Barry Golds and the Very Very Bad Memory

When human launches into space, they will undergo the type of violence normally reserved for death.

And Commander Barry Golds thought he was going to die.

So, situation normal.

But he didn’t, and after a career trying to get here, he is aware the bit of engineering wrapped around himself helped, but that help was fading fast.

His head hurts, but he doesn’t mention it, instead using crew downtime in route to Moonbase Artemis as an excuse to argue with himself.

The answer he keeps coming back to is he has no right to be here.

NASA makes pains to ensure chaos stays off missions and doesn’t rear its ugly head. And this is one of the reasons why. Also, coincidentally, why there are no former Defensive linemen in space. To much chance of a hidden head injury and no telling what that particular condition could do to a person during space travel. It was unknown if the CTE injury might suddenly appear in aggression or, worse, hemorrhage.

So they try avoid issues by wrapping up every mission appointment process with enough redundancy to fill months with busy work.

It was hard to slip through.

But astronauts have gotten through with jealous psychosis, criminality, bad eyesight, and now, worse.

NASA was government, and government was foolish.

The newest addition to NASA failings is that Ben Golds has a head injury. Not from tackling fools on the gridiron type CTE, just the kind caused by the beginning phase of dementia. And he knew it and tricked the NASA tests because it was his turn to go to space and nothing was going to stop him. He tricked legions of doctors whose only goal was to get him into admitting he was experiencing problems.

“Look, Commander Golds, we are here for you and the safety of your crew. If you are experiencing any symptoms, please, let us know.”

But Golds smiled and said, “look at me doc, I am in the best shape of my life.

Which was a lie. He was in better shape ten years previous when he could remember for certain if he had worked out or not.

That was the first sign, doing things because he wasn’t sure if it had happened today or yesterday or a month ago.

“Barry, how many times are you going to work out today?” his wife asked, coming into their home gym just as he set the bar back on the bench. The set hurt too bad for her to be wrong.

“Just this once,” he lied, knowing it but not knowing how he couldn’t remember working out earlier in the day.

He worked his mind too hard, memorized too much stuff, he theorized.

And she stared at him, sad, “Barry, you’ve done been in here three times already. It’s not safe to work out this much.”

But life is far from safe, and he deserved at least one mission before he retired and made to fly hops to Hong Kong for the rest of his life.

And then the reason why he shouldn’t be in space comes into view again.

He almost doesn’t look down at the only reason to go to space, to begin with, the vision of Earth floating further and further away as they made their way to the moon.

But a hopeful flutter makes him do so anyway.

Maybe this time, reality will return.

He looks and again finds the spot on the world where Australia should be, but still blank.

He hears the heart monitor he is hooked up to, spike. It goes so high he gets a call from Houston.

“Golds, heart rate is spiking like crazy. What’s going on. Eden? Get a visual on Golds.”

Eden pipes back, “Shit Golds, are you okay? Guys– ah fuck he just popped.”

Puke rolls out of Golds mouth. Every single crumb he crammed into after being told he could eat, and he did because they make them go up hungry. He is more okay with throwing up in space and floating through his own sick-up then he thought he’d be, because, at the end of it all, he Gets to die in space. Something no one in NASA had quite figured out yet.

Published by Bryan Aiello

Raised on Florida’s Gulf Coast, Bryan served in the Army, graduated from the University of South Florida and now calls Brooklyn home. For more of his fiction and updates on his podcasts, follow him on Twitter: @bryaiello and Reddit: /u/voyage_of_roadkill.

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