Space – O – Gram

 In Permanence of Wings, Today's Feed

Written by: Leni Sosa; Permanence of Wings

“Houston, we’ve got a problem.”

“What now?!”

“We’ve just been interrupted by an American messenger ship and Carter here received a space-o-gram from his momma.”

“So? Why the hell is that a problem?”

“Well, see here, you don’t know Carter’s momma. My momma isn’t an easy woman, but Carter’s momma … well … she could scare the bejeezus out of Beelzebub. I mean, the woman would make a sailor blush. She’s got a potty mouth and is louder than a locomotive sure, but she’s just terrifying in every other way also. Last year I remember taking Carter some things he forgot in my car and the woman was over and she tore a strip out of me because I had a stain on …”

“Your point, McGready! Your bloody point!!!”

“Well, she wants him home for the sister’s wedding and you know how women can get. His mom resembles a terminator more than a woman … and not just any terminator but the one in the fifteenth movie only meaner looking … but still… Armstrong and I were thinking since you have close to 100 shuttles in the air monitoring the system and that doesn’t include the research and discovery shuttles and that new tech has now been approved…” (Laughs) “Man, who would have thought we would actually manage to invent the transporter! You got to hand it to Virgin!”

“Spit it out, McGready!”

“Well sir, we were thinking that maybe he could try it out, you know. So he could make it home for an hour or two tops and make the terminator happy.”

“Did you just call momma a terminator?!”

“Aw, jeez, Carter, I’m trying to help you here.”

“Could you idiots cut it out? Fine, give him three hours and not a minute more. Understood?”

“Well, yah, but…”


“Well, sir, it would be great if you could calm his nerves, you know. Tell him nothing’s gonna go wrong. He’s seen all the Star Trek Next Gen and remembers that episode where something else gets in the transporter and the matter doesn’t regroup properly … and he needs some assurance that… I told you to stop watching those archaic shows, Carter! I mean, the show has got to be about 70 years old!”

“For God’s sake. Carter, you listening?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Nothing’s going to happen. I’ve been in it several times down here. You’ll be fine.”

“…but there have been reports of ….”

“You get on those new parlour planes now, don’t you? Heck, you’re on a shuttle!”

“Yes sir.”

“Extremely low probability, Carter. They always tell you the numbers that went wrong and never the ones that went right. Now get your ass on the platform and get yourself down here!!!!”

“Yes sir.”

“One more thing, sir, his momma wants him in his Sunday best. He won’t have time to make it to his apartment and to the church without eating at the time he could be spending with them, sir.”

“Saturday best.”


“It’s Saturday best.”

No, Sunday best.”

“… but it’s Saturday.”

“Yah, but people say Sunday best because of church and all. You’re going to your sister’s wedding.”

“Will you morons shut-up!!! You’re NASA men for God’s sake.”

“Yes sir.”

“Yes sir, Houston.”

“I’ll have a damn suit ready for him. Armstrong?”

“Yes sir.”

“How you holding up?”

“Well, sir. I’m…I’m doing my duty as an Armstrong.”

“Even if the program has gone to hell, right son?”

“I didn’t say that sir.”

“You didn’t have to.”

“Alright, Carter. Get your ass down here and back up as soon as you can. Coordinate a specific time with the transporter unit team down here. Understood?”

“Yes, sir.”

Carter is transported to NASA and is handed a suit. “Thank you, Sir.”

“Carter, why are you holding one shoe?”

“Well sir, I’m actually a little nervous about that, you see. I went in with two and I don’t know where the other shoe is …do you think it’s INSIDE me? Like maybe there was a problem with the configuration of, like, the quarks, mesons, leptons, gluons … and what do you call those little particles … neutrinos … on this side!”

“Don’t be stupid, Carter. Armstrong, is there a shoe lying around there somewhere?”

“Yes sir. Carter dropped it before he transported out.”

“Armstrong, Houston out. See, Carter, you lost the shoe. … Well, I can’t justify just sending a shoe on that thing … the wasted energy…it won’t look good and we have no control over the log. Jimmy…”

“Yes sir.”

“What size shoe do you wear?”

“Ten sir.”

“Carter, your size?”

“Nine sir.”

“Good enough. Jimmy give Carter your shoes.”

“…but sir, I don’t have a spare and these are $400 shoes…”

“Damn it, Jimmy! Don’t argue with me. Are you denying NASA’s elite?”

“But sir, you just said …”

“The shoes, Jimmy!!!! The shoes.”

Carter is handed the shoes off Jimmy’s feet.

“Carter, you owe Jimmy $100 for the inconvenience of having to go home barefoot. If you lose or ruin the shoes that bill is $500. Understand,”

“Yes sir.”

“Good. I swear, with you morons to look after and the visiting United Nations Space Alliance Program astronauts under my supervision, some days I feel like I’m managing a confederacy of dunces, but you boys….you blow them out of the water.”

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