Mars or Bust!
Chapter 4: Tumble Bug

Copyright© 2021 by GT Dodge

Olgu didn’t even know he was plagiarizing himself.

I’d heard that ‘impressive crash-landing’ line before, at the Big Tumble Bug Party. Johnny names his parties.

Hearing him say it again, I couldn’t help remember being so focused on the TV that I might as well have been floating there in space watching it all.

Johnny can’t tell a story right, he gets ahead of himself. He has to go back and fill in details. Of course, I guess that’s another way to make his lies stick: get you interested enough to listen to more details. More lies.

Johnny was on a roll, sitting there in front of his big screen TV, all of his and Linc’s friends crowded into his apartment. No one had come by to see the launch. But they were all there for the big finale!

I took over the remote. Today of all days, no one wanted to change the channel, FOX had paid for exclusive coverage.

But Johnny kept rolling the volume down so he could override the commentary. “Look!” he bragged. “On the windshield! That’s my bumper sticker! MARS OR BUST! Next year, Linc’s shooting at Mars! I gotta order another million of the MARS OR BUST!, right Sharmaine?”

I rolled up the volume, shouting over it, “Tell your secretary, Johnny.” I’m not his secretary. Not his admin assistant. Not his nothing. For all that he keeps me around, like this celebration party, we’ve never been close. And except for some fumbling in the dark once that didn’t go nowhere, never even close, close.

Meanwhile, I was deep inside the TV and out the other side; floating in space next to the Cossacke Cosmonaut. Heck, back then nobody except maybe Johnny knew her real name. He forgot her name as soon as he dubbed her the Cossacke Cosmonaut and it went viral. I don’t know who all were at the party or what they said, Johnny never stopped talking but I listened for her voice through the static and waited for her to speak again.

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