Insufficient Stories by Patrick Alexander
and the Mission to Space
Rocket Spaceman got a call from the President… of Earth! It was the future! They were both white American men with neat hair.
â€œRocket Spaceman, the Earth is in danger. You must do a mission. There is only one man who can do this mission, and that man is you, Rocket Spaceman: Rocket Spaceman. This is the President.â€
Rocket Spaceman looked the President in the eye, because the phone had a television on it and he could do that. â€œIâ€™ll do everything I can to help, Mr President.â€ His manly, clean-shaven jaw moved up and down as he spoke, exactly as you would expect.
â€œThank you, Rocket Spaceman,â€ said the President, his face squinty with gratitude, like an old war veteran looking at a flag. â€œI mean obviously Iâ€™m giving you an order here, though. You couldnâ€™t have actually said no.â€
â€œYes but even if I could have said no, I wouldnâ€™t have,â€ said Rocket Spaceman, his blue eyes gleaming with explaining his position clearly.
â€œWhat if the mission was very dangerous, though?â€ said the President. â€œBecause guess what! This mission is very dangerous.â€
â€œYes, I assumed it was very dangerous,â€ said Rocket Spaceman, his noble nose giving hope to children, â€œand I said yes anyway.â€
â€œWell of course you did, Rocket Spaceman, because Iâ€™m the President and you have to do what I tell you,â€ the President explained helpfully.
â€œYes, Mr President, but…â€ â€“ here Rocket Spaceman paused to think of the right words to form with his heroic mouth parts â€“ â€œbut I have my own reason for saying yes to dangerous missions; my own personal reason, to do with my personality.â€
â€œOh!â€ went the President. He raised his hands to his head and wagged them back and forth like rabbit ears, which in the future is how people express surprise and interest. â€œAnd what reason might that be?â€ he asked, cocking his head to one side and wiggling his nose.
Rocket Spaceman had become visibly uncomfortable, in a gutsy, intrepid sort of way. â€œSir, I… I would really prefer that this sort of thing remain implicit; that we exchange a brief, silent gaze of mutual respect and understanding.â€
â€œOh, pshaw!â€ pshawed the President, with a good-natured sudden upward thrust of the left knee. â€œDonâ€™t be shy, Rocket Spaceman. Tell me why you would do the dangerous mission even if I hadnâ€™t ordered you to. Come on now.â€
â€œIs it because of bravery, Rocket Spaceman? Are you brave?â€ The President asked this as though guessing at charades.
â€œRocket Spaceman, listen to me. This is your President speaking. Iâ€™m asking you for information! It could be important! So if youâ€™re brave, youâ€™d better tell me. And whatâ€™s more, youâ€™d better tell me just exactly how brave you are.â€ He planted a commanding stare upon Rocket Spacemanâ€™s facial zone.
At last, Rocket Spaceman gave an obedient nod. He stood with his arms behind his back like an army person, his chest sticking out inspiringly with muscles. Gazing evenly into the distance, past all the holographic flying cars, he spoke: â€œI am brave, Mr President. Very, very brave. My willingness to face mortal danger, time and time again, makes me the bravest man in the world.â€ Then, still gazing into the distance, he held up a sheet of card with, â€˜But it isnâ€™t glamorous; itâ€™s a burden,â€™ written on it.
â€œOh, no, no, no,â€ said the President with a dismissive backwards somersault. â€œSurely youâ€™re not brave; youâ€™re just doing your duty like an everyday citizen.â€
Rocket Spaceman was a little taken aback. â€œWell, I… Well, yes sir; in fact thatâ€™s exactly what I tell people when they call me brave.â€
â€œSo, you agree with me?â€
â€œUh… well… yes, sir.â€
â€œOK! Great. Thanks for clearing that up.â€ The President made a note on his atomic space-clipboard, speaking the words aloud as he wrote: â€œRocket… Spaceman… is not… brave.â€
â€œNo, no, wait a moment, sir,â€ said Rocket Spaceman. â€œI am brave.â€
â€œYou are brave?â€ echoed the President, confused. He looked back at his clipboard. â€œThatâ€™s not what it says here. I thought you said you just do your duty, like an everyday citizen.â€
â€œI…â€ Rocket Spaceman almost winced. â€œI was being humble, sir.â€
â€œOh, I see! I see,â€ said the President, and made another note: â€œRocket… Spaceman… says… he is… humble.â€ He licked the heel of his right foot for a moment, to indicate he was thinking, then turned a serious eyeball towards Rocket Spaceman.
â€œRocket Spaceman, does this mean that if you werenâ€™t brave, you wouldnâ€™t obey my orders?â€
â€œOh, no, sir. I would always do my duty, Mr President. I would alwaysâ€ â€“ he repeated, this time staring into the distance again â€“ â€œdo my duty.â€
â€œSo this bravery of yours is purely theoretical, Rocket Spaceman. It has no observable effect on your behaviour. The reason you do dangerous missions is because I tell you to do them; isnâ€™t that correct?â€
Rocket Spaceman sighed in a masculine way. â€œYes, sir.â€
â€œVery well, then. Letâ€™s have no more of your unseemly bragging. I need the facts, Rocket Spaceman. Iâ€™m the President.â€
â€œRocket Spaceman, your mission is this: Erogenella, the Vinyl-Costumed Sex Queen of Jupiter, has threatened to destroy the Earth unless we send her a handsome sex slave as tribute. Our top brain scientists have determined that because Erogenella is a woman, sooner or later she will fall in love with our brave hero, which will neutralise the Jovian threat. Now this may happen as soon as she lays her exotic golden eyes upon him, but more likely, weeks, months, even years of kinky alien sex may be necessary.â€
Rocket Spaceman did body language that meant he was steeling himself. â€œMr President, Iâ€™m ready to make any sacrifice to protect the people of Earth.â€
â€œIâ€™m glad to hear it, Rocket Spaceman, because weâ€™ve chosen your younger brother Larry Spaceman to be our tribute, and we need you to take him to Jupiter in your rocket.â€
â€œLarry!?â€ cried Rocket Spaceman in valiant surprise.
â€œWell, as you know, he doesnâ€™t have a rocket of his own.â€
â€œBut… but sir! Larry… Larry is…â€
â€œYes, Rocket Spaceman?â€ The President flared a concerned nostril. â€œIs there something we should know about Larry?â€
â€œWell, for one thing, Mr President, Larry is overweight. Itâ€™s not attractive.â€
â€œOh, nonsense!â€ said the President, gesturing â€˜sausageâ€™ in sign language to convey a mixture of amusement and annoyance. â€œPerhaps he could lose a few pounds, which as you know is the standard unit of mass used all over the Earth. But Larry has a nice face and a great personality. Women like to laugh, Rocket Spaceman, and your brother is very, very funny.â€
â€œIâ€™m funny too,â€ declared Rocket Spaceman, â€œand Iâ€™ve never been more serious in all my life!â€
â€œRocket Spaceman, Rocket Spaceman,â€ said the President in a soothing tone. He reached through the television phone and patted Rocket Spaceman on the shoulder. â€œI can see what youâ€™re trying to do, Rocket Spaceman. You want me to choose you as the tribute instead. You would sacrifice yourself to protect your brother from danger.â€ The President looked at Rocket Spaceman with admiring eyes, having first dug into his skull and popped out his standard-issue eyes.
Rocket Spaceman blushed like a man. â€œYou can see right through me, sir.â€
â€œNot with these ones, actually,â€ said the President, and swapped his admiring eyes for dual-purpose reassuring/X-ray ones. â€œRocket Spaceman, your brother will receive the best training we can provide. Queen Erogenella is said to possess the beauty of a thousand human women, so we have gathered together the thousand most beautiful women on Earth, and as we speak, Larry is having sexual intercourse with them. First he will have sexual intercourse with them one by one, then in a number of combinations, incorporating every erotic fantasy scenario our experts predict he may encounter in the boudoir of the Sex Queen. This intensive sex-marathon will culminate in the formation of a massive, slippery fuck-pile; a mountain of one thousand beautiful naked women and baby oil, which Larry, your brother, will dive into and swim through in a wriggling, squeezing, squirting rhapsody of unbounded carnal pleasure. Incidentally you seem to have swallowed a paperclip.â€
It was actually a staple left over from Rocket Spacemanâ€™s tummy tuck, but he did not injure the Presidentâ€™s dignity by correcting him. â€œBut sir,â€ he whimpered; â€œBut sir,â€ he whispered, pouting with the heart of a lion, â€œWhat about me?â€
â€œOh, Rocket Spaceman!â€ the President cried, as enthusiastically as a shoe, which is a common expression in the future. â€œDonâ€™t worry, Rocket Spaceman. You, too, will face dangers that I choose to accurately describe as sensual and dirty. Your flight to Jupiter is but the first leg of your mission, which has two legs, like a walrus, according to the best information we have about that long extinct animal. So prepare your ears to learn fully of this bipedality.â€
â€œI have vestibular and cochlear nerves of steel, Mr President.â€
â€œVery well, Rocket Spaceman. The remainder of your mission is this: An unmanned sanitation transporter the size of Lake Michigan has veered off-course, been drawn into the gravitational pull of a particular outer planet whose name I will mention shortly, and crash-landed. There is now poop all over Uranus. Rocket Spaceman, we need you to clean up the poop on Uranus. Wipe that poop off Uranus, Rocket Spaceman! Thereâ€™s poop on Uranus! Clean it up.â€
â€œBut… but sir…!â€
â€œThatâ€™s the mission, Rocket Spaceman. Itâ€™s all up to you. It will take you fifteen years. Goodbye, Rocket Spaceman! Goodbye!â€
â€œBut sir, you promised me danger!â€
â€œYes I did,â€ replied the President, shaking his head in the affirmative. â€œGood point, Rocket Spaceman. Rocket Spaceman, this mission is dangerous for two reasons. Firstly, our finest poop scientists believe that the vast flood of stinky poop now rapidly spreading across the jagged, hostile surface of Uranus may be on fire.
â€œSecondly, itâ€™s possible that as a result of this accident, you may have to navigate an extremely delicate, even volatile, nexus of diplomatic tensions with the dominant sentient species living on Uranus, the Sharp-Toothed Easily Upset Uranian Penis Eaters. But Rocket Spaceman, I know that what you lack in physical strength and stamina, you more than make up for with intellect, discernment, and political nous.â€
â€œNo, sir, youâ€™ve got it all wrong!â€ Rocket Spaceman objected. â€œIâ€™m a sexy idiot!â€
â€œGoodbye, Rocket Spaceman, and good luck! You have to do it. Goodbye, Rocket Spaceman; goodbye!â€ The President waved farewell, with his hands, because his feet were operating the controls of the television phone. He kept calling out, â€œGoodbye; goodbye!â€ while slowly fading out the audio before finally hanging up.
Godspeed, then, to Rocket Spaceman, purportedly brave defender of Earth â€“ godspeed and toodle-oo! May the dreams of humanity lift your space rocket into the stars, or rocket fuel if that doesnâ€™t work. Remember as you journey to distant worlds that you carry with you not only a mop and bucket, but Hope. Hope, the only choice of household detergent for the modern homemaker! Good luck, Rocket Spaceman, and fuck off!