The wide, golden, unblinking eye of the moon tilted and gazed down at the tiny black ship and its two tired passengers.
“Do you see that Clara?” I said, craning my neck to look up through the windshield at the night sky. “You see that moon?”
There was an awed silence behind me. “It’s so bright. I can hardly look at it.”
“Yeah…” I said, trying to focus on the highway, but still constantly aware of the massive ball hanging above us. “That’s called a supermoon. That means it’s as close as it can get to Earth. That’s why it looks so big. And it’s a blue moon tonight, too. Because it’s the second full moon in January.”
“Oh!” she announced. “And Mom said that tonight it’s going to turn RED!”
“That’s Right. Because it’s going to go into the shadow of the Earth. It’s an eclipse. It turns red because it will be like watching the sunset from the moon. Can you imagine that? Being on the moon, watching the sun set behind the Earth? Having it turn orange and red and pink, seeing the oceans twinkle as the light slowly fades? Laying in the moon sand like an endless beach?”
“Yeah…” Her voice drifted around the silent car. “Cool…”
“So,” I said. “Tonight, for several hours, the moon is going to be completely dark. Every part of it. Both sides. Dark, dark, dark.”
“Yeah. And everyone will be watching and taking pictures and looking up at it. And then Poof. It will start to turn pink and then red and then black.” We drove on. “Hey, you know, When it’s all black, and everyone on Earth is watching. We could probably shine a laser up there and write a message and everyone would see it.”
She laughed, “What?!”
“Yeah,” I said, shrugging casually in the dark. “We could shine something up there and it would be in everyone’s pictures, and everyone on the planet would see it. We could say ‘The Smiths were Here!’, or something.”
She chuckled and then gasped, “Or! Or! How about, we write ‘Come to Clara’s Hot Cocoa Stand, in Palmer Alaska! Enjoy free samples! Tell your friends!'”
“Oh…. Right. Okay. We could shine an advertisement for your cocoa stand, I guess.”
I could hear her bobbing up and down in her seat with excitement. “Dad! How much time do we have? When does it start? Do we have any lasers?”
I sighed. “No Clara. Unfortunately, you ran them all out of batteries playing with them under your bed when you were five.” I glanced in the rearview mirror for a moment, and in the darkness of the backseat, I saw two tiny eyes, wide open, staring out the window. And reflected in their wet pupils was a magnificent sphere. Hovering above us. Smiling down on us. A gigantic billboard ripe for the taking.
I have seen a vision of the future, and in it, Clara Joy is Queen.