The Man in the Moon: Steampunk Style

10 Mar

“The Man in the Moon: Steampunk Style,” a short story inspired by the artwork of Eric Fan, “Moon Travel.”

There is a man in the moon.

There is the man in the moon, actually. He’s been there, always. Or for as long as matters for “always.” He’s been sitting up there, watching. Keeping an eye on things. Making sure the cogs of the moon keep turning, keep it rolling around the earth like we’ve always said it does. It’s his lookout. He needs that circling, around and around and around. Day after day, month after month. It’s how he watches everything.

I don’t know, but some say there are switches and levers and buttons up there in the moon, too. Switches and levers and buttons for us. For the earth. The man in the moon, he’ll watch and make sure the roiling and the broiling down here is going on how it’s supposed to – there is some roiling and broiling that’s supposed to happen, you know, that’s how creation has to happen, with some struggle and some clash and then something that’s been clanged and chipped and cracked, it comes out looking beautiful. Well, the man in the moon, whenever the roiling and the broiling gets too frenetic, he’ll pull a lever, change the course of a current. Flick a switch, stop a missile. Press a button, change the direction of a conquest. Maybe even stop it all together. Sometimes you’ve got to get your hands off a creation, after all. Sometimes it’s time to let it go, to leave well enough alone.

I suppose he might also pull a lever or flick a switch or press a button if things get too stagnant down here. You know, push a mountain up through the continental crust. Stir up some bad blood between kings. Cause a tsunami. Keep the human race moving.

Because what with that golden orb up there, all metallic gears and brass whistles and silver pipes, he’s got to keep it moving, too. If we stop, I bet that it, the moon, stops too. So the man in the moon, he’s got to keep the human race moving. Maybe not quite like cogs in a machine, maybe something more like a robot with an imagination. It’s got to find out what it’s capable of to keep growing. Otherwise, that shiny sphere of possibility it keeps looking up to, keeps watching wane and wax over the course of its breaths and years and life, well that shiny sphere will just come crashing down, if it’s not forever moving round and round in an eternal chase. Just barely catching – but no, somewhere a machine jolted and the contact wasn’t quite made.

I wonder if it’s a game to him, the man in the moon. I wish I could sit up there with him, in his chair nooked in the curve of the crescent moon.

I think it would be fun to play.

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