mb4-1 Sputnik accentSusan switched off the radio and thought for a minute. Did I really hear that? Right after the Hoyt Axton song? Did I really just hear them say the Russians fired a missile into space?

In the dimly lit kitchen that night Gran asked Daddy what it could mean. There was a worried look on his face. His hands concealed how he pressed with his thumbnail against the palm—hard—so to feel at least something keenly and with definition. Susan had never seen fear in her father before. She hadn’t had to see him standing frozen in the streets of Copenhagen when the Panzers stripped the face off his beloved library.

Next day the newspapers said that it was Sputnik, an unarmed satellite that only housed a radio transmitter: Mankind’s first material penetration into the reaches of space.