Thursday, June 20, 2019

Father's Footsteps

I've seen The Road Warrior or Mad Max 2 so many times I've lost count, it could be hundreds -- I just don't know. Yesterday it was on one of the HBO channels and the movie had already started but I didn't care so I turned it on in the background and of course I found myself watching it once again. It's one of my favorite films of all time. This time was interesting though, I've watched the film enough times that I know it by heart but I noticed something I haven't paid attention to for a long time if ever. It's when Max returns to the Gas Tribe's compound with the precious Big Rig Truck they will need to escape from Lord Humungus and his Marauders. It's a really intense scene and Max has given these people hope for the first time in what is probably a very long time.

Max walks with confidence his Dog along side of him and not far behind is The Feral Kid. This child cannot speak most likely because no one has had time to teach him how because they are too busy fighting every single day for their lives. This is what I noticed -- As the Feral Kid follows Max, the Kid is looking down at Max's feet trying to match Max's footsteps. The Kid follows Max's stride mimicking him and I smiled. I thought it was a very nice detail -- How did I not notice this before?

The Feral Kid looks up to Max, The Road Warrior, he wants to walk in his footsteps and all that and BOOM IT HIT ME. I remembered the scene in the original Mad Max film, there's a moment when Max and his wife Jesse are laying outside talking.

Max talks about his Father:

"When I was a kid... and my father used to go for long walks I remember staring down at his shoes.

They were special shoes, brown.

And he always kept them really shiny.

He was tall, and he used to take long strides.

And there I'd be right alongside him...

...just trying to keep up with him.

I don't think he ever knew how proud I felt of him.

Or how good it felt just to be there alongside him..."

Max disappears for a moment, thinking about his Father. The man he looked up to, the man that probably instilled in Max the drive he now has to survive and what also causes Max to eventually do the right thing. Max may seem selfish at first but he always ends up helping others. So here's The Feral Kid -- We have no idea if he had a Father or where he even came from. He's staring down at Max's feet trying to match Max's stride and one day he grows up to become the leader of the Great Northern Tribe as we're told by the closing narration. Perhaps when he saw Max, this lone warrior, this last hero in a world of scavengers and human trash he found inspiration to be more than just a man in a wasteland he found the inspiration to be a leader and help others along.

I don't know, but it's cool that a movie I've watched countless times made me think and see something new. God, I love George Miller and I love this film.

*Originally written in a Facebook Post in the Entertainment Landfill Fan Club Group Page Sep 9th, 2017*

Tuesday, May 31, 2016


Just don't leave me alone, he thought. Just don't leave me waiting here for you to return. Don't make me sit and wonder when you're coming back. Don't make me be the one that does all of the hand wrenching, all of the nail biting and nervous breathing. Don't make me, you can't make me. But there he was sitting in an empty room waiting for her to return. How many times had he tried to prevent this very situation. The situation of caring. Heart beating for someone else. Who can know, how can anyone know that every time your heart beats for someone else, their's beats for yours? There is no way of knowing. You have to go on faith or the actions of that other person. You can't read minds can you? Of course you can't, some people can read body language but Jack wasn't someone that could do that.

"You're coming back, right?" He had said half-joking but with an air of seriousness. Was she indeed coming back? How many times had he pushed the worry back and back further into his mind? He would worry and then talk himself out of the worry. He would pick up the game controller and start playing and let the hours pass by. By the time he looked up at the clock he would realize that he had wasted the entire day. He had accomplished nothing. He would turn off the console in disgust and make a half-hearted effort in cleaning up the apartment. The trash would be easy, do that. He would run around collecting all of the garbage from each room adding it to one bigger trash bag. He would run it outside to the dumpster and come back in and look around. Vacuum, that will be easy. He would vacuum for five minutes, not even picking up shoes or pants off the floor, he would go around them. There, that's done. Wipe the counters. A few quick wipes. There, that's good. It looked like he made an effort.

The problem is that it doesn't occur to him until he is in a panic. When he is at ease he is too much at ease where something like effort is too much effort. He'd rather screw around accomplishing nothing until there are so few minutes left in the day he has to cram it all in, all the cleaning in a last ditch effort of sweat. When she would come home the room had the illusion that it had been cleaned, that he had been trying hard all day long to make the place nice for them. In reality he didn't give a shit. Does that mean if he was alone he would live in filth? He didn't know, that's why he needed her to always return.

Do not leave me alone. He needed just enough to live each day when he was alone. He needed about ten dollars a day. He could live off of that. A few donuts here and a few sandwiches there. He could live on cans of chili and ravioli. He had done it before but he didn't want to do that again. To sit still in that place, to not do anything but feel air on the hair of his arms. He could do that. He could be nothing but a tree. He could blow in the wind. Where was the effort in that? Did a tree have to think about creating oxygen or did it help the world just by being? Why couldn't he do that? If he were just to be, to just stand there and sway in the wind, he would be a lunatic. A loser with no hope for any future of any kind. Didn't he want to accomplish things? Of course he did. He just didn't know how.

How do you accomplish things? Is it as simple as doing them?There were times in the past when he stood and breathed the air outside and the way things felt, the slight chill made him think about his childhood, a different time and a different place. If only he could go there now. When he was a child he could walk a few miles up the road and find different places he could drift to. He could play games at an arcade with the few quarters he had in his pocket. He could buy ice cream at a local drug store for thirty five cents. He could do whatever he wanted. He chose that day to sit on the corner and watch the cars go by. A purple bug, a red sports car, a white van. He was only existing in this place and watching it happen. Watching it pass him by.

"It's because it isn't real." He says to no one. "Wasn't real." This place is an illusion meant to make him feel alive.

To be a tree, leaning and green.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

The History of NiM Part One

There are times when I take a moment to reflect back on just how many years that I have been podcasting with my friends Bill and Stephen. I also reflect on people that I have met because of the show who I could now call friends. There are many. Sure, there are times that I get bummed. There's some kind of strange longing for more listeners, more numbers. More feedback. I mean what is it that I want? Do I want a hundred people telling me how much they love the show? I don't think so. I have thought long and hard about this and I think what I crave is laughter. I want to hear the laughter. I love hearing the laughter.

Now, I'm not a Stand-Up Comedian and I don't plan on being one. Perhaps I chose the wrong medium to express myself as podcasts don't seem to get the attention that I want or at least the one I do does not. We have gotten feedback on the show, we have people that have sent us great voicemails and I eat it up. I love when people tell me what made them laugh on the show. I cherish it like a warm bowl of soup filling up my hungry tummy. What? C'mon Jason can't you do better symbolism than that? Not at the moment. Just keep rollin'.

There are times when I get really nostalgic for the old days of the show, I listen to how much freaking energy I had. I did clip shows, where we on the show encountered Aliens and Zombies and even Zombie Snakes on a Train. We even encountered the Cloverfield Monster. There's a history there and I look back on the body of work that we have accumulated and I am proud. Look at that archive. It does make me a proud papa. I have no idea if people are listening to those old episodes but they are there and I admit that every once in awhile I will go back and look at all of the episodes in one place and think about all of those hours and all of those laughs that we had during those shows.

When the show first started my Sister Vanessa did the show with us and then much later my Sister Laura joined us on the show for a short time. I wanted Vanessa on the show so badly at first to relive childhood memories of times we would hit record on our old cassette recorder and improv some silly show like Angus Scrimm hosting Star Search or a radio call-in show where I would pretend to be different people calling in to annoy the radio host Vanessa. We had a lot of fun times doing that but I soon realized that the only people that thought those recordings were funny were Jason and Vanessa. When we started the podcast it was hard to achieve that same magic again. There were times when we did and I'm grateful for it but there were also times where it became a lot of work so it was better to move on. There's a reason people say you should never work with family. Someone says that right? They should if they don't. I kid I kid. I love my sister but I don't think that we were ever on the same page of the show I wanted and what She wanted.

I dubbed Stephen 'The Pop Culture Zealot' and he has always been there for the show whenever I have asked him unless there was a Skinny Puppy concert in town. Stephen has always been a great friend and he's also been my longest running friend in my life. He's just a genuinely good person who is honest and can make me laugh. I have known Stephen since I was 19 years old. He was the Frame Shop Manager when I walked in. I was just out of High school and I had no professional demeanor in any way. I was a young punk who needed money for fast food and video games. I had no knowledge of how to save money or how to pay my bills. I was an idiot jack ass that lived in a protective shell. I was very introverted when I met Stephen. It took some time but over the few months that I worked there I started to open up and realized that Stephen and I shared similar silly senses of humor. We made a game of making each other laugh and created some fun ways to get through the days in that frame shop. Good times.

When my Wife and I finally bought our first house my dream was to create my own Home Theater. I had that dream for a long time and it's something that I have never achieved. I do have a cool Plasma TV though. One thing that I must have learned long ago as a child was how to window shop. I used to collect catalogs and stare at the toy sections. I would save pictures of whatever toys I wanted and that became pictures of Home Theaters when I was older. Things that I wanted. One place where I would look at those things was the Home Theater Forum. I would peruse the threads of people who had way more money than I, purchasing high end toys that I could never own. It was there that I found a thread about a new MMO game. A Massively Multi-Player Online Role Playing Game called Star Wars Galaxies. I became fascinated with the thread on the HTF where members of the forum described their adventures. Now at the time my wife had just shelled out a lot of money for our first bonafide Dell computer. The PC we had before I had purchased from Stephen's neighbor for $50. It was a POS starter computer, we're talking days of AOL here people and dial-up. But with our new home Heather wanted a new PC so we got one with a fancy flat LCD screen and it had a whopping 100gb harddrive with 512mb of Ram!!! Wow, now that's a monster computer right there, so naturally I wanted a game to play on this new rig and Star Wars Galaxies was the perfect game to try out.

I bought the game one day and started playing, there was a steep learning curve but I quickly learned in those types of games the best thing to do is quickly make friends that can help you out, tell you how to play the game, where the best places are etc. I joined the Home Theater Forum group in the game, joined their same server and met Grady. Grady would eventually be Mulberry Bill. We had a great time in the game, killing Gungans and Tusken Raiders. We soon began talking movies and tv shows while we played and realized that we shared mutual loves of the same things. Eventually we got on a program called Team-speak where you can talk in-game with headsets to your friends and soon Bill and I were talking everyday. If we would have recorded these early conversations we could have created a podcast. We talked about current films and tv shows and had a great time making fun of stuff. We became fast friends. It's hard to get the timeline exactly right buy I know that my wife became pregnant not long after this and I knew I had Nine Months of goofing off to do. I had to get my shit together, my life was going to change very soon. After my daughter was born I played less and less but I still talked to Bill on MSN Chat, remember that? It doesn't exist anymore. When you are a stay at home Dad you find different things to entertain you while  you do other things, mostly I found things to listen to. This is when I discovered my first podcast.

Leo Laporte and the Screen Savers crew had all moved on to other things when G4 bought Tech Tv. Leo started up this new thing called a Podcast. It was like a radio show that you could subscribe to and download. You could subscribe on iTunes and it would downloaded right to your iPod. Wow, how nifty. I knew as soon as I heard the first episode of This Week in Tech that I had to create my own podcast. One thing that I failed to mention before was that in my years at the Frame Shop, long after Stephen had left, I found a Sports Radio Station called 1310 The Ticket. I brought my own portable Radio to work and had The Ticket on every moment I was there. Now, I had listened to Howard Stern a lot years earlier. I loved waking up early and listening when he was played on local radio and then I would fall back to sleep. I loved the idea of a radio show. I knew that I wanted to do a radio show. Just like Howard -- meaning I wanted to do a long form talk show. The Ticket played lots of Drops just like Fred did on Howard -- drops were sound clips that they would play usually for comedic effect. I knew that I wanted my own drops, I had to play lots of drops.

When I told Bill that I wanted to do a podcast, would he like to do one? he said sure but how long should it be? I said I don't know, 1 or 2 hours? He laughed, wondering how in the world we could find anything to talk about for that long. What I had envisioned was a Drive Time Radio Show that would play locally in a Small Town, the Town of Mulberry. Mulberry was the fictional town in a screenplay I had written when I was 19 years old called Laughing Boy. This was one of those Anytown USA types of places with the old storefronts on main street and had festivals and parades. We would be doing the show from an imaginary tiny radio station right there in the heart of town.

When we started the show, this idea quickly fell by the wayside but before I get to that I want to talk about the name. Nowhere in Mulberry was the name of the podcast. I knew I wanted the show to be titled something about the town of Mulberry but in hindsight I honestly should have called the show TV Talk or something really lame. I would scan the different podcast names on Podcast Alley which was an early podcasting site. It was a place where people could share their Rules of Podcasting and what equipment they used. As I would see all of the different names like Geekcast, Bookcast, Dorkcast, CastCast and JediCast. I knew that I didn't want to call the show anything 'Cast'. Screw that, It's totally lame. So I decided I didn't care if the name was catchy I wanted it to be something different. So after talking names with Bill. I said 'Something Mulberry' and he said 'Nowhere in Mulberry?' and I was like 'YEAH!'

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Everyone hates the Juggler

Another year in the books. So they say. Whoever 'they' are. Is this really the way you are starting this? Apparently so. Either a year drags or a year speeds by, this year happened to fly by like a comet. It never decreased it's velocity, it was time for a new school year at a new school for my daughter. It was Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas in the blink of someone's eye. On some planets time is different than on this big blue marble. So I learned from that there Interstellar space movie. Remember back when it was funny to remember Wooderson from Dazed and Confused saying "Alright, Alright, Alright"? Well, that time has passed because everyone remembers. Do you remember that kid in school that pretended not to know all of the names of the Brady Bunch? That kid was a liar. Hopefully he's in jail.

Yep, time is fleeting and you gotta stop to smell roses or whatever but there's no roses anywhere near me. Some people garden and pretend they are Zen and some people exercise and pretend to have life answers. We all know, at least I know that having a garden is peaceful because it's quiet and you are outdoors doing shit where no one can bother you and when you exercise you feel better taking care of yourself, neither one is an answer for everything but it's the answer to something. Why doesn't everyone do it? Because they are doing other things, hopefully not for selfish reasons but usually it probably is. Perhaps we all know we should be doing something more worthwhile. We should all be doing something more productive, when you are working too hard you are missing out on the roses, when you are tending to the roses you are boring. Nobody likes the gardener and nobody likes the fit person telling everyone how healthy they feel. No, you need to stay miserable and stay in your place, you need to keep on shoveling crap into your gob and you need to spend more time on your smart phone.

I don't believe any of this of course. I'm processing. Whatever kind of processor I have I think it's outdated. I would love to have some kind of octa-core with crazy gigahertz but you can't upgrade in real life. You can try to improve, you can try to process differently. God knows I have. I do the equivalent of seeing all of the icons on the home screen turning white for a moment until finally you see those icons again for what they are. I am at a point now where I can analyze what is happening to me in the now or why I am reacting a certain way. I sometimes think back to childhood and why I behaved a certain way. I'm talking about those times when you do not feel safe, when you are away from home and family. Those times when you are in a foreign place and you know no one. How did you behave? Were you outgoing and loud, were you quiet and bashful? I was always the one that kept to himself, that quietly observed that prayed and hoped that no attention came my way. Did I crave attention? Did I want to be the life of the party? Sure, I think so. I would daydream about playing some kind of up-tempo piano jazz number in front of the whole class, or being able to juggle. When you are a kid juggling seems like a neat thing to do, it's not until later that everyone hates the juggler. I wanted to do something that made everyone laugh and in my imagination I never got embarrassed and my cheeks never turned red. I loved the laughter and I loved the adoration but in reality I was just sitting there in my seat doodling.

When it came time to stop doodling and to start listening and to start doing the work, I couldn't. I wouldn't. I continued doodling. I drew all over my schoolbook's paper cover, remember those? They would pass them out at the beginning of the year and everyone would wrap their books, some were really good at wrapping books, it was like this pristine present that was perpetually wrapped for the semester. For others, they absolutely sucked at wrapping and their books looked like something that had been trampled in a stampede. I was average at the art of book wrapping. When I was finished it did not take long to begin the drawing, a face here a doodle there. Lizards's holding shotguns telling an unseen opponent to "Drop that hatchet, jerk!" or spaceships, lots of spaceships.

I lived in my head, in my imagination. Maybe that's why it takes awhile for me to process. When someone says, "I need you to..." or "You need to do..." and "Jason, look out!" I blink my eyes and wonder where I am because I was just there, in that place in my mind. That land where anything can happen that was way more interesting than anything anyone could tell me. At least that's what I assume. I really don't think it's a conscious decision. There were so many times when I was jarred out of my internal moment by the sound of everyone in class opening their books to a certain page or they would all be putting their books away and reach into their desks for a sheet of paper. I felt like I was underwater and I had just come up for air and the boat was gone. I would look around puzzled and panicked. "What did I just miss? I am sorry, I was gone! Please catch me up on what I missed!" I would have to play catch up, if I didn't have paper, I would have to ask for some from some other student that sat near me that seemed relatively harmless, someone nice. I would ask, "What are we doing?" Someone would say, "Spelling test." or something like that and I would think, 'Crap'. I wish I had studied, I wish that I had prepared. I wish that I didn't feel this way right now, unprepared and clueless as to what we are doing. You would think I would have learned, you would think that I would have changed and learned my lesson but I did not. History repeated on a daily basis and it still happens even now but I try much harder to not let it.

I try. As the new year comes I try harder to listen to the roses more than smell them, I try harder to keep them in my periphery and also focus on the rest of the garden. Vine ripened tomatoes. I always laugh when you see some restaurant commercial like Olive Garden or even a pizza place like Papa John's Pizza and they always make sure to mention that whatever crap you are there to eat has "Vine Ripened Tomatoes". Thank goodness.

Happy New Year!

by Jason Walstrom

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Every single day. Revised.

I know what I said. I said every single day. Everyday I would write on this here blog. Well, reality set in. When I'm not writing here I'm at least writing my story, my book. It's going to be a book anyway. I am going to self publish it. Maybe someone will read it. The thing that's actually driving me nuts is that I have another idea floating around and I kind of want to start writing it. BUT. I don't want to stop working on what I am already working on. I have written things that are unfinished my entire life, I want to finish this one. I feel like if I do, then I can finish the next thing and on and on. It's important.

Write now I'm listening back to Friday's episode of Entertainment Landfill that we recorded live. By live I mean that it streams where anyone can listen in, Usually one or two people choose to. Hehe. I'm not feeling sorry for myself, I'm stating facts. It doesn't bother me that people mostly listen to the show in podcast form, Podcasts are awesome. So anyway, Sigga Bookoo.

Monday, February 17, 2014

The Space Adventures of Zack Strontium and his Motley Crew: Clouds of Terror! Part One.

"Hit the thermals, I need to get a better reading." Captain Zack Strontium said with a particular command. His granite jaw did all of the talking though. When this man spoke he commanded the room as well as his people. He was built like a Byzantine Cathedral made out of Adamantium*. A periscope lowered in front of him and he pushed his face into the scope. He slowly turned left to right. "Mmm Hmm, Mmm Hmm, I see them. Dumb bastards think they can hide in an interstellar cloud."

Ensign Peabody spoke up, "We'll flush em' out sir!" Peabody was a young recruit, female and cute as a button. She was ferocious behind the wheel though and when the Captain said so, she was eager and out for blood.

"Aye, we will. Back off though, we want them to think we have no idea where they are." The Captain pushed up on the periscope and it rose and snapped into place.

"Aye Captain, continuing the illusion, sir." Peabody gripped the controls like a true pro. She flicked some switches on the console in front of her and the ship slowed with a dying hum.

"I would say, Steady as she goes, but that would be a real cliche' so I'll just say, Steady as she goes." Captain Strontium sat in his enormous captain's chair.

"Very good, Captain."

The Stormer was a class B warship, constructed during the great Nebulon war, now centuries later, it was an ancient relic that was still very capable of causing destruction to its enemies. The Stormer was equipped with a battery of 20 Deck Guns, 14 Ion Cannons and 32 Missile Launchers. She was fast too, a bird of prey that could strike without warning, releasing a rain of fire upon the enemy. She was also equipped with a Streamlined Halcyon Drive capable of Speed of Light travel. But looks could be deceiving. Captain Strontium was hoping that once the Enemy spotted The Stormer that they would be too fear-stricken to notice that the great ship was considerably Ill-equipped for battle. After all, she had recently been stolen.

"Drak'Tar, what do we have in the way of weapons on board?" The Captain queried. A sing songy chime could be heard.

"We have retro-fitted 4 rows of deck guns with Plaz-Spammers, sir." Drak'tar responded.

The Captain coughed to clear his throat. "Um, yes that's great news Drak'tar. Now, can someone tell me what in the great Grantham Moon of Pilznor is a God forsaken Plaz Spammer?"

The resident Information Droid, Four-One-One came to life. The Bronze droid was taught to stay in the very back of the bridge because the Captain was very Droid-phobic especially of droids that looked humanoid in nature, meaning, they scared the shit out of him. Something about the 'Uncanny Valley' he would say in his defense.

"Sir, I do believe--"

"Sweet Jesus, Christ! I forgot you were back there. Whenever I hear that Faux-British accent of yours It nearly makes me piss my flight pants."

"I am quite sorry sir. As to your query, I believe that a Plaz Spammer is a rapid fire mechanism that fires explosive cannisters of molten hot plastic." Four-One-One took a step back into place, He didn't want to startle the Captain again for fear of the same fate that befell his Droid companion Nine-One-One. Nine-One-One was an emergency droid, it's job was to alert the entire crew whenever there simply was an emergency. Many times the Captain wondered what the point was, wouldn't an alarm suffice? Finally the last straw came when Nine-One-One interrupted the Captain's bathroom time to tell him that the commissary was out of napkins . The Captain ejected the droid into deep space while shouting, "Burn in 'Uncanny' Hell you un-godless piece of space shit!" Quite simply, Four-One-One knew his place and he wasn't about to get on the Captain's bad side.

"Plastic cannisters? Why would anyone invent such a stupid thing?" The Captain rubbed his chin.

"Is that a rhetorical question, sir?" Four-One-One asked, but the Captain didn't answer.

"Drak'Tar, do we have any missiles, torpedoes?" A chime sounded again.

"Sir, we have 14 Heck-Fire Stingers loaded in the tubes." Drak'tar shouted. "Ready to fire, on your say so, sir!"

"Copy, and you don't have to shout, there's nothing wrong with the com system."

"COPY THAT, SIR!" The com shrieked.

"Smart ass. Okay, listen up people! We have three, count em' three attack class vessels hiding in some clouds like the pansie's they are. They think they are going to sneak attack us, Ha! Boy, would I like to see them try."

"Sir, the vessels are approaching, they are on our starboard bow, preparing to fire!" Officer Mike 'Snafu' Dumpchuck shouted from his console to the right of Captain Strontium.

"Holy Shit, really?" The Captain glanced at the view-screen in front of him. Sure enough, three shark-like vessels came out of the Stellar Clouds like eager hunters that had just discovered a sunken cruise ship full of obese vacationers. "Evasive maneuvers!"

Ensign Peabody slammed the sticks to the right, the great bird, The Stormer dove. Everyone on the bridge gripped their consoles for dear life.

"I don't get it, I had a whole plan. It was going to be really sneaky, they would've pissed their pants. Why didn't it work?" The Captain squinted, wracking his brain.

"Again, sir, is that a rhetorical question?" Four-One-One asked.

Captain Zack turned his head ever so slightly. "Someone eject that bucket of useless metal into the nearest--"

"Sir, they are firing!" Officer Snafu shouted. An alarm sounded.

Captain Zack scoffed. "I hate that blasted alarm, it gives me a headache." The captain leaned forward to glance at his console, he saw several blips on the screen heading toward The Stormer. "Return fire, shoot those Spaz Plammers at them, now!"

Four-One-One stepped forward, "Sir, I think you mean--"

Now Captain Zack un-holstered his weapon, the Hawg Neutron Nastifier 6000, illegal in 12 systems, it was equipped with a molecular de-stabilizer in it's Xenon crusted hollow point shells. Each shell was coated in an amber that had to be hand scraped with a tiny rock hammer from a rare tree that could only be found on the highest mountain on the furthest moon in the furthest system in the furthest galaxy. Each Bullet cost the Captain roughly the equivalent of one S.T.A.R.** Officer's Majesty's Royal Space Navy's annual salary. The Weapon was also the size of a Voltarion*** Tree Trunk. The Captain took aim at the Four-One-One droid and fired three shots. VAM VAM VAM!

The Info bot never moved, around his chassis were three smoking holes, all in the ships walls behind him. "Oh, dear."

"You're lucky that I can't shoot for shit, Droid!" The Captain holstered his smoking gun.

"Twenty seconds until projectiles reach us, sir!" Snafu shouted. "Plaz Spammers are warming up."

"Warming up? I told you to fire those minutes ago!" The Captain jumped out of his chair, "What the hell is taking so long?"

Four-One-One nearly spoke up, then thought the better of it, and stepped back.

"Sir, the plastic comes in big blocks, the plastic then has to be unpacked and then loaded into the cannons. Then there is a heating element added. After that, sir. It begins to melt."

The Captain stared at Officer Snafu, dumbfounded. "Yes, go on."

"It's a process sir. It takes about," The Officer cleared his throat. "Twenty minutes, sir."

"TWENTY MINUTES?" The Captain and Ensign Peabody and Chup'tal, who had until now, remained relatively silent, being the Captain's personal chef, really didn't need to be on the bridge, but happened to be there at this moment because He/She**** was there to take the crew's lunch order shouted in unison.

Officer Snafu's head sank into his shoulders. A chime could be heard, it was Drak'tar. "twenty minutes?"

A loud crash and then another and another. The Stormer was taking a barrage of enemy torpedoes. The Captain, still standing, gripped his console. "Peabody, shake em'!"

"Aye aye, Captain!" Peabody slammed the sticks left and then right.

Four-One-One activated his foot magnets, staying in place but his upper torso rocked from side to side. "Oh dear, oh dear! This is a nightmare!"

Officer Snafu yelled at the droid. "I thought that Droid's didn't dream."

"We don't, but we certainly have nightmares."

"Pipe down you two. Peabody, can we lose them?" The Captain noticed a lapse in explosions and seized the moment to strap himself into his chair.

"Captain, the Plastic has about 14 minutes left to--"

"Can it, Snaff! Peabody, can we lose them?"

"Aye sir, but not without a distraction." Peabody said while never taking her eyes off the screen. She snap-rolled the ship to the left and then to the right.

"Drak'tar, get those missiles ready, screw the Spaz--"

"Plaz Spammers, sir." Four-One-One risked his droid life to say.

"Yes, those, screw em'. I want missiles!" The Captain could do nothing but sit and wait for confirmation. He saw from the view-screen that the three sharks were closing in fast. "Drak'tar, that Halcyon better be warmed up!"

"Aye Captain, it's just that--" The com died. An explosion erupted from somewhere in the bowels of the ship. "--Captain, there's melted plastic all over the engine room!"

"Damn you, Spaz--"

"Plaz Spa--" VAM VAM VAM! Four-One-One was nearly hit that time. "Phew."

"What does that mean? Can we make the jump to a speed that is fast as light or anywhere close to that amount of speed?" The Captain fumed holstering his weapon.

"Unknown Captain, everything is coated in plastic down here, It's like everything has been baby-proofed."

"By the Spires of Backkamonon's Ghost!" The Captain slammed his fist onto his console. The Captain unstrapped and hit a button on the console, the vid-screen grew twice its size. "Snaff, hail those assholes!"

"Hailing them, sir." Snafu twisted a dial on his computer while holding one ear. "Sir, it's some kind of alien language, I suspect they are aliens." Snafu continued to adjust his single nob, listening very closely to the noise that squawked into his ear, he then noticed that no one on the bridge had said a word in quite some time. He turned to face the rest of the crew and they all stared at him with mouth's collectively agape.

"What an incredible deduction you have made, Snaff. Everyone, could we please give our Officer a hand?" Everyone began to clap, even Peabody who hadn't ever taken a moment to look away from the ships controls released the sticks and gave a sarcastic clap, the ship swayed to the right for a moment and she quickly grabbed the sticks.

A chirp on the com sounded and all that could be heard on Drak'tar's end was a, "Clap, clap, clap."

Ensign Peabody rose from her seat and popped her neck. She made her way over to Snafu's station and calmly pressed his console's translator button. She cleared her throat and turned to take her seat.

"Oh." Snafu said. He began twisting his consoles nob again. "Oh, I can understand them now, sir."

He was smart enough to know not to look at the Captain squarely, so he tried to get an idea of the Captain's reaction from the corner of his eye.

The Captain stared at him blankly. A heat came from him, his face was a hue of red that Snafu never realized could come from a human, only a voltarian she-veastasharian lava whale had even come close to such a hue.

"I'll just," He kept twisting his nob. "Put it up on the screen, hehe."

A deep guttural sound squawked out of the Bridge's sound system. "HO, HO, HO, HO, HO, HO."

"Santa?" The Captain said under his breath.

"Did you really think you could out run a Tanarktarian Finned-Shark Vessel? Captain Strontium, you are very foolish."

"There's something very familiar about that voice."

"Ho, Ho, Ho, it is I, dear Capitan. Silar Sinclair, scourge of the Outer Rings and a damn good Pirate, I might add."

"Damn, you Sinclair, I should have sniffed out your Tanarktarian Stench in this mess."

"That would be impossible sir, there are no smells in deep space." Four-One-One said and then took a step back.


"Someone reload my pistol." The Captain handed off his Gun to Chup'tal. A loud clank could be heard as it crushed Chup'tal under it's enormous weight.

"I can assure you Captain, that I am willing to be quite reasonable." Silar Sinclair looked liked a Calivuvian Purple Space Rasin that had been in the twin suns for far too long. The Wrinkles on his face looked like a place where Slarp Rats from the Parlivvian Spice Mines would dwell. "Give us the Rods and I will let you live."

Ensign Peabody's head snapped to attention, she then turned to look at the Captain. She whispered, "How the hell does this space slug know about the rods?"

The Captain merely shrugged his shoulders. The Rods were payment for the crews delivery of a very powerful power converter. They had acquired the rods from an aquatic race called the Phishedrixx. The Phishedrixx used beautiful blonde electric mermaids to power their cities. It sounds bad but the mermaids are quite happy with their jobs. When a Phishedrixxian Mermaid charges said Rods they stay charged for years. It is safe clean power that is very valuable to the rest of the galaxy.