s safe? I don’t want to take risks, you know.”

“One-hundred percent safe. And absolutely unforgettable. You can’t go wrong with it.”

“There’s a Russian saying: he who doesn’t risk, doesn’t drink champagne,” Eve said, shooting at me a meaningful glance, charged with contempt. ”I want Cosmic Honeymoon.”

I don’t know about you, but when people tell me something is “one-hundred percent safe” and “can’t go wrong”, I start worrying. Even before I could read, I discovered a fundamental law of nature: anything can go wrong, and it usually does.

I didn’t share Eve’s enthusiasm about Cosmic Honeymoon. Thirty days locked in a “cabin of your dreams”, orbiting Mother Earth -- sure, it’s exciting, unforgettable and all that, but wouldn’t a day or two be enough? Wouldn’t you start feeling like a squirrel running in its wheel after a week of this cosmic paradise? And what about all this honeymoon business -- how do you do it without gravity? This aspect wasn’t covered in colorful advertising prospects.

Enthusiasm or not, when at the flight preparation course they stuffed me into a centrifuge and sent me spinning to hell, I thought I’d vomit my heart out.

“I can’t do this,” I told Eve after they dragged me out and reanimated what was left of me.

“Too bad,” she replied. “I’m not giving up on my Cosmic Honeymoon, no matter what. Right, Freddy, dear?” Eve fixed on Mr Mayhem the same hypnotic gaze she used to reserve for me.

That solved it. Now she’s Mrs Mayhem, spinning on the orbit. I hope Mr Mayhem can figure out how to do it without gravity.