Long ago in the distant future, at an industrial facility in Castletown Geoghegan, lived a dog. His name was Bongo, and he must’ve wanted to tell somebody about what had happened. Because he just walked up to me and started talking. This is what he said:
I hated Salamon Bonjourney from the minute I saw him. I hated his big shiny white teeth. And his blue suit. It smelled of cabbage and cat piss. But it was the way he walked that annoyed me the most. The jittery, stilted robotic gait got me roaring abuse at the top of my voice. And when that didn’t work I tried to bite off a lump of flesh below his calf. Just where the tendon met his heel. That should have softened his cough, but Lisa managed to aim a kick in my direction before I could complete the job.
Since then I‘ve been making do with taking a dump in one of his shoes whenever he leaves them unattended, which is not very often.
Sorry, I should introduce myself. My name is Bongo, and I just came back from Jupiter. Well, not exactly Jupiter, a terraformed human colony on the Jupitarian moon of Ganymede to be exact. But it’s better if I’m not exact, or this will be a long story.
It begins back on Earth, on the outskirts of New Mullingar. In a rented room at a battery storage facility. With three human musicians named Bartog, Lisa and Rob.
It was a Wednesday like any other, which meant we’d been spending it snoozing and listening to music. At around half past three I got my first whiff of the trouble that was to come. It was unmistakable. The scent of cat piss radiated like a beacon among the spotlessly clean robot factories.
‘Hey Lisa, watch out, the person coming this way smells like cat’s piss’ I shouted.
Lisa just opened the door and shoved me out.
And there he was. Trouble looking into a handheld display and picking his way through the maze of identical buildings. He moved deliberately towards the practice space of Satan’s Armpit, which was what the three humans call themselves. My attempts to send him packing with snarling and growling failed, and before I could break flesh Lisa had the door open and a boot into my nuts, which gave Salamon free reign to lure the rest of the band into his scheme.
‘Sorry about the dog, he’s not used to other humans’
Lisa gestured around at the rows of unpainted alloy cabins.
‘We don’t get many visitors, well human visitors at any rate’
‘No problem, Lisa is it?’
‘Yes, Lisa it is’
Lisa glanced beyond Salamus and into the distance, briefly unsure of herself.
‘Uh, how do you know my name?, is this about the rent, we gave in fourteen social credits, that should do for another year, I have the token somewhere’
‘No, I’m not here about the rent, I’m here about your music, I’ve heard your band and would like to be your manager’
That was the moment when I knew Salamon Bonjourney was a liar, there is no way he could have listened to their music AND wanted to become their manager.
I wish I could tell you what was said inside the practice room that day, but all I can tell you was that the moment Salamon said the words ‘like to be your manager’ he was ushered inside and I was left outside. Whatever Lisa, Rob, Bartog and Salamus said to each other must have been profound, because the upshot was an interplanetary journey. I growled as Salamon left that day, but the others were grinning from ear to ear.
‘Well Bongo, we’re going to make history, the first band on Jupiter’.
It took me a few minutes to take in what Lisa had said. The ‘going to make history’ part was not unusual. All three band members had been saying that for years. They were pioneers of a new musical art form called air-gazing. It basically consists of the musician hitting a note whenever they feel like, and making sure to leave plenty of space for the sounds to ‘breathe’ in between. I don’t get it, and I’m pretty sure nobody else who had heard it did either. At least nobody wanted to hire them for a gig, but, this being 2345, and with plenty of social credits to go around, spending four years experimenting with a new musical form was not an unheard of thing to do. Although maybe it should have been, at least in the case of Satan’s Armpit.
Over the next two weeks Salamon Bonjourney made three more visits to our rented room in New Mullingar. Each time he brought a new piece of information with him. The journey would take six months. The contract was for a year. We would blast off in three days.
Now, you might think those two weeks would have been a good time for the members of Satan’s Armpit to get in some music practice, but that would have gone against the spirit of air-gazing. For the most part Lisa, Rob and Balrog talked lazily about what they would do with the wages. This led to some interesting, if unrealistic plans.
- Establish an air-gazing academy on Jupiter.
- Build a giant self sustaining spaceship to travel the universe and bring air-gazing to the fledgling interstellar colonies.
- Compose a never ending piece of music.
The launch day arrived, and we arrived at the spaceport ready for a long journey. You probably know this, but New Mullingar spaceport is designed to automatically offload and process iron-sulfide. It’s not pretty, but there again robots don’t really go in for aesthetics.
Salamon was there to meet us.
‘Ah no lads, ye can’t bring the dog’
I’d been expecting him to say something like that, and I also knew the response it would get.
‘Well, we’re not going without him’
Lisa had that ‘I’m telling you this as a fact’ tone in her voice. It must have been pretty important for Salamon to get the band to Jupiter. He immediately relented.
‘uh, okay, he can come -but one of ye is going to clean up after him onboard the rocket’
Salamon obviously hadn’t done a lot of research into the band. The words cleaning up and Satan’s Armpit had never been close friends. It suited me fine, but living in a mess would be something Salamon would have to get used to.
‘Right, we’re ready so, ye lot go ahead and board the rocket’
The outside of the rocket looked like something intent on punching a hole through the atmosphere, but the inside was surprisingly comfortable. It was one of the older sub stellar kind -the ones that had been designed to transport colonists and all their supplies to the moons of Jupiter. Travelling for months through space on a mission to supervise robots digging rock had the potential to drive humans to distraction, which is why the designers made sure the ships were filled with distractions. Those colonists weren’t going for adventure, they had a job to do. The mines of Jupiter would provide the fuel to power Earth, and, in time, allow humans to travel beyond the solar system.
Of course this all happened long before I was born. All I can tell you from experience is that the iron-sulfide lands hourly and automatically into New Mullingar. It is processed silently and efficiently by robots, and then transported away. I have never seen any human going to or coming from Jupiter, but apparently there are people there. And they have never heard live music. I’d like to say that changed when Satan’s Armpit got there, but you know air-gazing and music are not really the best of friends either.
The blast off that day would probably have been exciting if you were a human. Lisa, Rob and Bartog spent it staring out a large window in the main passenger compartment. The way they ooohed, and whistled made it seem like a dramatic experience anyway.
From my perspective it involved watching three people looking out a window I was too small to reach, followed by a slight feeling of unease in my belly, and a fart. And Salamon Bonjourney climbing down the spiral staircase that connected our living quarters to the control room. And clearing his throat importantly.
‘We’re gonna have a stopover on the moon, I need to fetch something’.
Good old Lisa, she smelled a rat straight away. To be fair, Rob and Bartog were not too far behind either. Or at least they were quick to agree.
‘The moon, nobody goes there, it’s dangerous, no deal Salamon’.
‘Yeah’, agreed Rob.
‘Yeah’, agreed Bartog.
‘Oh, it’s not dangerous, not at all, except once a month, and only on the thirteenth day’
‘This is the thirteenth, Friday the thirteenth’
‘Oh, so it is, I forgot, right, we’ll just have to be really quick then’
Salamon winked, and climbed back up the ladder into the control room. He left behind the knowledge that Satan’s Armpit were going to go to the moon, and that somehow they would be quick about it. And that was the moment when I learned that Salamon was not only a liar, but a little stupid too.
tbc… thanks for reading, this story will need a bit of a rewrite (first draft), the dog and band have a backstory that is worth telling plus more stuff needs explaining …thanks to Jay at Pig Nut Productions for the advice …he’s also agreed to perform the story if it is rewritten properly which should be good craic