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A Wonderful Bird

"I just landed on Mars," Jim told Houston Mission Control via wrist radio.

Sunspots blocked Houstonís reply.

When Jim left his spaceship to plant a flag and claim Mars for his nation, Martians grabbed him. They took him to the Emperorís palace.

Scrutinizing Jim, the Emperor asked, "What is this strange looking creature?"

"We think it is a bird from another planet," said an advisor.

Jim figured he better hop around and whistle like a bird. His performance was so convincing, the Emperor applauded and said, "What a wonderful bird. I want him for a pet."

Jim was fed, bathed, groomed, and allowed to run loose through the Emperorís magnificent palace.

Days later, as he lollygagged in the Emperorís well-stocked harem, he radioed Houston. "Lifeís fantastic here. Iím treated like the Emperorís favorite pet. Iím giving you two weekís notice that Iím resignation from the Space Agency. Tell my family that Iím never coming back."

Huston responded, "Martianís love (garbled) pets."

"Please repeat," Jim said. "Your message was garbled."

Sunspots blocked Hustonís retransmissions.

When Martians tossed Jim onto blazing charcoals, he realized the missing words in Hustonís message were: TO EAT.

Story by:

Michael A. Kechula

m.kechula@att.net

submitted at 12:42am

8 May 2009

Michael's stories have been published by 107 magazines and 30 anthologies.