The Short Humour Site

Home : Writers' Showcase : Submission Guidelines : A Man of a Few More Words : Links

A Man of a Few More Words - by Swan Morrison


As senior scientist at NASA’s rocket propulsion laboratory, Meg knew that the science and technology of chemically powered rocket engines had reached a ceiling. To attain the velocities and fuel storage required for inter-stellar travel, new propulsion systems would inevitably seem to be required; perhaps ion technology; perhaps even warp drives?

Meg was pondering this problem as she shopped for cosmetics.

She was casually reading the label on a tub of moisturising cream when, suddenly, two facts became dramatically apparent: Firstly, the names of the chemicals contained in the product were unfamiliar, despite her two doctorates in chemistry. Secondly, the cream possessed astounding properties. It appeared that it could not only reverse the ageing process, but also make its users physically indistinguishable from leading international models.

Meg realised that there could be just one explanation: The cosmetics company had employed the greatest scientists of all time who had, in their secret laboratories, advanced the frontiers of chemistry by decades, if not centuries.

On returning to her lab, Meg rang the cosmetics giant and proposed collaboration with NASA.

The company agreed to help, although insisted that any formulae for their rocket enhancement products would be commercial secrets that could not be shared with NASA.

So it was that packs of LaunchOLift arrived at the lab. The promotional video that accompanied them was impressive. It explained, using glamorous models, how natural ingredients, including new formula, organic BlastOff Pro 49C, guaranteed that even a rusted bucket would experience no problems in reaching Mars.

The gel was carefully applied to a rocket engine on the test rig. Inexplicably, however, it demonstrated no increased performance.

Scientists from the cosmetics company considered the problem and soon provided new LaunchOLift VT10 enriched with AntiGravitol QA. This was even supplied with a convenient applicator. Once again, however, there was no discernable effect.

Meg thought back to the promotional video. The use of LaunchOLift had definitely made her feel better about her project. Perhaps there had been some physical improvements that the test equipment could not detect?

The NASA resource committee had exhibited a typically male attitude. They had decided that no further funds could be allocated to rocket enhancement cosmetics without some demonstrable scientific evidence of their efficacy.

On balance, Meg saw this as a loss to NASA. After all, the Ferrari Formula One Team seemed to be showing significant success following collaboration with the same cosmetics company. Their cars were now routinely treated with new formula, organic SpeedATrack 27J enriched with CornerFast BL94.

Dee Caffari had entered the record books in February 2009 as the first woman to sail solo around the world in both directions. How might she have fared, Meg wondered, had her boat not received liberal applications of WaveSuppress M76, enriched with herbal essences including StormOStop ZR 21?

Meg inspected the engine on the test rig. For now, she would have to intensify research into those warp drives - propulsion systems that involved the controlled distortion of space-time, manipulating the underlying fabric of the Universe.

That certainly involved exciting scientific concepts, if not quite as advanced as those claimed for LaunchOLift and its sister products.