Jack P Rocket-Man is a writer and friend. We have known each other a very long time. Jack P knows ALMOST everything. Ask him. When he doesn’t know, he pretends.
The Jack P Rocket-Man column is strictly for entertainment, and provides no warranty.
REM: What happened to you after the second Russian Shuttle craft crash? There were some rumours that you had been re-hired by NASA because they were getting worried about the people on the International Space Station. Then you dropped out of sight for a while…
JPRM: I remember that shuttle video clearly. I knew what to expect, initially; the sky around the rocket fire twisted and warped, I could see it, feel it. The psychobiologists, shrink-guys, call it SYNESTHESIA, or sensory-linking… anyway, it felt wrong that day almost right from the take-off.
The Soyuz, the Russian ship, it was automated, no people in it; all computers and servos and mechanisms. It began mutating into a diamond-shaped tungsten blaze in the clear blue sky, then it tilted, headed the wrong way, not vertical any more. Next, more tungsten blossomed from the SIDE, which was actually UP since it had changed direction. Louise and I watched it fall, that trailing fire made it look like it was dive-bombing the earth.
Soon it resembled a hazy exclamation-mark, as if it was surprised, ambushed, tricked by an evil power, you know? I’m old; and the way that craft was evaporating right before my eyes, and next my shoulders began to hurt, that “synesthesia effect,” I actually wondered if I was dying and possibly hallucinating… but no, it actually burned up…
This was soon after NASA ran out of money; that guy with the ears was President of the USA, and my Grand-Uncle who was a REAL Rocket-Scientist, his name was John, they called him Jack, I was named after him; he’d have rotated in his grave to see that NASA project go down so shamefully in his country.
Bear in mind this was after that Fuku-shima Nuclear Plant earthquake had done a number on the planet. The thunder gods, or whatever causes earthquakes, were partying on bad drugs. We lived on Parkside Lane off the Atlantic, near Ocean Avenue there in Skyhaven New Hampshire.
Next day or two in August there was another big quake, Magnitude 6 in Virginia, and we could feel that steel-frame and rebar-concrete building swaying.
REM: How does that earthquake and ocean stuff tie in with the Russian Shuttles?
JPRM: Listen, you asked! I’m old and crazy, but I can do more pushups than you… Where’s your attention span? Did the internet consume it, your attention span, make it smoke like that Soyuz ship? NASA had nothing but Russia and China. There’s a point, I’m trying to remember it…
China. Well would YOU fly in something from China? They began having their own labor problems around 2011, what goes around comes around; the USA folks were out of work, lots of them… Hey, now I AM off-track! Forget the history lesson!
So, the day after THAT I was walking down Ocean Avenue, North, there’s this bar and eatery called La Beque Rouge. They have a house band that plays on the top deck while the people enjoy their drinks and lunch. It was getting near Labor Day and the days were shrinking, the air was crisp; I could hear the musician’s fingers squeak on the guitar strings that day.
Yes, I re-discovered the point now, Mister Inquisitioner. It’s getting late, and any more coffee, well, never mind. The band’s front-man was singing a Harry Chapin song. Harry was a brilliant songwriter who did that folk-rock song “Taxi,” in the 70’s, and the house band guy on Ocean Avenue sounded just like Harry Chapin! “Taxi” was a song about priorities and life and love and external events:
“You see, she was gonna be an actress… And I was gonna learn to fly … She took off to find the footlights… And I took off for the sky…” Harry Chapin was a REAL Lyricist!
So I’m thinking of the sky, I’m looking at the sky, just like in the Harry Chapin song. Out of the corner of my eye, I see a familiar face, well actually I felt it first; like my wife, Louise does. She calls it “premonition,” except minus the bad connotation. It sort of rubs off after a quarter-century with her. Contagious.
There’s Gregory Flintstone looking at me. No… Gregory Johnstone, he and I we did some Design Engineering for that place in Santa Clara, it had to do with airport security, that’s all I’m at liberty to say or else I’ll end up like that Syrian political cartoonist. Dead.
I CAN tell you the Santa Clara people, creepy, they gave us some psychological tests, like they’d untie our shoelaces and tie them back up in hard knots then show us things on video monitors: numbers, words, geometric figures, and ask us ridiculous questions while we untied the knotted shoelaces with first our right hand, and then our left hand, and not looking at the shoelaces and we had to keep talking all the time.
REM: Why did they give you those tests?
JPRM: Why? Who knows? Maybe they had run out of those “piss tests” kits. After we passed the cognitive experiments we worked on some pretty basic electronics engineering projects, got paid up the ying-yang, and that’s all I can legally say…
Anyhow. Then Gregory Johnstone asks: How are you Jack P? I said fine, how is your Sue? Next I say: Got some work for me, twenty hours a week let’s say, like before? My mind is developing RUTS!
Gregory blinks at me like an Eclectus Parrot; I think he’s got an advanced case of brain damage from back when he was dropping Acid in Massachusetts, and we were going to school at Franklin T. so we wouldn’t get drafted and sent to Viet Nam.
Work? He repeats the question. Stupid.
He says yes.