Earthbound Limits
Joanne Faries

“Doctor, come in for dinner, please.” The housekeeper called out to the laboratory shed, heard his muffled response, and stepped back inside.  

Afternoon shadows deepened on a sunny Sunday in April. Barely containing his glee, Dr.Robert Goddard marked another notation in his logbook: 4/21/25 singed fingers. Lower A mix. Raise B. Accelerant steady.  

Flasks bubbled and he tweaked a lever while studying gauges. “It’s time. I’ll have Marie witness history.” He ran into his home, burst into the kitchen, grabbed his housekeeper’s arm, and led her to the field beside his lab. Marie sputtered. Caught up in his exuberance, she quieted and stood with her hands in her apron pockets.  

Goddard disappeared for a moment and then returned with his latest gear. “I dreamed of a solution last night. My new mix of liquid propellant will allow the rocket to thrust out, blaze past the limits of earth.”  

After set-up, he lit the fuse. Combustion, fire, and smoke ensued. Amidst the commotion, Marie screamed and Goddard pushed her down as the rocket lifted, fizzled, and narrowly missed their heads as it careened into the barn. Muttering to himself, he doused flames with a powder mixture he kept in buckets around the property.  

Marie arose and brushed herself off. “Dr.Goddard, so much for rocket science. Sir, the duck is getting cold and the soufflé shall fall. Dinnertime.”   

They exchanged a look as he scurried about picking up rocket pieces. After smoothing her apron she said, “Well, that didn’t fly.”

First published:May, 2009
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