“Called reception yet? I detest these flowers.” My wife gestured towards a sumptuous vase of orchids.
–We’d entered the Palacio suite that morning. The lounge stretched to distant walls, dotted with plush leather sofas and gilded antique furniture.
Jade and marble adorned the bathrooms whilst gigantic mirrors reflected to the fragrance of eucalyptus-scented towels. And the view, well … the valleys of the Noctis Labyrinthus, and the valley floor a mile below.
A maid arrived. “Good afternoon, is there a problem with the flowers?”
She was tall and slender, perhaps seven feet high, her skin the colour of red ochre.
“I’m afraid my wife is, er … allergic … to orchids.”
“Of course sir, I’ll change them.” She smiled, hesitating.
“Why do we have to have these damn native servants?” muttered my wife.
I sipped some champagne. “Probably because they were needed to help construct this hotel and build the transporters.” The alcohol loosened my tongue. “Oh, and they’ve the patience to put up with people like you!”
My wife’s sharp features flushed angrily.
I addressed the girl. “Thank you, that’s all.”
She turned to leave. Was it my imagination or did I see a twinkling black Martian eye wink at me?
Featured in the book, To Cut a Short Story Short: 111 Little Stories
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