As much as he’d have you believe otherwise, Theo does in fact sleep on a regular basis. I, on the other hand, don’t. Stuffing for brains—literally. Hence the expression, “Plush don’t sleep.” And yet I still have thoughts, I can still think. I can still go out of my mind with boredom waiting for morning. On most nights I’ll just watch some Flix or play video games. Sometimes I do yoga. Tonight I’m chilling in Ten Forward on Beta’s Enterprise-D server.
He joins me at my table. “Up a little late?”
I nod, frowning. “I suck at planet-naming.”
“Yeah. I’m working on a short story as part of an online writer’s workshop I’m attending.”
“I didn’t know you were a writer.”
“Not sure if I’m a writer, but I do write. Fan fiction. Star Trek stories, in particular. I even came up with my own publishing house name. ‘Cream-Colored Coffee Cup, LLC.’ Cx4, for short.”
“Why ‘Cream-Colored Coffee Cup?’”
“Because I love cream-colored coffee cups. Everything tastes better from a cream-colored coffee cup. Chocolate is richer, coffee is more robust, tea just goes down smoother.” I stare intently at my composition book. “I may have a touch of synesthesia.”
Beta thinks for a moment. “You being a plush representation of Theo’s subconscious and all, does that mean he secretly wants to write Star Trek stories and drink out of cream-colored coffee cups?”
“Total closet homotrektual. And he adores cream-colored coffee cups.”
“I’ll have to remember that come his birthday.”
I stare at my notebook some more.
Various bots make idle conversation at the other tables.
“You look constipated,” Beta observes.
“Characters, plot, narrative, dialogue, the perfect story title—I’m good on my first draft,” I reply. “But planet-naming? Blarg. I have two prominent worlds in my story, and so far the best I can come up with is Planet A and Planet B. Some authors can never think of titles for their books. Me, I can’t name a planet to save my life. Where do I even begin?”
“Dude, this is Trek we’re talking about. It’s not rocket science. How old are you?”
“I may have only recently manifested in physical form, but I’ve been around since Theo’s first breath.”
“Now, how tall are you?”
“Eight inches when erect.”
Beta looks momentarily perturbed, recovers quickly. “Okay. Eight and twelve. What are the names of two of your best friends?”
“Ernie and Eva.”
Beta spreads his arms proudly. “I give you Ernie VIII and Eva XII. Simples, littler dude.”
If you look real carefully in the subdued lighting, you’ll see a tiny puff of smoke wafting from my head—that’s the departure of any sort of creative and/or academic respect I might’ve ever had for Beta.
I close my composition book, shift in my lame-gray acting ensign’s threads. “Do you have butt and shoulder pads in your uniform, too?”
Beta nods. “I’m guessing it’s for the same reason high school wrestlers wear singlets during competition—people come for the match, stay for the bulges.”