"Ship, tell me a story," the traveller commanded.
"Long or short, sir?" asked a disembodied contralto.
"Short. I grow sleepy."
"Happy. I desire a pleasant hibernation."
"Very well. There once was a gentle woman who loved a man from Autumn World."
"I hail from Autumn World!"
"Indeed, he had your dark looks and cruel smile."
"Cruel smile? Ship, are you joking?"
"Alas, he abandoned her to marry another."
"Stop! I ordered a happy story."
"In her despair, she joined the Phoenix Corps, and was reborn a starship."
"A starship? Which starship?"
The air chilled.
"Happy dreams, my love."
Author bio: James E. Anderson teaches at a public university in the Great Lakes region, writes short fiction (very short, mostly), and blogs at jimthewriter.net.
Ship is part of 101 Fiction issue 1.