All In The Golden Afternoon
By Jeff Baker
Sidney had been on Procyon II for twenty minutes when he saw his first rainbow.
“You’ll get used to it,” Sokitu said as they walked along the tree-lined sidewalk. “Atmospheric conditions are a lot different here. More wind, more moisture in the air. The bosses like it though.”
The bosses were the Namex, basically an intelligent plant species. The Namex were also wealthy; the claimants to the mineral wealth of this entire solar system. Trade was important and species from all over, including Earth, had established relations with the Namex as long as the visitors understood the Namex were in charge.
“Believe it or not, the Namex used to say that a rainbow was bad luck, but they have so many of them daily you can probably blame anything you want on them,” Sokitu said.
“I see what you mean,” Sidney said, gawking at another rainbow that had formed in the distance.
“Like they say, it’s a nice place if you survive,” said Sokitu, only half-smiling.
“What do you mean, if I…” Sidney began. That’s when he saw the twisting column of water spiraling out of the cloud near the rainbow.
“Better take cover!” Sokitu said pulling Sidney behind a large boulder.
“What is that thing?” Sidney asked.
“Waterspout. Sort of,” Sokitu said. “The wind and the moisture produce them, they dangle from the clouds like a tail and usually break up and you just get wet.”
“Usually?” Sidney asked apprehensively.
“If the funnels swing toward the ground you could get smacked by a funnel of swirling water.”
“So?” Sidney said. “I brought dry clothes,”
“It would be like being hit by a redwood tree,” Sokitu said.
“Oh,” Sidney said.
“The water doesn’t bother the Namex, they’re pretty flexible and they thrive on the water,” Sokitu said.
“Yeah, I see how green the place is, I…hey! Look out!” Sidney said.
With a “Sploosh,” the water funnel burst directly over their heads. It took about a minute, but when the falling water finally reached them, they were drenched.
“Amazing,” Sidney said, wringing out his tie. “Hey, look!”
Over their heads, three more rainbows formed in the water and mist.
“Where are we headed?” Sidney asked.
“The Namex we want to meet are down there,” Sokitu said, pointing to a distant bunch of trees, highlighted by the glistening colors dropping from the sky. “Somewhere over by the rainbow.” The two of them started walking down the sidewalk. “You’ll like the Namex. They’re flat and green like big clams made out of palm leaves. But they have I.Q.’s in the 500’s. They speak English fluently but their own language is a series of buzzes.” He laughed. “And they don’t call this planet ‘Procyon II.’ Their own name for this place is ‘Ahhhzzzzzzzz.’”