This week I invite you to write about pie.
Flash fiction fresh out of the oven. Oh goody, no one’s used it yet….
I’m not sure when we all began calling it ‘the pie’, probably after our stupid media guy did his last interview. Management had hated it, the press had gone wild. Dull subject, great tagline. ‘Yep’ he’d said ‘It’s just like a fly on a pie. We’re gonna land, penetrate the crust, scoop up a bit of what’s inside and go home.’ It was my line originally, but I’m not owning up to it. He’d wanted an analogy. You know what those are? Yeah, one of those. The probe was just a six hundred million dollar fly. There was a four mile wide pie hurtling past the Moon. Yep, they have a crust. We wanna know what’s in it. My bad, should have drawn a few more pictures for him.
The press were delighted. You can guess what came next. ‘Pie in the sky’. Alright, we now know that six hundred million dollars worth of pie could feed a lot of orphans for a long time. Somebody worked out the numbers. You’re ahead of me, aren’t you? Yep, they made a pie chart. Management again, not amused, especially the nameless ones that have to talk to the Senate Committee about the money.
It wasn’t all our money either. The Brits had put in a few pounds and a team of helpers with incomprehensible accents and long sideburns. ‘We have finger in pie!’ screamed the Daily Morrow. Not much text, but a large photo of an undiscovered model called ‘Miss Delia Honeypie’. The team at Nullborough University didn’t mind that at all. I gather she’s in line for an honorary doctorate if the probe gets home.
I was the one that had to front the angry mob, my bosses bosses bosses. I’d expected to be one of those fairly cute extras in a zombie film that gets eaten alive early on. It wasn’t that bad. It turned out that our rulers are practical people. They’d weathered great storms than this one. ‘So what’s in it for us?’ they asked. Several people asked that in different ways. It was only the last of them that summed it up so succinctly. I’d got this worked out already.
‘It’s like that Bruce Willis film.’ I said ‘Where he saves the world and all that.’ There was a sigh of relief. Of course, saved by popular culture.
‘Anyway, if we know what’s in these things, we’ll know what to do if one crashes into us.’ That went down well. ‘So we can blow up the pie, right?’ said someone who hadn’t said anything yet. ‘I guess so’ I said, ‘if we armed a probe.’ They seemed disappointed, wasn’t that the right answer? ‘Erm’ said someone ‘we can’t blow this one up?’ I explained. We don’t know what it’s made of, we haven’t got a bomb and no one would see it anyway. It’s the wrong side of the moon. Well that seemed to work.
All was good. The new media person was able to get a selfie with Bruce Willis. It turned out he was quite willing to help out his country by standing next to Miss Delia Honeypie. She’d cost us an airfare from London, but we got a lot of positive coverage. It’s all mathematics really. The less coverage she wore, the more coverage she got.
I stayed up for three days and nights trying to manoeuvre the probe onto the pie. Flies make it look really easy. Then again, this pie wasn’t just left out on the windowsill to cool down. It was zipping along at 34,058 miles an hour. Well about that. We made it up really. Anyway, we landed finally and I went off to bed. Team Krusty over at Nullborough could do the rest. Little Jack Horner had sat quietly in his corner for long enough. Time to put in the thumb. This was the proof of the pudding. See? I’ve been reading too many English newspapers.
I got about six hours of the well deserved and then the phone rang. I put in another two hours happy slumber and the damn thing rang again. Better see what’s happened. ‘Yeah, me’ I said, ‘What?’. Well some good news. ‘You’ve won the sweep!’. We’d all put in suggestions as to what we’d find up there. ‘Giant carbon dioxide slurpee’ was generally expected to win. We’d all put in a few silly ones too. Hey, we’re scientists!
‘So?’ I said, trying to sound interested. ‘It’s a muddy icecube then? Water?’. There was a silence. Then one of those ‘erms’ that people say before the have to say things they really don’t want to say. Another silence. ‘It’s a chocolate raisin!’. Oh not again. Mars had been bad enough, how could we cover this one up? The universe is one big sweetshop. Still, I’d beaten Hoskins again. At least it wasn’t really a pie.
From the International Pie Observatory. La Curie, France.