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The Funnel

The Funnel

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Published by George W Parker
THE FUNNEL is my take on a 1950s style science fiction story and how tall tales are created.
THE FUNNEL is my take on a 1950s style science fiction story and how tall tales are created.

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Published by: George W Parker on Dec 26, 2012
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved

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12/27/2012

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THE FUNNELTHE FUNNEL byGeorge W. Parker "It was my watch. Pap, who was over a hundred then,and I were swapping twelve's, twelve hours on, twelvehours off, 'cause the rest of the crew, a big red headed kidnamed Barnes, had gotten himself thrown in jail for drunk and disorderly while we were laid over at the moon.Twelve's aren't bad on a tug like the Queen Mary. Shewas old and insured so the owners didn't even really care if she made the trip. You just sit back and relax, smoke a cigif you have it, read a strip, check the computer every half hour or so to be sure your moving and look outside on theview screen.When it first started I was reading a "BATMAN" strip,which I remember 'cause it was so good. Batman was at this1
 
THE FUNNELcastle in Scotland, earth side, chasing a bad guy. This guylead him into a trap. Batman's running down this hall whichturns sharp to the right and bam! There's an open shaft rightin the middle of the hall. Well, Batman can't stop fastenough so he falls into the thing. And at the bottom of theshaft is a quicksand pit. Batman doesn't panic though, he'ssmart. He just ever so slowly starts to swim and 'cause hemoves so slow he doesn't sink. Gees it was good!Anyway, I was relaxin', my feet propped up on thecontrol panel when I guess ... a ... a movement off to theside caught my eye. I looked around the room, up at theviewer, I didn't see anything so I went back to reading.Then all of a sudden there was the most hellaciousracket coming from all over the outer skin of the tug. Itscared me. I jumped up ready to repel all boarders, ready tofight to the death. Then I came to my senses. We were justrunning through a dust cloud. Folks just don't understand,there's a lot of dust out there.You know, tugs don't move that fast but at 37,000kilometers an hour even a dust cloud makes a ton of racket.Pap and I, we never worried about dust, the Mary alwaysneeded a good scrubbing. I just settled back to my reading.It was probably 'bout another five minutes when the dustracket stopped as sudden as it had started. The quite mademe more nervous than the noise had. I sat the "Batman"down and stared at the viewer.The stars were beautiful. I could make out the lights of Walter City on Mars. We where scheduled in there to pick up a barge of magnesium.Everything looked fine. I checked the computer. It wasfine. I figured I was just jumpy, cabin fever. Staring out into2
 
THE FUNNELspace always helps my nerves. So I stood there just lookingat the outside on the viewer.It didn't help, I got jumpier. Something wasn't right.Looking at of Walter City it seemed to have shifted on thescreen. I checked the computer. Sure enough it was beginning to compute a minor course correction. But it nosooner finished then it started recomputing another correction, then it broke off that figuring and startedanother. We were changing headings faster than thecomputer could compensate!I looked back up at the viewer and Mars was almostcompletely off the screen! We weren't deviating from thecourse, we were spinning! I didn't know what to do! I goton the intercom and woke up Pap. I told him to get up tothe control room fast!Pap got up there fast and was he a mess. His eyes werethe reddest eyes I have ever seen. He looked like he had been sleeping in his clothes, there were wrinkles on thewrinkles. His hair, what he had, was all sticking out to theright side like a sideways pompadour.Pap was 'bout 5 feet 2 inches tall standing up straight,which he never did. He lived in a stoop, said it was aleftover from cramped spaceships. He was born somewhereout in New Mexico, earth side and always wore a pair of  pointed cowboy boots that must've been four sizes too bigfor him. The toes of those boots just kind of curled back upat him like Persian slippers.'What in blue blazes is going on up here kid?' hehollered running up to me. 'It'd better be damn awful bad or I'll whip the pants off've you!' He was always talking thatway.3

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