Greetings! We had an idea for a short story the other week, so decided to blast it out ASAP before the idea dwindled and we never got it completed. As you’d expect from us, this is completely ridiculous, doesn’t make sense, isn’t supposed to be taken seriously, but we do hope you enjoy! We also plan to write a few more short stories soon, so watch this space.
The First Reporter on the Moon
Synopsis: A lunatic decides the future of journalism is from the Moon, so sets out to be the first reporter beaming down intergalactic space stories from his Moon-based media hub. Revelations await.
Craig Miller awoke one morning and knew his life’s goal was to be the first reporter on the Moon. He leapt from bed and rushed to the kitchen, his wife (still passed out half-drunk) remained motionless, but snoring uproariously, at the kitchen table. For Miller’s part, his almighty hangover didn’t bother him. The couple had argued in frenzied fashion the previous night, spittle flying into each other’s faces as they roared about who got the last piece of ham and pineapple pizza. It was a common occurrence. Terrible.
Terrible and predictable enough to warrant a change in career? No, for Miller was already a reporter for the local newspaper (the Bolton Herald, of Greater Manchester). It was a tough gig. The pay was poor. He was sick of writing about cats stuck up trees, chavs smashing up stuff, and other such calamity and woe. He needed a change. He wanted to leave his mark, not on the world, but the grey spherical disc up in the night’s sky, the object responsible for casting a pale hue across the Earth during eventide. That enigmatic blob… what was happening up there? Day-to-day there must be more action and activity than in his dismal neck of the woods. It would be exhilarating to float across the Moon and report on happenings the likes of which would be out of this world.
Sure, the Americans had been up there. They bounced about, brought back Moon rocks, but they didn’t travel far and wide! They didn’t find aliens, they didn’t uncover hidden reservoirs of liquid gold, or titillating titbits to fill gossip columns – they trundled about, made a botch job of it, then came back to Earth and were celebrated as heroes. That, Miller thought, was an abomination. A great injustice! But, with his journalistic might, he knew he could change all that. He knew he could go to the Moon.
Miller decided to build a spaceship. It seemed easy enough. He researched it online and came across some big and complicated words. He turned to a dictionary. “Hmmmm,” mused Miller, “Where can I buy a combustion engine? How about some rockets?” It was a tough call. Where does one purchase equipment for intergalactic space travel? All he knew was he needed to attach a rocket to something and then steer it towards the Moon. That’s all. It was so simple, why hadn’t any other journalists ever thought of this?
Of course, as the months ticked by, Miller’s marriage collapsed. Susan had berated him in drunken fits of rage. The ham and pineapple pizzas mounted up, some going stale in one corner of their home. Rats visited, saw the raging arguments, and fled in terror. The gist of Susan’s relentless remonstrations went along the lines of: “You stupid ****ing ****!” Miller shrugged it off like a man, calling his wife a “Stupid bint!” and drinking heavily to drown out her whining. More ham and pineapple pizza. More woe.
Miller, deep down, certainly had reservations about his mission. What if the rocket blew up? Was he prepared to get himself killed in the name of sleazy tabloid fodder from outer space? He’d thought about it for a few minutes, but visions of fame and fortune flooded his mind. He could see his Moon base being visited by extravagantly beautiful space aliens of multiple genders, myriad tentacles waving about seductively as a voice akin to a thousand maidens screeching his name telepathically pulled him into immortal rapture. God, yes, he wanted space babes!
He’d told this to Susan, of course, at which point she filed for divorce. Miller didn’t care. “To Hell with her!” he’d told the judge, who had no issues with processing the paperwork and informing the amateur astronaut: “You’re a dangerous man with potentially dangerous mental instability, I’ve placed an advisory claim to local authorities in order to detain you for the health and safety of the wider public.”
Miller now had to move fast. To avoid going to jail, or a mental institute, he had to get up onto the Moon ASAP and start beaming his cutting edge reportage back to Earth. Only then would Susan and the local authorities, upon gawking at titillating gossip regarding alien orgies and other antics, realise Miller was a pioneer – he, Craig Miller, was a name every human being would remember!
His experimentations with rockets intensified from his lab – the back garden of his terraced home. Thrice he had unsuccessful enterprises: one exploded on the landing pad, another went up 10ft, stopped, then plonked back to the ground, whilst the third soared 200ft into the air! Miller roared with excitement, accidentally jamming the self-destruct button in the process and covering his local neighbourhood with flaming debris. The police weren’t best pleased about that, so Miller packed his bags and equipment. He went into hiding in the nearby hills to work on his final, magnificent space rocket.
When the day came to launch, he was certain in his convictions. For the last time, he returned to his home and gathered victuals, several books, his laptop, an internet dongle, and a comb. Leaving the property, he then torched it to the ground with a canister of petrol and a naked flame. The subsequent fire latched onto various nearby houses, but Miller cared not a jot. His objectives were far superior to the raging inferno he left behind.
Returning to the hilly landscape, he stared with joy at the erect space rocket standing proudly on this hilltop. He beat his chest and bellowed, pumping himself up for the journey ahead. He was going to the Moon! A fan of Superman, he had donned analogous garb – his underpants around the outside of a humble onesie, he climbed onto a soap box in order to address the sweeping countryside before him.
He had invited the local press, but no one had turned up – Miller realised he may not be appreciated in his time, but knew glory awaited… perhaps a Pulitzer Prize! The very idea made him swell with pride, so it was with much vigour that he delivered his speech:
“Greetings, one and all! I am to leave these fair parts to reach the heights of reportage that has nary been seen on this planet, for it is too boring. Cats stuck up trees? I laugh at this endeavour in the knowledge I am about to discover cyborgs the size of mountains stuck up nuclear reactors that have the intellectual capacity of a billion Albert Einsteins! Some may laugh as of now, or call me dangerously insane, but I shall have the last laugh when I'm bathing in space money and fawned over by a trillion strong following of mighty alien overlords! But why do I do this? Why do I choose the Moon? I choose to go to the Moon in this instant, not because good journalism is sleazy, but because it is barred! Who bars it? Loony lefty, PC, freedom of speech, nanny state denying socialists! I shall watch from the Moon as the planet BURNS due to the injustices brought about by the Communists! Now, we shall hold a minute’s silence in the name of all that is pure and good, especially...”
He pauses here to laugh in the joy brought about by the unadulterated magnificence of his mission:
“ESPECIALLY the type of intergalactic dribble I shall peddle to you in the name of entertaining news coverage. Forthwith, a minute’s silence!”
With tears streaming down his face during those long 60 seconds, Craig Miller acknowledged its end by clapping ferociously and patting himself around the back in congratulations. Then, to ensure his nerves didn’t fail him, he cracked open a 35cl bottle of vodka and chugged the lot in one go.
Fighting the urge to puke, after a few moments of almost barfing the delirious confidence boost was just what he needed! It was time for liftoff! He prepared his spacesuit and noted what a pretty, sunny day it was. Then, he clambered into the 10 foot by 3 foot elongated tube, the rustic clank of metal and steel setting off his nerves, but the booze was kicking in and he felt good.
Bellowing Kylie Minogue’s hit single I Should Be So Lucky at the top of his lungs, he initiated the 10 second liftoff sequence and began roaring with laughter as the thruster boosters ignited and Miller’s earthly form was evacuated into the atmosphere at 300 km a second. His spaceship juddering wildly around him, it surged upwards in a cacophony of noise, blistering out of the Earth’s ozone layer, out of the orbit, and on towards the Moon.
At this point, Miller knew that he had been wise to consult the Beginner’s Guide to Physics before charting his course: “Without that bad boy,” he gasped in a state of drunken elation, “I’d have been stuck on that planet with no goddamn freedom of speech!” He laughed heartily as, the Moon clear in his vision (despite his helmet visor steaming up with sweat, condensation, and Miller having wet himself) seemingly zoomed towards him.
This spherical orb wanted to meet him; it beckoned him on closer as the vastness of the Universe embraced Craig Miller to its bosom and welcomed him into the transmundane nature of reality. “Billions of stars asunder, swept before me in glorious serendipity!” he screamed between bouts of tears, a line he’d penned by his own hand back on that insignificant planet called Earth. He wasn’t sure what some of those words meant, but the sentiment was pure, even despite the stench of urine filling his nostrils.
After three days of wetting and fouling himself, due to not having included a toilet onboard his craft, Miller was approaching the Moon. It had been an uneventful journey, asides from the frequent need to use the toilet.
As of yet, he hadn’t spotted any aliens, but he had written a piece called, “Travelling In Space is Smoking Hot!” He was also conjuring up the concept of the Page 3 alien, intended to set interplanetary pulses racing with racy images of aliens baring all. The very thought sent a shiver down Miller’s spine, although it could well have been due deep vein thrombosis developing throughout his body. Indeed, his hands were starting to turn blue. He cackled in excitement.
Luckily, he was nearing the end of his mission. The Moon loomed before him like a giant grey disc… it really was quite a barren and featureless place, but it wasn’t a time for second thoughts! As he entered the Moon’s orbit, he fired up the thrusters and spiralled downward. His intention had always been to crash land, seeing as he wouldn’t need to return to Earth. The craft juddering wildly, he steadied it deftly whilst travelling at 1,000 mph, veering above the dusty landscape looking for a decent place to call his home. “There’s the bastard! Tally ho!” he screamed, bringing the ship to a thunderous, barrel rolling crash into the surface. He’d spotted a grey bit he liked, but overshot by 500 miles. As his craft disintegrated, he was thrown clear and floated safely to the surface, with nary a scratch on his bonce. Mission accomplished.
He landed in a heap on the Moon’s surface. After a dizzying few moments, he cautiously stood up, dusted himself down, looked around quizzically, then pulled forth the shotgun he’d stashed to the side of his spacesuit. He was aware the aliens could be hostiles, potentially even Communists or, worse, socialists with a framework of society designed to favour the many rather than the few. If this were the case, he was determined to annihilate the “Space Scum” (as he’d dubbed them) in pursuit of marauding aliens hell-bent on die-hard conservative values. The very ones who’d adore his half-nude aliens on Page 3. Miller shed a patriotic tear. “I’ve done it!” he screamed to the Moon, “I’VE DONE IT!”
After several cursory days scouring the nearby vicinity, Miller located his demolished craft, but no aliens materialised. There were, primarily, just rocks and grey dust. Undeterred, his enthusiasm ensured he quickly made a makeshift home from the rubble of the spaceship. He fired up his laptop. He’d created his news site, The Daily Disaster, back on Earth and was ready to begin publishing Moon stories immediately. He jammed the internet dongle into the laptop, but it failed to work. After half an hour, he decided it must be installing itself – he’d come back later to finish a story.
He busted open a canister of oxygen and attached it to his suit, replacing the depleted one. Then he stood up, prepped his paparazzi camera, and headed out into the wilderness – “I shall find the news!” he announced, “No matter how depraved and scandalous it may be, humans deserve to know the truth about slobbering alien sex lives!”
A week passed. 5 oxygen canisters into his supply, Miller felt a twinge of pessimism creeping into his outlook. Other than rocks and dust, there wasn’t much else – no scantily clad alien beings, no Space Scum, no anything. He began setting off distress flares, not due to any real distress, but in an attempt to attract the attention of passing alien spacecraft. Next, he scrawled GET IT HERE! ALIEN HOT STUFF! in 20 foot letters across his base camp. Still nothing. Not a goddamn thing.
“I know they’re out there!” he quivered angrily, “Bring on the space babes…” But there didn’t seem to be such a thing. No matter how far and wide he trudged, the Moon appeared to be desolate; bleak, lonely, and pretty goddamn boring. He started to feel woozy. This wasn’t panning out as he’d envisaged.
After a fortnight of trudging, he returned to his laptop. The power had gone after the battery failed – the device clogged with Moon dust. Miller swore bitterly. He merely had a stash of several hundred oxygen canisters and was subsisting off raw instant noodles. Malnourished and weak, he confusedly sat himself down – he wasn’t willing to be defeated just yet. Perhaps if he just rested up and watched the stars the news would come to him?
So he lay down and rested. He drifted. Into the starry world of sleep he twisted, utterly convinced the aliens would come to find him. It was a certainty. Nothing else could be as pure as his plans. Not even naked aliens.
A voice sounded out. Except it wasn’t a voice. Miller couldn’t make out quite what it was. Over minutes, then hours, he attempted to discern its meaning – the sound was akin to a thousand whales singing angelic melodies, merged with the cacophonic intensity of the Universe speaking to itself through whispers as loud as time. Miller wasn’t even sure what that meant, but it’s the only explanation he could think of.
After days of this, he a burgeoning intuition. The sounds started to make sense. “Human” it appeared to be announcing. “It”? What was this? Were the FBI on his case? Or was it the Communists playing games on him!?
It was there again, quite clear in his mind. A resonating tone of no Earthly qualities – it was more a sensory communication through his amygdala and hippocampus. Whatever, his brain reverberated with each intonation, as if a hippopotamus was joy riding through his thoughts.
“Human! You are TRESPASSING on private property. Please vacate this vicinity.”
Miller stood up and looked around in confusion. There was no one else on this thing with him! What was this all about?
“Who goes there?!” he roared. “I say!” he added, for a surly British flourish. There was a silence of four hours. Whomever this was, it clearly wasn’t in a hurry. Then, the noise again!
“Human! You are trespassing on me! Vacate immediately and, post haste, Earth you will make your return to.”
Miller was sick of this and angrily waved an arm around in zero gravity. “Who is that!? Show yourself immediately!”
“Human, you have been trudging about on me for weeks. I tire of this incessant tickling and your moronic pontificating. Vacate immediately.”
Miller wondered to himself if he was hallucinating due to a lack of CO2.
“Human, you are not hallucinating due to a lack of CO2, you are in discussion with an astronomical body commonly found orbiting the planet known as Earth.”
Miller didn’t believe any of this crap. The Communists were messing with him!
“Human, the only Communists who have been near me are the cosmonauts who have flown around my orbit, plus the occasional probe they send up here.”
“What… you’re the Moon?! That isn’t possible. The Moon is a lifeless ball of rock. You can’t talk.”
“It is true I remain one of the less vibrant objects in the Solar System. But you can address me by my name, human, as I address you by yours. I remind you of your trespassing status.”
Miller staggered slightly, then sat on the ground. “By your name? You’re the Moon.”
“It is not my name, human, that is one your species decided upon.”
Sensing the meteoric grandeur of the situation, Miller realised affecting a Shakespearean tone was in suiting for the situation. He hadn’t read Shakespeare in over 20 years, but by dumping in genre tropes he felt he could promote a sophisticated air: “Why doth you not like the name bestowed upon you, oh Moon?”.
“It is acceptable, but it lacks the graceful intricacies of my real name.”
“What is your real name, oh Moon?”
“Oh… well, that’s erm… that’s quite the coincidence.”
“What is a coincidence, human?”
“Well… your name is remarkably similar to the one we bestowed upon you.”
“My name is not remotely similar, human.”
“Well, it is, I mean… Moon… Boon… same syllable, same structure, two oos in the middle of the thing. They even rhyme, you know?”
“Human, I do not concur with such an assessment.”
“Look, I’m just saying that Boon is remarkably close to Moon, don’t take it…”
“It is not remotely close, human! Do not create spurious truths. This is a problem with your species. Boon is an entirely different sound to Moon.”
“Surely you can acknowledge the coincidence here, are you really going to be this obstinate?”
“How dare you, human, accuse the great Boon of obstinacy!”
“But you are, you absolutely are!”
“Human, I demand you acquire a cessation on your homily!”
“You… er, sorry?”
“I wish you to close your mouth in order to stop the production of noises through your vocal chords.”
“Okay… Mr. Boon…”
“It is Boon, human, not mister, missus, miss, or some such prefix. Boon! Not Moon at all, but Boon.”
“Yeah, yeah, Jesus Christ who’d have thought you’d be this much of an entitled prick?!”
“Clean your tongue, human! I remind you of your current status as a trespasser. I would think nothing of obliterating you from my orbit in an instant!”
“It is Boon!”
“Sorry! I’m terribly sorry, Boon… I apologise for my rude conduct just now. I’m just a bit stressed, that’s all.”
“Puny human! Have you not the faintest concept of the stresses being exerted upon me right now?”
“Okay, I appreciate that Boon, and I know it must be difficult spending aeons hurtling through space with nothing to do. But this is where you can help me! You need to understand my mission here was to find space babes and…”
“Humanity! Year after year I remonstrate with myself as I velocitate around the Earth like an avuncular blimp. There’s a cosmic susurration, do be aware, and it is me, your salubrious orbiting body, casting a pallid emancipation across your eventide. For such an effort, what do I receive? Merely the occasional American landing and creating nonsensical aphorisms. For all Boon’s mordant, stoic candour over subsequent decades, what do I now receive? An Englishman out to get space nooky. Human, you debase yourself with your existence.”
Craig Miller was disgusted. Who the Hell was this “Boon” and who did it think it was?! This insubordinate rock was showing a streak of impertinence 3,474 kilometres wide. It was about time to put this obnoxious, intemperate rock in its place!
“Well… I… never!” he countered, “You, Boon, are the rudest astronomical body I have ever had the misfortune of encountering. How dare you address me in such a manner as to demean my presence here! I state to you that you, Boon, should be appreciative of having some company up here, not least as your otherwise daily existence…”
“Human, I do not…”
“… consists of being grey and morose. Whereas you, Boon, are so incompetent you can’t even support any lifeforms! What exactly are these stresses you talk of!? Coming up in the evening on Earth’s horizon? Getting the Sun’s rays blasted off you!? You don’t have to do anything for any of that! Yet you have the intense hubris to…”
“Human, I do not…”
“… go about belittling me as if I’m some sort of irrelevance?! Well, sir, I created a space rocket! I flew it up here! There weren’t any signs around saying ‘Trespassers Will Be Shot’, or ‘Trespassers Will Have To Deal With An Annoying Git Called Boon’ are there? So I, quite naturally, and perfectly within my rights, decided to…”
“… land here and make myself at home. It’s not as if I’m a bother to you, I just wanted to get the latest news but, guess what?! There’s no news on Boon, because Boon is a boring bastard! Where were the guides when I was growing up as a lad, eh? The guides saying, ‘Don’t go to the Moon, because the bloody grey, moribund thing is…”
“… as mindless and pointless as a… I dunno, book with no front cover’, ‘cos if I’d read that then I wouldn’t bloody well be here, would I?! And then I’d not have to put up with this stupid, obnoxious, annoying, whining, incessant…”
The deafening roar stunned Miller into a deathly silence. Communication ceased abruptly. This lasted 12 hours. Miller wondered what had happened. He even went off to bed, confusedly so, and dreamt of his space babes.
In the morning he awoke, stretched, fitted a new oxygen tank, and counted the remaining few. Three left. By this point he’d expected aliens to have granted him with eternal life, or at least some breathing apparatus for planets with no oxygen. Well… he was doomed either way, either by Boon or his dwindling supplies: “This mission has been a disappointment…” he noted, sadly.
“Human, I am not a species, I am an astronomical body. By the nihilistic laws of gravitational, propositional, qualia-based rationality, I have no name. However, I deemed Boon to be suitable 3.75 billion years ago. This is why you must respect that.”
Boon’s voice, which Miller now equated to what it must be like listening to a choir of giraffes amplified 1,000 times over, returned from nowhere. By now, Miller had embraced gallows humour, but was also fed up with dealing with Boon. He responded scornfully: “Oh, shut up you annoying git!”
“Human, that is rude.”
“Why are you being immature, human?”
“Get bent, idiot.”
“Human! Do not be such a… fuddy duddy!”
“Oh, is that the best you can do, oh mighty Boon?! You’re the childish one!”
“Boon is not childish.”
“Yes, you are.”
“Boon is not.”
“Do not be mean, human!”
Thusly, the pair continued bickering like an old married couple. That was until Craig Miller died hideously, due to asphyxiation, a week later, for which Boon was quietly thankful.
A billion years later, Boon, whilst surveying its landscape, noted the tiny corpse still littering its grandeur. It remembered its conversations with the malingering thing. Saying aloud, its thunderous voice resonating millions of miles into the space around it:
“What an annoying individual that human was.”
Turning its gaze elsewhere, it noted the planet Earth bathed in a luminescent pink, a graceful sense of serenity emanating from its cosmic presence. It had watched the alien invaders arrive in their radioactive spacecrafts millennia earlier, one of which was thrice the size of Boon. The astronomical body had watched, curiously, as large explosions erupted around the planet, with many millions of smaller pink craft zooming down to Earth from the Larger-Than-Boon spacecraft. After a few Earth years, things calmed down.
Earth turned a noticeable haze of pink soon after. Then, over a thousand years, it was enveloped in a full rosy flush, the oceans bubbling away until a giant planet-wide city emerged in their place. It was so pink, Boon was bathed in the colour and greatly appreciated its new hue.
As for the humans, it never heard from them again. A pink craft did land on him for three hours at one point in the distant past – slobbering 20 foot alien beings wandered around, their protracted 50 foot white and green polka dot tongues lapping at Boon’s surface quizzically. It emerged the aliens had renamed Boon UOIOX. They even stuck a giant 100 foot neon sign stating so on Boon’s surface, along with a second labeling it as a defunct “space obstacle” that served no purpose.
The only reason the aliens didn’t blow Boon out of the sky was to conserve ammo – there were other planets to conquer. Boon smiled inwardly at this fortuitous happenstance, enjoying its continued status due to a stroke of good luck. It looked on into eternity, gazing across at the Sun as it continued its swell towards a cataclysmic demise.