Seven years ago, in a failed bid to generate a little income, I ran a small website called Five-Dollar Fiction. The premise was this: For $5, I would write a bespoke piece of microfiction just for you based on any prompt given. The story would be no more than 1,024 words in length.
One of the few people who took me up on this venture was Justin McElroy of My Brother, My Brother and Me fame. The prompt he gave me was “Justin McElroy: Hero To All”. I wrote the story and sent it to Justin. He seemed to dig it.
Earlier this year I spoke about the story on Twitter as part of a story about who Justin is to me, and the lessons he has taught me outside of just listening to his creative output. You can read the thread here. That got people interested in reading the story itself, and so with Justin’s permission, I published the story, unedited, to my Tumblr. Typos and all.
Now, a month later, I am reposting it here. Why? Because earlier this week I put out a call to try and raise a little money, and in return for hitting my goal I would write and publish a follow-up. I hit my goal, and so the follow-up will be posted here too. It’s in the hands of a couple of beta readers, but once they’ve given it a onceover it’ll be going here, live.
For now, though, here’s part one of the story.
ONE OF OUR ASTEROIDS IS MISSING
“From the trajectory, it appears the asteroid will hit the Earth in approximately 72 hours,” said the General.
The President placed a cigarette between his lips, lit it, and inhaled sharply.
“Is there anything we can do?” he asked.
“We’ve liaised with several world governments, sir. Japan, China, Great Britain, Germany, France. No-one has the facilities to bring this asteroid down. We’ve also considered several suggestions from Michael Bay, Jerry Bruckheimer, Steven Spielberg, and Roland Emmerich, all of whom agree it’s far too late to mount a daredevil mission to the surface of the asteroid to blow it up.”
“Who’s Roland Emmerich?”
“He directed a number of ‘disaster porn’ films, sir. ‘Independence Day’, ‘2012’, ‘The Day After Tomorrow’,‘Godzilla’…”
“Does ‘Godzilla’ count as a disaster movie?” asked the President.
“Hard to see how a giant monster rampaging through a major American city could be seen as anything other than a disaster, sir.”
The President stood up, and looked out of a nearby window. The view was unspectacular – they were a mile deep underground – but he’d requested the windows be installed so that he could look out of them in a contemplative manner.
He turned to the General, and flicked his cigarette at an unfortunately-positioned intern.
“What about Initiative J?” he asked.
The General shuffled in his seat. “With respect, sir, Initiative J hasn’t even been tested yet. We’ve no way of knowing if it’s even suitable for a large-scale disaster of this magnitude.”
“Well, we’re about to find out,” the President said, smiling.
Justin McElroy stepped out of the car wearing a finely-cut black suit and the most expensive aviator shades money can buy ($34.95 plus tax). He walked towards Air Force One where the President awaited his arrival.
“It’s an absolute honor to finally meet you.”
“You needn’t stand on ceremony with me, Mr. President. I’m just here to do a job.”
It is as this point that you may wonder exactly what Justin McElroy looks like. Mere words cannot convey this man’s exceptional good looks. Indeed, the movie rights for this story have already been optioned by a major movie studio based on McElroy’s looks alone, however all involved in production have asked that he be portrayed by British actor Matt Berry who, while certainly handsome, is just odd-looking enough to make all of the other actors feel a little bit better about themselves. McElroy himself has signed a lengthy contract forbidding him from appearing on set to avoid any work stoppages and tantrums from the actors.
Aboard the plane, McElroy laid out his plan.
“It’s a simple three-fold operation,” said McElroy. “First, I go up to the asteroid. Secondly, I punch the asteroid in the face. Finally, upon my return, there’s an orgy.”
“Are you sure?” asked the General.
“It’s more likely than not. Orgies tend to just happen when I’m around. We’re having an orgy right now.”
“I think he was referring to the second part of your plan,” said the President, wiping a small glob of butter from his eye. “You honestly think you can stop this asteroid by punching it?”
“In the face, yes,” nodded McElroy, maneuvering himself so as not to be kicked in the face by a female intern.
“Do asteroids even have faces?” asked the General.
“My dear General,” McElroy smiled. “Do you know nothing about Astronomy?”
Several hours later, McElroy was strapped into a space shuttle and blasted into the sky. Millions watched the event on TV and via a live web stream. The fate of the world rested in the hands of a man determined to punch an asteroid in the face.
The shuttle touched down upon what McElroy had dubbed the “hair” of the asteroid. The airlock doors hissed open, and McElroy took his first steps out onto the surface.
He looked up at the earth, looming above him. The blue marble.
He looked down to the asteroid. He clenched his fists, let out a mighty cry, and punched it in the face.
All around the earth, people watched in awe as the asteroid suddenly stopped moving towards the planet, instead spinning off into the depths of space, never to be seen again.
“McElroy, this is mission control. You did it! Come on home. Over.”
“McElroy? Come in.”
McElroy had known all along he wouldn’t be able to return. He’d watched ‘Armageddon’ recently, and he’d always felt an affinity with Bruce Willis. While he was right about the orgy that would ensue after the success of his mission – an orgy that would be held globally on this day every year afterwards in his honor – he would not be able to participate.
But there would be other planets. And, more importantly, there would be other orgies. Space orgies.
TO BE CONTINUED…