This was my Round One entry in the NYC Midnight 250-word Micrifiction contest. The prompts were:
When I saw the planter in the shop’s window, I knew it was the perfect gift for my mother. She was Earth-born, and missed her childhood home in the Sonoran Desert. How such a thing ended up in KB-12’s Mercantile, I’ll never know. But it seemed a fine twist of Fate. Until I asked the cost.
“Fifty-thousand credits.” The Uranian attendant had their thorax plate raised, showing they were open to negotiation. Unfortunately, there wasn’t time. We’d brought the ship in for minor hull damage, and those repairs were quick. The captain never wasted time in port if she could help it.
As I turned to put it back, a gaggle of Tritonian settlers crammed in, demanding attention and blocking me from sight. Something came over me then; maybe the Kuiper-belt madness people often spoke of. I ran, hiding the treasure under my coat.
I reached the ship out of breath, to find the engines hot and the doors closing. “Wait!”
They let me on, and we promptly departed. Then, the captain noticed my cargo.
“How much did that set you back?”
Somehow, she knew I’d shoplifted it. “Karla, if you get me banned from the station for a cactus, I swear to The Void that I’ll vent you out the airlock.”
The rest of the crew laughed. Later, they all chipped in credits to pay the shop owner. “Your family is our family,” said the captain.
Mom really liked her present.