AND THAT, MY CHILDREN, IS WHY WE CAN’T GO TO SPACE ANYMORE • by Shane Halbach

God the Almighty stirred the starry firmament. Galaxies swirled and stars were born, their white brilliance standing like beacons against the endless night of space.

When the galaxy known as the Milky Way was just the right consistency, God reached in and took a scoop, slathering his toast with it. Quickly, he added extra toppings.

God the Almighty looked upon his carefully created BLT sandwich, and it was good.

He sat at his table and opened his mouth wide, preparing to savor every bite. Of course, the bacon wasn’t exactly kosher, but what good were rules without a couple of exceptions now and then? And besides, who was watching?

Just at that moment, a large projectile streaked by this kitchen window, spewing flame and thundering like that idiot Thor up on his World Tree. It startled God so badly, that he dropped his sandwich on the floor. He ran to the window just in time to see it scatter the heavenly choir who had been harping outside of his window.

“What the hell was that?” he bellowed into the silence left in the aftermath of the ear-splitting passage of the projectile, and the absence of the harpers.

The angel Lyronica appeared. “It’s called a rocket, O Lord. They’ve been lighting them off like crazy down on Earth.”

“I thought I told you and Curliticus and Moronicus to watch things down there while I went to make a sandwich?”

“We have been watching! A lot has happened. You were gone 500 years, you know.”

“Perfection takes time,” God said defensively. “I’m the Creator, I ought to know. Besides, I didn’t even get to enjoy it.”

He thought wistfully of the BLT on his kitchen floor. How long had it been sitting there? Five decade rule.

“What do those idiots think they’re doing? I thought I made it pretty clear that I was up here. They could put somebody’s eye out!”

“They’re not really sure where you are, O Lord. Curliticus, Moronicus, and I have been handling your calls, but mostly we just left them alone. Should we have told them you were busy?”

“No, no, of course not. They’re not supposed to know exactly what I’m up to.” He puffed out his chest. “Makes me seem mysterious.”

“Well, they’re going to find out soon enough. They’re planning a manned mission.”

“WHAT?” roared the Almighty. “They can’t come up here! I haven’t cleaned. There are dishes in the sink, and I’m not even wearing pants!”

“Well, you better get moving. I’d say they’ll be here in less than 30 years.”

“This cannot be allowed. The only way into heaven is to lead a virtuous life and observe all the various obscure technicalities I buried in the major religions. Them’s the rules!”

“Hey, don’t shoot the messenger,” said Lyronica. “You’re preaching to the choir here!”

The re-assembled heavenly choir plucked their harps appreciatively.

“All right. What we need is a plan.”

***

The door on the lander hissed open. The round white dome of an astronaut’s helmet poked out.

“Shh,” said God. “Keep your head down.”

Lyronica, Curliticus, and Moronicus crouched behind a conveniently placed boulder.

Slowly the astronaut descended the lander’s ladder and stepped onto the surface of the moon.

“That’s right,” God muttered under his breath. “Nothing to see here. Totally boring. No sense in coming back.”

The astronaut planted a flag in the dry lunar surface.

“Is the lighting off somehow?” whispered Moronicus. “The shadows don’t seem right.”

“Too late now,” Lyronica whispered back. “Besides, they’ll never notice.”

“Are you sure you don’t want me to put on a monster suit and rush them?” whispered Curliticus.

“For the last time, no!” hissed God. “They’d be back here for sure to hunt down the monsters. We’re going for uninteresting.”

Eventually the astronauts got back in their lander and returned to Earth.

“Splendid!” shouted God when they were gone, clapping Lyronica on the back. “There’s no way they’ll want to come back to this boring old ball of dust.”

***

“Phase two,” said God. “Boring didn’t work, but I have another idea. We’ve got to put a little scare in them.”

Curliticus huffed in annoyance.

“We’re inventing something called ‘space aliens’. I want the three of you to go down there and really sell this thing. Don’t let them know you’re angels. Use a monster suit or something. Nothing drastic, don’t kill anybody. Maybe just a little… probing.”

***

“…and the usual crop of prayers for sports teams,” finished Lyronica.

“Grant victory to whichever side prays harder. Unless one of the teams is on the banned list, of course. Anything else?” asked God.

“Well, there is this matter of space aliens.”

“Ah, yes! How goes the probing?”

“Well, that depends on who you ask.”

“Have you dissuaded any further missions into heaven?”

“No, sir…”

“Maybe if you probed a few more actual people, instead of focusing on the livestock,” muttered God.

Lyronica pretended not to hear him.

“It seems they want to place a permanent structure up here, called a space station.”

“What?” roared God. “This is completely unacceptable!”

The Almighty rolled up his sleeves.

“You want to play hardball, I’ll play hardball. But it’s not going to be pretty.”

“What are you going to do?” asked Lyronica, alarmed. “Nothing too drastic, I hope.”

“The only thing I can do: begin a long term campaign of politics, misdirection, and economic corruption, ultimately resulting in the slashing of science and research budgets.”

“Do you think you can pull it off? I mean, that’s usually the work of you-know-who.” Lyronica pointed downwards.

“Please,” scoffed God, “where do you think he learned his tricks? This will be easier than making a BLT sandwich.”


Shane Halbach lives in Chicago with his wife and two kids, where he writes software by day and avoids writing stories by night. His fiction has appeared on Escape Pod, Redstone SF, Daily Science Fiction, and elsewhere. He blogs regularly at shanehalbach.com or can be found on Twitter @shanehalbach.


Rate this story:
 average 3.7 stars • 3 reader(s) rated this

Every Day Fiction

  • Dorothyanne Brown

    Love it! Thanks for the needed chuckle today. If you live in Canada, you know our prime minister has obviously been on “god’s” side in this!

  • Dorothyanne Brown

    Love it! Thanks for the needed chuckle today. If you live in Canada, you know our prime minister has obviously been on “god’s” side in this!

  • “Shh,” said God. “Keep your head down.”

    Cracked me up. Pictured it vividly and laughed out loud. Looked like John Cleese in the role of God.
    Fun story, and well-told. Enjoyed it very much, 5 stars.

  • “Shh,” said God. “Keep your head down.”

    Cracked me up. Pictured it vividly and laughed out loud. Looked like John Cleese in the role of God.
    Fun story, and well-told. Enjoyed it very much, 5 stars.

  • I’m not a fan of slapstick humor, but I chuckled at the concept of God directing his three stooges angel assistants. To me it read more as a skit than a story. Didn’t love it. Didn’t hate it.

  • I’m not a fan of slapstick humor, but I chuckled at the concept of God directing his three stooges angel assistants. To me it read more as a skit than a story. Didn’t love it. Didn’t hate it.

  • Sarah Crysl Akhtar

    Started out delightfully; didn’t quite sustain the wonderful tone all the way through. God felt a little diminished by the end. Too bad, because I really did love the beginning.

  • Sarah Crysl Akhtar

    Started out delightfully; didn’t quite sustain the wonderful tone all the way through. God felt a little diminished by the end. Too bad, because I really did love the beginning.

  • Paul A. Freeman

    Yep, definitely needs to be read by John Cleese. A fun read.

  • Paul A. Freeman

    Yep, definitely needs to be read by John Cleese. A fun read.

  • S Conroy

    Got a giggle out of this. Love the idea of God living on the moon.

  • S Conroy

    Got a giggle out of this. Love the idea of God living on the moon.

  • MPmcgurty

    “Them’s the rules!” Very entertaining. I actually pictured God running around with this angels and hiding behind a rock. Different style, but it reminded me of some columns written by two of the funniest columnists ever: Mike Royko and Art Buchwald.

    “Maybe just a little…probing.” You should get 5 stars just for that one.

  • MPmcgurty

    “Them’s the rules!” Very entertaining. I actually pictured God running around with this angels and hiding behind a rock. Different style, but it reminded me of some columns written by two of the funniest columnists ever: Mike Royko and Art Buchwald.

    “Maybe just a little…probing.” You should get 5 stars just for that one.

  • joanna b.

    i’m with Jeff on this one. i could see it as a SNL skit and I’d get a few laughs out of it: “the five decade rule, the various obscure technicalities, focusing on the livestock.” however, while the humans ramped up the level of their explorations, God and his angels got monotonous after awhile, and the ending was a letdown. the first paragraph was really a joy of brevity and clarity. 3 stars.

  • joanna b.

    i’m with Jeff on this one. i could see it as a SNL skit and I’d get a few laughs out of it: “the five decade rule, the various obscure technicalities, focusing on the livestock.” however, while the humans ramped up the level of their explorations, God and his angels got monotonous after awhile, and the ending was a letdown. the first paragraph was really a joy of brevity and clarity. 3 stars.

  • terrytvgal

    Cute and fun. Thanks, Shane.

  • terrytvgal

    Cute and fun. Thanks, Shane.

  • Funny stuff. Little disjointed but hey, that’s why they call it slapstick. God and the holy ghost have always been a field of depth for schtick.

  • Funny stuff. Little disjointed but hey, that’s why they call it slapstick. God and the holy ghost have always been a field of depth for schtick.

  • Cranky Steven

    Still grinniing! Well done.

  • Cranky Steven

    Still grinniing! Well done.

  • Pingback: And That, My Children, Is Why We Can’t Go to Space Anymore | Is this thing on?()

  • I love the moon landing stuff. Classic!

  • I love the moon landing stuff. Classic!

  • Chris Antenen

    ‘Milked’ it for a little too much, but five decade rule, you could put your eye out, the three stooges, and various obscure technicalities gave me enough reading pleasure to say to hell with the rules and give it a 4.

  • Chris Antenen

    ‘Milked’ it for a little too much, but five decade rule, you could put your eye out, the three stooges, and various obscure technicalities gave me enough reading pleasure to say to hell with the rules and give it a 4.

  • monksunkadan@aol.com

    nyuk nyuk nyuk!! loved it !! thank you, shane!!

  • monksunkadan

    nyuk nyuk nyuk!! loved it !! thank you, shane!!

  • Pingback: As the Moon Climbs » Blog Archive » January reading, writing and rithmetic()