Ooh, I Don’t Know What To Do

Characters: Tomás Darquin

Darquin sat up against the techno-mage flyer and looked out on the idyllic landscape of lush, ash-colored plains. For someone used to the greens of Earth, it was a creepy sight.

He shook his head and sighed, chiding himself for not bringing his guitar along. This was supposed to be official, though. As it was, Morgan or Captain Hale probably would’ve rapped his nose with the Phoenix’s portside gun turrets if they knew he was leaving Kordieh alone with Ryath, the ultimate security risk. Kordieh was still technically a risk.

Darquin refused to sweat this one. The three of them were the only sentient life on this inkblot of a planet. And this felt like a good opportunity for both of them to sort things out.

If things were going well, he was going to be stuck with nothing to do for the next solar hour. Turning around, he smirked and ogled the ship to be on the safe side.

Hell of a ship too. Sort of a delta-wing design. The fuselage looked like india ink. On the flight here, it felt as if the ship was practically flying itself. And fast. He suspected it could easily keep up with a Whitestar. Being inside was kind of a letdown though. His report would’ve been the same if he’d locked himself and Kordieh in a black room. Ryath had hidden the tech along with the silverware.

Darquin started to fidget. His crystal reader was back on the Phoenix. It had a few recording modes, so he’d left it behind as an act of good faith. No datapad. Same reason. He didn’t think to bring a copy of Universe Today either. And no guitar—

He grumbled to himself, sick of calling it just “the guitar” as if it was the only one ever. It deserved a name. He’d been wracking his brain for the last month or so now. B.B. King had his Lucille. Doc Watson had had a couple, Stella and Old Hoss. Eric Clapton had…. Well, his was….

His hands went up to his temples. Shrock…. now he couldn’t name other people’s guitars.

It had to be a girl’s name. He knew that. His guitar had a dark, voluptuous body. When the band gave him the guitar outright, it certainly felt as if he’d been handed a raven-haired muse to use as he pleased. That was another part of the folklore, to make it similar to a woman’s body. Once he started thinking about it, sitting with the guitar often felt like having a girl in his lap.

He drew in his knees and propped his head up against them. This line of thought was a minefield. Thinking about girls always made him feel lonesome.

“She said, ‘Lonesome George, you don’t understand….'” Or so the song went. He couldn’t remember if it was a traditional blues number or something George Thorogood had whipped up himself.

Melancholy was creeping up on him again, which irritated him. He was fine. His folks were fine. Kim was fine, the last he’d heard. (That reminded him. He made a mental note to ask to the chief engineer a question.) All his friends back home were doing great. Patricia had threatened to call him regularly, in fact. Saki and Makoto were happy together.

Probably.

Aw hell. That turned up thoughts of his love-life. Cue “Heartbreak Hotel.”

His track record could easily dispel any illusions of Casanova-dom. Tomás Darquin, the jukebox flyboy, had loved and lost plenty of times. People came with strings attached. Sometimes they got tangled in them. There was a handful of women he’d fallen in love with over the years. Despite even their best efforts, they were out of reach.

His relationship with Patricia was like that. She needed a daddy. That wasn’t what he wanted to be. They had the right spark, but it was doomed from day one. Held back by strings.

Marina was way different. For her sake, he’d spent much of his tour on the Phoenix trying not to put her in a romantic light. But she carried her own weight. After everything she’d been through, she held on to her sweetness and integrity. She was like a bright winter day. Snow and honey-colored sunshine.

He slumped against the techno-mage ship. He’d fulfilled his childhood dream ten times over. He flew among the stars. The friends and moments on the way were like gold. And yet all he wanted was to stay home, in somebody’s arms.

What did she see in a dork like him anyway….

Jeez, enough already. If he was going to think about girls, keeping it in the abstract caused him the least amount of grief.

Back to his guitar. He held his hands in front of him as if holding it, trying to summon up the sensation and capture a sense of its personality. At least he didn’t have to tune it.

Ooh, I don't know what to do 
About this dream and you 
I wish this dream comes true.... 
Why don't you play the game?
– Daft Punk, "Digital Love"

ISA Phoenix–“Ooh, I Don’t Know What To Do” © 2004 Joe Medina

Babylon 5 tm and © 2004 Warner Bros.