A Hero is Born

David-Lee Nielson

Deakin University

Chuck sighed with relief as he locked the door behind him. The greatest desk jockey in Sirius Industries’ history was done for the night. It had only taken an extra three hours, but he had swept aside the pile of paperwork like a pro, and could now afford to take the next few days off. His wife would understand. Jo was always pressuring him to take time off work, to spend more time with her. And so he had sacrificed one night in favour of the next few days. She’d be thrilled.

He swiped his card against the door of the car, and settled into the driver’s seat. The car started with a hum, and he pulled out of the car park. He wove his way through the traffic, ten storeys in the air. A grin broke his face when he thought of the picnic he was going to surprise Jo with tomorrow. They hadn’t been on a picnic since their tenth anniversary, and he had the perfect spot in mind. There was a small clearing on the west face of Olympus Mons, from which you could watch the sun set over the curvature of the planet. He knew she would love it.

As the towering steel and glass city gave way to Martian countryside, Chuck dropped closer to the ground, following the highway. He looked forward to slipping into bed next to Jo, and staying there for as long as he wanted. But no, maybe he’d get up early, and make Jo breakfast in bed. That would be a nice surprise.

He reached the turnoff to his court, and lazily pulled left. His eyes were starting to droop already, and he suppressed a massive yawn as he pulled into the driveway next to his perfectly manicured lawn. He gave no thought to the car parked on the street out the front.

He quietly slipped through the front door, trying not to disturb Jo. He dropped his wallet and phone on the kitchen table, and shuffled down the hallway. At first he was puzzled as to why the bedroom light was on, but once he opened the door, he was puzzled as to who was screwing his wife. ‘Uh, honey . . . What are you doing?’

In the throes of ecstasy, Jo didn’t even realise he was in the room. Chuck’s puzzlement gave way to a blinding rage, and before he realised what he was doing, he grabbed the flower vase off the dresser, and smashed it over the man’s head. Jo let out a scream, whether from fright or ecstasy he couldn’t say, but the man’s ‘What the fuck?!’ definitely wasn’t from pleasure. He dismounted, and confronted Chuck. ‘Who the hell is this douche bag, Jo?’

‘This is my husband, Chuck. Chuck, meet Gary.’

Chuck met Gary with a fist to the face. Unperturbed, Gary responded in kind, sending Chuck sprawling. A foot followed the fist, and Chuck assumed the foetal position.

Chuck awoke in the back of the ambulance, the paramedics bandaging his broken ribs. From that moment on, Chuck Cummings vowed to never again lose a fight. From that moment on, Chuck Cummings vowed to never again leave a woman unsatisfied. Chuck quit his job, and threw himself into another kind of work. No longer would he be Chuck Cummings: Office Worker. From now on, he would be Chuck Cummings: Space Gigolo.

Chapter 1: Just Another Day at Work

Chuck awoke slowly. He hardly heard the low whir of the Rejuvomatic Sleep Bed opening. Every morning he was reminded why he had bought it. He had finished his last job not 4 hours ago, yet he awoke feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. He was pulling on his pants when the door to his apartment buzzed, and Janice walked in, clipboard in hand. ‘Good morning Chuck, how did you sleep?’ ‘Very well, thank you Janice.’

‘Good. And how did last night go?’

‘Perfect. Got in, got paid, got out. Couldn’t have been easier.’

‘Excellent. Tonight should been another easy one.’

‘How many tonight?’

‘Only three. But they’re willing to pay a lot of money.’

‘I’d better not disappoint them then,’ Chuck replied with a grin.

Chuck’s apartment on Montgomery III was modestly furnished, and designed to be quickly abandoned. Being the best gigolo in the galaxy can earn you some enemies, as Chuck had previously found out. Rival gigolos were not above foul play.

‘Would you like to stay for breakfast Janice?’

‘Sorry Chuck, but I have other things to attend to. I’ll leave you the details for tonight. Good luck.’

***

As of writing this, David-Lee Nielson is a 22-year-old homo sapiens, though this may not last long. He recently completed his BA, with majors in Professional and Creative Writing, and Philosophy. This is his first published piece, and hopefully won’t be the last.