The Woodland Space Creature Movie

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Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey confused them. In their defense, it did most people. Why humans thought they would ascend to the Übermensch, they didn’t understand, or why an Übermensch was necessary. The woodland creatures were most curious about space, though. It was night all the time there, and space creatures appeared to be in permanent hibernation. What did they eat? Where did they sleep? Where did they breathe the air that danced the leaves?

The ship was big enough for five and their equipment. When they lost gravity after leaving the earth’s atmosphere, squirrel giggled. My nuts are everywhere! Skunk collected them in a glass jar as they floated nearby, and the nuts floated in the jar, which also floated.

This is nuts, said rabbit. But that was why he was making the movie on the moon. To show the other woodland creatures how lucky they were on earth, with the sun and the clouds and the sky. Where the dirt was warm, the grass fragrant. The nights always gave away to the days. The winter always ceded to the spring.

Mouse did not see the big deal. Only the view was different; he was not. The air had not filled the hole in his chest on earth. The sound did not tickle his deaf ears. The gravity had tugged at a heart already heavy with sand. He looked at the small blue world suspended in space and remembered how he had felt staring at the moon many months ago. If I could get there, everything will be better. Everything is better somewhere else.

He watched the other creatures float over the barren craters of the moon. He closed his eyes and floated, too. There was no way to tell how far they’d fallen behind, when they’d come out ahead.




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About Author

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Jen Michalski is the author of the novels The Summer She Was Under Water and The Tide King (both Black Lawrence Press); a couplet of novellas, Could You Be With Her Now (Dzanc Books); and two collections of fiction, From Here and Close Encounters. Her work has appeared in more than 100 publications, including Poets & Writers. In 2013, she was named as “One of 50 Women to Watch” by The Baltimore Sun and “Best Writer” by Baltimore Magazine. She is the host of a fiction reading series in Baltimore, called Starts Here! and editor in chief of the weekly lit journal jmww.

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