Simon`s Silly Short Stories – “The Veteran”

•April 16, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Without thinking, Staff Sergeant Reginald Crawley pulled himself closer to the goat. From his position, deep in the Belgian mud, the veteran of the Isosceles Campaign trained his hijacked Mauser 9mm pistol on the sharp end of the animal. He gently squeezed the trigger and the rampant creature dropped in a heap, like a dislodged mound of supermarket oranges.

As the cordite from his shot gradually dispersed, the six foot eight inch Welshman levered himself painfully to his feet, using the dead Billy Goat as a fulcrum. He reached into his jacket pocket for his hip flask and his packet of Chesterfields. Twelve swigs later, coughing loudly and cursing at a nearby otter, the relieved soldier zipped up his khaki trousers and steadied himself for the long trek home.

 

One could only hope for a glimmer of a chance to look into the tortured psyche of the once mentally stable S/Sgt Crawley. Every now and again smoke would leak out of his left ear and waft its way, almost apologetically, past his walrus moustache and up into his nostril.

 (It doesn`t really matter which one at this stage.)

Earlier that day, Wing Commander Guy Farnsworth had spotted a wildly bucking white and brown-coloured goat, from an altitude of 13 500ft. The rather cocky young pilot had suggested that the Home Guard send out a team to investigate. They did. Crawley was the only survivor of that team.  

Farnsworth had noted in his Pilot`s Logbook that the goat had appeared to be butting people from all walks of life and all colours and religions. Not, in his words, `a matter to be taken lightly. `

His pen had run out at that stage and so the rest of what he had written was indecipherable.

I have it on good authority though, that one of Wing Commander Guy Farnsworth`s legs was shorter than the other.

 

The call had come through to the Staff Sergeant at about 2.15pm on that quaint summer’s afternoon in rural Belgium. The blue gums were blueing and the weeping willows weeping as Crawley replaced the field telephone`s receiver and waddled off to the bathroom, in answer to his earlier foray into a Belgian curry.

After much farting and flushing of water, he left the bathroom and strode out in the direction of Timdon Woude (Woods), where the goat had been spotted. The orders he had received forbade him from divulging any details of the operation to anyone, that included his pet Squirrel, Simon, who he had nursed back to health after it had inadvertently eaten a small piece of meteorite that it had discovered amongst some mushrooms.

 

Amongst the motley crew of pensioners that made up the Home Guard squad that investigated the goat, was a veteran of the Spanish Uncivil War. 85 years of age, and very loud, Grandpa Gimple attempted to disarm the animal using a prawn pump that he`d borrowed from Sir Arthur Wickham – the famous British whale hunter.

The brown and white Billy Goat was, in fact, unarmed but did not like people and especially people who were fucking up Belgium. The goat put its head down and charged, in a sort of Central European style.

After the blood and dentures were tidied up and the forest clearing was tucked in to bed, Staff Sergeant Reginald Crawley gazed towards the setting sun. He sneezed lightly as a tendril of smoke slithered unerringly from out of his ear and up into his left nostril. Oh how he ached for home and a huge slice of fried porridge, which is considered a delicacy in Dryvnnllandudder, a tiny Greek village just north of Cardiff.

 

—————– The End —————-

 

Apollo 19 – Running Low

•December 1, 2010 • 1 Comment

After 37 years of wandering around in deepest space, Commander Pilletjie Plaatjies and Navigator Stilletjie Jantjies were running low on their favourite sandwich filling – pap snoek. The powers that be had allowed them only enough to last for the original journey of 6 days. Now, more than three and a half decades later, the rationed portions were coming to an end.

“Aaai aai aaai!” moaned Pilletjie as he stuck his index finger into the furthest corner of the jar and scooped out the last dregs of the pap snoek. He carefully spread it on two slices of rather mouldy bread, using the flat part of an earth/moon transmission antenna that had originally been designed to relay television pictures between the moon and earth.

“Oh my heavens! The dzar iss neow empty!” Stilletjie had been observing the process and was now quite disturbed by the sight of the empty glass jar of “Oom Kroomjan Se Weskus Pap Snoek”.

Without the precious fish to eat, the two afronauts would surely have to navigate towards any planet that might conceivably have an ocean or at the very least a large puddle that might contain fish or something resembling a fish….maybe even a fish similar to a snoek.

Pilletjie Plaatjies thought back to their lunar excursion when they had used a large blob of pap snoek as bait and it had ended up in the moon dust at the base of the pootjie, being poked at by a large boot.

Commander and Navigator wolfed down their mouldy bread and snoek and gazed longingly at the Earth in the distance, a hazy bluish spot just visible through the triangular viewing port.

Neither of them held out much hope of returning to Earth any time soon so they would need to access fish somewhere else. Stilletjie flipped through his Celestial Charts to scout for a likely location and came across a crayoned drawing of Jupiter. The Celestial Charts were in fact a hand drawn child`s rendition of the solar system mistakenly included in Apollo 19`s maps and charts folder by NASA Ground Controller Deke Byswater-Wettle-Throg. His daughter thought it would be funny to swop the vital documents whilst he was otherwise engaged in untying his knotted shoelaces which the daughter had mischievously tied together for just that purpose…to distract him.

With only an eight year olds version of the planets supposedly in order from the closest to the Sun, the crew of Apollo 19 set course for Jupiter and the possibility of catching snoek.

The first planet they would reach, according to the new charts would be Pluto which of course was total nonsense, so Navigator Jantjies readjusted his automatic  anti-BS device and gazed out of the viewing port to try to catch a glimpse of Jupiter. He hummed the first verse of “Daar Kom Die Alabama” quietly to himself as Commander Plaatjies activated Apollo 19`s port side retro-rocket, which spouted a short burst of flame to nudge the capsule gently into position on track for the largest planet in our Solar System.

DECLERATION
This Short Story entitled `Apollo 19 – Running Low` is copyrighted to the author, Simon J Tatt. No persons may reproduce any part of the story in any way for the purposes of financial gain or for any other reasons without the express permission of Simon J Tatt. Law 6785/67 of the Intrinsic Writers Code of 2010 protects the above mentioned work and any infringement thereof will result in a fine of $20 000 and/or a jail term of between 5 and 7 years. Additionally,anyone who his charged with infringing the above mentioned conditions will be forced to read the entire works of Sir Paulice Riddlesbottom, the late Welsh historian who hypothesised that Lepidoptera are more akin to Paeleopropolists from the pre-Mycean Age. A body of work more likely to induce severe gangrene in the fingers and larynx than to inspire bibliophiles.

Apollo 19 – The Casting Session

•August 31, 2010 • 4 Comments

The blob of pap snoek was moulded to the hook which was then attached to a good few kilometers of light blue SeaMaster high-grade fishing line, careened out over the Sea of Tranquility. On it went, over some craters past the far shore, the line whizzing out of Navigator Jaantjies`s Penn 45 reel.  One sixth gravity seemed to have an odd effect on the whole casting process.

First of all, as Jaantjies pulled back to cast he`d almost fallen over. The sinker he had on the end carried a little more momentum in the weak gravity of the moon.

Secondly, there is a tendency to follow through the down stroke of the cast with an action much like a feeble man being pulled down the road, at the end of a lead attached to a Rottweiler.

After recovering his balance, Navigator Jaantjies adjusted the seal on his helmet and lurched forwards a fraction. *seals were often placed on space suit helmets back in the old days. It was thought that they`d bring luck to a mission. Hence the naming of the top US marine squad The Navy Seals.

The rapper, who by this stage had quitened down the rapping, was prodding the pootjie cooking pot that was bubbling merrily away under his boot. He was keeping a gentle downward pressure on the lid with his large boot. Every now and again he would lift the lid, poke at the abalone and sea-snail chunks bubbling away and sprinkle a little salt (he had to place the grains on the stew one by one since they didn`t fall gently down like on Earth.)

Commander Pilletjie Plaatjies caught sight of something out of the corner of his eye. It was difficult to catch anything out of his eye whilst dressed in the cumbersome space suit and the even more cumbersome helmet. If he tried to look behind him to see if it was all clear to allow him to quietly pass wind in his suit, it was nigh on impossible. His head would turn but the helmet would just stay there, looking ahead. The weight of the seal didn`t help at all.

What the Commander had seen was in fact the blob of pap snoek that was, after circumnavigating the moon via the Sea of Tranquility, now on its way back to its rightful owner. Although the commander was in the way. Pilletjie lifted up a copy of the National Geographic that he kept in an inner flap of his suit (near the underarm area) ((he would sometimes accidentally tickle himself while retrieving the magazine)) and swatted hard at the blob as it whistled past his helmet, narrowly missing his small plastic duck that he`d selotaped to the front as a good luck charm.

The snoek landed in a mushy spatter close to the base of the pootjie. SuperNova the rapper dude looked inquiringly at the mess and lamely tried to poke at it with his large boot. After not succeeding, he gave up and started strumming the opening chords to My Sharona.

Pilletjie turned to Stilletjie and signaled that it was probably time to return to the capsule and brew some proper moer coffee. Saffrican style. Pilletjie giggled quietly to himself inside his uncomfortable space suit helmet. He was remembering the time when during training back at the `Department For People Who Are Not Of This Country – D.F.P.W.A.N.O.T.C for short. In Cape Canaveral Florida, Stilletjie had forgotten to tighten the seal on his helmet and it had nearly bitten him.

The couple waved goodbye to SuperNova and lurched off towards Apollo 19, feeling as if a powerful elastic band was attached to parts of them. One sixth gravity can be quite irksome on occasion.

DECLERATION
This Short Story entitled “Apollo 19 – The Casting Session” is copyrighted to the author, Simon J Tatt. No persons may reproduce any part of the story in any way for the purposes of financial gain or for any other reasons without the express permission of Simon J Tatt. Law 6785/67 of the Intrinsic Writers Code of 2010 protects the above mentioned work and any infringement thereof will result in a fine of $20 000 and/or a jail term of between 5 and 7 years. Additionally,anyone who his charged with infringing the above mentioned conditions will be forced to read the full version of Gone With The Wind backwards whilst being filmed by a nude Norwegian named Ludwig Thornston-Haegelvlakt.

Apollo 19 – The Launchpad

•August 8, 2010 • 2 Comments

This saga began back in 1973….in a quaint west coast town called Tieties Bay, about 100km north of Cape Town. The Plaatjies and Jantjies (pronounced  `Yaainkeys`)families were subsistence fisher folk and the fishing was good in those days. Mr Jantjies caught enough fish in that year to pay for his 16-year-old son to study at NASA in Florida, America. Stilletjie was overjoyed and even more so when his best buddy Pilletjie`s father, a boat captain, caught so much fish that his boat sank slightly and the fish that were in his hold had to swim the stricken trawler home to dock.  He raised so much cash from his haul of clever fish that he could not only pay for Pilletjie to go to the USA as well but he also bought him his first portable electric razor. Pilletjie said that the vibration it made when he switched it on reminded him of a giant rocket as it sat throbbing on its launch pad.

The lads marched confidently into the training base at Cape Canaveral, Florida and reported for duty at the `Department For People Who Are Not Of This Country -` D.F.P.W.A.N.O.T.C for short.

There were 3 crew originally selected for the Apollo 19 mission. The first choice navigator was a chap from the country of Greece. He was young with slicked back black hair. He unfortunately missed the launch as he needed to pee before take-off and as they were all walking along the myriad of gang-ways built around the launch tower, he peeled off to the left at a MENS REST ROOMS sign and remained jammed in a cubicle. The slot mechanism on the unit`s door had inadvertently misread Navigator Psoploulosdopolis`s drachma coin as a 5 penny and since it only accepted 1 pennies it locked the door permanently with him inside as it`s designed to do.

Pilletjie and Stilletjie continued on and took up their seats in the capsule on top of the steaming rumbling Saturn V rocket. Lying on their backs, their feet above them, like their chairs had tipped back and over at a raucous fisherman`s dinner party.

“Tee-enn, naarn, ee-eyt ….” The metallic sounding Southern  drawl bellowed out the count down, the mighty five engines blasted into life and the huge crowd a mile back over the lake, burst into applause as Apollo 19 rocketed heavenward leaving a trail of thick white smoke – part of the whiteness was caused by incinerated seagulls. Often during a launch the birds would be sexually attracted to the giant phallic symbol on the bright red tower and would peck at its bottom (Main Motor bell  housing).

shuddering and shaking on their backs, the two Afronauts  looked across at each other and both said, at the same time, “Where are we going?” Neither of them were told what the mission was, Psoploulosdopolis was the only one to know their mission and the only one who could navigate them there.

The second question that they both asked more or less simultaneously, sixty-two seconds into the flight, was “Where`s the other guy?”

Mission control spoke for the first time by asking them what time they had as the clocks in the control room had stopped working because of the severe rumbling that was experienced when the main engine start-up sequence initiated.

The last words the lads heard from mission control were ….. “Apollo 19 this is mission control. You are now on your own as your navigator has just walked into the flight centre here and he says he has the maps and the codes for your master nav system…over……….and out”

Pilletjie and Stilletjie looked at each other and without a word, they settled the decision of who should attempt to navigate by using the age-old tradition of rock, paper, scissors.

Stilletjie`s paper wrapped Pilletjies`s rock so Stilletjie carefully licked his thumb, held it up in front of him and closing one eye, lined up the top of his thumb with the moon through the forward inspection window and set their course.

 This Short Story entitled “Apollo 19 – The Launchpad” is copyrighted to the author, Simon J Tatt. No persons may reproduce any part of the story in any way for the purposes of financial gain or for any other reasons without the express permission of Simon J Tatt. Law 6785/67 of the Intrinsic Writers Code of 2009 protects the above mentioned work and any infringement thereof will result in a fine of $20 000 and/or a jail term of between 5 and 7 years. The offender will also be required to peel 100 000 potatoes using only an inflatable dinghy.

Apollo 19 – Things That Go Bump In The Night

•August 3, 2010 • 2 Comments

Due to a blocked port side thruster jet, the Apollo 19 capsule would occasionally make an erratic wobbly move whenever Commander Pilletjie Plaatjies activated the `push-to-go-right` button. On this particular day/night, Navigator Stilletjie Jantjies had just finished packing his pap snoek sandwiches into the top pocket of his jump-suit when the craft lurched unnervingly to one side.

“What the hell! What`s going on?” Stilletjie was a little shaken by the maneuver and in his alarmed state, he had pushed a little too hard on the sandwiches and they were now leaking snoek and butter down the front of his all white one-piece jumpsuit.

“No worries, was juss a blocked thingy what did misfire”, said Commander Plaatjies. “Hang on! Here we go again!”

This time, as Pilletjie pushed the button to go right, it completely misfired and caused Apollo 19 to shoot off at an acute angle and spin away towards a gaggle of NASA`s top defence satellites. They narrowly missed hitting FUCKEL (Forward Undulating Captivation Kludge for Eliminating Lithuanians), a now less utilized offensive satellite that at one time in history, was aimed at one of Russia`s neighbours in an attempt to coerce it to stop passing hand-written notes between itself and Russia.

The tiny capsule containing the afronauts now wobbled alarmingly close to Hubble, just missing it and finally banged hard into the side of T.S.T.C.N.T.T.E.W (The Satellite That Communicates News To The Entire World).

Stilletjie groaned whimsically and clutched onto the kettle for support as it teetered dangerously close to the navigation computer`s keyboard in the far corner of the ship. “Why does you always have to drive this thing like you`s drived the taxi back in District Six?” Stilletjie was annoyed and when he got annoyed his grammar and spelling suffered proportionally.

“It isn`t me! Why must it be me?! It`s the blerry thruster rocket thingy what is blocked …..jusslark!” Countered Commander Plaatjies.

The two afronauts were both feeling a little edgy and after banging into T.S.T.C.N.T.T.E.W their nerves were a little more frayed than normal.

Outside in the coldness of space, the communication satellite now had a large dent in the side and its array of aerials and solar panels resembled an umbrella after a brief excursion through an english gale. There were only inside-out bits left hanging off a lump.

Down on Mother Earth, all hell was breaking loose. The poor satellite had short-circuited and now China`s prime news channel was inadvertently remotely hooked up to a small television news station in a field in southern New Zealand, surrounded by cows.

The Egyptian news team`s reports were coming out through a fax machine in the White House and when Iraq`s Secret Service sent encoded letters of secrecy between its internal bureaus, they ended up as spoken words of seemingly gibberish content emanating from the speakers in the studio at Fox Television headquarters in New York.

The intrepid afronauts, oblivious to the earthly goings on 35 786km below them, readjusted their one-piece suits and settled down to a leisurely game of Scrabble. Proper nouns, names, cities and exotic fruits were allowed. Commander Plaatjies stuck his hand into the bag and scrounged around for seven letters.  

THE END

 This Short Story entitled “Apollo 19 – Things That Go Bump In The Night” is copyrighted to the author, Simon J Tatt. No persons may reproduce any part of the story in any way for the purposes of financial gain or for any other reasons without the express permission of Simon J Tatt. Law 6785/67 of the Intrinsic Writers Code of 2009 protects the above mentioned work and any infringement thereof will result in a fine of $20 000 and/or a jail term of between 5 and 7 years. There might also be a penalty incurred of 12 000 Indonesian Sachmas, depending on whether the transgressor is left-handed or right-handed.

Apollo 19 – The Visit

•July 19, 2010 • Leave a Comment

It was a couple of years after their launch from Cape Canaveral that the occupants received an unexpected yet rather enjoyable change to their routine.

It was Commander Pilletjie Plaatjies who first heard the knocking on the hatch door of Apollo 19. He couldn`t believe, at first just who was knocking and how did they know where they were? Navigator Stilletjie Jantjies peeked through the small capsule`s port side inspection window. “Oh Pilletjie, you`d better take a look, there`s a lady in a golden suit floating here by the front door.”

“A what se what?” exclaimed Pilletjie incredulously as he folded the last slice of bread over to form yet another smoked snoek sendwitz. ” A gold clad lady here in space, right outside?”

Between them they opened the entrance hatch, after putting on their spacesuits over their NASA issue pyjamas and came face to face with the lovely Finnish astronaut Henna Si. Henna had been launched on a goodwill mission from Tjalkstaddteronsk launch site deep in the Finnish forests in the cold north.

Commander Plaatjies helped Henna into a more or less comfortable seat near the toaster and smoer snoek pate making machine and offered her a traditional Afronaut gift of perlemoen fritters and a glass of clear fresh Table Mountain spring water.

“Tak vir mouten. Jiddis kekelen grisoutlet huistenbukenstut?” Henna`s `thanks for the food` and `how did you end up here` went right over the heads of both Pilletjie and Stilletjie and they looked a little bemused for a second or two but quickly recovered.

“Ooh my goodness. Finland certainly dresses its astronauts very modern ne! Look at your suit. Gold with long black boots and a black patch on your upper arm. And that helmet! I does want one like that!”

Henna removed her helmet and her long locks of golden brown hair floated weightless in the confines of the tiny Apollo 19 capsule. For a moment neither Commander Plaatjies nor Navigator Jantjies could see each other or any of the instruments due to the sheer volume of astronaut Henna`s hair.

Pulling a Finnish/English phrase book from a small well hidden pocket in her upper tunic she carefully read an obviuosly prepared piece…..” I amk sanking you bowss for haffinking me ontbort yorr spaze ship in ziss memeryable okashunt. Our too kuntrees are ass wun in ziss famuss missions ja. I prezents youz bowss wif zis likkle gift wat iss mayt frum rain-deer antler. Here…” Henna handed the commander a little carved figure of a minature DJ`s scratch turntable, complete with minature needle. “Ziss siknifyz ze revolution off muzik vitch bringz toogezzer bowss hour kuntrees ja!”

Navigator Stilletjie Jantjies was more than a little moved and a small tear of gratitude and proudness welled up and spilled down his cheek. “Ag thank you so much your highness….er your goodness …..no, your….. ag just thank you for this lekker present ne!”

They both hugged Henna warmly and with a touch of gentlemanliness, they turned their backs as Henna Si shed her golden suit and donned her one-piece pink tight-fitting outfit for the return journey – a traditional Finnish colour for return journeys started by Cardinal Pink of the Royal Finnish Church of Father Christmases back in 1765.

As the hatch closed once again on Apollo19 the two afronauts waved goodbye and kept waving as Henna Si receded into the dark emptiness of eeyowter spays and finally disappeared towards the deep blue glow of Mother Earth. Neither Commander Plaatjies nor Navigator Jantjies had any idea how she arrived in space or returned. They hadn`t seen a spacecraft of any kind and assumed that Finland was streets ahead as far as space transport was concerned and left it at that.

DECLERATION
This Short Story entitled “Apollo 19 – The Visit” is copyrighted to the author, Simon J Tatt. No persons may reproduce any part of the story in any way for the purposes of financial gain or for any other reasons without the express permission of Simon J Tatt. Law 6785/67 of the Intrinsic Writers Code of 2009 protects the above mentioned work and any infringement thereof will result in a fine of $20 000 and/or a jail term of between 5 and 7 years and/or a 3 month term of walking backwards through a patch of stinging nettles of which the location is to be decided by the eldest member of the GustyGig tribe of southern Borneo.

Apollo 19 – Some More Bits

•June 30, 2010 • Leave a Comment

As the last remnants of dust settle around Apollo 19 two shapes are outlined against the bright uniformness of the lunar landscape. The one-sixth gravity causes Commander Plaatjies to stutter forwards as if he`s attached to a giant elastic band which is anchored some distance behind him. Alongside, Navigator Jaantjies cluthches his fishing rod and carefully wrapped smoked snoek sandwiches and saunters out onto the shoreline of the Sea of Tranquility.

Over to their left they see the figure of a bopping and jiving hipster who is rapping to some mean beats. He has the pootjie bubbling away over the fire in front of him and with his collar turned up a notch, starts shimmying and bopping to the dialogue that he`s delivering … “Yo yo yo …. I is spiritual believable never cramping your cathederal clutching your corona with the air of my sharona now. Hippity hoppity over the luna rockity to replenish and to cherish all the fish for all the families, believe that I is and will not dis the fish on this great earth dish …..Yo the world.”

Stilletjie Jaantjies glanced over at his Commander and then back at the rapper. The beat, still grooving out of the thin luna air wafted over the afronauts. Pilletjie was the first to feel it. His knee started a kinda small Elvis rebellion of its own and then his shoulders twitched and soon, all of the commander was feeling it. Navigator Stilletjie Jaantjies took the fishing rod, stepped back slightly and positioned the rod far over his right shoulder. With a deft flicking action (as deft as one can get on the moon), he whipped the rod forward and at the same moment pressed the `auto cast` button on the hand grip. One sixth gravity slowed the action somewhat but the cast was launched and off went the hook, sinker and moisten ball of pap snoek on its journey over the Sea of Tranquility. Stilletjie was quite sure that his grandfathers advice that `to catch a snoek you need a snoek` was the best advice ever. 

DECLERATION
This Short Story entitled “Apollo 19 – Some More Bits” is copyrighted to the author, Simon J Tatt. No persons may reproduce any part of the story in any way for the purposes of financial gain or for any other reasons without the express permission of Simon J Tatt. Law 6785/67 of the Intrinsic Writers Code of 2009 protects the above mentioned work and any infringement thereof will result in a fine of $20 000 and/or a jail term of between 5 and 7 years. Transgressors may also find themselves coated with Bovril and towed very slowly behind a motorboat off the Great Barrier Reef for a period of no less than 3 weeks.

 
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