Apollo 19 – Running Low

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.

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.


~ by Simon Tatt on December 1, 2010.

One Response to “Apollo 19 – Running Low”

  1. Brilliant as always! I need an “anti-BS device”!!!

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