Sunday, April 6, 2014

Nice Casket... But Does it Have Stint?


All right. Now I'm starting to get angry. I mean, I may be gullible, but I'm not stupid. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that every time I open the front door, something terrible happens. So I have resolved never to open the front door again. This may make things a bit difficult, because we don't have a back door. But no matter.

Apart from the front door thing, I must say I am shocked...shocked that no one is taking me seriously. Do you know what it's like to be laughed at unmercifully and without stint? Especially the stint part. That's the part that hurts. I would suggest that everyone take a deep breath and go out and buy up all the stint you can afford.

As for me, I'm fed up with all this hassle. I'm off to vacationland. Today, I visit a travel agency.

"I'd like to take about two weeks off -- some place where they don't have any front doors."

The travel agent looks at me sideways.

"And stint. I want plenty of stint."

After trying oh, fifteen or sixteen travel agencies, I finally find one that will talk to me, the Slumbering Acres Funeral Parlor and Travel Agency.

They have a doorless, stintful vacation package at the Thundering Bluejeans Dude Ranch. The cool thing about this dude ranch is that there are no horses. It's actually located in a 100-acre junk yard outside of Toronto. The gimmick here is that you build your own two-stage rocket and break the sound barrier with it. In addition, you get a 50 percent discount on a mahogany casket with white satin interior.

Cool!

So I'm writing this bit at the "ranch". My team has already cadged together most of the parts we'll need to build the rocket.

Day Two. We've found a cool as heck muscle horse to serve as the rocket. It's a gazillion horsepower Pratt and Whitney jet engine that apparently fell off one of the flights going out of Pearson airport last Tuesday. Just a couple of dents. We're attaching the jet to a mountain bike for a test ride, then cranking it up to 15th gear.

Outta sight, man!

No. I mean, literally, out of sight. We found the engine two days later in a suburb of Detroit. We had reports of falling bicycle parts from as far as Duluth.

Day Five. The fusilage of the launch vehicle is a 1967 Chevy Sportvan with cool red flames on the side. For software and electronics, we've gutted a 3D game called Iron Storm and a discarded GameBoy. And we're using mechanical parts from a knitting machine and several two-fisted mechanical contraptions used as models for old Japanese monster cartoons, such as UFO Epsilon, Mekanda Robo, and the Great Mazinger -- in their day, 20-storey instruments of chaos and destruction.

Day Eight. Launch Day. I've packed a good supply of bean-and-donut sandwiches and plenty of GatorAde which, co-incidentally, we're using as rocket fuel. The big surprise is that the rest of the team isn't going on the launch vehicle. That makes sense. The less weight you have, the more speed you'll work up during the launch. I may be gullible, but I'm not stupid.

OK. I'm in the rocket. Here's the countdown. 10, 9, 8 ... It's interesting, sort of, that my team members are running away...7,6,5...They seem to be laughing...4,3,2...They're getting into a plum-colored sedan and leaving in a cloud of dust...

As the rocket takes off, I notice several Ryder rental trucks pulling up. As I head off into the great black stratosphere, my last coherent view of earth is of increasingly smaller workmen dismantling the Thundering Jeans Dude Ranch and packing it away. There is a faint wisp of snickering in the air.

Launch Plus 10 Minutes. Things seem to be going reasonably well. Except that the knitting machine parts are creating an Incredibly Long Mauve Scarf that is threatening to take over the cockpit. And back in the baggage compartment, there is a huge commotion and a giant clutching hand appears. Mekanda Robo has escaped. Quickly, I check the flight manifest. There does not appear to be a parachute on board. Instead, the walls are closing in, an interesting alternative. All in all, your typical launch sequence.

Suddenly, there is a knock on the cockpit door. (Sound of footsteps. Sound of door opening. Sound of massively rushing air and rocket roaring.)

I am writing this bit about three miles above Yuma, Arizona. I broke the sound barrier a couple of miles back. I whip out my contract with the Slumbering Acres Funeral Parlor and Travel Agency. To my relief, the mahogany casket includes funeral services.

I love it when a plan comes together.

It would have been nice, however, if I could have broken the sound barrier while still in the rocket.