“Well Suited,” by Kim Mary Trotto

Dec 20th, 2014 | By | Category: Fiction, Prose

I’m thinking a red suit. Yeah, a nice red to go with the cherry tint I got at the salon yesterday. Suits line this section of the market corridor, a few shining like mirrors in the overheads. Most though are dull and unflattering shades of green, grey, or brown. They sag on the racks like deflated balloons.

“What’s wrong with the one they gave you?” Seth asks. Like he hasn’t asked it a million times already.

“I told you, it’s ugly. Baggy, cheap looking.” I walk past three orange suits in a row. One has a NASA breast patch. Yuck. Used, obviously.

“Cally, it’s not like you need a spacesuit anyway. You don’t go outside. In fact, you’re only here because I—”

“Oh, shut up.” Seth’s a good guy, but he can be a real bore. “What if I accidentally rip my suit? I might forget to get it fixed, and then a meteor hits the space station and we have to do an emergency evac. That could happen. Remember what they said in orientation?”

“Nah, it won’t happen. I know. I work on hull security.” I don’t agree but there’s no arguing with Mr. Engineer. I find a red suit, but it’s not exactly the right shade and definitely too shapeless. “Come on,” he says, glancing at his wrist pad. “How long does it take to pick out a stupid spacesuit? We’re wasting View Deck time.”

“I should have brought Nesta instead.”

Seth rolls his eyes. “I’ll meet you on V-Deck 5.” he says. “Don’t spend too much. I saw a nice, used NASA back there.”

“Don’t worry,” I tell his retreating backside. That is my intention. Not to spend too much. Seth is building a credit bank so we can buy land on Earth. His goal is a half-acre in Kenya, where he grew up. You need a huge credit bank before the land brokers will even talk to you.

I’m not really worried about emergency evacs. The suit is for Nesta’s party tonight, in the atrium, under the light dome. Some fashion types are shuttling up from New York City. The Mordred House for sure, she says, maybe even the Eighteenth Incarnation of Jimmy Choo. Nesta wants her friends to come in space-dress—suits, boots, toolbelts. The whole nine yards.

Last night, she placed her pink Welsh hand over my brown one. “That’s what everyone down there’s wearing now,” she said. “Space-dress.” She winked and I got her meaning. No one worth her oxygen will show up in the lumpy United Space Org suit they give us.

When I do find the red suit with gorgeous silver piping and matching red magnet boots, it’s not so cheap. The sales bot glides right over. How do they always know when you’re ready to buy? The face on its screen is some actor’s who’s been dead for about 1,000 years so they can use his image for cheap. “May I help you,” it says. Its mouth is the charge slot. Geek humor. Ha, ha. I stick my—well Seth’s—credit card into the slot. Mine’s already maxed. The face disappears and the screen shows a minus as it goes through.

“You’ll send it?” I ask when the bot has a face again.

“The suit will be sent to Ms. Calista Clancy Magumbo, Housing Box 517f, West Corridor, Level Two.”

Ten minutes later, I find Seth in a View Deck alcove. The porthole windows are necessarily small—about 15 centimeters across—but large enough to fill the tiny chamber with Earthlight. It’s very pleasant and quite understandable that you can sit on the View Deck waiting list for days.

He usually comments on how peaceful it looks from up here. The first thing out of his mouth this time, though, is “How much?”

“How do you know I bought one?”

“I just heard about Nesta’s party. You bought one. How much?”

“Not much.”


This is not good. “Okay, 3,000 creds.” It had really been 8,000, but I’ll deal with that later.

“What!” His straight-line eyebrows almost meet in the middle. “You know how many times I gotta walk outside to make 3,000 creds? Cally, I swear. I could pop off the tether any time. You want that?”

“Of course not.” No matter what I spend, he’ll be sent outside to fix something. I swallow that retort though. “I thought they corrected the tether problem.”

When he doesn’t deny it, I say, “Anyway, I’m contributing to the credit bank.”

“Right. Your little podcasts. When did you last get paid?”

“Seth, please.” It’s a sore spot, how little I earn these days. “You know Earth Views might get picked up by a major caster any time now.” My face feels tight. I will not give up my red and silver spacesuit.

“Not if all you talk about is what they’re wearing to charity teas in Dubai.”

It’s getting warm in the alcove, but my voice is cold. “We’re wasting view time on an argument we can have in our housing box,” I say. That stops him. View time is a very big deal. “Come on, my big, sweet geek. Don’t be an ice comet.” I’m hoping I sound in control. “You know Nesta will just fold when I walk into the atrium wearing that spacesuit.”

“And I should care why?”

I go all theatric with a deep sigh. “I’ll get to cast live from the party, with vid, straight to the net. That’ll definitely send Earth Views higher on Google-Verse.”

Seth isn’t exactly mollified, but at least he’s staring out the port. His eyes aren’t burning a hole in my forehead. After the party, I’ll think of some way to tell him about the extra 5000 creds.

That night I step from the lift into the atrium. There are new trees, with real hanging fruit, brought up by Nesta’s people, no doubt. Music booms around me, the air sparkles, and somehow, none of Nesta’s other guests are wearing space-dress. I spot her and start forward, my legs shaking in the red boots.

She’s wearing her hair in a white pyramid, an eye at its apex. Nesta’s real eyes, and that third eye, swivel to watch me approach. The air seems thick with more than the moisture pumped in to keep the trees alive. Like everyone in the room, even the Eighteenth Incarnation of Jimmy Choo, her face and body are painted in metallic swirls, her crotch covered with a white strip. Her hands, bare feet, nipples, eyeslids and eyebrows glow pink.

The multi-colored faces are flat and tear-blurred as I pass more pyramids of hair, more whirls of green and gold, red and gold, blue and silver. Lit up nipples and finger tips brush my lovely spacesuit.

“Oh, Cally,” says Nesta, in her most sugary voice. “You poor thing. Haven’t you heard? Space-dress is out, out, out.”

“No, I—” Nothing else comes. A sales bot, redone as a server, offers me a drink. I push the tray aside and head for the lift. God, I think, will they take this thing back? This 8000-cred piece of space trash? My stomach churns. What if they won’t? Seth will kill me. And there’s my podcast. Who’d listen to anything I said about fashion, ever again? The door slides open. “Housing Box Level Two,” I squeak.

As I stare at my suit-padded fingers in disgust, the emergency klaxon sounds. A voice in my ear plant chirps EVACUATION STATION, NOW! I’m frozen to the deck, as if I had the mag boots on full-flow. I move, finally, when a hot, panting mass of bodies pushes me into the lift capsule. It heads down, like all the lifts, to the evac stations.

Wiggling out of the lift, all I can only think about is Seth. “This can’t be real,” I say to people I pass. They nod in agreement but their eyes are huge. I see Seth then, tall in the crowd. He reaches for me and pulls me close. I can’t help but notice that his grey and white working spacesuit fits him beautifully. Even with his clip-tools, it’s flattering.

“What is it, Seth?” I’m sobbing.

“It’s okay, babe. There’s a fire in one of the labs, but they’ll have it out in no time. This is just a precaution.”

I know he’s right. My teeth have stopped chattering by the time our evac ship pulls away from the main structure. I feel very calm as we halt in anti-drift, and wait for the all-clear. In fact, I feel bouncy.

Across from us, Nesta sits with her new friends, all of them are wearing the dark, dumpy United Space Org suits. The Eighteenth Incarnation of Jimmy Choo looks ready to cry. Nesta’s eyes rove over my gorgeous suit. Her lips form a pout.

Seth bends to my ear. “Whoa, Cally, that’s some fold.”

“Oh, yeah,” I raise the underside of my wrist to my mouth and start casting. Meanwhile, the cam on my wrist pad brings up Nesta’s frown.


Defenestration-Kim Mary TrottoKim Mary Trotto is a retired journalist who’s had some luck getting her short stories published on the Web. She’s read and written science fiction stories most of her life. For some reason many of those come out funny, even when she doesn’t expect them to. Besides her young adult short story “The Last Memory of Bally,” published on the webzine Frontier Tales and in the hard copy magazine, Best of Frontier Tales, and her flash fiction piece, “Hullabaroo” published in the webzine Aphelion in August 2014, she’s done feature stories and essays for various New Jersey newspapers and articles for Air Force magazines. She’s also a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. Currently, she lives with her husband in a house full of “stuff” on the Jersey Shore. They spend a lot of time sitting on a beach.

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