Space Rock Blues

Space Rock Blues

A Story by Malenkov

An unsuspecting doughty pensioner finds himself embroiled in the insane machinations of the military and industrial complex after a meteorite lands in his back garden.






























Space Rock Blues








No one suspected, Senator--least of all me--what that darned rock would do . . . I was waterin’ ma tulips in me back garden at the time, enjoyin’ Spring night air, when this darned great lump of a rock comes hissing down from the sky, damn near singed all the hairs off the back ma neck--if I hadn’t bent to pick up my shears--a reckon it would a clean ripped off my head. All a remember next was this darn great whump--shook the ground up like some all-mighty earthquake--and a was blasted clean off my feet like a rag doll.

Well, I wakes up and sees this crater ‘bout the size of a fish pond--where the fence used to border on Jim’s yard--smoke billowing outta it and smell like rotten eggs. So I shakes myself off and almost pees in me pants--if you’ll pardon the expression, Senator. I thought I was burning on fire, see? I was glowing like a firefly: this orange dayglo shine a coming off my arms and legs, below my rolled up sleeves and my denim cut-offs. Course, only then I realizes I’m glowing like the Chernobyl reactor core . . .

Naturally, Senator, I don’t think any more ‘bout it. At my age--sixty, going seventy--I’s seen a thing a two ‘bout the world son, that’d curl your toe nails--man learns to take a little thing like that in his stride, see? So I dusts the peat and tulips off me self and tramps back indoors, thinking to catch tha last half hour of a World at War documentary I was just dying to see on t’ box. Only there’s that damned Friends on. Son, I don’t believe in watching the kind a rubbish that turns a man’s brain to jelly--makes me livid what kids a today go around watching. So I steps toward TV--as I likes to use ma legs seeing I still got the use of ‘em, see? Would you believe? The channel switches over itself just, just like ma thinking about it alone went and done it!

Ya could a knocked me dead with a feather duster! Sure, I seen enough a them Guri Yeller shows to know telepatic powers when I sees ‘em, but you could just as soon told me I’d win the lottery, than said I’d have some of that psycho juice in me own flesh and bones. That’s when I starts thinking, there’s more to this rock than meets the eye.

You can imagine Senator, a thing like that can get a man in trouble. So I tries me best to keep it all hush, hush. As my Ma used to say: y’ought never run ‘round a boasting a things like that--man stands out too much gets in trouble with law abiding folks. So I keeps me nose real clean, hoping the dayglos gonna rub off, and I sneaks about in long sleeved jerseys and the like, telling folks I put too much a that there tan lotion on me face. Picture a bright orange carrot son, and ya’ll get a pretty good understanding why folks was staring at me like I just fell outta the sky . . .

Yes, Senator, that happened the following week. I’d only popped in to see Madge from next door--her little Johnnie was celebrating his sixth--see?--and to be honest son, I really didn’t want ta go. But no sooner did I take one step on the porch when all the lights and gadgets in the house: telly, hi-fi, video, washing machine--you name it--blew like the Big Bang, with bulbs a popping about the place like it was Hiroshima. Even with my old ears son, sound of that fire crackin’ was enough to make me cover ma ears--just to stop myself going stone cold deaf. There’s glass sprinkled all about the floor, little Jonnies bawling his eyes out, the kids are calling for their moms and Madge’s scrambling about the lino on her hands and knees, looking for candles and cursing the bad job the electricians done on the house. D‘scretion being the part of better valour, I figure it’s about time son, to make me a sharp exit . . .

 Boffins down the lab reckoned what did it was an ‘lectromagnetic pulse triggered by me repressed anger, or some such thing. But I don’t go both’ring my head about those fan dangled notions those boys go a cooking up these days. Poor old Madge--she was livid when she got wind of it; wouldn’t breathe a word to me for a whole week, ‘xcept to cuss and diss me for forking out a grand fortune, replacing all them dinky gadgets that’d gone up in smoke.

You can imagine Senator, being able to turn the lights on at fifty feet is one thing but then Doreen, a lady friend ‘o mine that lives down the end of the street--Now, it ain’t what you might be supposing son, that Doreen’s a respectable clean living lady, regular church goer, and pays her taxes and keeps her nose clean like the rest of the good folks around Ohio. But if there’s one thing that gal loves, it’s doing the Lottery. Tell the truth Senator, it don’t mean a damn thing to me--what’s a man of my age to do with the money, even if I wins it? But she was pest’ring me rotten to do a few numbers with her, so just to keep her quiet I takes a wild guess on Doreen’s ticket.

Would ya believe, Senator? That very next week, musta been April, or was it July, now? I was just getting’ into a good Bengal’s game on the box, eating ma lunch--a nice tin a chilli con carne the good Meals On Wheels folks had just brought me--when Doreen comes a charging in the living room like a herd of buffalos--I always leave me door open, the neighbourhood being a safe place, see? Fright of it dumps me chilli all down my lap and Doreen’s shouting and a stomping ‘bout the place, waving this little ol’ slip a paper. Takes me a good ten minutes son, before I finally figure what she’s been hollering about, and loud enough I reckon, to raise hell itself: We’ve hit the Jackpot, she says, some “Millions Mega” Jackpot I think she called it--and a fancy three hundred million, and seventy-five bucks!

Yeah, I reckon it was a kinda surprising, Senator, but like I says, a man takes a thing like that in his stride. Certainly I wasn’t gonna b***h and moan ‘bout it, but it weren’t a thing for a body to go making a fuss about. Course, Doreen spilts it fifty-fifty--which was mighty grand of her--but it’s certainly true that pile a money don’t make a man none the happier Senator, that I can vouch for, hand on ma heart.

Before the fall was out, what’d ya know? I’m being treated like a Kennedy, the King of England, Fidel Castro. Jay Leno wheels me on his Tonight Show--so late I barely keeps me eyes open--and I’m surrounded by all these pundits, thin as coyotes, slitty eyes and tight smiles, yabbering on about the ‘mutative effects of cosmic meteorite dust’ and the like, and radio shows peppering me with so many requests I’m on-and-off the networks like a darn yo-yo. I tell you son, it damn near exhausted the life outta me--not that I got much left in these old bones anyhow. But all these pastry-faced high brows was debating the reasons for this or that ability--which‘re sprouting daily outta the blue. Then some darn fool of a documentary’s goes a saying I’m a “miracle man,” which just goes ruining ma peace and quiet--for all these folks ringing me and asking if I could be so nice as to just step in the church for a quick blessing for a folk’s christening, or a wedding, or Bar mitzvah . . .

From there, it kind a snow balled Senator: word got round like wildfire ‘bout the “Incredible Space Rock Man”--I do believe Sir that was the title of the piece them folks wrote in Time. Then just about every Tom, Dick and Harry was hounding me reg’lar for twenty four hours a day. Marvel even ran a TV series called Real Life Super Heroes, and Armageddon Anonymous ran about saying I’m the next messiah come to bring the end of the world, or some such balderdash.

Next I knew, I has me feet up with a cup of chow, I hears this clickety-clacking on ma porch, and in breezes this fish faced character--A Mister Rex Pinkerton, from Gen Co. up the road. He’s got up in a bowler, and pin-strip, and huffing and puffing like’s he’s run the marathon; breathing something about “Had I been approached by anyone from another power company?” Seemed mighty pleased when I told him I wouldn’t get a notion like that in me head in a month a Sundays. Rex jabbers about some way to make electricity on the cheap, not to mention bypassing those nasty regulators making good folks like myself pay such sky-high rates. Well son, he was one mighty persuasive speaker. So when he asks me to sign some fidelity ‘greement--protecting my interests was what he said--then naturally, I signs up. Right there and then, on the dotted line. Especially seeing as I’d be doing my bit to fight the crippling power shortage, Rex said was destroying the government and letting the commies run the place. At the time Senator, that all sounded like a mighty fine thing for a man to do.

 Tell the truth Senator, as a rule, I don’t hold much store with all that patriot bull--seeing as I did me tour of duty in Saigon, I reckon the slates clean. But anyways, Rex is pestering me so much, my ravioli goes stone cold by the time he’s finished twittering, and I’ve missed most of the Super Bowl--so I figure hell, it’s not like its gonna cost me anything.

The next time Rex is there in ma home, he’s got this freeze dried smile and waving this form in ma face. Which as far as I makes out files me as Gen Co.’s intellect’al property--which sounded like a mighty practical thing to do at the time--and just for ma information, he says, it was one of the them stipulations, in that there form I signed earlier. Later on, couple a these Gen Co. boys show towing this portable generator in the back of a Kenwood, and strap me up to a power cable.

“Don’t you go worrying yer good head about a thing Sir,” Rex says with this sweeter-than-apple-pie smile, “I guarantee you won’t even feel a pinprick. While yer watching the Super Bowl you’ll be doing a fine service generating Kilowatts for the White House, and keeping the commies at bay.”

Said it’d be just like one of those Shiatsu armchairs that go vibrating your parts, like the one Madge went and got after she won the Jackpot.

Well, I got fed-up going about ma place wired up like a battery chicken--kept almost breaking ma neck falling over the darn cable, see? So in the end I just slammed the door on those boys.

I laid low for a while, reckon I clean had my fill of all that sales talk, when this lanky buzzard of a guy in black shades is on my veranda--shiftily checking out the streets and looking past ma shoulder to see if there was anybody else home, see? Before I could slam my door in his face, the man’s sitting in my arm chair, bleating ‘bout some top secret electric warfare counter research they was doing for the Pentagon. Week later, they limo round this big five star general. Imagine John Wayne with shoulder pads and a bigger chin, and you get the general picture of the man. The general dumps his three hundred pound frame in me little wicker chair and waxes lyrical in this amiable voice the double of Burt Reynolds:

“My good man, the American people are crying about the atrocities committed against our young boys in Iraq.”

He leans back, bites off a chunk of this fat cigar.

“Cost of Tomahawks and Apaches these days is absolutely murdering tax payers and simply ruining democracy--Japs are swallowing up our war bonds and holding the country to ransom; inflation is killing pensioners; and India’s snapping up American jobs. After all, isn’t that what this war’s about--protecting honest-to-god hardworking Americans and our way of life?”

Well, seeing as he spoke so fine and dandy, I tells him a body can hardly argue with that.

He puffs a bit, looking thoughtfully, then drills me with these steely eyes.

“Heard you served in ‘Nam.”

Yep, I tells him, nodding.

“Good man, good man,” he says. “Country needs patriots like yourself--that’s what built this country.”

He offers me a cigar--Havana--from this big ol’ shiny case, but I tells him I don’t smoke them things on account of me asthma.

“Say, it’d be an awfully fine thing for a man to do, if you could see about sneezing away a few of those old city blocks in Baghdad--heck of a darn sight more effective than all that street fighting--save quite a few body bags, don’t you think?”

I tell you Senator, he was one mighty smooth-talking general. But I tells him, “Son, me being a pensioner and all, I just don’t wanna go putting me noise in business like that no more.”

I must say, I didn’t take none too kindly when a week later, this Pentagon crony appears, forehead like Teflon, asking me for few skin samples--some “patriot research programme.” Only after they samples half my darned arm off, do I finds out they was using me body to fill them uranium shells for the tank corps in Iraq. Now I can perfectly understand Senator, it costing an arm and a leg to dig the stuff--and there’s all that environmental red tape to wade through as well. But as soon as I got wind of their game I thought, research or no, I ain’t gonna be a part of it--especially as I was fond of me remaining body parts.

To avoid all the attention folks been giving me, I go around dressed up like the elephant man: face done up in a bandages, creeping about of a midnight. I can’t even go on the toilet in peace, or nip down to Taco Bells: seeing as the last nachos I ate browned out half the National Grid for eight hours. Mayor of Ohio’s so downright angry he’s for calling out the National Guard, saying I’m about as dangerous to democracy as that Ben Lading fella; wants Congress to declare an emerging of national state and even asked the Supreme Court fellas to lock me up--says I’m a “walking nuke.” Luckily the gun lobby boys stepped in quoting the Second Amendment, saying I got my right to carry myself so to speak. Hell, even Gen Co.’s lawyers are crawling all over me ‘coz they’re sore I ran off with their property.

Recently, Jim--ma neighbour’s that’s always been nosing about other people’s business--got himself one of them fancy high-faulting lawyers to start litigating against me. Seeing as it clean busted his plum tree and fence, he’s claiming he’s owed half what came from that space rock--and naturally, the Jackpot. Heck! As if I ever wanted that darned rock to land near me in the first place! Darn well used up most a my winnings paying of the piranhas with all those lawsuits hanging round ma neck.

Now if I weren’t enough of a stew for a man a my age to be in Senator, you Senate Committee boys are telling me I’m “un-American”--for running off with the Pentagon’s uranium, saying coz of it, our boys are getting busted-up in Iraq.

Hell, I lost plain count of all the play-offs I missed because of all this trouble, and I don’t know just when I last slept a wink. Reckon the world’s gone crazy Senator, doggone crazy, you ask me humble opinion on the score.










© 2010 Malenkov

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I wouldn't say absurd but I do agree with 'humor' this is the type of post the cafe needs more of (to type a really awkward sentence) plot and tension are wonderful vehicles but no amount of twisting and shaping will benefit a story if all you have moving through it are one dimensional cookie cutter characters. This guy, he's so real I can smell him. You could leave him be as a great study in building a real character or wrap a story around him. This is how its done - building a strong character that readers will pay attention to.

Posted 10 Years Ago

2 of 2 people found this review constructive.


Wonderful creative story here, well written, interesting and unique. Gave me a good laugh!

Posted 7 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

An up and coming writer could learn a lot from reading excellent short stories such as this.
..... 300 million and 75 bucks....
... you haven't been contacted by another power company have you?......

Posted 7 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

An imaginative story that hold my attention throughout and a great character really enjoyed this.

Posted 9 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

I only have one complaint. The man is supposed to live in Ohio and his dialect is a mix of Georgia and Ireland. You might think of English speaking Germans a hundred years removed from the mother country.

Posted 9 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

I wouldn't say absurd but I do agree with 'humor' this is the type of post the cafe needs more of (to type a really awkward sentence) plot and tension are wonderful vehicles but no amount of twisting and shaping will benefit a story if all you have moving through it are one dimensional cookie cutter characters. This guy, he's so real I can smell him. You could leave him be as a great study in building a real character or wrap a story around him. This is how its done - building a strong character that readers will pay attention to.

Posted 10 Years Ago

2 of 2 people found this review constructive.

This was a very good story. I can just imagine an old man complaining and giving a wonderful tale about all his issues. This was a great read

Posted 10 Years Ago

2 of 2 people found this review constructive.

An entertaining tale. I'm new in here and I am assuming I can review the works of someone in a group that I am not a member of. I also don't know if what people are posting are considered first drafts or polished. I don't want to waste time on spelling errors, grammar, syntax, unless it's something really big.

Anyway, since the tale is short and no need for plot and therefore no resolution, it should (shouldn't it?) end with the character's revelation of some truth about the world or himself. I know this is textbook storytelling 101, but I think the piece needs it. It was a pleasant read and the character consistent. It held my interest until the end. It just dies at the end. Recon the world's gone crazy doesn't seem to be a knew thought to this "good ole boy". He's seen a thing or two 'bout the world" and has "learned to keep things in stride". I was disappointed that I didn't get a new insight, something that would give me food for a little thought.

I have to praise the work and the author's creativity, which I admire. I don't read much science fiction, so I don't know if there is anything out there like this. For me, its original and fresh. Some of the imagery sticks: the bandaged arms, exploding home, walking around the house wired, etc.

Good piece.

Posted 10 Years Ago

2 of 2 people found this review constructive.

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7 Reviews
Shelved in 1 Library
Added on April 1, 2008
Last Updated on August 22, 2010
Tags: short story, humor, fiction, absurd



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