“Robert, seriously. You’re a god damn astronaut. You need to learn to spell a little bit better,” radioed Huston.
“I mean, it’s kind of hard to focus on spelling while I’m out in, you know, space. You know, the place so hostile that almost nothing can survive in it? Did I mention I’m in space?” Neil spoke into the radio attached to the interior or his helmet.
“He’s in space—technically on the Moon,” confirmed Sergei, who was standing a few feet away from Robert. He was busy kicking up dust as he dug into the ground with his feet. A cloud slowly floated into the air, like a sand storm rising in the desert.
“Yes, you mentioned that once or twice,” croaked the radio.
“So do you want to hear about the discovery?” Neil said.
“Is it as ‘humerus’ as your written report says it is?” Neil heard laughter through the radio.
“I don’t see what’s so funny about this, you guys are being jerks,” he said. Sergei was now jumping up and floating down, trying to land on thick ivory-colored material like a gymnast on a balancing beam.
“It’s just that we’ve spent billions of dollars training you and setting this mission up, and you are having trouble spelling. Seriously, a “humerus discovery?”
“Yes, I don’t see what’s so funny about that,” Neil said.
“It is a humerus discovery,” confirmed Sergei with his slightly Russian accent.
“Okay,” said the radio. “Tell me about this humorous discovery.”
“I don’t know if I want to tell you anymore,” said Neil. He kicked his foot against the dust. “My feelings are pretty hurt.”
“Seriously?” said the radio.
“He looks pretty serious,” said Sergei. He was now spinning atop the ivory beam, arms raised like that of a ballerina.
“Are you going to let us know or not?”
“Say you’re sorry,” Neil said. His vision was becoming slightly blurred from a buildup of tears. He tried to wipe his eyes, but the thick glass helmet made it impossible for him to get his hands anywhere near them. He briefly considered opening the visor, but decided against it.
“Come on, really?” said the radio.
“I think you should say it,” Sergei interjected. He had stopped spinning and was now looking over at Robert. “He looks like he might cry again.”
“Oh, come on. Don’t cry. We’re sorry, Robert. Look, we’re sorry. We just thought it was funny that you misspelled humorous as an astronaut. I mean, you have spent more years of your life training and preparing for this than you have being alive. We just figured it was funny for an astronaut to make such an obvious spelling error. It’s humanizing for us, I guess.”
“How do you spell it?” asked Neil. He was blinking intensely to try to restore his vision and brush away the tears.
“Humorous,” replied Huston. “H-u-m-o-r-o-u-s.”
“Doesn’t that mean ‘funny?’” asked Neil. He glanced over in Sergei’s direction.
“It means funny,” confirmed Sergei. He was now laying down, head rested against the massive white object protruding from the dust.
“Yes,” agreed the radio. “Now can you tell me about the discovery?”
“We’ve made a humerus discovery—the bone, not the joke. It’s over eighty feet long.”
“Yep, nothing funny about this” said Sergei. He had stood up and was now straddling the massive bone like a child riding a wooden horse. “Looks like there might not be a God after all.”