KYLE IN SPACE

20 Feb

“Lieutenant Taglund! Turn thrusters to full gitty-up!” I scream from my ivory throne (Don’t read anything into this. It isn’t racist. Once or twice a day, I have either a black person or a really tan white guy sit in it so everybody knows my ivory throne is racially cool.).

Taglund, a man of average height and average looks and less-than-average importance in this story turns a small knob then presses a handle to the peak of its capacity. There’s a slight push as the craft picks up an incredible amount of speed–everyone’s heads tilting back just slightly, as if we were all talking to someone that was standing way too close to us.

“Sergeant Taglund! Return us to cruising speed.”

Taglund looks back at me, then back to the control panel. There he presses a few buttons and lowers the handle to the middle of its range.

“I thought I was a lieutenant,” Taglund says once we’ve slowed down.

“So did I, private.”

“Wait, what? How did I become a private?”

“That’s enough outta you, wash boy! Get back to the kitchen!” I grab Taglund by the shirt and lean so close we’re almost nose to nose. “And you best make-uh my floors clean. You got that, Mr. President?”

“Wait, so am I the President now? Am I the President of the Ship? What is that?” I brusquely push Taglund away.

“President of the Ship is the same thing as lieutenant. Get back to your post.”

As captain of the U.S.S. Tickle Me, Mister, I have to constantly maintain a clear hierarchy of power. If I don’t, I could lose my crew’s respect or fear or, even worse, both. The U.S.S. Tickle Me, Mister, has been journeying through the Narculon galaxy for three years now. We’re a young crew. Young, but wise–and talented. Taglund can play the harp. I can jump on a pogo stick for five minutes straight, and my second-in-command, Lieutenant Colonel Editor can find a way to repulse almost any female he meets. [Editor’s Note: You’ve made me hate the wonders of space.]

We cross through one of the universe’s most treacherous stretches of terrain, practically clawing our way through the Xanthalon asteroid-belt. When we reach the other side, we are presented with brilliance.

It's like a box of crayons blew its nose...and then let us all look at it.

Our intel has reported that Earth’s most distant outpost, outpost 451, which is located on one of the moon’s of planet TG41, has in recent months been the victim of countless raids by the inhabitants of TG41. We came to lend diplomatic, and if necessary, political aid.

My communications officer, T.K. Shakura, sits at his console. “Sir, should we send outpost 451 a communication request?”

“Yes,” I say, sitting down in my throne. “Send away.” There’s a few seconds of silence, the only sounds in the cabin being the faint murmurs of conversation and the various clicks and beeps of the ship itself. “Have they accepted it yet?” I ask.

“No sir. They haven’t accepted our request yet.”

“That’s odd. Are you sure you sent it?”

“Yes sir. I’m sure.” Shakura stares at his screen for a few moments. “What should I do now?”

“Try poking them.”

“Poking them?”

“Yes, poke them.”

“Yes sir.” Shakura clicks a few buttons on his console.

More silence.

“Have they accepted it yet?” I ask, growing increasingly frustrated.

“Um, it seems they haven’t, Captain Irion.” Shakura says. I look to Editor.

“You think we should message them, maybe? Ask why they haven’t accepted our request?”

“You don’t want to look desperate,” Editor says, shrugging slightly.

“You’re right. I didn’t even think of that! Damn it!” I slam my fist down on my throne’s arm rest. Not realizing that that’s also where most of the ship’s weapons triggers are, I accidentally launch two or three dozen rockets at outpost 451. The cabin explodes into horrified gasps and panicked wailing. “What?!” I scream, looking down at my throne. “Why would they put the triggers there?! THEY KNOW THAT’S WHERE I SLAM MY FIST!” I sit for a moment, thinking over all my options. “Editor, fire someone.”

“What?”

“Fire someone. Somebody’s got to take the fall. Just do it.”

Shakura, his eyes still on the communications screen, calls to me. “Captain! It seems they’ve responded to our request.”

“And?” I ask, leaning over my throne’s arm, awaiting Shakura’s response.

“They denied it.”

“Snickerdoodles,” I sigh. Exasperated, I rest my head against the back of my throne and, forgetting that there’s a button back there too, inadvertently activate Shakura’s ejector seat, sending him into the inky vacuum of space. More screams. There’s something new in this chaos, however–anger. “Well that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense,” I say to myself as I look from the back of my throne to Shakura’s now vacant console. “Why is there an ejection seat in a space ship?

Several of the crew members now wear expressions of hard contempt. They’ve risen from their control panels and have begun to approach my sweet, Casper-white throne. A cold sweat breaks out on my back and along my hairline–my armpit hairline. My pits are drenched.

“Everyone needs to calm down,” I say. “There’s clearly a flaw in my throne’s design that is compl–” I try to get out of my seat, but trip, sprawling to the floor. “–Completely  not my fault.” I scramble to my feet.

You designed the throne!” A voice from amongst screams.

“Maybe I did, but how can you blame a man for designing something?”

“What?” Editor asks, clearly puzzled.

I shoo him away. “Listen,” I say, raising my hands to the level of my chest, as if to gesture everyone to a halt. “We can still work this out, okay? There’s no reason we can’t be civil. It was an accident, pure and simple. How ’bout we just throw the ol’ engines into overdrive, jump through a worm hole into another galaxy and I’ll buy everyone pizza. How does that sound?” Exultant cheers and laughter meet this, and I once again hear the familiar sound of free pizza washing innocent blood from my hands. “Good, then let’s move on to the matter at hand. Who wants beef?”

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