The Red Planet
by Winch
forum: The Red Planet
speculative fiction for the internet generation.

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The Red Planet


           “Open your eyes and shut your mouth.  Listen, for just one minute.”  Beating hearts are all I can hear; thousands of rampantly beating, openly bleeding hearts, the hearts of the dead before me.  “Open your mind and close your heart.  Think, for just one second.”  It’s all so clear to me now.  I understand why I must do it.  



           “Your Grandmother’s name was Venus.”

           “Why was she named that?”

           “Her smile shone so bright it lit up the whole world, just like Venus.  You know, Venus is the brightest planet,” Salina said, stroking the child’s head.  The child was her own seed; half hers - half his.  He was Gregory Walden, a drunken bastard of an auto-mechanic.  She was saline to his wounds; Salina Von Tussle to everyone else.  The child was a girl, Victoria Von Tussle.  Vee to anyone who knew her, but she was a double dose of saline to the wounds of Gregory Walden.  


Zoom in


           Gregory was a bastard alright.  His father died during childbirth, or rather what I mean to say is his father died because of childbirth. Bearing a child upset Samuel Walden so much that his heart exploded upon laying eyes on the young birth, Gregory.  Hearts are funny things: sometimes they explode.  Someone should have foreseen the alcohol induced suicide impending and just done away with the little drunk right there on the operating table.  You know they say sons without fathers are suicidal, if only because no one is bugging them about mowing the lawn all the time.  




           Gregory wasn’t any better at parenthood than his corpse-of-a-father.  He was worse, actually.  He just had a stronger heart.  If Gregory had been in the E.R. at the time of birth, his head might have exploded.  Heads are funny things too.

           On this planet heads were funny things.  On Earth heads were the center of everything.  People talked and talked and talked and talked and talked and talked with them, thought with them (though the libido or the heart often construed these thoughts), ate with them, saw with them, heard with them, and made outrageous faces during orgasm with them.  Heads were just as important on this planet, called Earth’s sister, Margarette.  This was the formal name of the planet, Earth’s sister Margarette, or E.S.M. for short.  It was pronounced s-m.  

          The planet was born and populated shortly after God realized that Earth’s people were far too interested in reality television to pick up a Bible.  It was his second big experiment with life.  Much in the same way as with Earth, God made two beings, Arlene and Evan.  This time though, no Bible, no Heaven, and no Hell.  Only a quota: The populations of Earth’s sister, Margerette never surpass one billion, or God would turn the planet into galactic jello.  God, though never controlling it on Earth, still looked down on fornication, and threatened to destroy E.S.M. if perversion ever equaled the amount of perversion on it’s sister planet.  Many postulated that God was just lonely, and wanted one of his own sexual play-toys, but after the bit with Lucifer, God would never again allow a being to become his sexual partner.  We all know what happened after Lucifer was found cheating on God, he was kicked out of eternal paradise and homosexuality and Hell were both defined as bad, bad things.   

          Anyway, heads were of the greatest importance, as well as the greatest impotence.  These facts were true on earth as well.  The fact of the matter was, and is, most people cannot give birth to a logical thought.  With the heart and sexual organs pulling and twisting each thought like a taffy-pull, people really didn’t have a chance.  Not on E.S.M., and especially not on earth. 

           Heads on E.S.M. were different than heads on Earth.  Sure, people still used the same outrageous thought processes, still made illogical, salacious decisions, and people still talked and talked and talked and talked and talked with them, but there was one major difference. Every year in autumn, while the trees on Earth still held all of their leaves, and would continue to do so, evermore, the people of Earth’s sister Margarette all lost every single hair on their heads, eyebrows and eyelashes excluded.  Not a single person on the planet would have hair all through winter.  This made the female breast the most important part of the body.  Without breasts it is hard to distinguish between a bald male and a bald female, and all through winter you could find men viewing women’s breasts without the fear of being labeled a pervert.  Winter was never cold for the men of E.S.M.

          This was a big topic of controversy on E.S.M., for all perverts were sentenced to death by hanging.  It was believed on E.S.M. that perversion of the mind through sexual want led to perversion of society, inevitably leading to chaos and anarchy, but enough digression, back to Salina and Victoria.  


           “So could I call Hillary Mars, since she has a red face, mommy?” 

           Salina giggled, “not if you wanted to live to see tomorrow, flying Vee.”

           It was autumn on planet Earth’s Sister, Margarette, and everyone was garnishing freshly shined heads and faces, red and ripe as apples that were bobbing in a tub of water.  The people of Bjorndale packed tightly into subway cars, the only mode of transportation in the inner city, aside from legs.  Among the people jammed like caulk into a bathroom floor were Salina and Victoria.  They were heading off for their weekly Gregory visit.  Salina took her sweet time on Tuesday afternoons.  She slowly stewed up their supper in their small kitchen, before settling down at the dinner couch to an hour or so of The Earth Channel, the finest reality television in all of the Milky Way.  




          People on E.S.M. died for reality television, literally.  Each year casting was held for “The Reality Show of the Century,”  Held in downtown Baldiera, the capitol city of the planet, hundreds of thousands of entrants lined up for a chance to serve their planet.  In a sadistic way it was service, too.  This was the governmental ploy to keep population at a decent rate, as well as to weed out potential perverts.  Twenty thousand strong, the competition lasted eight months.  Broadcast round the clock on its own channel, the television show pitted neighbor against neighbor, friend against friend, family member against family member, until all of 19,999 were dead, and the remaining contestant was crowned the King or Queen of E.S.M. for the year.  The King or Queen also got an automatic lot in the next year’s competition.  It was a highly coveted award, though no one had ever become King or Queen twice.  It stated in the rules that anyone who did succeed and win the crown twice would be named ruler of the worlds, E.S.M. and Earth, forever.  


Zoom in


           This was another topic of much debate.  Earth and E.S.M. were always at a state of constant struggle when it came to control.  Though Earth had been around nearly one million years longer than its sister planet, E.S.M. was already more technologically advanced.  Earth’s Sister, Margarette had given Earth the cure to cancer, water powered automobiles, and various other important inventions.  The very same company that hosted “The Reality Show of the Century” each year was also the lead developer in such ventures as water-powered automobiles, and the cure for cancer. And as a bargain for allowing Earth to broadcast the show, and to cure cancer, OmegaCorp convinced the president of Earth to allow Earth to come under the rule of any who won the crown two years in a row.  

           “I’m excited to see Daddy, aren’t you Mommy?”

           “Of course, Victoria.  It’s always interesting to see what mess he’s gotten himself into each week.  It’s more stimulating than watching, ‘The Reality Show of the Century.’”  Salina scoffed as she said these words.

           “Mommy, why don’t you love Daddy anymore,” the child looked up into her mother’s eyes, expecting an answer to the question, this time.

           “Oh look, here’s our stop.  Let’s go Vee.”  Salina grabbed Victoria’s miniature hand and led her off of the subway car, into the cold air of the station.  Nearly everyone was wearing a stocking cap, to protect their windblown heads.  The two made their way out of the station and walked thirteen blocks to Gregory’s apartment.  The number seven hung upside-down on the door as it always did.  Salina wondered when he’d fix that.  She knocked and the number made a jingle-jangle sound against the hard metal door.  

           “Welcome, welcome to apartment seven,” Gregory offered as he opened the door.

           “Seems to me this is apartment number L, Gregory.” 

           “Right, right.  I’ve been meaning to fix that.  Work has been busy,” Gregory replied as Salina held her tongue.  She thought to herself that the only work he’d done was on a bottle of Omega Brand Whiskey.  

           “Daddy! I missed you,” little Victoria jumped into her father’s arms.  

           “Well, thanks, kiddo.  Hey, you watch “The Reality Show of the Century” don’t you?  Auditions are coming up.  I’m going to enter.  I hear this year it’s all about alcohol, and you know I can hold my liquor.”

           Salina almost laughed at the thought of him being King of E.S.M., but then choked on a thought.  “Gregory!  You know that over nineteen thousands entrants die!”  

           “Well, yeah.  I think I could whip them all though.”

           “Oh Daddy, you’d be the best King ever,” Victoria said, smiling through missing baby teeth.

           “Thanks Hun.  Well I’m entering. Trials start tomorrow.”  

           Salina sighed.  She thought about the horror of her daughter growing up without a father, although Gregory Walden wasn’t much of one.  She sat on one of the old reclining chairs facing the television.  “Do you know what a Lemming is, Gregory?”

           “Sure, aren’t they those earthling animals?”

           “Yes.  You know what Lemmings do?  They walk into the sea, and kill themselves.  You are going to turn up like a Lemming!”

           “How could I be a Lemming?  I’m not killing myself.  I know I can take those guys.  Nobody at the bar can hold as much as I can.  You know that.”

           “Gregory.  We’re not talking about fun and games.  This is life and death on the line.  Are you willing to die?”

           “It’s a great service to the country.  You know how crime goes down once the show starts playing.  You have seen how they stop catching perverts for months and months.  It brings the country together.  You know that.  If I die in service to my country, I’ll die a happy man.”

           “Gregory.  Have you ever thought about what kind of people they accept?  It’s a butcher’s block.  I have seen the show a million times.  They’re all perverts and criminals!  Can’t you see that?”

           Gregory shook his head.  “I’m doing it and that’s final!  You’re trying to say that all those loyal E.S.M.’s are perverts!  They’re doing a service to their planet.  That’s more than I can say for you.”

           “You’re right, Gregory.  You’re right.  I think our time is up.  We have to catch the train.  C’mon Vee.”  With that Salina picked up her daughter and left apartment number seven behind.  Tears welled up in her eyes, but her daughter just smiled up at her.

           “Oh, Mommy.  Don’t be sad,” Victoria said and threw her arms around her mother’s neck.  “I know that Daddy will win.  He is the best.  I can’t wait until I can serve for E.S.M.”


Fast Forward


           “…Welcome back to “The Reality Show of the Century.”  I’m your host, Brent Fischman and I just want to say it has been a wacky few months here on the grounds of Omega Enterprises.  Only two competitors remain.  For the first time in history last year’s champion, Hamilton Kirshner is up against one last competitor, by the name of Gregory Walden.  It’s going to be a battle to the death.  Each competitor has had to defeat almost twenty-thousand others, and it all comes down to this event, the Omega Brand Whiskey Marathon.”

           Gregory sat in his locker room.  He knew that he was going to win.  He drank Omega Brand Whiskey all day, each day of the week.  It was his drink of choice, and Hamilton had no chance.  A sudden knock at the door roused Gregory from his thoughts.  

           “Come in.”

           “Hello Mr. Walden.  My name is Robert Omega.  I am the owner of OmegaCorp.  How are you today?”  

           “Wow!  Holy shit it’s great to meet you!  You put on a hell of a show.”

           “Thank you, Mr. Walden.  I am here to talk about the competition today.  It is obvious that you are superior to Hamilton.  He has met his match, when it comes to this sort of thing.  I feel that it is unfair that you even face him, but the show must continue.  The people demand it.  I have a proposition.  You like to serve E.S.M. don’t you?”

           “Oh, of course Mr. Omega.  That is my duty.  That is why I signed up for this show in the first place.”

           “Wonderful,” Robert said with a sneer.  “Wonderful.  You have heard that if any contestant wins The Reality Show of the Century twice they become supreme commander over Earth and E.S.M., right?”

           “Yes…I’ve heard that.”  Gregory was interested now.  He sat up and looked intently into Robert’s eyes.  

           “I feel that it is your civic duty to lose tonight, Gregory.  Greg, if you do this, you will go down in history.  I’ll make sure of it.”

           Greg swallowed.  His jaw fell open like a hinge.  

          “Open your eyes and shut your mouth.”  Gregory opened his eyes.  His mind was flooded.  “Listen, for just one minute.  If you don’t do this, we are going to kill you.  You will never see the throne.  You’ll be humiliated, dishonored.  Open your mind and close your heart.”  Gregory tried to imagine losing, dying.  He remembered his father.  “Think, for just one second.  Greg.  This is for E.S.M.  This is the future of our worlds.  It all lies in your arms.”  

          Gregory saw his father smiling down on him, proudly.  He saw him reaching his hand out to Gregory, beckoning him to join at his side.  Then a wave of understanding came over him.  He swallowed again.





copyright 2004 Winch.

Winch is a long time writer that has just recently broken through the walls of Science Fiction.  With his series entitled The Red Planet, Scott Winchell explores his mind.  Winchell has been writing short fiction since he was 16 and this, his first attempt at Science Fiction is his experiment with knowledge of life, of society, and of science all mixed together in a vast blender in his mind.  Question and comments are welcomed and recommended.

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