Aphelion Issue 235, Volume 22
December 2018
 
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The Turnip Farmer's Daughter

by E.A. Moore







1. Super Flotation Paint


Good afternoon, sir.

You have driven right over my vegetable garden.

I am looking for a beautiful young woman I saw at the market this morning.

You must have killed hundreds of my turnip plants.

Here. Bend down. Look. No wheels. Nothing touched your turnips.

How can that be? How can this vehicle have no wheels?

It floats on the air.

How can it do that?

It is like floating on water, but there is no water.

How is it possible for your, whatever it is, an airboat? – to float in the air?

It is a secret, but I can tell you that it is because of the paint, you see, here on the bottom?

Looks like ordinary paint.

Not so ordinary.

How so?

It is super flotation paint.

Super flotation?

On a boat, it makes sure that the boat can never sink.

And on this amazing vehicle of yours?

As you see, it ensures that it stays afloat in the air and does no harm to your vegetables.

One of these would make a good tractor.

I think that might be her over there with the hoe.

Could a vehicle like this pull a cultivator?

Certainly, it could, but may I ask if that is your daughter?

How much would one of these cost?

Quite a lot, I'm afraid.

It sure would make a great tractor.

What is her name?


2. Frustrated Gravity Condenser


What makes it go?

Sorry. What?

You say the paint keeps it in the air, but it must also have an engine.

Oh, yes, there is a kind of a battery.

So, it runs on electrical energy.

No, not exactly. It is powered by gravity.

Gravity.

You see, here, in the middle, this cylinder?

Looks like a built-in butter churn.

This is a Frustrated Gravity Condenser.

What is the little crank for, sticking out the top?

That is the power output dial. It is like a speed controller.

So how can gravity make it go? Shouldn't it just make it fall to the ground?

It is because of the paint.

The Super Flotation Paint?

Yes, which frustrates gravity.

I suppose it would, yes, I can understand that.

And the condenser collects and stores the frustrated gravity.

And when you want to go somewhere, or, say, cultivate a turnip field?

You just sit here like this and--hop in if you would like to go for a ride.

That would be nice.

See? I turn the little crank to Ahead Slow--like so.

Ah! So smooth! And quiet.

Would you mind telling me her name?

Who?

Your daughter over there. That is who she is, isn't it?

Yes, that's my daughter. So how do you steer this thing?

With this tiller stick. Somewhat like an airplane.

But there are no wings or flaps or…

The frustrated gravity is emitted in various directions in controlled spurts to steer the vehicle.

Like attitude control thrusters, yes, of course.

Such a lovely fig--er, head of hair. Perhaps she would like to have a ride also.

She has several more rows to hoe.

Do you not have a tractor and cultivator?

How fast can you go, full speed ahead, in this vehicle?

Well, there is a governor that keeps one from going at unsafe speeds.

What about up? Can it also fly like an airplane?

No, the governor sets an altitude limit of only a few meters. Again for the sake of safety.

Makes sense--so as not to risk collisions with low flying aircraft, I suppose.

Would you be amenable to introducing me to her?

Who?

Your daughter.

What is your name?

Gordon. I'm Carter Gordon, sir.

And what line of business are you in, Mr. Gordon?

I am a space hero, sir.

Does that pay well?

Um. That's a tricky question.

Well, you look prosperous enough. And you have this flashy airboat vehicle.

Oh, yes. And I have a big space-going rocket ship too.

So, you travel a lot.

Yes sir. I go wherever I'm needed.

And what exactly do you do?

I right wrongs, sir. And rescue dams--er, people in distress, and subdue alien monsters.

Are you any good with a weed whacker?

What's that?

Let's park this thing and go set on the porch for a spell.


3. Parsnip Peel Beer


It is a nice view from these rocking chairs.

Have a swig of this.

What is in this jug?

Parsnip Peel Beer. Brew it myself.

Er--well, perhaps a taste--but how does one..?

Here, I'll show you. You balance the jug like this--on the back of your hand and tip it up,

Ah, I see--very facile.

Here--have a nip.

Um, mmm--whoa!--uh--very--er--refreshing.

My old tractor broke down last year.

Sorry to hear that.

Have some more.

Well, just a little perhaps.

She was a good old thing. But beyond repairing.

Perhaps she could join us here on the porch?

Who?

Your lovely daughter out there. What did you say her name was?

She is pretty good with a hoe, but no match for a good tractor and cultivator.

She does appear to be quite energetic and untiring.

Had to junk her.

Pardon?

My tractor.

Ah.

Have some more.

Don't mind if I do.

She just has that last row to finish.

Who?

Beulah.

Who?

My daughter.

Ah! Lovely--name.

Do you know how to ride an equestroo?

A what?

Equestroo. The animal we have here on this planet--bred for riding and racing and such.

Ah, yes, I have seen those--sort of a cross between a horshe and a kangaroo.

Right. Ever ridden one?

No. But I could easily do, of coursh. I am a heroic pershonage, capable of--whatever.

I have a couple, but they're not much good at pulling a cultivator.

A couple of what?

Equestroos.

I could.

Could what?

Pull a cultivator. I'm well-built.

Yes, of course. But that isn't what I was suggesting.

Yesh, wouldn't be very dashing, I s'pose.

I was thinking more like a trade perhaps.

This here jug's almost empty.

Ah, here she comes, all done with her hoeing.

Who?

I am going to go in to do some paperwork. You two can have a chat.


4. Empty Jug


I hate hoeing.

I love you.

Did I see you at the market this morning?

I loved you then. I love you now. I will always…

Is that jug empty?

Yup.

That explains it.

Would you like a ride in a rocket ship?

Maybe after I've had a shower.

There is like dew glistening on your upper lip that I'd like to…

What's your name?

Carter Gordon. Or is it Gordon Carter? I get it mixed up.

I'll call you Gordy.

Howdy do, Beulah.

That's a flash airboat you have.

I'll give you a ride innit.

Not in your condition. But I saw you giving Dad a spin. Looked like he enjoyed it.

He wanted to kick the tires but there aren't any.

I wonder what he has in mind.

I could use a li'l nap.

His beer does that.

Zzzzz…

Cute.


5. The Beulah Bargain


Wake up, Mister Carter, and let's deal.

Where'd she go?

Washing. I've drawn up an agreement.

I would like to formally ask for your daughter's…

I'll read it to you.

Do you have some aspirin?

In exchange for my daughter Beulah's blistered hand in marriage…

Finding it hard to focus…

- and throwing in a dowry of two saddle-broken equestroos…

Always wanted to ride one of those…

I, blank--you fill in your name here--agree to convey title to my airboat to…

It's either Gordon Carter or Carter Gordon, either will do, I suppose?

- to Delbert McDonald…

Howdy do, Delbert.

- of Derry-O Turnip Farm.

Hi-ho the Derry-O…

And you sign it here.

Got a pen?

Here.

Right.

Congratulations, son.

And Beulah and Gordy ride off into a rosy sunset on the planet Niblaglob, and live happily ever after rocketing around the galaxy righting wrongs.


THE END


2016 E.A. Moore

Bio: Mr. E. A. Moore is a retired architectural designer.  He worked for many years as a facilities maintenance specialist at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, a high energy physics laboratory at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California. He has written for radio and television, is a published and regularly-produced, award-winning playwright, and has had poetry and numerous stories published in literary journals and science fiction magazines. He has had a number of stories appear in Aphelion which have recently been published as a collection in book form by Friesen Press, entitled A Second Coming And Other Stories.  Visit his website at eamoore.com.

E-mail: E.A. Moore

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