“The Simpsons” Fun Facts – WIF TV

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Amazing Facts

About

The Simpsons

A while back, WIF comprised a top 10 list about America’s most beloved fictional family, the Simpsons. But since the list had only 10 entries, it didn’t even come close to doing them justice. After all, this is a show that’s been on TV for nearly 30 years. So, we’ve decided to make another one, telling you more about our yellow friends, their backstories, and some other facts you might have not known about them. We won’t bore you with a long and tedious introduction, so without any further ado, here are the Simpsons, and some stuff which…let’s say, isn’t described in the show itself.

10. Smithers’ “Coming Out” is Based on Real Life

There was no real surprise for anyone who’s a fan of the show that Smithers, Mr. Burns’ loyal assistant/yes-man/servant, is gay. But up until this year, the show never truly “said it out loud.” During the 17th episode of the 27th season, called “The Burns Cage,” the show officially gave its audience this particular confirmation. Mr. Smithers finally accepts the fact that the love he has for his boss will never be reciprocated, and Homer even helps him on his search for true love.

What’s less obvious and less known about this is that the writer of the episode, Rob LaZebnik, said the episode was inspired by his own gay son. When Johnny LaZebnik, a teenager, came out of the closet and admitted to his own sexual preferences in front of his family, his father was very accepting and loving. “I am a Midwestern guy, so I don’t tend to wear my emotions on my sleeve,” the elder LaZebnik told the New York Post. “But I thought, ‘What better way to tell my son I love him than to write a cartoon about it?’” His son had this to say about the matter: “The revelation that my father loves me is not much of a revelation, thankfully. He’s unbelievably accepting. We’re as close as a straight dad and a gay son could be.”

9. Lisa Can Predict the Super Bowl

There’s somewhat of an unspoken tradition within The Simpsons, started way back in 1992, where Lisa predicts the next champion of the Super Bowl in real life. It all started with “Lisa the Greek,” the 49th episode of the show, where Homer tricks his eldest daughter into helping him gamble on football. When she finds out, she makes a bet where the winner of the Super Bowl will be the Washington Redskins, if she is to love him, or the Buffalo Bills, if she doesn’t. When the show premiered, just before the Super Bowl, those two teams were actually squaring off in Super Bowl XXVI, and Washington won by 37-24.

Over the following three years, the producers made it a tradition to air the episode just before the Super Bowl and alter the dialogue to fit the two teams playing that year. According to the DVD commentary, Lisa accurately picked the winning team every single year.

8. Bart’s Prank Calls to Moe Really Happened

The more we delve into The Simpsons, the more we realize just how “real” the show is. Another fact based more on reality than anything else are the prank calls Bart makes to Moe’s bar, just so he can have a laugh at how its grumpy (psychotic?) owner reacts. These calls are loosely based on the Tube Bar prank calls which actually happened back in the ’70s. Two young men by the names of John Elmo and Jim Davidson came up with the idea one day while passing the Tube Bar in New Jersey, and noticed the owner, heavyweight boxer Louis “Red” Deutsch, beating one of his customers for not drinking fast enough.

Known for his easily-ruffled temper, the two boys would often call up his bar and ask Louis Deutsch if they could speak to a fictitiously named customer. These names were mostly pun-based, like “Pepe Roni” (pepperoni), “Al Coholic” (alcoholic), or a few…oh, let’s say, more “colorful” names starting with the first name Mike. Most of the time Deutsch would call out the names, but sometimes he would catch on and respond with extreme hostility, shouting mostly profanity, with obscene sexual references.

7. Bush Hoped Americans Wouldn’t Emulate the Simpsons

We are going to keep on trying to … make American families a lot more like the Waltons and a lot less like the Simpsons.” As a response, the show came out with a segment for the next season in which Bart said, “Hey, we’re just like the Waltons. We’re praying for an end to the Depression, too.” They also came out with a later episode in which the Bushes move to Springfield.

But this is not the only time the Bushes came into contact with the Simpsons. Back in 1990, two years before the President made his speech, his wife and first lady, Barbara Bush, was quoted in People magazine as saying The Simpsons was “the dumbest thing [she] had ever seen.” Not long after, she received a polite reply in the form of a letter from none other than Marge Simpson. This, in turn, was followed by Barbara Bush’s own apologetic reply. Unfortunately their communications stopped there and it’s quite safe to say that they didn’t become actual pen-pals.

6. Where is Springfield, Really?

Springfield is a fairly common town name throughout the US, so which one is it, actually? This question is somewhat difficult to answer and has been boggling people’s minds for a long while. In an interview, The Simpsons creator Matt Groening said, “I don’t want to ruin it for people, you know? Whenever people say it’s Springfield, Ohio, or Springfield, Massachusetts, or Springfield, wherever; I always go, ‘Yup, that’s right.’” This line of thinking makes us believe that Springfield is just a generic place that could easily fit anywhere within the US, as to be more easily relatable to its audience.

Nevertheless, we do know that Groening grew up on Evergreen Terrace (the same street as the Simpsons clan) in Portland, Oregon, and which is just 100 miles north of Springfield, Oregon. “Springfield was named after Springfield, Oregon. The only reason is that when I was a kid, the TV show Father Knows Best took place in the town of Springfield, and I was thrilled because I imagined that it was the town next to Portland, my hometown,” he told Smithsonian magazine.

 But in the show itself, a letter to Mr. Burns indicates he lives in Springfield, New Jersey. Another instance has the narrator talking about the Simpsons as “this Kentuckian family…”, but to be fair, the narrator may have been indicating that the family originally came from Kentucky. There is also one opening couch gag where the camera zooms out from the Simpsons’ house, above the town of Springfield, continuing over the entire US and subsequently, the entire universe. Here, the location of Springfield suggests it to be somewhere around the Great Lakes area, probably in Illinois.

5. The First Season is Different From the Rest

Like most other animated shows, especially those with a particularly long run, it’s not surprising to see some differences, especially in design, after a few seasons. In The Simpsons, however, there are several other changes that make the first season different from the rest. For example, Homer’s voice was made higher pitched and less intelligent-sounding than it initially was. Chief Wiggum’s hair color changes from black to blue, not to mention Mr. Smithers, who was initially black, as well as Officer Lou, who had yellow skin at the beginning of season one.

The first episodes also had a somewhat different opening sequence (which you can watch above). While Bart is skateboarding on the street on his way home from school, we don’t see any of the recognizable characters we’re used to in the later episodes. We instead see a bunch of people running after a bus. Lisa is seen riding her bike, overburdened with school books, and then parking it, just before Homer’s car pulls into the driveway. The rest is similar to how it is today, with the exception of the frequent couch gag variables, of course.

4. Marge Has Bunny Ears

The reason for Marge’s long, cylindrical-shaped hairdo has nothing to do with the style women were wearing during the late 1980s, because they weren’t, for the most part. Admittedly, Matt Groening’s mother Margaret did wear it during the 1960s, and she is in fact the inspiration for Marge. But the real reason for why Marge is wearing that style is quite strange. From the very beginning, Matt Groening decided to reveal in the very last episode of the show, whenever it may be, that Marge actually had bunny ears underneath her blue hair.

This idea came as a shock to the other writers and co-creators of the show. In fact, co-creator Sam Simon got really angry and managed to convince Groening that this was a stupid idea, and that they would not be using it. Nevertheless, in the Simpsons Arcade Game, Groening did manage to have it his own way after all, and Marge was given large bunny ears. The reasoning behind Matt Groening’s original idea is still a mystery. Incidentally, considering Marge “posed” for Playboy (yes, there was an actual, real-life issue in which Marge appeared nude, around the time of The Simpsons Movie) and could now be considered a Playboy Bunny, it seems almost like a self-fulfilling prophecy.

3. The Most Guest Stars…Ever

While the show holds the Guinness World Record for the longest running, primetime TV animated series, it also holds the record for the most guest stars to appear in the show with over 600. Among them are Stephen Hawking, Jose Canseco, Jon Stewart, and Katy Perry. Michael Jackson also made an appearance in an episode, portraying a mental patient who believed he was…Michael Jackson. In the episode credits, however, the voice is credited as John Jay Smith.

Three of the Beatles have also appeared in the show: George Harrison (“Homer’s Barbershop Quartet”), Ringo Starr (“Brush With Greatness”), and Paul McCartney (“Lisa the Vegetarian”). There has even been an entire episode dedicated to the passing of the late George Harrison. Since John Lennon passed away long before the show even premiered, his song “Mother” was used in an episode, meaning in a sense that all of the Beatles had their voices heard within the Simpsons.

2. Who is Maggie?

Unlike the other characters in the show, which all have their respective actors voicing them throughout the many seasons, Maggie Simpson was played by anyone who was willing. Most of the female voices in the show have had a go at the spike-headed baby, creating her cute grunts and babblings, and on occasion, even delivering some lines in her dreams, or other fantasies. In the beginning of the show, most of her squeaks and cries were done by Yeardley Smith, but in later seasons, this “arduous” task fell mostly on Nancy Cartwright, who is also the voice behind Bart, Nelson, Ralph Wiggum, Todd Flanders, and a few others, on occasion.

In some special instances, however, guest stars have even been brought in to voice the awesome role of Maggie Simpson. Her first ever word was actually spoken by Elizabeth Taylor, in the episode “Lisa’s First Word.” Even though the word was simply “Daddy,” Taylor had to record the word numerous times before the producers were satisfied. Jodie Foster voiced a Howard Roark-inspired Maggie, who rallied babies in yet another daycare escape. And let’s not forget the James Earl Jones version of Maggie in the “Treehouse of Horror V” episode. But the most important Maggie role is actually played by Matt Groening himself, who’s the source for the ever present pacifier sucking.

1. Best and Worst Episodes

Like with every other show out there, there are good episodes, and not so good episodes. The season two premiere episode, called “Bart Gets An F,” was a bit controversial, to say the least. It was the first episode in the series to focus mainly on Bart (the most popular character at the time), as opposed to Homer and the family as a whole. This was coupled with putting the show up against The Bill Cosby Show, back before people realized how creepy and awful its star was. Nevertheless, these two gambles paid off in the end and the episode brought in the best Nielsen ratings the show has ever seen. The episode has quite an interesting moral: even if you try your hardest, you’re not guaranteed to succeed. This is still the highest viewed episode to date.

 On the other end of the popularity spectrum is “The Great Simpsina,” which aired during the 22nd season of the show. The episode revolves around Lisa being a great magician, which sounds fine and all but was hurt by a couple things, including the fact that Lisa isn’t exactly the most popular character on the series. She’s great, for sure, but she’s pretty far down the cast “depth chart,” so to speak, for carrying her own episodes. But at the end of the day, the real reason why this was the least viewed episode has to do more with the fact that it appeared far later that “Bart Gets An F,” of course, and because the entire show itself has been losing its popularity as a whole as the years have gone on.

Simpsons Fun Facts

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 233

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 233

…Matchmaking is rampant… on either end of the Milky Way…

“We are going to have the biggest wedding that Houston has ever seen!”

“Have you told Mom?” Deke speaks of the former First Lady of the United States of America, now Director of Programming for The Space Channel. “And I bet Braden doesn’t know his ranch is going to be overrun?”

“No, but Mindy hasn’t told her parents either.” Equal opportunity ignorance.

Gus McKinney has struck relationship-gold in the person of a bright, talented, drop-dead gorgeous, and most importantly girl of a fine Irish family.

“I don’t know about the McDonalds, but I know Francine will be thrilled; she introduced you to Mindy, correct?” Matchmaking is rampant… on either end of the Milky Way.

“Yes, on that same Christmas Eve evening, only at the Space Channel party, not the one where Maddox blew a gasket. She was about ready to leave when I got there, but Mom was hanging on to her for dear life.”

“Yeah, all of the sudden you disappeared from the great Galvy bash. You missed Braden doing karaoke.”

“I took a call from Mom at midnight and I promised I would drop by, she told me there was someone she wanted me to meet. I thought they wanted to interview me about the test flight.”

“S-n-e-a-k-y, I bet we will be hearing that story for forever!”

0200 has made it daily appearance and this time it is Gus who insists that he should hit the hay. He has two things to dream about:

  1. A safe flight out to planetoid Pluto and back
  2. Mindy McDonald will be waiting when he gets back

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 129

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 129

…The Air Jamaica aircraft lifts up and away from the seaside airport, not being a very long flight, they barely get above 20,000 feet

20000 ft by Photojournalist Rdiger Nehmzow

Old Francine

“Do you possibly have an open seat somewhere — you know what I mean?” she points and whispers to a flight attendant, wanting to escape her sweaty human sandwich. “What is the holdup Miss?”

Old Francine would have thrown an absolute fit and shouted her way off the plane, accomplishing absolutely nothing except drawing undue attention to her disrespectful derrière.

New Francine

“We are under a security alert, something going on to the west, sort of like a red light in the sky.” A loaded passenger plane sitting on the taxiway for two hours is borderline cruel and unusual. “We just had a single window seat, 3A open up, why don’t we move you up?”

New Francine asks for the attendant’s name, “I will be writing a letter praising your service to Air Jamaica, thank you.”

Just after staking her claim at the front of the jet, the calming voice of the Captain fills the cabin, “Good afternoon passengers of Air Jamaica Flight 217 nonstop to Related imageHouston Texas. We will be taking off shortly and we thank you for your patience. The stewardesses will be handing out complimentary beverages.”

“If he weren’t the oldest pilot in the fleet, I would be offended.”

“At least he didn’t call you an airplane waitress…I’ll have a vodka rocks please,” Francine relates her similar story of having been introduced, early in her career, in a pre-sweeps station promo, as anchor-girl Francine Bushel.

The jet aircraft lifts up and away from the seaside airport. It is not a very long flight and they barely get above 20,000 feet, but the view from her window is nonstop fantastic, with Cuba fading into background of the azure Gulf-blue waters and the familiar soil and foliage of the Gulf Coast states rising to the north.

Like tiny islands, oil drinking platforms dot the water below, but one in particular seems to be the hub of activity. She reaches down to her carry-on to retrieve her trusty pair of field glasses, every good reporter has one, and gets a 20x power view of the action. She pulls back, rubs her eyes to make sure she isn’t seeing things, the one thing being the familiar blue & white paint scheme of Roy’s helicopter; blades idling, atop the one acre pedestal. There are a good thirty-odd people mulling about, many of whom belong to that huge Coast Guard cutter lashed to the side.


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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 107

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 107

CHAPTER SIX

Timeout

…“He is not just any guy, he’s twice the man you are and BTW, who puts up with a woman who stonewalls her fiancée for 5 *_*_*_*  years?”…

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True to her word, Francine Bouchette has packed up her future and stuffed it into two underused Samsonites; but she will be lucky to get out of Houston with her head atop her shoulders.

As she may have guessed, given the element of surprise, lack of warning, the upcoming February ratings slotting, and her jilted fiancée, she has upset the KHST 13 apple-cart. She does not care for threats, but she is threatened with disciplinary action for “breach of contract”.

Her United Talent agent is beside himself, given his income is tied to his clients and she is his biggest.

“They will take you off the anchor desk.”

“Go ahead.”

“They can reduce your salary by 75%.”

“I can live on $250,000.”

The intended (Larry) weighs in on her irrational behavior, “You are throwing away your future, for what, a guy you just met?”

“He is not just any guy and he’s twice the man you are. Who puts up with a woman who stonewalls her fiancée for 5 f***king years?”

So it is and that is that. With him watching her pack everything from a bikini he had
bought her and she never wore, into two duffles stuffed with evening wear and lingerie (Larry), KHST VP is left standing aghast and agape, watching his fragile pride walk away from her penthouse without turning or looking back. The only thing she does do, is issue the following order, “Make sure you take anything that you value, leave your set of keys in the foyer and lock the door on the way out.”

She takes a taxi to William P. Hobby Airport and pity the poor driver who has to handle her crammed to the brim hard suitcases and hefty Hilfiger bags. She neglected to ask the helicopter owner whether there was a weight limit. —


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William P Hobby International

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 99

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 99

…Too many twos, two many 2s and if there was a rock big enough to hide behind, Roy would have preferred it to this…

Image result for too many

Braden has been slowly dismantling the many-gift-mountain of cards, boxes, gift wrap and tissue. There are some meant to be shared, ‘Deke & Gus’. There are many specifically labeled either ‘Deke’ or ‘Gus’. Others are anonymous tributes to The Space Family McKinney.

By sheer coincidence and not divine intervention, we think, Francine and Roy’s packages are the last to be unwrapped. The givers of said gifts are still standing near one another, having ooo-ed, aah-d, and clapped politely throughout the process, which has run past daylight’s influence.

Most everyone has done the math or eliminated themselves from belonging to the boxes. Fate is once again shining a spotlight on that reluctant featured pairing, still trying to sort out their feelings, once they get past continuing awkward social situation.

The lady-well-wisher’s carton is next to last, opened with genuine excitement by Gus, “Channel 13 News Crew bomber jackets, look Deke!”

She was afraid people would think her a self-promoter, “It’s the same one worn by our cameramen and grips.”

“Way kool Miss Bouchette. All the kids at school can drool.”

The final unopened gift belonged to Roy.

“Read the card first Deke,” if Braden has the boy skip that part, it would be fine with Roy, who knows exactly how he signed the card.

Too late!!

“2 the two finest young men we know. With Love and friendship, Uncle Roy and Channel 13 Francine”

The young man reads it loud and proud.

Too many twos, two many 2s and if there was a rock big enough to hide behind, Roy would have preferred it to this. The boys do not think about motivation when it comes to birthdays.

“A 4-D Galaxy Planet Asteroid Tracker by Intel, wow just like the one in your office Uncle Roy… and Francine?”

asteroid-tracker

Roy wanted to explain Francine’s duplicity, had he known how to. Some things are better left to wondering.

The agreeable crowd subdivides into smaller groups, to sample Braden’s BBQ skills—-and gossip.Related image

Roy looks for that back-forty boulder to hide behind.

Francine is just plain curious, but they are overtaken by the shuffled throng.

“I can’t believe how generous people are. Deke & Gus are so lucky,” Aunt Sassy (from the old country) shakes Roy’s hand like she was trying to bust it loose from his shoulder socket, while eyeing Francine up and down.

“Now Sassy, don’t break his wrist,” insists the senior member of the McKinney relative contingent Savta Inga Bergestrom (from the other old country). “You two look like you are having a wonderful time.”


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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 98

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 98

…Attention everyone, I would like to propose a toast… raise your glasses as I salute our Director Roy Crippen and Channel 13’s own Francine Bouchette!”

Image result for a toast artwork

Separately and together, she and he play it oh-so-kool, willing to allow randomness to take its course.

To anyone with two eyes and a television, they had been captured on video holding hands; the tension is thick and juicy.

braceT LFTWhispers:“Why aren’t they talking?” “I thought they liked each other.” “At bracket rt least they can talk to each other.”

In-house wagering is going on among the adults, “I have 50 bucks that says they will not talk.. any takers?” Just one of the side bets.

The master of ceremonies Braden takes matters in his own hands, “Attention everyone, before Deke & Gus open their gifts, and I take the ribs off the grill, I would like to propose a toast… raise your glasses as I salute the two real celebrities among us—my apologies to any movie stars or sitting Presidents—To our Director Roy Crippen and Channel 13’s own Francine Bouchette!”

“C-H-E-E-R-S! Here – here! Salud!” come from all around from every side as the toasted make their way forward.

Whispers (he & she):“There are lots of people here.” “Yes there are and so many gifts.” “I didn’t expect to see you here.” “I had to file that story, I hope you know that.” “Of course you did, and I imagine my impulsiveness caught you off guard.”

13d01-6a00d8341cb55f53ef010536ace89f970b-800wiFrancine, in her big girl voice,“No need for you to apologize Roy what happened to us was perfectly natural.”

“Had I known you were engaged that would have never happened,” counters Roy.

“You were every bit the gentleman and I did not offer any résistance.”

“I am in some hot water over this whole mess, maybe you should keep your distance.”be5e8-6a00d8341cb55f53ef0120a604af2c970c-800wi

“Do you think I’m worried about my association with you? Bring it on fools!”

Big Girls Don’t Cry


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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 91

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 91

…Francine’s words land harshly and dig deep, and may as well have been a dagger to the heart to a man who had suffered more than his share of setbacks as of late…

Fantasy dagger by Vadich

…Roy is taken aback by Francine’s callous bluntness, and he hasn’t even asked a question.

Without being asked she continues, “I am flattered that you’ve seen enough of my work that you would offer me the job, without consulting your higher-ups. And believe me when I tell you that the space program intrigues me, interesting and exciting to say big-butthe least.

“But, the big but is that I am in the 2nd year of a 4 year contract and if I haven’t admitted it before now… I am engaged to KHST’s VP of News,” she pauses to count on one hand,going on 5 years this May.”

Her words land harshly and dig deep, and may as well have been a dagger to the heart to a man who had suffered more than his share of
setbacks as of late
. Does this signal the return of “old” Francine Bouchette? Had she now secured the inside story, that juicy prize that will get her where she wants to go? ‘Good bye Charlie, I must be getting along.’

Image result for btw“I see,” TMI, BTW, TTYL Roy is an unemotional as possible, after all, what did he expect or hope for after merely holding hands or that pressure packed tender kiss.

FrancineCorvette

New

Francine stands, her skirt soiled and wrinkled and that $150 hairdo looks like a fright-wig. She brushes her hair straight and a mirror helps restore her face, the skirt is too far gone, fitting results for a day that has turned the page – plus 3 hours more.

“I have to head out Roy. I believe you granted me another exclusive and if I don’t get
going, someone else will beat me to it. I hope your valet didn’t drain my hydrogen tank, Corvettes are not fuel efficient.”

Old

“No they’re not; I have a gasoline 2001 Stingray rag-top myself.” He is brave on the outside, “If you ever need a source here at Galvy or Lovell, you can look me up.

“And don’t be too hard on us,” he uses two hands to squeeze one of hers.

Her smile is pained as she turns to find her car and shows herself out of the complex.

“It’s just another ordinary day in the life of an everyday ordinary space freak.” Roy mumbles this and other self-deprecating phrases on the way to his now lonely office, plopping onto the overused couch to close his eyes. Sleep come mercifully quick, dreams not so sweet. —


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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 90

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 90

…And then there is the inconvenient reality of her VP fiancée, who is probably worried sick, period, without knowing about what is going on between the TV Newswoman and the NASA Colony Mission Director…

inconvenient-truth-001

Right now (Braden King) he feels like 80. —

— As would Roy Crippen had he not found himself half-passed out on his office couch, next to Francine, who is showing no signs of wanting to leave. She is obviously preoccupied by the concept of how she ever ended up so “close” to the space program. Conversely, for the first time since breaking 200 MPH whilst speeding away from her native Houston, the 10 o’clock newscast she bolted from crosses her mind. Her newly acquired sense of four-letter loyalty has shifted from KHST to NASA, in addition to that deviant stance, she doesn’t feel at all guilty about not having a camera crew along for the station’s {and her career} enrichment.

In fact, her television chores have also occurred to Roy, “Aren’t you going to file a
report to KHST Channel 13 Houston’s News Source?”

“Thank you for that proper station ID,” she forms her real response carefully, if not unenthusiastically. “I suppose I should.” And then there is the inconvenient reality of her VP fiancée, who is probably worried sick, period, without knowing about what is going on between the TV Newswoman and the NASA Colony Mission Director.

For Roy, whose mind never rests anyway, has been doing some thinking, you know, about mortality and bachelorhood. He has noticed the Francine’s transformation from selfish career person to Mamma’s every prayer for a daughter-in-law.

“Francine…….I’ve been kicking something around.” That is an understatement considering the drastic implications for her.the-right-words-001

“What???” She had been in a trance of her own.

“Well……,” he stutters, stumbles, and skirts the issue, “…throughout my years at NASA, both in the air and here with the Space Colony project, I feel there is a void, when it comes to a public presence, that one authoritative voice; someone with your media flair and experience that can deal with situations like we had today.”

Francine thinks she knows what he means, but does not lead him forward, fearing how she would respond.

“Heck,” his Southern drawl breaking in, “for as long as I can remember, it has always been ‘good ol’ Roy’ plunked in front of cameras and microphones and not to nasa (1)thrilled about it.

“No offense, but I’m not a big fan of you press people, although at first the attention was nice enough. But now it is a hassle and it is taking me off-course from my real job.”

“Sure, sure, you want someone else to be the face of failure.”

“Failure, I’m not so sure. We have only scratched the surface of what caused the Colony to go down.”

“I have not seen a single member of the press, not that pompous ass from Channel 5 or anyone from FOX or REUTERS and if they were here they would be asking a millions ignorant questions and some poor sucker here at CMC would have spilled their guts and piss you off.”

Roy is taken aback by Francine’s callous bluntness, and he hasn’t even asked the question.


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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 74

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 74

…Miss Bouchette, can I count on you to help me out here? I will grant you blanket access with Level 1 Security status

security-level-1-001

“You could barely speak English this morning when we spoke this morning,” Roy insists.

“I have not had the honor to meet you until now; I would like to express the gratitude of all the Nepalese people for being part of the great Space Colony. My government sends its deep condolences for the horrible accident.”

This man was genuinely sincere and definitely not the Gherkin Dogma he had met right before the Colony disappeared from the Mars Mockup.

“Are you saying that you didn’t man this station until after Space Colony was taxi-001destroyed?” Roy is more confused than ever.

“That is correct Director Crippen. I was late in arriving because my taxi driver could not find Galveston Launch Facility; it seems he took a wrong turn as we left George Bush Intercontinental Airport, which is odd because you can see Colony Mission Control from many miles away.”

“Sounds fishy to me Director Roy,” Francine interjects her opinion. “I know that many cabbies are new to this country, but they cannot be blind.”

All the while digesting and deciphering, Roy is finally seeing the handwriting on the wall. As Phil Jansky’s replacement continued to ramble on about other trip delaying travails, the pieces of the puzzle are coming together:

 1)   Philip Jansky, Spatial Debris Specialist {20 year NASA employee} dies of a rare & sudden cerebral hemorrhage

2    That death occurs at a critical time in Space Colony 1’s mission, with the McKinneys on Mars surface

3)   In a scramble to replace personnel, a Nepalese technician is flown in by supersonic transport

4)  Space Colony 1 disappears from its orbit around Mars, cause unknown

“From Earth-to-Mars, no one’s laughing from here-or-there.”

5)  A rescue mission involving the premature launch of the New Mayflower is hastily thrown together

6)  One man, two manred man, blue man. A human shell game has been going on, with sketchy timelines and miss-identifications

“Time is winding down Francine and I do not have time to do a full-blown investigation. Can I count on you to help me out here? I will grant you blanket access with Level 1 Security status.”

“A good reporter never turns down the opportunity to do what she does best.” She is developing more than a casual interest in both this interplanetary intrigue and this intriguing man specifically. “You can count on me….as long as I get the exclusive.”

Roy is going to need the help…no matter what she is angling.


THE RETURN TRIP

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Episode 74


page 69 (end ch. 4)

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 73

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 73

“What happened to your lousy English and didn’t your hair used to be black?”…

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The Plot Thickens by Donna MacDonald

“Then why has his hair color changed?” On a thin whim he says, “Let’s pay Gherkin a visit.” With time dwindling, hunches played trump hunches ignored.

Roy Crippen douses power to the what-not room as he and Francine scamper over to the nerve center of mans’ first colony away from Earth. From scamper to gallop, their pace quickens and if Francine had any doubts as to the seriousness of the situation, all she need do is keep up with the bulldog in front of her.

In a big building with odd angles and unexpected transitions, Roy bowls over an unsuspecting  technician, sending him sprawling. He excuses himself, sort of, while acquiring a limp in the process.

Francine mostly ignores the tech, asking, “Are you going to be alright Roy?”

“What…. Oh yes, come on,” not a complete answer.

“I hope I’m not out of line, but are we chasing a ghost here. You are making a pretty big fuss about one little man.” She is not privy to Roy’s unfolding theory.

He stops to collect himself, address her issues with a glance and a right hand thru his floppy brown straight hair. Francine straightens his tie thereby restoring the look of a man in control.

He speaks, seemingly into the thin air, alerting security as to the nature of his pending confrontation, rejoining the previously frantic pace, with a newswoman bring up the rear.

At this late stage of the approaching launch, less than an hour now, nearly every eye sneaks a peek at NASA’s man of the hour. He looks like a man under the gun, acts like a man possessed, and don’t you dare get in his way.

With Roy grabbing the Spatial Debris tech by the shoulders, spinning him around in-your-face style, the man is startled by the aggressive move, “There is no problem in the launch window, Mr. Crippen, only some small stuff out at 500,000 out.”

“What happened to your lousy English and didn’t your hair used to be black?”

“I do not know what you are talking about, Sir.”

“What is your name and when did you get here?”

“My name is Gurkhas Shah Dhangotma and I have been here all day, except for a short break early this morning. I had been on duty for sixteen hours. Someone relieved me for an hour, no more.”

“You could barely speak English when we spoke this morning.”

plot-thickens


THE RETURN TRIP

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Episode 73


page 68