Joe? Is that you? You’re still tending bar? I thought you’d be retired. How you doin’, you old rascal?”
Joe frowned. “Sorry, son, I must be getting old, do I know you? And can I get you a drink?”
“It’s Dave, man. Give me a Knolls lager, draft.”
“Sorry, Dave, we’re sold out of Knolls. We have some Guinness, that’s almost as good. But I’m sorry, but I still don’t know who you are. Memory ain’t as good as it used to be.”
“Dave Rayfield, Joe. Of course it’s been a lot longer for you than me. Yeah, Guinness will do.”
“Dave Rayfield? I haven’t seen him since I was twenty. You his grandson?” he asked, pouring the beer.
“No, Joe, I’m Dave. Same Dave you knew back then.”
“But you’re so young!
“It was the trip. I piloted the science expedition to Grommler while you were throwing rocks from the asteroid belt at Mars.”
“The terraforming is still going on here. I’m a little old for space hopping. Hell, if I spent any more time traveling through space I’d live forever. But how the hell did you stay a damned kid?”
“Same way you’re not dead at a hundred twenty five. Time dilation. Most Earthians die before they’re ninety five, but speed stretches time. You’d be dead by now if you hadn’t been a spaceship captain. It’s been a hundred years since you’ve seen me, but it’s only been ten years since I’ve seen you.”
“So where have you been for the last hundred years?”
“Ten years to me. We went to Grommler.”
“Where’s that?”
Dave laughed. “It orbits Sirius, but it was the least serious place I’ve ever seen! Really weird place.”
“Weird how?”
“Every way weird goes. First off, there was no fauna at all, not even insects. Only flora, despite having more oxygen than Earth. The geologists said it was because of the CO2 from volcanoes that there could even be any flora.
“But the weirdest was the plants. We were there for two years, and that’s in real time, and every single plant the biologists tested had cannabinoids and other psychoactive components. There were a lot of brush fires because of the wind and lightning, so every time you went outside you got stoned. Hell, some of the guys practically lived outside!”
“Need another beer?”
Dave eyed his glass and downed it. “Yeah. Jesus, Joe, things sure changed in the last ten years.”
“It’s been a hundred years since you left, Dave. It only seems like ten to you.”
“I guess. But you know what, Joe? I’m going to clean up!”
“What do you mean?”
Dave pulled out an envelope. “These. Grommlerian tomato seeds. Grommlerian plants have a completely different ordering than our plants, it’s something different than DNA and the scientists are still trying to figure it out. But they make seeds like Earth plants.”
“Not really. They look like tomatoes but taste way different, but they taste really good. And they get you really stoned.”
“Well, okay, you found a reefer planet. When you find a beer planet, let me know.”



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