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The Unusual Times
Fiction & Drollery

Adventures in Rocketry with Bottle 469Z

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Klezmer filled the meadow, the source being the radio of bottle 469Z. She sat on a tartan picnic blanket and played along on her sousaphone. As it was such a clement day she had slipped off her label and was enjoying the tickle of ultraviolet rays on her black glass. A crimson de Havilland Dragon Rapide biplane putted overhead; 469Z felt an irresistible urge for adventure surging within her. She reattached her label, leapt on her white charger and raced to the Girvan Space Centre. As we all know, the secret to a successful space mission is spontaneity (space-camp is a bore). The most dashing cosmonauts are those that have crept out from their workplaces at lunchtime and snuck their way onto a rocket, shuttle or catapult. 469Z belonged to this category of impromptunauts. As she strapped herself into a capsule atop a vast cucumber-shaped rocket she wondered what space would look like.

Seven minutes later she was weightless, gazing into the infinite ink. As 469Z peered at the vastness of space she considered the existence of intelligent gin on other planets. Her musings were cut short by a green flashing light. Re-entry was imminent. 469Z blew the star-spattered celestial void an intercosmic kiss and braced herself.

Friction heated the skin of her capsule to 500 degrees, but in her black bottle the gin remained as cool as a penguin’s bowling ball (and at least twice as delicious).

But where would she land? The digital formandascope estimated she would come to ground slap-bang in the upper ventricle of the Venezuelan rainforest. ‘Lucky I packed the mosquito repellent ’ she thought as she passed below 20,000 ft.

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