Lost in Space . . .

Responding to growing pressure from the media, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NAFTA) has finally revealed which of the three astronauts was responsible for most of the trouble on board the space station Mir.

It was Curly.

Curly, officials reported, was the crewman who accidentally disconnected a primary power cable (he needed to plug in his electric shoe polisher). It was Curly who nearly caused a catastrophe during the failed supply ship docking. And it was Curly who mishandled the oxygen generators, forcing the astronauts to breathe pure helium and talk like cartoon characters for almost a week.

Trying to put this embarrassing episode behind them, American space officials presented the three astronauts at a press conference, where, predictably, Curly tried to defend himself. Unfortunately, the astronaut speaks little English, and could only wave his hands excitedly and babble something like "Whoop, whoop, whoop, whoop!" and "Nonck, nonck, nonck."

Through an interpreter, the beleaguered Curly insisted that most of the problems were the fault of the space station leader—Commander Moe—who allegedly threatened the crew with a big rubber mallet. Moe denied this, saying "Why, I oughta..." He then hit Curly on the head with a big rubber mallet.

The third crewman—Larry—was visibly fatigued by their recent ordeal in space (his hair still showed signs of an apparent electric shock received on Mir) and said little during the press conference. Oddly, his eyes seemed to bear evidence of having been recently poked.

Asked how the three astronauts made it past the exhaustive screening process for space station assignment, officials admitted that the testing officer "just got fed up with the food fights and finally said 'ah, the heck with it' and waved them through." (Moe also threatened to hit him with a big rubber mallet.)

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Sojourners Magazine November-December 1997
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