There was a knock on the door. Bob from Lost and Found put down his holiday brochure.
“I can’t,” said a voice.
“Just turn the handle and push,” Bob snapped.
“Can’t,” the voice replied.
Bob pushed back from his desk, striding towards the door.
“I’m a busy man,” he said, pulling it open. “What have you—”
Bob stopped. He blinked. A giant, round, brown-speckled planet filled the foyer. Bob cleared his throat.
“And you are ..?”
An enormous eye surveyed him.
“Mercury,” said the planet. “I’m lost.”
Bob wanted to say planets weren’t his department but instead he drew a long form out of his pocket.
“Your address?” he said, sitting down.
“Not sure. I’ve nice neighbours. One is very warm and bright.”
“That would be the Sun,” said Bob, scribbling.
“And my other neighbour’s lovely—very social. Always out.”
“Venus?” suggested Bob. “Goddess of love. Earth’s neighbour.”
“Yes! Near Earth,” said Mercury. “Amazing planet, Earth—a bit of everything. Animals, trees, oceans, people.”
“This is Earth,” said Bob.
Mercury looked around the office.
“Different to what I was expecting.”
Bob ignored him.
“How’d you get lost?”
“Well,” Mercury shuffled. “Orbiting the sun can get dull. I was daydreaming of adventure when I spotted tiny, mysterious dots off in the distance—with rings of ice and dust.”
“Hmmm,” said Bob. “Sounds like the gas planets—Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune and Uranus?”
“Yes, that’s them” cried Mercury. “So I decided to visit. Very tricky for a planet.”
Bob nodded. He hadn’t been on holidays for years.
“I said bye to my friends. Mars said I shouldn’t go but he’s such a stay-at-home. I darted through the asteroid belt, finally arriving at Jupiter. Enormous planet—20,000 times bigger than me. But grumpy. And stormy. We didn’t have much in common.”
“Explain,” Bob tapped his holiday brochure.
“Well, for one thing I have no moons. Earth has one moon. Jupiter has at least sixteen, if not more.”
“Bit showy,” Bob suggested.
“So I went on to Saturn. Amazing rings but the funny thing about Saturn is that you can’t visit—you fall right through the surface. Not a bit solid.”
“Exactly. Then I was off to Uranus and Neptune. Pluto used to be their friend, but he retired.”
Lucky Pluto, thought Bob.
“By then I wanted to go home. It was cold and dark. I could barely see the Sun. Those asteroids flung me off-course—”
“—and you ended up here. Lost and Found.”
Bob jotted some final notes and turned to his computer. He’d never had to deal with a planet before. For a long time he stared at the screen. Finally, he jumped up.
“Follow me,” he said, squeezing outside. “Today is your lucky Earth day.”
The sun was warm. Bob pointed.
“That way for 77 million kilometres. You’ll be home in no time.”
Mercury smiled gratefully but Bob had gone. He had his own adventure to book.
Kate Hansen has been many things in the working world - secondary teacher, rainforest guide and travel agent to name a few - but telling stories is her main joy. She currently has a captive audience of three small children and their friends but hopes that one day even strangers might read her books.
KBR Short Stories are a way to get your work ‘out there’—and to delight our KBR readers. Stories are set to a monthly theme and entries are due in the 25th of each month. Find out more here.