By Two Ladies of Quality
(dedicated to everyone old enough to remember what happened in the summer of '69)
Still, Spike preferred his meals to be fairly light on hallucinogens. LSD made the blood taste off, and too many incidents of playing bullfighter with cross-town busses had impressed on even his brain the anti-survival properties of major league drugs. Not to say it wasn't a pleasant way to spend a slow day, sharing a whacked-out hippie with Drusilla, taking sips whenever the buzz started to fade.
He had to be careful with Dru, though. She and acid were not really a good mix. That one time when she was certain the bugs were under her skin had been particularly messy--especially when she realized the bugs were attacking him and the only way to save him was to take his skin off . . . That one was a while healing.
July. The 4th of July parties were done, no more fireworks, dammit. Just the long haul into the dog days. Fortunately vampires liked the heat, and the nights were cooler anyway. Everyone was out in the night, and no one looked twice at Spike and Drusilla. She in her long, old- fashioned dresses actually looked sedate next to some of the hippie girls.
Spike was in the middle of accepting an invitation to a love-in later on that night when Drusilla pulled away from him and danced into the street. "Look, my love! The man in the moon!"
The moon was just rising over the skyscrapers, its light faded by the dozens of streetlamps. Dru pirouetted in the newfallen moonbeams, singing nursery rhymes about the man in the moon. Spike strolled after her, to make sure she didn't plie herself into the path of a cab.
"I see it, my plum. Old man moon, up in the sky."
She twirled into his arms and gave him a mad, dazzling smile. "Take me dancing on the moon, Spike. I want to dance on the moon."
"No one dances on the moon, pet. He's way up high, where no one can get to him."
"No, no, no," she whispered in delight. "There will be dancing on the moon. They will spin and jump and dance in the night." She sighed and pouted. "But I only get to dance on the earth."
He took her hand to lead her off in a waltz. "And it's lucky to have you, my dark heart. It should bless every step you take."
Just her usual mad rambles, he thought. Until one early evening a couple of days later, when he was just going into the corner liquor store, and he saw, on the clerk's little TV, Walter Cronkite talking excitedly about something called Apollo.
He forgot all about ripping out the clerk's throat and loading up on free booze. "Did he say--"
The clerk blinked at him through pink-tinted granny glasses. "Where you been for the last ten years, man, a hole in the ground? The moon. Three guys are going to the moon. They blasted off yesterday." He readjusted his headband to hold his hair out of his face. "Think of all the starving kids that much money would feed. Why the hell go to the moon?"
The words came to him without thought: "'What may this mean, that thou, dead corse, again in complete steel, revisit'st the glimpses of the moon?'"
"Huh? What's that from?"
"Hamlet." He shook himself before other memories came forward. The moon? That was impossible. But if Walter Cronkite said so, then it must be true. "When do they get there?"
"Day after tomorrow. It's going to be on all the channels."
Spike nodded, changed some plans, and came back just at closing to kill the clerk, load up on free booze, and take the TV and antenna back to his and Drusilla's rooms. Enough time to figure out the rabbit ears and get a decent picture to watch the whole thing.
On July 20th they didn't move from in front of the TV. Dru whimpered as the moon got closer on the screen, stopped being a glowing ball of light in the sky and became a craggy, pockmarked landscape. "God will be angry,"she whispered when he asked her what frightened her. "Going where we shouldn't."
He felt a bit of atavistic dread himself, at the sheer audacity of flinging oneself off one planet to go stroll on another. It did seem the kind of thing that would attract a capricious deity who wanted to teach vainglorious mankind a lesson or two.
Still, the moon. He remembered the fantastic tales of his youth, Verne and the rest, although such sensational stories were hardly the kind of thing a gentleman should concern himself with. They seemed so--impossible. Not the sort of thing one would ever live to see. Unless one had passed the hundredth anniversary of one's birth and was sneaking up on the hundredth anniversary of one's death.
Dru settled closer in his arms as the landing module crept closer and closer, until, with a thump and swirl of dust, it landed. Then, a little bit later, that small, flickering figure creeping down the ladder and putting a human foot onto the ground of a different world.
"See, love," Spike whispered to Dru. "No divine retribution. God doesn't mind. Maybe He was getting lonely up there."
He could say such nonsense to her, when they were all alone and wrapped up in each other. She smiled at him, then pointed at the screen. "See? He's dancing." Neil Armstrong continued bouncing cautiously across the surface of the moon.
Later, when it was dark, they went outside. They weren't the only ones wandering the streets, gazing up thoughtfully. When the moon cleared the buildings, everyone paused to look.
There are people up there, Spike thought in wonder. Humans walking around up there. Amazing, indomitable, fearless humans. He remembered the pictures on the TV, of rocks and mountains and craters and tiny, tiny figures on a broad, grey plain. And how small that area was when compared with the size of the whole moon.
It wasn't just a bright disk attached to the sky: the moon was a world of its own, hanging over their heads, delicately balanced on the fingertips of physics. He had to look away, overwhelmed by the size of the universe. Under his feet he suddenly felt that the earth was moving, racing through cold space. It was all moving, the moon around the earth, the earth around the sun, all of it was moving. He didn't like feeling small.
"Won't they fall?" Dru asked. "It's so high up, they'll fall off."
Spike had to chuckle. Was another attempt at explaining gravity likely to do any good? "God won't let them fall off, pet."
She nodded, content. She raised a delicate hand and waved at the moon. "Hello, men in the moon."
"They can't see you, Dru."
"But I can see them."
He wrapped his arms around her, his solid, eternal love, and rested his chin on the top of her head, gazing up with her. "That's all right, then."