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art by Cheryl L Owen-Wilson

A Letter from Your Mother

Sylvia Spruck Wrigley obsessively writes letters to her mother, her teenage offspring, her accountant, as well as to unknown beings in outer space. Only her mother admits to reading them. Born in Heidelberg, she spent her childhood in California and now splits her time between South Wales and Andalucia, two coastal regions with almost nothing in common. You can find out more about her at intrigue.co.uk.

Find other works in the Postmark Andromeda sequence and other unrelated stories by Sylvia Spruck Wrigley at dailysciencefiction.com.
Attn: Commander Reynolds
I appreciate your promise to look after Eugenie (my daughter who is also a wonderful cook, by the way). I am sure she will be glad for the attention and try not to be any trouble. If I could ask you for one more favor, could you please deliver this to her upon your arrival.
Edwards Airforce Base July 27th, 2029
(to be opened upon your awakening after the journey, whatever date that might be)
Happy Birthday Darling!
I hope this letter finds you cheerful and well. If you are reading this, you have successfully reached your new home. I'm so very proud of you, sweetie! I always knew those summer classes at the science museum would be worth it in the end.
My only regret is that I can't be there with you to help you through your new life. In fact, I have petitioned Congress to complain that the restrictions on interstellar travel are foolish and that they should allow for family to accompany astronauts on the ship, for security and support. But you are leaving tomorrow morning and they have not yet contacted me regarding a reprieve, so I'm afraid that you are on your own.
I've written down some essential advice to help you through.
1) Always make sure your panties and bra are clean. If need be, bleach them. Choose your undergarments carefully and think about how each piece might look on a corpse: it should not be too sexy, in case people talk about nothing else. However, it should not be too utilitarian / practical, in case you get lucky. That's kind of the point of the mission, right?
While we are on the subject, I bought you a stretch girdle. It will tuck in your tummy and make you look a few kilos lighter than you are, as well as making your breasts look bigger. Be careful, once you arrive in the new world, not to lose weight too quickly, as it can lead to unsightly stretch marks.
2) If possible, get your eyebrows and eyelashes tinted before landing so you don't have to worry about smearing. Will they have an onboard beauty parlor? I should have asked before, that is definitely a service I could have provided. I've noticed lately that you tend not to put on make-up, which is just lazy, especially as there are so many quick tricks for defining your best features. I slipped a complimentary L'Oreal travel make-up box into the front pocket of your bag so that you will have the basics once you arrive. The dark lipstick will suit you, but be careful not to overdo the bright red, which can make you look trampy.
3) Keep a happy and confident smile on your face, no matter the circumstances. People will gravitate to you instinctively and extra-terrestrial problems are almost always better dealt with by a crowd.
4) Get plenty of rest. I'm pretty sure you won't have fresh cucumber to put under your eyes, so you must be sure to avoid unsightly bags. I have packed an ebook reader with a number of self-help books, including Twiggy's Guide to Looking Fabulous Over 40. I realize that due to relativity, you are actually only thirty-two, but I'm not sure if wrinkles understand relativity.
5) Make sure your feet stay warm and dry. This is critical to staying healthy and happy. God only knows what this Goldilocks planet will be like once you get there, so I put six pairs of thick socks into your case (in fluffy pink, because they were SO cute and on sale) along with a pedicure set. Take care of your feet and they will take care of you!
6) Choose your partner wisely. You should never have dumped that nice Tommy Levinson, if you ask me, but that's water under the bridge. I slipped a black silk nightgown and a bottle of champagne into your case so that you can create a romantic situation when the time comes. With your flat chest, you need as many advantages as you can get.
You are unique and special and you must always remember that. I know you have weight restrictions so I took out the tranquilizer darts and the stun gun to make up for the presents I put into your bag.
They always worried me, anyway. If you end up in difficulties, I'm sure one of the nice young soldiers traveling with you will defend you. It will be a good way to break the ice.
By the time you receive this letter, you will have missed my birthday 172 times. I forgive you.
Love,
Mom
The End
This story was first published on Wednesday, January 1st, 2014


This was the first of the space letters which soon became an obsession for me. It's probably impossible to escape an overbearing mother but one can't blame the girl for trying

- Sylvia Spruck Wrigley

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