JANE IN SPACE
Miss Polly Connor
Chapter 18 – The Captain Used To Rock and Roll
(Amounting to luxuries to make a caveman’s eyes boggle.)
He’d have searched high and low for the kind of wandering bard or teen idol who could do unholy things in a minor key, himself — wrenched tears, broken hearts, made loins set afire in spontaneous combustion. Or a love poet, at least — something Byronic, in a white blouse and flowing dark ringlets. Half a girl himself, safely dangerous, with the ladies swooning over him and his iambic pentameter.
Something to get the punters going. Nothing wrong with the lowest common denominator, and with a shared currency no reason it couldn’t translate into high art.
Now, Junior Starza Officer Starr twinkled at him, as they came within a few feet of the canteen-cum-common room for guests aboard. “Oh, Jon,” she murmured — and then, “Captain,” she amended, seeing the warning flash of his eyes. Yet it was just as affectionate, and not at all intimidated, when she went on, “Who in the galaxy — or from old Terra — would you recognize, barring Shakespeare, or Rodeon the neural sculptor, or Einstein?”
It was a fair question. His wife had ribbed him sometimes, about the highbrow snob he’d got to be in later years. Ironic, after his roughhouse youth, dancing in low dives in dubious nebulae, drinking in poker games with shape-shifters from proscribed dimensions, petty space-whores to pal around with and make-believe wistful romances.