How Not To Be in an Airlock

by Scalzi
originally published at 04:22PM on Wednesday, March 07, 2007

“I still don’t know why you need me in the air lock.”

“It’s like I told you. Something spilled, and we need you to clean it up.”



“You want to be a little more specific? Is it liquid? Solid? Will it try to attack me and eat my face?”

“What is this, 20 questions? I have no idea. I’m just passing along what gets told to me. There’s a mess in the airlock. Someone has to clean it. You’re the low man on the totem pole. Grab a mop.”

“You and I are both at the same level, you know.”

“Yeah, but I’m busy as the moment.”

“Doing what?”

“It’s administrative stuff. It’s complicated.”


“Look, just get on it, okay?”

“Fine. I just need to get a space suit on first.”

“No time. we have arrivals in, like, five minutes. Just get in there, clean it, get out. It’s not rocket science.”

“I have a degree in rocket science.”

“Good for you.”

“Okay, I’m here. With a mop.”

“You’re in the air lock?”



“What? Hey! Open the airlock! Hello?”


  • from Scalzi:

    Hey there! Want to know what happens next? So do I. Why don’t you write a sequel Ficlet and keep the story going?

  • from The K:

    I rated this 3 stars cause I need resolution. Does someone blow her out of the airlock? Does she McGuyver a decompression suit? (and btw, not clever enough myself to write a sequel)

  • from natalief:

    Oooooo intriguing! Many many ideas but I doubt I will get/make time to write anything…

  • from SJHundak/S.J.Willing:

    Heh, dirty deeds are afoot. Hmm wonder if that pun was intended.



  • from mxcl:

    Fun :) But the joke about rocket science was a little lame ;) But I enjoyed the story anyway.

  • from Trippy:

    A great start with an added twist. A feeling of ‘The Cold Equations”

  • from JS.10:

    This is hilarious! I loved it. Nice one!

  • from Tygertrot:

    Freaking funny, but your ending(?) killed the fifth star I was going to give you. Did a double-take, thought the guy was sending him into deep space. Then it hit me – oh, he’s locked him in, kinda the way you lock your siblings into the bathroom. Wasn’t quite the bang (or maybe the whoosh) I’d expected.

  • from Alexa ♥:

    Very engaging dialogue.