‘Puki’ presents chaotic tale on space station

I chose “Puki Horpocket presents Roy, the Most Chaotic Mid-Life Crisis in Cosmic History” – Earth edition translated by Zachry Wheeler, out of sheer curiosity. It is a sci-fi fantasy beyond anything I’ve encountered.

The sometimes-funny work is an account of Roy’s life and involvement in what is referred to as “The Incident.” That won’t be explained until we learn much about Roy and the millions of the invisible workers who keep Space Station Durangoni running.

This story is told by a reporter named Puki Horpocket. Roy has disappeared. No one has seen or spoken with him since The Incident occurred. More than three trillion creatures inhabit the massive artificial planet. Its many “rings” house individuals from all over the universe.

Little is known about Roy other than the fact that he was once an architect who came to Durangoni following his divorce hoping to earn enough to pay child support for their hundreds of offspring. (His species is known to hatch thousands of cannibalistic young who whittle themselves down to hundreds.) He lives and works as a plumber near the noisy “Core.” He is quiet, hardworking and slowly, sliding into a serious mid-life depression.

Roy’s only real friends are the pear-shaped Duncan and the beast-like Clancy. Duncan’s species finds contentment in the simplest things in life. He is the eternal optimist. Clancy is their work foreman. He comes from one of the wealthiest families on Durangoni but has chosen to work in the bowels of the planet rather than relax in the luxury of its outer rings.

The three end most days drinking in an excessively noisy bar/restaurant called The Pipes. The walls are a disorganized tangle of conduits, pipes and connectors. Drinks are free to anyone who fixes a problem.

One night Roy’s desperate need to “do something meaningful” caused him to send a message to the shadowy Gamon. He is stunned to receive a reply summoning him to visit Gamon, Durangoni’s equivalent of a mob boss. Gamon then sends Roy to Werner. Werner’s company specializes in shrinking things, and he needs Roy to fix a problem in the sunken islands area.

Roy does the job, saving many lives, and is paid an unbelievable amount. Before he can reconnect with his friends, Gamon summons him again. This time he must team with the amazing hacker, Vierra. They must break into the security system of a corrupt casino.

The job goes super-smooth with an added twist. Vierra unleashes an extremely raunchy sex video causing chaos on the casino floor. While watching the casino’s activities Roy is intrigued by the casino’s Big Sixty game. Vierra explains that no one has ever selected the correct sequence of numbers so the payout is astronomical.

Roy’s next job is one he’s dreaded. Werner has hired him to deliver a massive amount of a drug called Snake Bone. Roy knows this drug can be lethal and very addictive. This is a step too far for Roy.

He takes the miniaturized “puck” of drugs and flees followed by Praxie and her goons. When he is cornered in the sewer tunnels, Roy throws the drugs into a waterfall. The puck explodes. Unbeknownst to Roy, the drugs dissolve thus dispersing into the entire Durangoni water system. Suddenly the entire population of Durangoni experiences drug-induced psychosis. Over a trillion citizens lost their grip on reality.

Luckily, it only lasted a week and no addictions or deaths occurred. It took years for the side effects to end and life to return to “normal.” Roy’s whereabouts remains a mystery.

AT A GLANCE

Book: Roy, the Most Chaotic Mid-Life Crisis in Cosmic History (Puki Horpocket Presents, Book 1)

Author: Zachry Wheeler

Publisher: Mayhematic Press

Year published: 2021

Number of pages: 187