The Prairie Spy

Alan “Lindy” Linda

Captain’s Log, June 1, 2024

I remember reading science fiction novels back in the sixties, some of which took place in the far distant future; some with dates such as the current one above. Huh! This ain’t science fiction any more.

This crew’s captain has been sailing all these years into the future in this ship we shall call “The House.” This vessel is a large multi-windowed, multi-storied, multi-gabled, wooden-framed structure. Parts of it are a hundred years old. Do to a lot of hard work, the captain has her cruising at Twenty-first century standards. Wind, water, or cold cannot get in.

Old or not, It has carried those of us in it into the future  dependably now for over 50 years.

And such a voyage it has been. With a journey this long, the crew has changed over the years. The Tribe of Girls are long gone, in ships of their own, sailing themselves hopefully far, far and safely into their own future.

I the Captain? This far into this voyage? Perhaps he is showing some signs of structural stress. Age-onset stuff, memory failure stuff. For example, this spring, the Captain turned the valves on that let water flow up into the solar water heating panels on the top deck, confident that last fall, he had opened both drain valves well before the first frost.

That “confidence” proved short- lived. Unbelievable, the Captain muttered to himself. After all these years of opening both drain valves dependably, he forgot to open one of them. The Captain is now not only muttering to himself as water pours off the roof to the ground, he is also beginning to question his ability regarding the proper helming of this ship called House.

He has now, some several days later, moved through all the stages of House grief, some of which involved: 1. Blame. (Some body else did this.) 2. Gremlins. (Anyone captaining a ship knows they are always messing with your stuff.) 3. Aliens. ( This many trips around the sun, I guess one has to consider the possibility that they exist.) 4. Parallel universes. (And you’ve accidentally sailed into one of them.) Dementia-sementia! Inconceivable.

House is now proceeding along quite nicely, enjoying hot water from the sun. But let’s gloss over those several days of arduous painstaking soldering and cutting and cussing of the repair of those copper lines that ruptured when they froze.

The new first mate, Lt. Es, is calling me, asking me to please report to the lower hull, where it turns out that she has just left John Deere the Escape Craft (disguised as a riding mower, quite cleverly) idling outside the patio door.

John Deere has a computer brain that is far superior to any A.I. ever developed. Plus, he  can talk. He is complaining. “She mows over everything in my path,” he is saying. Upon examination, he seemed to be sitting in a six-foot circle of something like white chewed-up papery cardboard, which turned out to be what was left of a piece of vinyl flooring placed to keep muddy footprints from contaminating the ship.

“I steered away from it,” said Lt. Es, “but he wanted to mow it.” She went on in her report to say how John Deere seemed to have a mind of his own. I looked at John: He is smiling. He knows he has tricked her. What I know that he doesn’t is that she’ll get him in the end.

Yes, I said. I know he does. That’s the likely result of giving him power steering. He likes to boss you with it.

But all is well, it seems. This escape vessel/mower is now back safely moored. All is steady as she goes.  The Ship called House can sail on into summer.

We’ve been here before, on other trips around the sun.

This planet is nice in the summer. Except for these  swarms of tiny flying insects that bite.

But a ship that has sailed this far, and a captain that has sailed with it, has to expect small nuisances such as that.

“Lt. Es? Is The Time Machine ready to propel us into the future? If so, engage the rockets, and get ready for the ride of our lives.”

Captain’s Log, June 1, 2024