< meta charset="UTF-8"> Haibun Today: A Haibun & Tanka Prose Journal

A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & Owner
Ray Rasmussen, General Editor

Volume 13, Number 4, December 2019

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Mary Frederick Ahearn (Just Marty) & Tim Gardiner (The Moonraker)
Pottstown, PA, USA & Manningtree, Essex, England

Just Marty And The Moonraker

I. Marty

deep in my bag
my phone rings
pulling it out
just in time to see
another robocall

Shopping at Giant, I hear a steady, slow beeping—not a phone, a pager, not an announcement over the PA, just this relentless beeping. And then I see him close by, slowly moving down the produce aisle, stopping to avoid shoppers and their carts. Think of his robotic isolation, his only voice a beep, a face not a face with those huge eyes, cartoon eyes, scanning the store for spills, small human accidents, disorder, discrepancies—there's a sadness here. I ask a clerk—"does he have a name?" It's Marty.

fifty years ago
we took the moon
under our feet
deep in space, adrift,
where loneliness begins

II. The Moonraker

I must escape from the imploding space station. I run, seeking sanctuary from your mocking stare. Shutting the door behind me, I flee to the end of the corridor. The empty airlock behind me, you stand unarmed in the corridor preventing my exit from the dead end. In desperation, I pick up a laser gun from the floor and train it on you.

the red glow
from the airlock
adds colour to my tunic
your raised hands surrender
to my munificence

I imagine how desolate it must feel standing before me. I smirk at my boundless ingenuity, wanting this moment of superiority to last. My dream of inter-galactic domination may have failed, but I’ll achieve immortality with the amusement of one last kill. I have never felt more powerful.

catching sight
of my reflection
in space station windows
I forget
the emptiness beyond

The sudden chest pain from your poison dart leaves me gasping for air. All buttoned in; I’m sweating profusely in this beige tunic. Clutching my chest, white shirt cuffs protrude from long jacket sleeves. Pleated trousers fall unevenly over polished shoes. Smartness made sense a few minutes ago; now tailored fabric suffocates.

the gold brooch
fixed above my heart
catches the moon . . .
humiliation in every crease
of a dishevelled ego

Still bent over in agony, I turn towards my detached assassin. Visceral despair follows shock. I note a satisfied smile, the glee in hard eyes. Paused at your side, dilated pupils and a gaping mouth beg for mercy. With a calm hand, you push me into the airlock. You don’t loosen my top button to ease discomfort or show compassion. There’ll be no release from this tunic, hugging my torso like a shroud of perfection.

screaming . . .
I spin head over heels
outstretched armsv
flailing at nothing
shoes striking distant suns

Author’s Note: *Moonraker: one who sees the reflection of the moon in a pool and tries to rake it out. The piece documents the death of Drax in Moonraker (1979).