THE SHINE JOURNAL

Flash Literature, Poetry, Art and Photography!

This illustrated story, The Astronaut's Wife  is a collaborative work. The visual is by Jeff Crouch, an artist from Grand Prairie, Texas. The story is by Christopher Woods, a writer from Houston. About this collaboration Woods says, “I work collaboratively with Jeff Crouch. Sometimes I write in response to one of Jeff’s images. Other times, he comes up with an image that somehow interprets the text, whether poem or story or play. Because we are individual artists, we each see our own way. The result, the mesh of image and text, is intriguing, and often surprising, to me.

 

The Astronaut's Wife

 

by

 

Christopher Woods and Jeff Crouch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Editor's Note: The text for this work is below. Unable to edit out the word f****** from original document.) 

 

she’s washing the greasy dishes after another evening performance, he’s on the patio with his telescope, boring guests again, oh, they come because he’s famous for going into space, maybe they’ll get an autographed picture for the grandkids, but hell, he never even walked on the moon and most have forgotten who he was, she’s thinking, and another thing, ever since his return, how he changed from the man he was into some kind of cosmic beast who loves to barbecue for people who come to chow down for free at his astronaut trough, getting tooted up on vodka, but none can hold  candle to his vodka prowess, and that too is something new since the flight, how he sees the rest of his life earthbound, and maybe it’s sad for ten seconds but hey, what about everyone else, most of all what about her having to stay with him, as no astronaut’s wife gets a divorce, not smart, not patriotic, she’s been warned, in the last few years as his body loosens and flabs she knows she’s trapped,  as he enters history’s black hole, a zero of a man but that doesn’t stop him from coming riproaring drunk, addled on viagra, to bed at the end of another mind-numbing astronomy lesson on the patio, guests nodding off or passing out, and in his mind he has his thrusts going full blast, but it’s over too soon and he gets pissed, curses at her, then a slap or two, followed by the big punch, and then the inevitable blackout, and she’s looking out the window at stars and wishing she was anywhere but here, and she hopes he’ll die soon, and she knows she can’t have anything to do with it, not patriotic and all, or if she does, how it has to be a secret, an she’s not sure how it will be done, but for christsake it will happen and when it does she’ll play the obligatory role of the astronaut’s faithful widow, dressed in black, like space, as she has his inebriated ashes launched on a rocket that takes them away from this place, this earth, and she knows she’ll select one of those bogus, fly by night companies that always crash their rockets in the desert, where she likes to think of snakes slithering through what’s left of him or maybe wind or sandstorm scattering him to absolute f****** oblivion.

 

CHRISTOPHER WOODS shares...

BIO:

CHRISTOPHER WOODS is the author of a prose collection, UNDERA RIVERBED SKY (Panther Creek Press), and a collection of stage monologues foractors, HEARTSPEAK (Stone River Press). His plays have been produced in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and places in between. He lives in Houston and in Chappell Hill, Texas.

MOTIVATION:

"Living in Houston leaves one exposed to astronauts, who live in the community. My own family has known astronauts personally. In the old days, we knew the names of all the astronauts. Now, no one cares. But I have always felt somewhat sorry for the spouses of astronauts. Spouses go along for the ride, or so it seems. The smiles on the faces of those spouses are often pained. Who knows what their lives are really like? I call it the Pat Nixon Syndrome. No matter how terrible the politician or celebrity, and in the case of my story, an astronaut, the smile must endure. But inside, things are probably much different.”