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The Mammoth Space Torpedo Affair

by Michael Lawrence

"It's really going to happen!" exclaimed Rod Lewis, a slightly overweight middle aged man clad in a plaid shirt and khaki shorts, after watching the Earth's president give a shocking report. The Peridians, a race of aliens who reside on the planet formally known as Jupiter, has thousands of Mammoth Space Torpedoes and they're aimed at Earth.

"I can't believe it; we'll be annihilated!" Rod yelled even louder as he placed his palms on his forehead, knocking off his ball cap. "We've got to do something! Oh God, we've got to do something!" Rod's wife, Georgette, a thin woman with a dark shade of red hair, who was watching the television right next to her husband on the couch, ignored his ranting and closely watched the television.

" secretaries are currently trying to get a hold of the Peridian Dictator, Felix Carson, and I will do everything in my power to convince him to rethink this hostile gesture. It's important that everybody remain calm." With that, President Norris signed off.

"Golly Moses!" Rod continued screaming. "Thousands of torpedoes! That's enough to destroy the Earth twenty times over! I knew this would happen! Those dirty Peridians! I knew this would happen!"

"Rod dear, settle down," Georgette said with shaking, squeaky voice. "The president said we're supposed to remain calm."

"What does he know?" Rod yelled. "I didn't vote for him!" Rod placed his right hand on his forehead and his left hand on his right cheek. His face was bright red from all the excitement. He quit all the yelling but he was still panting hard. He was briefly caught in a state of deep thought. He seemed to be progressively calming down; his rapid, heavy panting slowed. His hands slid slowly down his face.

"Honey," Rod said significantly quieter. He, almost violently, grabbed his wife, hugged her, and kissed her on the lips. "This may be the last time I see you!"

"Oh Rod!" Georgette yelled as she turned away from him and ran to the bedroom starting to cry. A good husband should always comfort a sobbing wife, but Rod ran outside the front door instead.

He stood on luscious, green lawn and stared into the hot, glaring afternoon sky for about a minute, half-expecting to see a large object fall out of the blue. Then he suddenly remembered something and without any consideration for his also-panicky neighbors (some of which were also staring absently at the sky) he hollered with his arms extended: "What have I been doing! I almost completely forgot!"

Rod frantically ran on foot (even though he could have taken his automobile) to the nearest grocery store, about one mile away. He frenzied through the automatic sliding doors, knocking over a couple of displays, grabbed a shopping cart, and immediately filled it up with a rather picked-over supply of non-perishable food items (he would later find out that they were mostly canned prunes). He quickly pushed his shopping cart to the checkout aisles and bumped into a couple old ladies. He soon realized that the lines were awfully long and were full of people with the same intentions as he.

In complete desperation, when Rod realized he had forgotten his credit cards, he grabbed his shopping cart full of cans and dashed madly out the door.

"Sir!" someone yelled, as Rod was halfway down the parking lot "Stop! You have to pay for those! Sir! Stop!" Rod didn't even hear the voice.

Luckily for him, the police were too busy dealing with similar situations to immediately respond to the grocery store's latest shoplifting report, but he did get some very strange stares from passing-by drivers as he madly pushed that shopping cart up the road. When he reached his house, without even slowing down, he pushed the cart up his driveway, violently forced the door open. He pushed the cart inside the house where he managed to tip it over sideways spilling the non-perishables out all over the place.

Without wasting a moment's of time, Rod loudly declared "Honey! Get the kids! We're going up!" After hearing that curious verbal explosion, Georgette ran out of the bedroom, her eyes were red with tears.

"Rod! Where have you been! I have been so wor--"

"Honey! Didn't you hear me? Grab the kids! We're leaving!" Rod screamed as he wiped an ocean's of sweat off his brow.

"Where are we going?!" Georgette shouted.

"To space! Where do you think, Toledo, Ohio?" Rod stormed up the stairs to the second level of the house when he added, "Pick up those cans, willya?" Boy does Georgette hate it when Rod gets worked up like this.

Rod opened the door to his four-year-old daughter's room. He didn't see the girl so he madly picked up items of the bottomless mass of dirty clothing and threw them over his shoulders hoping to find her buried somewhere. He figured out, after a while, that she was not present in the room so he ran to the door of his six-year-old son where, sure enough, both of his kids were huddled in the corner shaking.

"I'm sawwy!" the little girl yelled, her eyes dripping with tears. "I pwomise I will never do it again! Pweese forgive me!" Without saying a word, Rod threw his daughter on his left shoulder and his son on the right as he ran swiftly down the stairs while his daughter screamed "I'm sawwy, daddy! I'm weally, weally sawwy!" and his son tried to beat the crap out of his back. Both of their legs were wiggling like little worms.

When Rod reached the living room, Georgette was sluggishly picking up the cans and putting them back into the shopping cart while letting out a couple of tears and sniffling once every two seconds. Rod set down his two children who immediately ran to their mother as if she were some sort of divine protector. Upon sight of Rod, Georgette instantaneously stood up embracing her knee-high children and let her eyes stare vengefully into Rod's panic-stricken ones.

"Would you kindly explain to me what you think you're doing?! First you run around the house like a madman and then you run off somewhere and I didn't know where you were going! I thought you killed yourself or something! And then when you finally return, you bring back a million cans in a stolen shopping cart, scare the living daylights out of the kids, and then declare we're going to outer space! And we don't even have a space pod! And, what's with all these pr--?"

"That's where you're wrong, Honey Dear!" Rod said wanting to correct Georgette's last accusation before she makes more. "We do have a space pod!" Rod ran into the den where a stuffed elk's head hung above the fireplace mantel. He pushed a wooden chair next to it, promptly stood upon the chair, grabbed one of the elk's antlers, and forced it down. When he let go of it, the antler quickly flipped back in place and a low rumbling noise occurred in the backyard. Georgette and the kids ran to the back, glass door to see what was happening. The concrete of the patio split into two equal pieces and each piece began sliding to opposite sides. The kids were happily screaming, wild with excitement.

"When did you build this thing?" his wife asked with more amazement than anger (husbands are always supposed to consult their wives on major projects such as these and, if the husband doesn't, the wife will never forget it.)

"Remember when those electricians were over last month?" Rod asked.

"Yes, they were fixing the wiring in the den," Georgette said while keeping her eyes transfixed upon the opening platform.

"That's what YOU think!" Rod exclaimed as he remembered exactly why he was panicking and headed back toward the shopping cart to reload it.

The rumbling soon stopped and the concrete platform was completely open. The kids were trying as hard as their little fingers could to get the glass door to slide open (despite the fact that they were pulling it in the wrong direction, and the door was locked) to explore this new place under the patio. However, Georgette kept close watch and made sure her children weren't given the possibility of escape.

When Rod finished filling up the shopping cart (which took twelve seconds flat) he swiftly pushed it to the glass door where Georgette remained staring at the cavern.

"Open the door, honey!" Rod yelled. Georgette immediately obeyed trying to keep the kids inside the house, but the little boy broke free from her grasp.

Rod went into the chamber where he flipped a light switch revealing a shiny, white space pod (which remarkably resembled a pea due to the little crevices embedded into it) with two doors, a huge window, and everything else that one can expect from a space pod. Rod carefully inched the shopping cart down a narrow, concrete staircase. He brought the cart to the back of the vehicle, pushed a button, where a hatch opened that looked remarkably similar to that of the trunk of a car. The little boy was closely examining the space vessel, letting his hand run around it and said, "Hey daddy, this is neat-o!"

At that point, the little girl couldn't contain herself and managed to break free from her mother's grasp. She ran out the glass door, trotted down the staircase, and began examining the pod with her brother. Rod was rapidly hurling the cans into the trunk as Georgette inched step-by-step down the narrow staircase into the pod garage. When she reached the bottom, she looked all around realizing that she was really in a very large tunnel.

"What is this place?" Georgette asked as she stood gazing throughout the tunnel.

"It's the storm drain." Rod said as he continued to frantically place the cans in the trunk. Georgette then realized that all this had probably cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

"You know, when this is all over, you're in big trouble, mister," Georgette yelled as Rod put the last of the cans inside the trunk. Rod pretended not to hear as he quickly shut the trunk and opened the passenger's door. He grabbed his daughter, who was in convenient reach at the time, put her in a seat and buckled her down with a heavy-duty seat belt. He did the same thing with his son, who tried to run away at first, but his father was too quick for him.

"Get in honey!" Rod yelled as he beckoned Georgette to come over and get into the passenger's seat. Even though it only took ten seconds for Georgette to get into the pod, Rod was all ready in the driver's seat, buckled down, and holding the steering wheel. "C'mon honey, shut the door and put on your seat belt!"

"I would if I could, Rod, but-Ah, here it is," Georgette said as she grabbed the door handle and slammed it shut. "Okay. This seat belt thing-I have no clue!" she said. Rod, with a rather disgusted look on his face, unbuckled himself to proceed to strap his wife in. The kids were giddy, laughing in the back seat.

"There you go, Honey Dear," Rod said as he patted his wife's seat belt with satisfaction and then began tinkering with his own. After five and a half seconds, Rod was ready for action.

"Ready kids?" Rod yelled as he looked through the rearview mirror (did you know that space pods have rearview mirrors?) and both of the children rapidly shook their heads up and down to each extreme. "Here we go!" Rod pressed a large red button to the right of the steering wheel. Without hesitation, the space pod jolted from its restful position and began racing wildly down the tunnel. The tunnel wasn't a straight one either. It was full of turns, drops, rises, and Georgette would later claim that there were also a couple of loops. In essence, this was a 300-mile per hour roller coaster.

The kids and Rod were screaming with excitement as Georgette screamed in fear. Pretty soon, they saw a light. It quickly approached and the white space pod ended up shooting vertically out of the earth. Rod quickly turned on the thrusts allowing the space pod to reach an astounding 7,300 miles per second. Everybody's head was glued to the seats as the space vessel shot through the sky at this incredible speed. And before you could say "Halle Berry has hairy legs," they exited the atmosphere and emerged into the frozen dark outer space brilliantly sprinkled with bright, white stars in exactly the right places.

"Wheeeweeeee!" Rod exclaimed with excitement. He turned toward his wife and said, "That certainly isn't like the route we take to your mother's house, that's for sure! And it didn't have such a tragic conclusion!" The kids in the back seat were panting, exhilarated from the trip. Georgette was wheezing, letting out an unusual high-pitched sound with every breath.

"How about a little background music?" Rod asked with a rather festive tone. Rod turned to the intergalactic radio waves and listened to a station that plays only Latino-sounding muzak. Rod moved his arms and snapped his fingers in unison with the tempo trying to ignore his wife's distress.

Georgette rested her head on her hand and asked, "Rod, where are we going?"

"We're headed for Alpha Centuari, on the Earth Colony of Schmalacky - I hear it's paradise there!" Rod excitedly informed while shooting both of his arms in the air.

"Why so far away?" Georgette asked.

"It's the furthest away from the explosions, dear," Rod said, still wanting to pay closer attention to the music.

"And how long will it take us to get there?" Georgette asked.

"Ohhhh...," Rod looked at his wristwatch, "about 1,898 days."

"1,898 days!" Georgette screamed "How many years is that?!"

"Uhhh ... five ...... maybe," Rod said staring out the window avoiding all eye contact with his wife.

"Five years!" Georgette shouted in disbelief. "Five years! Rod, can't you turn around and head for Pluto or something?"

"Well, Honey Dear," Rod said, the tone of his voice dramatically changed to resemble that of an intellectual professor's. "If I wanted to go to Pluto, I should have launched at a completely different angle. You see, we're headed in the wrong direction; it's too late." Rod was overcome with grief for a minute listening to his wife's sobbing after he informed her of this terrible news, but he soon resumed dancing to the muzak.

And then, all of a sudden, some dork interrupted the merry beat...

"Here, live from Washington, the president of Earth, President John Norris." There was a brief pause. "My fellow Earthlings, what I have to tell you will shock you but..."

"See, it's a good thing we got out of there when we did!" Rod interrupted, immediately being shushed by his wife, who quit crying and instead was intently listening.

"...will certainly rid the world of its current crisis. The Mammoth Space Torpedoes that were reportedly spotted on Peridian soil earlier today are actually newly erected snack food factories. I hope this misunderstanding didn't cause too much distress to Peridia and to the Earthling people. Good day and God bless." With that, the muzak started up again. Georgette's head turned to her husband and her eyes narrowed wrathfully. Rod returned the look with a confused expression.

"Well, how was I supposed to know they were snack food factories?" Rod asked as he shrugged his shoulders. Georgette stared into his eyes for a couple seconds, they narrowed even more. Then she swiftly smacked the back of Rod's skull with her fast-moving palms.

"I hope that hurt," she said.

This short story is currently under copyright by Michael Lawrence. And it will be forever 'cause I said so.