“Look out there, man,” Buck said, waving his arm in a wide sweep that encompassed everything around them and managed to slosh out a small measure of the wine in his paw. He paid no attention to the loss, jamming the bottle back to his lips for another swallow before continuing.
“Everything we are is out there. We’re all part of the dust that makes up the universe. The same parts that made you and me might have made Arktel or Venophon.”
“I ain’t no planet, man,” Eric said in reply. His eyes were half closed as he looked into the sky. His friend was raving again, as was standard when he had imbibed. For years it had been the same. Buck became more philosophical when he drank, sometimes enough that people fled from the fox when he had a bottle. Eric was more grounded, although he had been known to embarrass many Folk when he had a hit or two of Jazz. The last time he had danced naked on the prow of a tank, using the main gun as a sort of lopsided stripper’s pole. They barely escaped before the soldiers arrived.
“No, but dig it, the same stuff from the beginning of time got spread out everywhere in the universe and we’re all made of it, you know? So, like, you’ve got something in common with the sun and the stars.”
Eric fired a smoke. The sweet mint smell drifted upward, and Buck’s waving hands dissipated the cloud with ease. “So why don’t you hop the next craft out and go visit Uncle Stardust? I mean, if you’re all related and so on.”
“Blow me. You know what I mean. Think about it! The same dust –”
“No more dust, man. No more, please. Talk about anything else.”
“Like what?” Buck asked. His tone was that of a lost child, and for a second Eric felt guilt at having taken the wind out of his friend’s sails as he had.
“We need more wine,” Eric said, rummaging around in the cooler. Only one bottle remained. There were nearly a dozen on the ground, and Eric knew he had only had two. He popped open the top and leaned back against the windshield of the car that served as their couch while they were out here – and their transportation to and from the clearing where they relaxed every weekend.
“We always need more wine,” Buck agreed.
Behind them, in the car, the music changed to something darker and heavier.
“We could, you know,” Eric said, suddenly serious.
“Get more wine?”
“No. Bail on this mudball and go check out the rest of the universe.”
“Think about it, Buck,” Eric urged. He thumped a hoof on the hood of the car for emphasis. “Colonists. They always want colonists, so why not us? Making a go of it elsewhere. Away from these stupid-ass jobs we’ve got. Be our own bosses. No more –”
“They don’t have stores, man. Where we gonna buy wine?”
“We can make our own wine! Hell, we can open our own store!”
“Can we call it Buck’s Place?”
“Sure,” Eric said, caught up in the enthusiasm that was sweeping across the pair.
“Where are we gonna go?”
“I don’t know, but I say we do it. You and me, we’ve been beating our heads against a wall for years. Let’s take a chance. Next colony ship, let’s sign up for it!”
Buck grinned and pointed up. “Out there?”
“Yep. I don’t know where we’re gonna wind up, but hell yeah! We’re gonna be out there with the stars, man. That’s where the future is. That’s where we belong. Our future, written in the stars!”