Flash Fiction Story 007: "The Museum of Outer Space"

Special thanks to Terry and everybody at The Writer's Cafe for the prompt that miraculously led to an actual story. Wonders never cease.


I know it’s kitsch. I know it’s touristy. I know the dark, ominous corporation that bought out the snack bar may be guilty of crimes against the Space-Time Continuum and nougat. I know they haven’t had a truly great exhibit since “Treasures of the Great Robot Gort’s Tomb” was recalled by his home planet, but I can’t help it. I am an absolute sucker for the Museum of Outer Space.

I bought the lifetime membership plan, and can go any time I want, day or night. Now, it should bear mentioning that after the thorough credit check, a full auditing session using the latest E-Meter, and some very vivid and upsetting dreams about John Travolta, the lifetime-membership actually covers one-billion years. For my money that only makes it more of a bargain. By year 1,138,000, it’s like you’re practically getting in for free!

From the entry kiosk, where you’re greeted by the dulcet tones of Also Sprach Zarathustra reimagined as smooth jazz muzak, you are off on a world of adventure. The administrators of the museum insist that the floor of the main atrium is made of genuine rocks from the surface of Venus. I know better, though. All the remaining pieces of the once great planet had been swallowed by the great, fidgety wormhole of 23,489 CE. Confidentially, the main atrium actually smells like Twice-Baked Farts™, and the sulfur-convenient story of the Venus rocks is merely an alibi.

Where would a new visitor go from here? You could go to the snack bar, but their burgers are technically the remnants of dead stars and have a density that would create great intestinal distress in anyone who wasn’t Scottish. Come to think of it, that might be a better explanation for the smell in the atrium.

Or you could go in the authentic spaceship simulator! It’s a bit retro, but long, long ago, humans used metal contraptions fueled by barely controlled explosions to travel beyond the confines of Earth. Ancient humans were so silly. It’s far easier the way we do it now: instant astral projection to any point in the tri-galaxy area and parts of New Jersey.

If you make it any time in the next 500 years, I can’t over-recommend the temporary Sputnik Symposium. Everyone used to think that the Soviet Probe burned up after three months of orbits in ancient history. In truth, it traveled beyond the cosmos, became sentient, returned to Earth, and became very enthusiastic about macramé. It now offers universe-wide talks on the subject, even though most people only want to hear stories of its torrid affair with the severed head of Rudolph Valentino, or its spoken word rendition of Elton John’s Rocketman.

4 out of 5 stars. The parking lot really needs to exist in linear time. I can never remember where I left my aura. Would still recommend. End of Yelp Review.