Best of RAH:
Ten Very Forward
by Dave Bealer
Copyright 1994 Dave Bealer, All Rights Reserved
This parody first appeared in the November 1994
Random Access Humor. It contains unreasonable facsimiles
of characters and situations created by Gene Roddenberry and
owned by Paramount Pictures. This is an unauthorized and unofficial
parody. None of the creative people behind the real series or
movies are to blame for what you are about to read...
Acting Ensign Leslie Ann Musher was moping. This was nothing new,
since Leslie was a teenager. Even worse, he had a name that was
more effeminate than he was (which was not an easy accomplishment).
Gee. Leslie was bad enough, but Ann? What had his parents been
thinking? They probably hadn't been thinking, as usual.
Leslie's father didn't think much any more, being dead these many
years. He had been killed in the line of duty, attempting to give
his captain's cat a bath. What a hideous way to go, with your body
covered in wet cat hair. Leslie hated cats, especially the stupid
one named "Snot" that belonged to the second officer, Lieutenant
Eventually Leslie tired of scrolling through the latest digitally
stored issue of Playbeing, accessed through an account he had
hacked into months before. Commander Spik'er would probably never
wise up to the increased usage. The Deltan centerfold was quite
arousing, especially with the new "rub and sniff pheromone
simulation" technology. Still...Leslie put on a bathing suit and
skulked off to the Virtual Reality Deck to run his favorite program,
Busty Beach Babes From Bayonne. He couldn't even remember which
planet Bayonne was on, not that it really mattered.
Thirty minutes later Leslie padded back to his quarters, dripping
water on the deck. "I thought the Captain warned you about that,
Les." Leslie wheeled, startled. The voice was familiar, but seemed
to be coming from behind and above him.
"Gordie? Is that you?" Leslie scanned the passage behind him, then
noticed an open service panel a few meters back along the ceiling.
Leslie's question was answered by a dark blur that dropped from the
open panel and sprawled itself on the deck. "Uugh," noted Gordie as
he skidded to a stop. "You were expecting, maybe, X?"
Leslie walked over and offered his friend a hand getting up. "Don't
even mention that bozo. I'm so sick of him showing up and comparing
himself to 'the name brand' all-powerful aliens. Doesn't he know
that stuff went out of style in the 1960s?"
Gordie grinned his trademark grin. "Don't be so hard on him, Les.
At least he always loses to the name brand." He busied himself with
a rag, removing the water that now streaked the back of his
synthleather jacket while Leslie rolled his eyes and sighed mightily.
Gordie sniffed the rag. "Sea water? Hangin' with the beach babes
again, huh, Les?"
Leslie blushed from the tips of his toes to the roots of his hair.
"Does everyone on this tub keep track of everything I do?" he whined
"Just the embarrassing stuff." Gordie chuckled and mussed Leslie's
Leslie ducked away from Gordie's hand. "That's not funny," he
"Sorry Les." A concerned look crossed Gordie's face. Leslie missed
this, since the engineer's face was concealed by the brown paper bag
he customarily wore over his head. "'smatter, your sense of humor on
"Nah. I was just thinking..."
"About something other than those beach babes?"
"Maybe." Leslie's blush deepened. Since he had no intention of
telling anyone, even Gordie, what he has just been thinking about, he
decided to change the subject. "So...what were you doin' up in the
ceiling? Hiding from Captain Picardo again?"
Gordie snorted. "No way! We got that ironed out long ago. That was
a straight medical physical your mother was giving me."
"Right! Just like the ones she gives the captain every night, and
sometimes on Saturday afternoons."
"Now Les, nobody is supposed to know about that."
It was Leslie's turn to snort. "Sure. Anyone who's deaf, dumb and
blind doesn't know about it. You'd think with all this technology
they could come up with bed frames that don't squeak..."
"Forget it!" Leslie felt suddenly embarrassed by his mother's
extracurricular activities. "Alright then...what were you doing
up in the ceiling?"
"Checking the tachyon dispensers. Since tachyons are capable of
solving any problem, we have to make sure they're always available."
"But since we're a cruise ship now, why do we need those anyway?"
"Space is a dangerous place, Les. Just because Starfleet sold the
Enterprise to Countess Cruise Lines due to downsizing doesn't
mean that bad things can't happen to the ship."
Leslie was letting himself get agitated now. "They took out the
photon torpedo bays and replaced them with jacuzzis. And the phaser
banks are now a skeet shooting range!"
"Yeah, and they changed the ship's name from Enterprise to
Ecstasy. What's your point?"
Leslie sighed, and rolled his eyes like he was talking to a small
child. "The point is, there are now more Virtual Reality decks on
board than laboratories. The main VR contractor has three
technicians permanently assigned to the ship. What about our old
mission of exploration and research?"
"Wake up and smell the tribbles, Les! Nobody cares about exploration
anymore. All people care about is what makes them feel good now.
They don't care about tomorrow. The pioneer spirit is dead."
"That's a pretty selfish attitude. What about my generation, and
the ones to follow?"
"You'll figure out something, Les. You guys are pretty smart...
not as smart as you think you are, but pretty smart. Hey, you want
real smart, check out those Nintendo technicians, they're all
smart cookies. That blonde with the spiked hair, what's her name?"
"Right, Lisa. She may know virtual reality, but I bet she could show
you a thing or two about real reality as well."
"Puleease! She's gotta be at least twenty-five!"
Gordie grinned knowingly. "Older women can be fun, Les. They know
Suddenly Leslie's communicator beeped. "Ensign Musher, report to
sick bay, on the double!"
Leslie winced at the all-too-familiar voice. He slapped the device
to enable transmit. "Coming, mother." He looked up at his grinning
friend. "Go ahead and smirk, LeStudd. I may just ask Lisa out."
"If you won't, I will. You better run along now..."
Leslie checked to make sure no one else was in the corridor, then
stuck his tongue out at Gordie as the engineer climbed back through
the ceiling panel to complete his inspection. Although Leslie knew
it was an infantile gesture, he didn't particularly care at that
moment. It made him feel better.
"I'm waiting for an explanation, Leslie." Dr. Cleverly Musher was
wearing an impatient expression on her face. Leslie had categorized
over 300 expressions his mother's face was capable of displaying in
times of stress; everything from 'I am contemplating being mildly
irritated about this situation.' up to 'I am going to hurl you into a
supernova, without a spacesuit, or even sunblock, if you don't stop
that this instant!'.
Leslie finally decided this expression was about a 202 on the scale,
which was 'If you think you'll ever hear the end of this from me, you
have another think coming'. He didn't see what the big deal was.
Those books had long been considered literature. "I don't see what
the big deal is, Mom. Those books were considered literature back
when you were sixteen."
"That's not the point and you know it. And another thing, stop
saying 'when I was sixteen' like it was during the Paleolithic
"Come on, Mom. It was just The Story of O and Exit to Eden.
They're both considered classics."
"Classic trash! You might as well be reading William Burroughs, for
"I thought you didn't believe in heaven, Mom. And who's this William
Burroughs?" Leslie made a mental note to look up the name in Books
"Don't try to change the subject, young man. We were talking about
these 'interests' you are developing. As a physician, I know they
are only natural."
"So why are you giving me hormone blockers, and why do have I to
sleep in that stupid stasis-sleep box every night."
"That's for your own protection, Leslie. And stop trying to change
the subject! I thought you had a talk with Lt. Blorf about this last
week. Didn't the rather spartan Klingon methods of dealing with...
shall we say, frustrations, appeal to you?"
"Hah! Mom, do you know about the Klingon version of a cold shower?
It involves smashing your genitals with a spiked iron club."
"Really? Blorf never would reveal how he received those injuries.
No wonder he's always so cranky. Alright, that method is definitely
Leslie breathed a deep sigh of relief.
Cleverly's eyes suddenly lit up. "What about Counselor d'Troit? She
might be able to help."
Leslie didn't believe that for a nanosecond. On the other hand, he
never passed up a chance to spend time with the ship's counselor. Of
course, Leslie was far more interested in her other on-board job than
in her psychoanalytical abilities. "Sure, Mom. Anything you say."
Cleverly Musher, M.D. gave her only offspring a suspicious glance.
She wondered why he was suddenly so cooperative.
Leslie sat in the counselor's waiting room. He studiously ignored
the collection of paper magazines, most of which dated back to the
20th century, lying on a low table in the center of the small room.
His entire attention was focused on the poster on the opposite wall.
The subject of Leslie's scrutiny was a standard glossy advertising
poster, about a meter high and nearly that wide, bearing words in
several languages and a picture in the center. The top of the poster
read, 'Helen d'Troit: Enough beauty to launch at least one ship.'
Below the picture appeared the smaller legend, 'Alright, would you
believe a shuttlecraft?' At the very bottom of the poster appeared
the larger words, 'Appearing nightly in the Lido Lounge, C.C.S.
Ecstasy.' Leslie already knew these words by heart. The real
subject of the youth's attention was the full color, tri-d picture of
the ship's counselor, clad only in pasties and a g-string.
Leslie shifted his legs uncomfortably. He wore the most baggy pair
of trousers that could be worn with anything other than clown shoes.
Any other pants became most uncomfortable during his interviews with
Counselor d'Troit. The worst part was that d'Troit didn't need to
see the state of his trousers to know exactly what he was thinking
every time he was near her. It was very embarrassing.
Leslie's art appreciation was interrupted by the door to d'Troit's
inner office swooshing open. It was not the counselor that emerged,
however, but Lt. Tar, the ship's chief of security. The short, but
powerful, blonde officer's left arm was in a sling. She noticed
Leslie staring at it. "It's not that bad, Les. Just a sprain."
"How did it happen?"
"'My favorite android' and I went slam dancing last night in the
Clapton Memorial Disco. Object got a little carried away."
Leslie smirked, "Looks more like you got carried away, on a
Tar blushed slightly, then laughed despite herself. "Okay, smart
boy. I bet you wouldn't be able to take your hands off your lap and
walk into d'Troit's office if you weren't wearing those clown pants."
Leslie's grin turned into a blush. It occurred to him that he'd been
blushing quite a lot lately. "They're not clown pants," Leslie
mumbled, exhibiting a sudden intense interest in the pattern on
d'Troit's waiting room floor.
"Right." Tar headed for the outer office door. "Don't worry, kid.
Helen's wearing her uniform today."
As the outer door closed behind Lt. Tar, the inner office door opened
again. Helen d'Troit stood in the doorway and grinned at Leslie, who
had tremendous difficulty forcing himself not to stare at her
cleavage. "Hello, Ensign Hormone Storm. Come on in," she suggested
seductively. Of course, everything she did seemed seductive to
Leslie. The furiously blushing youth followed her into the office,
walking a little oddly despite his clown pants.
"Everyone treats me like a clown...or maybe a performing dog,"
Leslie muttered to himself as he trudged towards the turbolift an
hour later. The door swooshed open and he entered the lift, joining
two passengers that were already aboard. "Bridge," Leslie ordered,
supremely glad that he followed d'Troit's advice and changed into
regular uniform trousers before going to see the captain.
The two young men (this was a singles cruise, Leslie remembered) got
off on deck five and immediately headed for unoccupied VR decks, the
Nintendo logo glistening on their doors. The turbolift doors closed
again and completed the trip to the bridge. Leslie always got a lump
in his throat as the lift doors opened on the bridge. He simply
couldn't shake the memory of his first visit here, when the captain
had nearly torn his head off for daring to enter His bridge.
A great deal had changed on the bridge since that fateful day. The
tactical control station now controlled the hundreds of virtual
reality environments on board the ship. The science station
controlled the swimming pools, tennis courts, and variable-gravity
Monitors viewed all the action in the ship's casino. Cheating was
rare considering the fact that Lt. Blorf, the bouncer, would not
hesitate to throw offenders not only out of the casino, but out of
the nearest convenient airlock into deep space. His crankiness was
legendary among the gamblers of the quadrant.
One thing that hadn't changed was the center seat. Well, it was
covered with sheepskin now - the real deal, too. None of that
artificial stuff for the captain of Countess Cruise Lines' flagship.
Captain Ricardo Picardo hadn't changed that much. He still exuded a
palpable aura of command that scared the hell out of Leslie. The
expensive rug that topped his former chrome dome looked good, even if
it looked strange to those who knew him before he took to wearing it.
Leslie descended to the center of the bridge, facing the man in the
Picardo looked up from the dog-eared Harold Robbins paperback he was
reading. "Ensign? What is it?"
"A flag flown by ancient maritime vessels, sir. But that's not
important right now. May I speak with you in private?"
Picardo sighed, but rose. "Of course, I always have a few moments
for a member of the crew...even one with pimples."
Leslie gulped for air like a landed fish. He soon recovered and
followed Picardo into his ready-or-not room. Picardo walked over to
the nutrient replicator. "Sangria, tepid." The mechanism hummed.
Picardo took the resulting pitcher and sprawled on the lounge chair
behind his falsewood desk. He filled a crystal glass, from which he
immediately took a big chug. "Sit down, ensign. What can I do for
"I just saw Counselor d'Troit."
"In the Lido Lounge? I thought you knew better than to go in there
again until you're at least eighteen?"
"No, sir. I saw..."
"You don't know better?"
Leslie noticed a dangerous color building in the captain's face.
"No, sir. I mean, yes, sir. I do know better than to go into the
Lido Lounge again. I saw Counselor d'Troit in her office."
Picardo relaxed. "Well, that's different. Go on."
"Counselor d'Troit gave me this." Leslie handed the captain a neatly
folded piece of paper.
Picardo folded open the paper and read the note. His eyebrows did a
quick Vulcan science officer impression. "I take it your mother
doesn't know about this?"
"No, sir. Counselor d'Troit thought it would be best for her not to
"Really?" Picardo's brow knitted in thought as he took another chug
of sangria. "I suppose there's something to that. Mothers do tend
to be unreasonable about these things where their sons are concerned.
Fathers, on the other hand, tend to overreact when it comes to their
Leslie thought that mothers, or at least his mother, tended to be
unreasonable about most everything. He decided to keep that opinion
to himself, especially considering how close the captain was to his
mother...almost every night. "Yes, sir."
"The question is, do you think you're ready for this, Leslie?"
Leslie was momentarily stunned, since the captain had never referred
to him by his first name before. As to the question, Leslie had been
ready for this for years. "Yes, sir!"
"Very well, ensign, you have your waiver." Picardo returned
immediately to formal mode. He signed the note and returned it the
eager hands of the acting ensign. "Enjoy."
"Thank you, sir!" Leslie grabbed the note and had to force himself to
not run from the room.
Leslie straightened his best uniform tunic for the thousandth time.
He was so on edge that his nerve endings were practically outside his
body. Destiny was just around the corner. He steeled himself again
and marched around the corner, directly into the tank-like chest of
Commander Spik'er, the ship's executive officer.
"Whoa, Les! What's the rush?" Spik'er bent to help Leslie, who had
bounced off his chest and was sprawled on the floor.
"No rush, I just wasn't paying attention. Sorry, sir." He brushed
himself off and desperately tried to look nonchalant.
Spik'er shrugged off the apology. "No big deal, pal." He cocked his
head to one side. "Gee, you're sure spiffed up. Got a date
Leslie unsuccessfully tried to fight off the blush, "No sir, not
"Not exactly, eh? Well...," Spik'er started to leave. Suddenly he
stopped and eyed Leslie suspiciously. "Wait a minute. You're not
planning to try getting in there again, are you?" He gestured
vaguely towards a mahogany covered doorway at the end of the hall.
"Come off it, Les. You know that Guyaxy's people will never let you
in. If you tick her off too badly, she won't let you in even when
you are old enough."
Leslie drew himself up to his full height, which came roughly to
Spik'er's sternum. He offered the note to the Exec. "This says I'm
old enough now, sir."
Spik'er took the paper, glared briefly at Leslie, then unfolded and
read the note. He grunted. "Signed by d'Troit and Picardo, eh? Is
this on the level?"
"Yes, sir." Leslie was becoming concerned that so many people were
finding out about this.
"You poor kid. But do you think Guyaxy will buy this?"
Leslie stood with his hands clasped behind his back, poking at
nothing in particular with the toe of his right shoe. He shrugged.
"Alright, come with me," said Spik'er, swaggering down the corridor
towards the ornate door. He still had Leslie's note in his hand.
Leslie launched into his landed fish impression again as he hurried
after Spik'er. "But sir," he gasped breathlessly, "I can handle this
Spik'er grinned wickedly, "I thought the whole point of this exercise
was to not have to do that anymore?"
"Siirrr!" Leslie spluttered.
"Don't worry, I'll get you in." Spik'er stopped in front of the
mahogany door. The genuine wooden covering clashed with the alloy
walls surrounding the portal. The number "10" was carved into the
upper center of the wood, the numbers embossed in gold. A brass door
knocker waited a half meter below the numbers.
"Sir! I don't need..." Leslie's protest was interrupted by Spik'er
firmly applying the brass knocker to the mahogany door. The youth
began trying to compose himself and furiously straighten all his
For a few moments nothing happened. The nervous youth stood next to
Spik'er, who appeared the be swaggering even while standing still.
Leslie often wondered how he managed to do that.
A loud click emanated from the door, which swung in to the left.
This was obviously an old-style, hinged door. A male Vulcan opened
the door wide, waving the two humans inside. Leslie was astounded by
the odd furnishings of the room they now entered. He searched his
memory for a name to attach to the obviously ancient style of
Leslie's musings were interrupted by two simultaneous events: he
caught sight of a pair of Borg seated on a frilly couch at the far
end of the room; and the nattily dressed doorbeing, having closed the
antique door, turned and addressed the newcomers. "Good evening,
gentlemen," the Vulcan politely intoned, "Welcome to Ten Very
Forward, the best little whore house in..."
"Wait!" a dignified, authoritarian voice called from across the room.
The two humans turned to face the source of the interruption, an
older Vulcan in a tuxedo who strode purposefully towards them.
Spik'er grinned at the approaching Vulcan. "Saran, good to see you
"Can the small talk, Spik'er! You still owe us four month's pay. I
told you not to show your face here again until your account was
current. And as a Vulcan, I was not amused by your attempt to get in
here last week wearing a mask!"
"Come on, Saran. A man has needs. Besides, are you sure all those
charges are really mine? Someone has been running up my Playbeing
account something awful." Spik'er was quite vexed. Leslie's stomach
began doing somersaults, but he kept a neutral expression on his face.
"Your 'needs' could short out all the VR decks on this ship, not to
mention our entire staff. Our accounting is most meticulous, as you
well know. Your other problems are strictly your own. I have no
time for this. Get out." The Vulcan's tone was very matter-of-fact.
"Hold on, Saran. As it turns out, I'm not here for me. My friend
here is the customer tonight." Spik'er gestured towards Leslie.
Saran eyed Leslie narrowly. "You look a little young. Let's see
some ID." Leslie sighed and reached for his ID card. He was glad
that he didn't look in real life like any of the disguises he had
used in previous attempts to gain entrance to this place.
"Hold it, Saran," interrupted Spik'er. He offered the folded paper
to the Vulcan. "Take a look at this first."
The Vulcan took the paper carefully out of the Spik'er's hand, almost
as if he was expecting the human to be wearing a hand buzzer. He
quickly read the contents, and his left eyebrow arched in the manner
of his race when showing surprise. "Is this some kind of trick?"
"No tricks, Saran," Spik'er assured him. "I'll vouch for both those
signatures. They're genuine."
"Very well, I'll take this to Madame. The decision is hers. Have a
seat, gentlemen." Saran turned and exited the room through an ornate
wooden framed passageway.
Leslie and Spik'er sat on a pair of overstuffed chairs in the waiting
room. After a half minute Leslie broke the silence, "that guy is a
Spik'er chuckled. "Don't mind Saran, he just gets wrapped up in his
Leslie slumped back in his chair. Suddenly two questions occurred to
him. One seemed more urgent, since the subjects were still sitting
patiently across the room. "Sir, what are Borg doing here?" he
Spik'er leaned towards Leslie, covering his mouth and whispering,
"they're flocking here these days. Guyaxy has the only HP ProbeJet
in the quadrant."
"Yes." Spik'er slipped into his best holovid announcer's voice, "The
latest in automata pleasure devices."
"I see. And why are all the employees here Vulcans? I wouldn't have
expected them to be working in a place like this."
"People need jobs, Les. After the Cardasians started worshipping
Elvis and the Borg went condo, all the interstellar governments
started to downsize their defense fleets. You remember how 'The Big
E' became a cruise ship? Well, the Vulcans, despite their peace-
loving reputation, turned out to be the biggest defense contractors
in the galaxy. A lot of them are out of work now, so they pop up in
the strangest places."
"Okay," Leslie's brow furrowed. "But why is Guyaxy hiring them? I
wouldn't think they'd be that well suited to the work here."
Spik'er chuckled again. "Guyaxy may be dignified and all that, but
she's cheap too. She only has to give the Vulcans freebies once
every seven years."
"Oh, yeah. I hadn't thought of that."
"Guyaxy did. She never misses a trick." At that both humans
erupted into such gales of laughter that even the Borg took notice
for a few picoseconds.
Eventually Leslie was forced to stop laughing or wet himself. Luckily
he had the presence of mind to stop laughing. As he wiped the tears
from his eyes, he was glad for the release of tension. Leslie soon
noticed that while he and Spik'er had been immersed in mirth, Saran
had reentered the room, accompanied by two very large Vulcans.
"If you're quite through amusing yourselves," the tuxedo clad Vulcan
began seriously, "we can get on with this." The two spent humans rose
from their chairs. "Ensign, you will accompany me. Madame Guyaxy
wishes to speak with you. Commander, you will leave. Now."
Leslie watched, speechless, as the two Vulcans with Saran grabbed
Spik'er and bodily threw him, kicking and cursing, out the front
door. The doorbeing, who had opened that portal in anticipation of
this operation, closed it again, cutting off Spik'er's expression of
"So, ensign, exactly how long has this been going on?"
"Ma'am?" Leslie was having tremendous trouble looking Guyaxy in the
face. Not that it was an ugly face, or anything. It was her eyes.
They seemed to see right through his skin into his soul. If you
looked directly into them, they seemed to be bottomless wells. All
the knowledge in the universe, especially erotic knowledge, seemed to
be contained (just barely) in those wells.
"How long has your mother been making you sleep in that stasis box?"
"Since I was twelve." Guyaxy's office fascinated Leslie. It was
furnished in the same ornate style as the waiting room, with real
wooden furniture that must have cost a bundle.
"I see. And that was how many years ago?"
"Six years. But since I don't age during the eights hours each night
I spend in stasis-sleep, my body has only aged four years."
"So your mental age is eighteen, but your physical age is sixteen?"
"Yes, ma'am." Leslie finally remembered the term applied to Ten Very
Forward's style of interior decor. It was called Victorian.
"I understand that the mothers of many races become upset at how
quickly their children grow up. This is the first case I've seen in
all my long years where a mother has actually taken steps to slow the
process. How did she get away with it?"
Leslie was amused by the question. "Easy, she's the chief surgeon on
a starship. Plus, she invented the stasis-sleep technology. She
claimed to be 'testing' it on me all this time."
"An interesting situation." Guyaxy appeared lost in thought, an even
further away look in her eyes, her gloved hands pressed together in
an attitude some beings reserved for prayer.
Leslie couldn't help thinking of the rumors that circulated
throughout the ship about this mysterious alien. Some said Guyaxy
wore clothing that covered everything except her face because she had
a lizard's body. That didn't make sense to Leslie. He didn't know
what she really was, but it occurred to him, sitting there in her
presence, that there really were things that people were better
off not knowing.
Guyaxy's hands separated. She seemed to have come to a decision.
"Very well. I would like to speak with your mother about her new
technology at her earliest convenience. Meanwhile, since mental
capacity is the most important aspect of consent, you are accepted as
a client of Ten Very Forward."
Leslie was as bewildered as he ever hoped to be. Seated in an ornate
Victorian drawing room nestled deep in Ten Very Forward, he mused
over the events of the past few minutes.
Whisked from Madame Guyaxy's office by Saran, Leslie underwent a
quick, but thorough, medical scan. "Just to make sure you're
healthy," Saran assured him. "We can't afford any accidents here."
Next came the questions. Gender? Species? Not even race...species?
Leslie fancied himself as having a wild imagination. There were even
moments when he felt himself to be...perverted. Leslie was surprised
by these feelings, even though he was intelligent enough to recognize
them as mere alternatives, not as the perversions they were once thought
to be. Still, the options being offered here boggled Leslie's mind.
At least the initial selections were made from holovid recordings.
Saran wanted him to select two or three for the actual interview, but
when he saw her holovid, the choice was clear. Now Leslie sat
waiting for her, his nerves so brittle he felt like a china doll...
like the slightest touch could cause him to shatter into a hundred
A door opened. Leslie sprang out of his chair like a jack-in-the-
box. He silently cursed himself for being a childish idiot. Then he
She wore a blue dress that went dreamily with both her spiked blonde
hair and her squash-colored skin. She closed the door and seemed to
glide across the room. "Hi there. I remember seeing you around the
ship." Her voice was curiously high pitched.
Leslie's mouth was suddenly bone dry. He tried to swallow. "Hi," he
nearly croaked, "it's good to meet you finally." What a stupid thing
to say! "I thought you worked for Nintendo?" Even better! Way to
Lisa smiled engagingly. "I do work for 'the big N.' I just
"I see. I'm Leslie Musher, by the way."
"Lisa Simpson." She reached out and took Leslie's hand. He stared
at her hand, surprised at the sensation. "You ever meet a toon
"N..no," Leslie stammered. "Are you really real?"
"Real enough for you, big boy!" Lisa embraced Leslie and kissed him.
Leslie saw stars. He couldn't tell if they were toon stars or real
ones. He decided it didn't matter.
Late in the ship's night Leslie limped out of Ten Very Forward. He
headed back to his quarters, exhausted but content. He softly sang
an old Earth song, "Poor, Poor, Pitiful Me."
Dave Bealer is a fifty-something mainframe systems programmer who
works with CICS, z/OS and all manner of nasty acronyms at one of the
largest heavy metal shops on the East Coast. He shares a waterfront
townhome in Pasadena, MD. with a cat who annoys him endlessly as he
assiduously avoids writing for and publishing Random Access Humor.
Dave can be reached via e-mail at:
A conscience does not prevent sin. It only prevents you from enjoying it.