50! ☼ July 20, 1969-2019 ☼

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It was the broken reed that started it all. Such a little thing. Such an important, little thing when there were absolutely none left. I knew I had another carton. I'd been so careful!

Odin took it, no doubt about it. He was forever pulling pranks like that. Normally it didn't bother me, but this gig was way too important for screwing around.

"Damn," I said after I'd torn the room apart and still couldn't find it. I needed something hot and stimulating and my husband was still asleep. The smell of fresh cafesque drifted into our sleeping quarters and I stamped in that direction.

We will not forfeit, I thought as I grabbed a cup and poured. We were the first performers in a huge show for dignitaries from all over the world. In three days, March 30, 2203, we would be performing at the welcoming ceremony for the brand-new Moon Colony. I barely tasted the lovely brew as my brain raced to find a solution. We were the only jazz band in the lineup, but someone had to have baritone sax reeds – didn't they? I'd probably have to pay every script for it, but I had to have it.

But first...

"Odin Trinstar Cancion!" I yelled. Our pod was small — only 150 square meters — standard for a family of four. I knew if he was anywhere inside, he would hear me. No luck, not that I expected it. The lights were already at dawn setting and Odin was probably up and gone long before the gentle programmed wake-up.

I snorted in irritation and took another sip. It was a tight fit in our pod, but the chance to be here on the Moon made it worthwhile. Being a family helped since we could smooth differences fast. The hardest part was finding a place to jam. We ended up using the commons for practice which was less than ideal. Pod dwellers are endlessly curious and opinionated. They wandered in and out to watch, so it was hard to focus. Since we didn't want to spoil the show, we wouldn't get a chance to practice our lineup until they opened the assembly dome. That was today. That meant we had three days to get it right until showtime.

I took another sip and blessed the hydroponics crew that made this magical blend possible. After the coffee crops had failed in the late 2190s, it became impossible to find it or anything even remotely like it as a healthful substitute. I had a vivid memory of my own mother complaining about tea.

"Someone boiled a sock and called it tea! This is what we're left with? Oh, what a world!" She and my dad laughed, but they were quite grumpy for a few weeks after their last precious bit of coffee ran out.

My father was a hydroponics engineer. Because he loved my mother and because he missed coffee, he and his team came up with this cafesque coffee substitute. It had all the health properties of the best rooibos teas and a rich, dark and somewhat bitter taste that, my parents claimed, was even better than coffee. I would never know. I had never tasted coffee, but I did remember the smell. I loved the smell of the freshly-ground beans. As a child, whenever my mother opened the grinder, I would inhale it deeply.

When my dad brought her the first cup of cafesque, my mother started dancing around the kitchen like a lunatic. I smiled as I remembered.

"Weirdo," I said with fondness.

"You are," my husband Seris assured me. I turned and smiled at him. The drummer in our band, my best friend, and even morning disheveled he was head-to-toe sexy.

I grinned. "Hey, you."

He kissed me. "Mmm cafesque. Must get. One second."

I nodded and watched him pour a cup. His light brown hair was long and hung to mid-back. I loved the way his hair looked unbound like this. Mine was short and shaved, exactly the way I liked it. I'd probably let the shaved designs grown in after the big show. They cost too much script to maintain without knowing a good hair specialist to barter with.

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